I’d like to get other’s opinions, I’m guessing the community will be split half/half.
Recently my aunt’s mother died. As in common in the area I live in, the evening visitation is usually when people come in to pay their respects who knew the deceased, while the funeral is kept to mostly those who were close family and friends.
This time my aunt and her father were overwhelmed by visitors at the visitation. They, of course, were still reeling from the sudden death of their mother/wife, were very overcome with emotion, and began to tire from the visitation line that went on for hours. Finally at one point, they were both so overwhelmed that they left the visitation area and sought refuge in another room in the church, they just couldn’t do it anymore. What was most upsetting to them was that they didn’t know most of the people they were shaking hands with….and these people-strangers were making them upset with constantly asking “what did she die from?” and “was she in much pain?” or crying uncontrollably so that my aunt and her dad had to comfort THEM. Their leaving upset a lot of people though, who obviously had come to support them and offer their condolences.
A few days after the funeral, they sat down and looked through the sign in book and said that there was so many they didn’t know. While they agreed that there would be some people their mother/wife had known that they didn’t, they agreed there wouldn’t have been many since they all go the same church, and same civic activities (they all lived together, and only my aunt drove them places). My aunt’s father was so overwhelmed that he actually rewrote his will so that there would NOT be any visitation before his funeral.
So, what do you think? I’ve always thought of visitations as my way to go and offer support and let them family know I was thinking of them, but now I’m wondering if my presence should only be limited to those that I knew really well, and maybe just send a card to others that I wasn’t that close to. Did my aunt and her father have the right to leave the visitation when they became overwhelmed? Was there something else that could have been done to alleviate this problem? 0510-17
This is merely my personal opinion. I do not attend funeral visitations unless I know the grieving family well or the deceased well. I feel I show my respect and support when I quietly attend the funeral service itself. In other words, I try to give those grieving some space in those days immediately following the funeral because I’m assuming that neighbors, family and friends are swamping them with support. I then follow up with a card, a meal or something helpful a month or more later when everyone has left and things have quieted down.