Losing a loved one is hard to the point where it's hard to put into words, and family members who are bereaved over the loss of a veteran need the same love and support as other families who are in mourning. Some special considerations also need to be taken for some grieving families in order to best comfort them. Here are tips on how to best comfort a family who has lost a veteran.
Some people assume that veterans who are active in service at the time of their death had a "heroic" passing. Avoid using such terms or asking for details. If the family hasn't already disclosed the details of the death in the obituary or memorial program, they probably don't wish to do so. If you're not extremely close to the deceased, it's not your place to ask. However, it's important to not jump to conclusions or assume things that remain unstated. Go with only the given knowledge when making your statements.
Keep Patriotic Tributes Appropriate to the Situation
People who have committed to serving their country are proud of this decision and even the sacrifices they had to make in the process. However, they are dynamic individuals who have many parts of their being just like anyone else. Families may wish to accentuate all the interests and activities of the individual that can be ignored in the continual recognition of the time that the veteran served his country. Be sure that the patriotic bouquets or other tributes that you send are appropriate for the situation.
Sometimes families who have lost a veteran who was in active duty at the time of death may not realize that there are two organizations that are set up specifically to help them: Vet Centers and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. Be sure to reach out and actively help families by letting one family member know of these services, and also offer to do certain things yourself. You may ask if there is someone you can contact regarding funeral planning, or you may simply offer to do something practical like arrange for dinner to be delivered every day for a week.
Finally, remember that when someone signs up to serve their country, their families are taken along for a journey as well. When a veteran passes away, it will affect each family member differently. Simply being there and acting as sensitively as possible to the situation can mean the world to a bereaved family. Click here to learn more about veterans funeral packages.