Going to a funeral at a funeral home is sometimes a sad business, but it can be a very meaningful experience as you pay your last respects to a lost loved one. Unfortunately, sometimes time is not always on your side when you need to attend a memorial service, and you may be on a time crunch. If you need to leave a memorial service in a rush as soon as it's over, don't worry. There are ways that you can politely make your exit without causing a scene or letting anyone into the knowledge that you are short on time for this important event.
Tip #1: Say Good-bye to a Family Member
Although you may just have time to quickly inform a family member of the deceased that you are leaving, be sure to let someone in the immediate family know that you must leave. While ghosting may be acceptable for casual gatherings, it will always be in poor form at a funeral. When the family may be trying to make time for everyone they have seen, leaving them to wonder about your whereabouts in an already stressful time should be avoided.
Tip #2: Deliver a Card or Gift
If you are bringing a small gift or a card to the bereaved, waiting until you are ready to leave can be a good time to deliver it. This is true as long as you know that you will have access to the person after the funeral. Larger gifts like flowers will be delivered from the florist before the start of the funeral, but smaller tokens can be delivered personally to those who are grieving.
As you are giving the gift, you can express your sympathy and let your loved one know when you will be calling them. Make sure that you agree to a time that you can follow up and call when promised. That way, you are not leaving the person wondering when they will next be able to talk to you about the loss. Making simple plans can go a long way to show that you care, and they can also take the focus away from the fact that you need to leave.
Tip #3: Be Prepared with an Excuse
Whether you simply want to leave as soon as possible to avoid difficult loved ones or you have to be at an appointment that you'd rather not discuss with people at the funeral, be sure to prepare an excuse about why you need to leave. While it may not be polite for someone to grill you at a funeral, you are better off betting on the fact that someone will overstep and ask about why you are leaving early.
Finally, keep in mind that ultimately you are doing the right thing by going to the memorial service despite the other commitment that you have. Don't let anyone pressure you into staying longer or putting a guilt trip on you for the fact that you have to leave early to take care of your own needs. It's perfectly acceptable and in keeping with good etiquette to leave a funeral right after it ends as long as you follow the above tips for politely making your exit.