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Ettiquette for attending funerals - potential triggers - sensitive topic -


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#1 maryanneK

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:05 PM

This is a genuine WDYT

When someone you know dies, do you attend the funeral? Do you consider that funerals are for anyone who wants to attend, or do you feel it should be for close friends and family?

Someone I know has died, unexpectedly and tragically. I've known them for 20 years but we were never close friends. We were part of the same community club, as are both of our families so we have a long history of interaction, and I know the other members of their family well also. We are the same age.

I am planning to attend the funeral next week. As a sign that this person's life meant something to me, that I am very sad they are gone, that I am there to support his family and closer friends, some of whom I am also close friends with, and out of respect for all the work they did for our club. I feel like this person's life needs to mean something and that I need to show they are missed and remembered, and that I can at least take two hours of out my life to acknowledge their passing.

Also, they took their own life. I feel like this is extra sad and that if they were somehow looking down at the funeral they'd like to see people there and know that their life meant something to people, including me. Otherwise, what, they just vanish? No 'saying goodbye" I really feel like I want to 'farewell' them

Meanwhile, a member of my family who has the same degree of connection as me has said they wont go, as they dont feel like they were close enough to this person, and that they'd be intruding on family and close friends at the funeral.

WDYT?  if it makes a difference i am expecting it will be a fairly large funeral - its being held at a fairly large church, ie its not some kind of intimate family graveside thing. Am I intruding? or is my relative being silly?

#2 SplashingRainbows

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:08 PM

You’re both right.

You feel it’s important to go, and if the details are publicly available then it’s acceptable to attend.

Your relative doesn’t feel comfortable to go, and that is fine too.

Everyone perceived connection and support a little differently at these times. There’s very rarely a right or wrong unless the family have specifically said so.

#3 Datrys

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:08 PM

In my experience, family are often touched and grateful when people who aren't super close care enough to come to the funeral.

If you want to, you should feel free to go.

#4 Bono25

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:11 PM

Personally, I don't think you would be, but you would be the best judge. Some people don't do funerals.
At dps pops funeral one of his old students came. He was the only one and he hadn't seen him since he was a teenager, but he wanted to show how big an impact he had. The guy stayed at the back and didn't push his way in, but it was really good for his Nan.
If you feel uncomfortable, just stay on the edges, and move forward when you feel ready.

#5 No Drama Please

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:13 PM

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong with funerals. I’ve attended a friend’s father’s funereal because it was important to her that we came. I’ve not attended an extremely close family member’s funeral because I didn’t think I would be able to cope. I think unless his family have specifically said they don’t want anyone apart from close family to attend it would be fine. Funerals are very hard. I’m sorry for your loss.

#6 Luci

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:13 PM

I have also attended the funerals of people I didn’t know that closely - with the intention of supporting their family & friends. If I was in your shoes I would go.


#7 born.a.girl

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:14 PM

View PostDatrys, on 11 March 2020 - 07:08 PM, said:

In my experience, family are often touched and grateful when people who aren't super close care enough to come to the funeral.

If you want to, you should feel free to go.


I agree. The saddest funerals are ones with a handful of people.   A crowd either represents someone held in very high regard by a lot of people, or they are young and /or died tragically.

I've had a few like that, one also a suicide of the mother of one of my daughter's school friends, but she and I had never done more than greet each other at the door for the odd pickup, or chat for a couple of minutes in the street.  We went for the daughter.

Another was the husband of a book group member of several years.  My friend in the group felt we might be intruding, but then judging by the venue chosen, we realised it was designed to accommodate a significant number.

I think if a family don't want you there, they won't make it known.

For both my MIL & FIL, I've no idea why, we had a small funeral, like 20 people if that, at the funeral home, then just the 'celebration' in the church. It worked well though, it kept the emotion of the coffin and its parting separate from the celebration of their life.  No one much knew about the first ceremony.

#8 Chocolate Addict

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:17 PM

I would go.

A small group of us went to a friends father's funeral and we had only met him twice. Our friend wasn't expecting us and was so touched that we did, as did her mother.

Funerals are for anyone that new the person to show respect. If it was graveside I might not go but that is a bit different.

#9 Mollyksy

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:25 PM

Agree that you both are right. I really appreciated all those who made the time to attend mums funeral. I would go personally.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

#10 #YKG

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:26 PM

No one is wrong in this situation.

I have gone to funerals of friends parents that I’ve never met to support my friend. I have also not gone to funerals of people that I know but not close to.

I think it’s best to make a decision that each individual is comfortable with.

#11 .Jerry.

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:29 PM

I wouldn't go to a funeral of someone that I didn't know well - as in know them personally.
I wouldn't go to the funeral of someone I knew by association.

Personally, I think funerals are private events and going to funerals can be seen as intrusive.

But I know that is not a common viewpoint.

#12 maryanneK

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:34 PM

View Post.Jerry., on 11 March 2020 - 07:29 PM, said:

I wouldn't go to a funeral of someone that I didn't know well - as in know them personally.
I wouldn't go to the funeral of someone I knew by association.

Personally, I think funerals are private events and going to funerals can be seen as intrusive.

But I know that is not a common viewpoint.

oh, I know them personally and have done for many years - just not close friends

thanks everyone for your replies and condolences

#13 maryanneK

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:35 PM

ETA I'll be keeping myself 'in my place' - like I'm not going to muscle up to the front pew of the church and try and sit next to their siblings.

#14 Ellie bean

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:37 PM

I’m very sorry. I would go (but understand why others wouldn’t).

#15 #notallcats

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:41 PM

View Post.Jerry., on 11 March 2020 - 07:29 PM, said:



Personally, I think funerals are private events and going to funerals can be seen as intrusive.



I think that's when family will say "private funeral" in the death notices, or won't publish the details at all.  

If nothing like that has been said, then yes I would go OP.  I think your reasons for going are very genuine and I think the family would be touched.

#16 Chchgirl

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:45 PM

To be honest I barely remember who came to my dh's funeral and wouldn't have been offended with who did or didn't come, I just wanted it to be over.

It's a long time ago now though..

#17 maryanneK

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:47 PM

Thanks PP, yes the funeral details were published publicly.

#18 Mollyksy

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:51 PM

OP is as much showing respect to this person's family and their close friends with whom she is also close. As a PP said, funerals can be for your own relationship with the person and/or to support their loved ones.

She is keeping to herself at the back, not walking to the coffin to dramatically kiss it in a dramatic display of theatrics that leaves the dead man's daughter wanting to kick said person. Yes, that was at my dads funeral. During the bit where we played a song and was told to sit silently and remember him, Dad's old business partner totally felt the need to get up, walk down the aisle to the coffin, kiss said coffin, then make his way back to his seat; dramatically displaying a grief that was surprising since I'm not sure when he last saw Dad. And shocked about 97% of attendees who wondered who the f#$@ this person was!

And here you were worried OP about simply attending!

#19 CallMeFeral

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:51 PM

View Post#notallcats, on 11 March 2020 - 07:41 PM, said:

I think that's when family will say "private funeral" in the death notices, or won't publish the details at all.  

If nothing like that has been said, then yes I would go OP.  I think your reasons for going are very genuine and I think the family would be touched.

Agree with this. When the family wants it small, that will be conveyed in some way. If not, attendance is usually gratifying. I remember the crowd at my mums memorial service. It reminded me how loved she was and how many lives she touched, just by being her. I was so grateful for everyone that came, and especially those that barely knew her, or those that came because they knew/cared about me. It's a beautiful gesture.

#20 Chchgirl

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:56 PM

View PostmaryanneK, on 11 March 2020 - 07:47 PM, said:

Thanks PP, yes the funeral details were published publicly.

Then it would be fine to go. You're a lovely person..😊

#21 laridae

Posted 11 March 2020 - 07:58 PM

I honestly didn't notice most of the people who went to my dads funeral. Didn't really care if they knew him or not. It was nice to see some of his old friends though, even if they weren't close these days.
Was horrified that my stupid aunt (his SIL) thought the opening song of his funeral was a good time to ask me the name of a shop that had something she was looking for, which I'd mentioned a week earlier though.  As long as you don't intrude during the actual service I'm sure it will be fine.

#22 lozoodle

Posted 11 March 2020 - 08:10 PM

Funerals are for anyone who wants to be there.
FIL died in January and the turnout at his funeral was huge. It was very touching and really made the immediately family quite happy to know he meant so much to a lot of people.

A lot came for the service only, some came for the little afternoon tea wake. Others hung around and we had dinner at the club. There's no rule I don't think, I guess unless its specifically stated they want a close family ceremony only.

#23 PhillipaCrawford

Posted 11 March 2020 - 08:36 PM

Funerals are for anyone who wants to mark someone's passing.

I, with a group of school mum friends went to the funeral of a sister of another of the group.

I know I had said hello to the deceased at a kids party but nothing more than that.
We went to support our friend.

#24 notsoretro

Posted 11 March 2020 - 08:37 PM

View PostCallMeFeral, on 11 March 2020 - 07:51 PM, said:

Agree with this. When the family wants it small, that will be conveyed in some way. If not, attendance is usually gratifying. I remember the crowd at my mums memorial service. It reminded me how loved she was and how many lives she touched, just by being her. I was so grateful for everyone that came, and especially those that barely knew her, or those that came because they knew/cared about me. It's a beautiful gesture.
Same at my Mum's funeral last year. So many people I had heard her speak of from her many activities who came to honour her and support me and members of our congregation who knew one or both of us well. She died in school holidays, several church families bought their children and it was a wonderful multi generational celebration, I think she would have liked it

#25 Soontobegran

Posted 11 March 2020 - 08:37 PM

I feel that a funeral is open to whoever wants to pay respects to the person who has died unless the family and friends specify to the contrary. If it isn't specified as private then we can assume that others are welcomed. When we have only wanted family we have said so..even so some carers came to my mothers as she was thought of as their family and that touched us so much.

I have not  always known everyone who has died but I am there because I have a connection somehow.
It could be a family member of a friend or a friend of a friend so I go for support. It could be a work colleague of DH who I have never met but again I go for support.

I have never been made to feel unwelcome for coming to listen to the story of the life of a person who was loved.

OP I would be going if I was you unless you really do not want to go.




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