Hi, I’m Michelle Carter, your End of Life Coach, and I’m here to answer your most frequently asked questions.
What is the appropriate etiquette for a wake or visitation of viewing? The etiquette is pretty straightforward as far as attire. You should try to dress conservatively and appropriately. Not everybody owns a black suit and that’s perfectly fine. You don’t necessarily have to wear black, but if you dress as though you’re going to a job interview or your grandmother’s funeral, that’s typically appropriate.
Some cultures encourage you to wear all white other cultures encourage dark clothes, but as long as you are dressed conservatively you should be fine.
In terms of how long you should stay, that really depends on your relationship to the person who passed away, your relationship with the family. If you are a very close friend, you may want to stay for the entire visitation period so that you can be there to offer support as needed or answer questions and run interference for family members between other friends.
If it was somebody that you didn’t know as well, or if it’s a very big visitation with a lot of people, you’re not expected to stay the whole time. You can come in and pay your respects, you know, spend a little bit of time and then be on your way. It’s something that really the advice would depend on a case by case basis depending on how close you were to the family and how close you are to the person who passed away. But I can tell you that even if you’re only there for 15 minutes, your presence in showing up and showing your support, showing your concern and sharing your sympathy with a family makes a world of difference. People may not remember everybody who showed up, but they definitely will remember certain people. And if it’s somebody that, if the person who passed away who was someone who was very close to you or you were very close to someone in their family, it really does mean the world for you to show up and pay your respects if you are at all able.