I listened to a "This I Believe" podcast once titled Always Go to the Funeral. In it, a woman tells the story of when she was a teenager and one of her teachers died. Even though she was young, she went to the visitation and spoke to her teacher's parents. Years later, when she sees her teacher's mother she is met with warmth. Here is an excerpt from her story:
I have thought about this essay many times since I first heard it. For many years it was difficult for me to make it to funerals. I had little children, or I was in college, or I was working. As I have gotten older, and as I have matured, I have come to realize the importance of just being there.
It can be easy for me to put the focus on me and ask myself things like whether or not I can be a comfort to people I don't really know that well. And I can't answer that question. I know for sure that God can't use me to be a comfort, or to give a warm hug, or just to be a presence if I am not there.
So today I will get out of my little introverted comfort zone and go to a funeral for someone I didn't know at all. I am an acquaintance of his widow, though, and I can just be there.
Here is the link to this essay. If you have time, you would enjoy reading it.