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How do you all feel about funerals?

 

We have recently had a death in the family and while I am, of course, saddened by it, I am not stark-raving upset. I don't view death the way society tends to view it. I feel quite certain that wherever my loved one is, he is well and quite possibly enjoying himself more than I am. wink.gif

 

What does bother me is this:

 

Friday, there is the dreaded funeral service. I am expected to miss work and attend this nonsense. I find funerals to be disturbing, unsettling, and absolutely unnecessary.

 

If I want to honor my loved one, I feel as if I should be able to do so in my own way. I really, really don't want to be around a bunch of crying and lamenting people who are looking in the casket at my loved one's dead body.

 

Ugh, I can't even.

 

I'm not Christian and don't really understand this custom. After all, it isn't really for the dead. It's for the living. However, I am "expected" to subject myself to this horror, despite the fact that the thought of attending it is more traumatic to me than the actual death itself. I would seriously rather gargle razor blades.

 

Also, make no mistake. I was close to this family member. In fact, it was my grandfather. He helped raise me and took me in when my parents turned their back on me at a low point in my life. He did more for me than anyone ever has. In fact, I married a man that is almost just like him. (That's a compliment, not a creepy!) However, I don't feel that it's right to "make me" attend this nonsense. The only reason I'm doing it is because my father asked me to do it.

 

Maybe that sound selfish to some of you, but I find the whole idea of a funeral to be selfish, honestly. Honor the person in life and enjoy them while they are there. Then, have a nice gathering later after they have passed and tell some good stories. Drink some good wine. Grieve in your own way and honor them however you see fit, but don't force it on others.

 

I . . . really don't want to go. It goes against the way I honor his life.

 

Anyone have thoughts or experiences to share?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think funerals area great thing to have around. It helps people grieve and remember their loved ones. I personally lost my grandfather lastyear and grandmother the year before. (Or was it earlier this year and lest year? Eep)

 

I personally would probably do better without though. I have to go and act sad in an itchy suit for hours on end. :/ And then everyone is bawling and it just sort of drives me bonkers.

 

I, more recently than my grandparents, went to some of my best friends' grandfather's funeral. I went to support them., and that felt useful. I was glad I went to that.

 

But I don't look forward to more funerals in my own family. Way too itchy.

 

(And wow. Um. Probably not the best way to start in a topic...)

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I think the remembrance of a life is more important than the funeral itself. Honestly, cultures are so...different. It's like, weddings are personal things but you can spend a million dollars on them or 10. Same with funerals, you can have an elaborate burial or you can just be buried without a coffin. :s I guess it really depends on what each individual believes so long as it doesn't interfere with others beliefs (ex: taking selfies at someones funeral and posting them around the web without permission of said loved ones). That being said, I think you should go. Take a day off of work, show up at the funeral, and then while you're there decide if you want to go or not (you may change your mind) and if you dont then spend the rest of the day grieving in your own way. I don't know what happened between you and your parents but...funerals only come once; you might as well take a look at what's arranged and how everbody acts (and then leave as quickly as possible).

 

As for an experience... well my great grandmother died but since I didnt really know her and she was ancient for her age (had little, lived long) it didnt affect me. My parents flew to her funeral, or rather the ones that knew her. They didnt seem to be at peace when they came back so I guess it didnt really do anything for them. :s

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If funerals bother you, don't go. I don't mean that in a snarky way at all, by the way. Some of your family members will think less of you if you don't go, but they'll forget about it eventually.

 

 

I certainly don't like funerals because the very fact I'm at a funeral means someone I cared about is dead. But there's never been a single time that I went to a funeral that I actually regretted going. After the experience I always feel it was time well spent, even if it was a sad occasion.

 

The reason is because of the social/communal aspect of it before the actual service begins (in my neck of the woods, wakes and funerals usually happen on the same day, with the wake being right before the funeral). Like when my aunt died this past December. I got to talk to so many of her good friends who I hadn't seen in a long time. They all told me how much she talked about me. biggrin.gif It was good for me to see them, and they enjoyed seeing me as well. We shared stories and talked about what a wonderful lady she was. I even got to see a lot of my old high school teachers who came out to pay their respects! I also got to see a lot of distant family members I hadn't seen in a long time, and again we talked about her and how much she meant to us. I also was glad that I could be there for my mother...my aunt was the last surviving member of her immediate family (and by that I mean the family she grew up with, not the family she ultimately made with my father) so I know that me being there helped her get through it.

 

Seeing all the lovely floral arrangements that people sent with their notes attached was also nice. It brings up memories of people you'd forgotten about and it's interesting to see the people/places who took the time to send an arrangement and a kind note. Setting up the little display table with our favorite photos of my aunt was also very meaningful. Again, it prompted conversation about her and brought up memories.

 

It was a closed casket ceremony but before they closed it, our family got to see her and say our last goodbyes. Seeing the body one last time, putting my hand on her cold hand, was...sad, but also beneficial. Definitely helps you get past that "denial" phase of grief. I guess the best way to describe it is to say it was cathartic.

 

The ceremony at the funeral home and the other ceremony at the site where her casket was to be lowered into the ground were, strangely enough, the most forgettable parts of the day. After the chaplain was done saying his words, we walked around the cemetery to see the gravestones of other family members we had lost before. We talked about our memories of them too.

 

After that, we drove home and and spent time with all the people who had come to join us at our house. We do that in the South. Another thing we do in the South is, when someone in the community has a family member who dies, you bring food to their house. So our fridge was full of all this home-cooked food people had brought to us. So we all made a plate and talked, and later looked through old photo albums and talked and talked some more.

 

I miss my aunt very dearly. But I'm glad I was able to go to her funeral. Obviously it wasn't a "fun" experience because it meant I had lost a loved one, but it was a good way to honor and remember her.

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I think funerals should be by no means mandatory. Your family shouldn't look at you askance because you didn't go to Grandma's funeral. People should understand that different people grieve differently, and some just plain find the funeral atmosphere repellant.

 

 

 

Now, on a slightly different but related subject, I think burying people in the ground is quite idiotic. We take up a lot of perfectly good ground to semi-permanently house corpses. We also fill those corpses full of preservatives and stick them in hermetically sealed boxes before burying them so they won't rot and return to the earth. Cremation isn't a great alternative either because of the amount of energy needed to turn the body to ash. There are some interesting body disposal methods mentioned in the book Stiff.

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I think funerals should be by no means mandatory. Your family shouldn't look at you askance because you didn't go to Grandma's funeral. People should understand that different people grieve differently, and some just plain find the funeral atmosphere repellant.

Ima go ahead and say this so I can get it out of my system. (IDK why I grabbed this quote either, it's just what I grabbed)

 

I don't like going to funerals because I don't grieve.

 

There said that. Feel much better. I don't mean like I expect to see people in the afterlife/heaven/etc and so I'm not sad. I just don't care. And I think it's really horrible of me, but I can't help it. People die, oh well. Move on and try to make sure your not next. And that's really how I feel. I figure I probably should be upset, but I just can't. I suppose it's probably just weirdness with me. And actually. When people die. I almost feel, relieved. I don't really know. It seems like everyone else is a burden. Like the world is on my shoulders. And every 120lbs that drops off (figuratively) makes my life easier. Or something. It's weird.

 

Sometimes I scare myself...

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"Funerals" are very different depending on the people, beliefs, and usually the dead person's personal wishes. Often, the dead person leaves behind specific things they want for their funeral.

 

And that is where I say, okay a funeral is *not* all about the "living", it's also about honoring the wishes of the person who died. Instance: My father wished to be cremated, and then have a memorial on the rooftop of the lavish place he lived. I didn't go because I *wanted* to have a large group of people I haven't seen in years all crying and trying to comfort me. I went to honor my father's wishes, and honor his memory. It's what he wanted.

 

When my grandfather died, years before that, me going to his funeral was indeed more about grieving, grouping with family members to help each other through the day, talking about all the good times we had with him, just honoring his memory. I saw absolutely nothing wrong with that.

 

I think if someone feels uncomfortable at a funeral, they shouldn't go. If they simply don't grieve that way, they don't need to go. But that's their personal decision. As a whole, I think funerals are often a good way for people to let out their emotions and to honor the person's memory.

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Funerals are for the living - sorry Marie19R, but the dead person isn't exactly in a position to care by that time. I can assure you that the funeral my mother has planned is NOT going to happen. If I were to read the valediction she has written (I think at the last count it was about half an hour long) everyone would be very upset, and I don't see that it would help her any, either. I am inclined to run with her preference for the Radetzky march for the coffin to go out to - but I suspect that too would upset people. I think a funeral that makes it all worse - however much the dead person wanted that - is Not OK. It is the living who have to show up for it.

 

If you - as a living person - are not OK attending, no-one should make you.

 

That said - if your absence will seriously upset another living person, that is a tougher call. If your grandmother were still alive, for instance, and would mind very much your not being there, I would be inclined to make the effort. But much also depends on the nature of the funeral.

 

the kind where everyone bawls and wears black - I'd avoid those too. But I have been to several recently and all were quite cheerful - with anecdotes about the deceased (I can never think of a hedgehog without thinking of my father, as the minister mentioned the likeness in a sermon !!! that one was in a church as my father was a minister.) We've each got up and said a few words about the person we are remembering, and celebrated their lives - and then had a wake - as in a get together with food and stuff. One awesome one - the last I went to - had music throughout that was important to the guy when he was alive. No gloomy hymns at all.

 

Ghastly events with tears and dirges are NOT helpful to anyone; if funerals are supposed to be a way to help people through their grief - I really don't think that is the way to do it.

 

In my case there will (if anyone listens after I am gone) be no "funeral" - just a wake with much drink and dancing and my choir singing Urban Spacemen, tailored to me... xd.png You are all most welcome. Bring a bottle. But - I shan't be there. So how the people I leave behind feel is far more important. I shall be very pissed off (if I get to watch) if there is a huge do in Westminster Abbey, and indeed if anyone brings God into it all.... but still....

Edited by fuzzbucket

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If you really don't want to go, then don't.

 

I can't think of anything more to say, it's so deeply personal for everyone that they have to make their own decision. And if it's not personal, they might as well go.

 

@fuzz if that was my grandma, I'd grant her the Radetzkymarsch. I think it would make me laugh and cry both and for different reasons xd.png

Edited by blah

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If you really don't want to go, then don't.

 

I can't think of anything more to say, it's so deeply personal for everyone that they have to make their own decision. And if it's not personal, they might as well go.

 

@fuzz if that was my grandma, I'd grant her the Radetzkymarsch. I think it would make me laugh and cry both and for different reasons  xd.png

It's my mother (I'm 69, it would be a miracle if my gran was still alive...)

 

But I would not be happy with the march. She wouldn't know anything about it, and those "left behind" would mind quite a lot. If it were your funeral, would you not rather what you wanted didn't upset everyone ?

Edited by fuzzbucket

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But I would not be happy with the march. She wouldn't know anything about it, and those "left behind" would mind quite a lot. If it were your funeral, would you not rather what you wanted didn't upset everyone ?

I would, I am tempted to ask for my family to not give me a funeral. I don't like going to them, so why should I force a bunch of other people to go them? (I personally do feel like it's partially the wishes of the dead and that what they ask should be honored. I have a feeling I'll get a funeral anyway dry.gif)

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It's my mother (I'm 69, it would be a miracle if my gran was still alive...)

 

But I would not be happy with the march. She wouldn't know anything about it, and those "left behind" would mind quite a lot. If it were your funeral, would you not rather what you wanted didn't upset everyone ?

I just guessed my grandma is probably about the same age as your mother, that's why I said grandma.

 

I, in the position of someone left behind, wouldn't mind the march. I don't know your mother, but she seems to have a strong personality and a sense of humor. It would remind me of her in a good way and make me laugh. My own grandmother would have to pick a Dean Martin song for the same effect, it would fit her personality and sense of humor. Of course it would also make me cry because it'd show just what a special person has passed away.

 

I've never really thought about my own funeral and what I'd want for it. Thinking about it now, I still don't know, but I don't think I really care.

 

Edit: Eh, when I say I don't care, I mean I don't care what they do at my funeral, not that I don't care if it upsets people!

Edited by blah

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I don't know your mother, but she seems to have a strong personality and a sense of humor. It would remind me of her in a good way and make me laugh.

She is actually a total pain in the butt. Few will be sorry to see the back of her. Sorry, but it's the truth. That's one reason I'd run with the march - because it's so cheerful.

 

Now hit me xd.png

 

Oh - and sense of humour ? I don't think so.... Misery is her hobby. And she'd like everyone to join in. (Her best friend is also a friend of mine and my godmother, and would agree, I'm sorry to say.)

Edited by fuzzbucket

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xd.png Humorous would be great. At my grandfather's funeral we played the Gilligan's Ilse theme (that was his favorite TV show, he watched it constantly)

It was really hilarious.

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I wish more people did sky burials and other eco-cemetery customs. Good for the environment, saves space and resources, and no risk of undead reanimation by disease.

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She is actually a total pain in the butt. Few will be sorry to see the back of her. Sorry, but it's the truth. That's one reason I'd run with the march - because it's so cheerful.

 

Now hit me xd.png

Yeah well... this march is traditionally used to greet the (a) new year xd.png

 

But our conversation really only shows that funerals are something very individual and have a lot to do with the person that has passed away. I think it is okay that way. The only reason I can see to include the wishes of the dead, is to make the living feel like there is a part of them or their character still there.

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I went to many, many, many funerals as a little child. Less so now as there are a... ahem, lack of great-grandparents left to go and do the dirt tango. Let me say that I absolutely detest going to funerals. All those crying people and mourning family members makes me so sad, as if I didn't have a hard enough time staying away from that emotion as is.

For myself I would like to be buried in the woods near my home, isolated and on my own. Maybe I'll provide some mystery for people later on. "Why was this person buried so far out here?" "Let's get a rubbing of the headstone! That'd be so cool!" "How do you think they died?" "I wonder who they were."

There's a little family cemetery about eight people full on an isolated hill near our property. The headstones are so old and worn I wish I knew the stories behind the family. I do know that there are little children in the cemetery, the dates are still legible.

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I appreciate all of the thoughtful and kind commentary regarding funerals and grieving and such. smile.gif After a bit of meditating, I decided that I would offer to do something that actually had meaning to me.

 

I offered to help carry the casket.

 

Yes, I realize this sounds strange given my views on things, but I've never been a "girly" girl. I'm a martial arts instructor and personal trainer in real life. I can probably do the pallbearer job better than at least half of the men. wink.gif I feel that my grandfather carried me through a lot of things and now, it is my turn to "carry" him. I'm very willing to do this.

 

I also spoke to my relatives about all of the planned ridiculousness and they have decided that they will only have a visitation and the burial. No services. I can deal with that. I don't have to go inside the room that houses his body for the visitation. I don't have to see him all made up like a wax statue and I am sure as hell not going to touch his cold corpse.

 

But once the casket is closed, I will be fine to help load it into the hearse and walk out with it. That's honorable to me.

 

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I appreciate all of the thoughtful and kind commentary regarding funerals and grieving and such. smile.gif After a bit of meditating, I decided that I would offer to do something that actually had meaning to me.

 

I offered to help carry the casket.

 

Yes, I realize this sounds strange given my views on things, but I've never been a "girly" girl. I'm a martial arts instructor and personal trainer in real life. I can probably do the pallbearer job better than at least half of the men. wink.gif I feel that my grandfather carried me through a lot of things and now, it is my turn to "carry" him. I'm very willing to do this.

 

I also spoke to my relatives about all of the planned ridiculousness and they have decided that they will only have a visitation and the burial. No services. I can deal with that. I don't have to go inside the room that houses his body for the visitation. I don't have to see him all made up like a wax statue and I am sure as hell not going to touch his cold corpse.

 

But once the casket is closed, I will be fine to help load it into the hearse and walk out with it. That's honorable to me.

Way to go you. And by the way - I am sorry for your loss *hugs*

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VictorianVivian,

 

it's very good to hear that you found a way to deal with the funeral situation that works for you, and that your family accepts it.

 

I hope everything goes well on the day and like fuzz, I am very sorry for your loss.

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Funerals very much can be for the dead, in various cultures. In mine, it is believed that without proper treatment after death, the dead cannot truly rest, and that the journey has to be eased.

 

I don't like funerals, but I realise that they are necessary for my loved ones to find peace. It kills me that my father never had a proper burial, and can never find peace.

 

However, I know not everyone views death the way we do, and for many, the funeral is about the living. So I am glad you found a way around your funeral that is helpful for you.

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I think funerals are kindy good. You're with all the people that the (wo)man who died, loved and you're just saying all the good and funny facts about the person who died. Ofcourse it is sad, but I think (but that's different with every funeral!) that it is just a little light in all the dark stuff. But, you know, I'm just 14, maybe my opinion will change if I'm older and a close relative dies... The last funeral (and the only one I can really remember too) was the one of my grandmother, but then I was like 8 or something.

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My grandmother died last January. She did not believe in God and asked not to have a funeral and we respected her will.

So we ended up just accompany the casket to an empty grey room with nothing else than other 3 caskets waiting for the cremation. There we stared at each other for a couple of minutes saying nothing and then everyone went away for their own way. It was eved sadder than a real funeral.

 

I think funerals are for the livings, not for the dead, and they are a nice thing. All people who loved the passed one have a chance to meet together and remember the nice things about him / her.

I also think they are a very personal moment that everyone must live on his/her own. It's natural to cry and to comfort each other, but I don't like at all when people yell loud, like they use to do in some regions of my country.

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Throw a get together party and go cremation or throw nothing at all. Or throw the ashes into the land to be recycled.

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I both like and loathe funerals. I've been to my fair share, unfortunately.

 

I do like that if the deceased was someone very important to me(most recently, my grandmother a year ago), I can be around others that are grieving and not feel so alone. Plus exchange stories and what not, learn things that I might not have known. All the funerals I've ever been to have very much felt like they were for the living, a way to share our pain with others, support our family and friends, and be supported in turn. I feel like I need that, when I've lost someone important, after I've had some time to grieve alone.

 

 

I loathe going to funerals for family I've never met or was not close to, but have to attend because it's expected. I feel like a complete outsider spying on the grief of others. I'm sad that a person is dead, but I'm not personally grieved about it(most recently about three years ago, a great uncle I met once when I was 9), nor is any of my immediate family. I don't been emotional support, no one I would comfort needs it either. Attending a funeral only because it's expected to do so to 'honor the dead' is completely superfluous, and I only do it cause I know I'll be made to feel like a jerk if I don't.

 

I'd personally like to be cremated, and for my family to host a house party or something. An informal get together to remember me.

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