Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Figgie on June 07, 2013, 03:01:45 PM

Title: Funeral A/B List (Update Post 107)
Post by: Figgie on June 07, 2013, 03:01:45 PM
I really don't need advice, as this is family and we must attend the wake/funeral for family reasons.  But in all of the funerals I've ever attended, I've never seen this particular situation and I did wonder if anyone else here on Ehell had run into it.

My spouse's uncle (husband of his father's sister) died.  The funeral will be on Monday at their church.  The wake is one hour prior to the funeral.  So, the wake is at 6 p.m., the funeral at 7 p.m. and then a drive across a metro area for the graveside service at the cemetery.  Yes, this will most likely be in the dark, but I'm not the one planning this. :)

We will be at all of the above.  The timing is the way it is because my spouse's aunt didn't want to provide a meal.  However, my spouse got a phone call from his aunt telling him that we are invited to a meal in a restaurant after the graveside service but not to tell anyone else since not everyone was being invited.

I've never had this happen before.  Either there is a meal or there isn't and I've never been invited (maybe I've always been on the "B" list and didn't know it)  :)  to a meal after a funeral that didn't include everyone who attended the funeral.

Oh well...as my spouse said, we are just observers, not participants and it will be interesting to see how this plays out, especially since I doubt very much if people won't just ask other people if they are coming to the restaurant after the graveside service.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: MrTango on June 07, 2013, 03:08:52 PM
I don't see this as an A/B List situation at all.

Funerals are not social gatherings*, so much as they are an opportunity for the bereaved to pay their respects to the person who died.  The dinner after the funeral is a social event hosted by your spouse's aunt, who is well within her rights to invite or not invite whoever she chooses.

With that said, it seems to me that she's trying to communicate that the family dinner after the gravesite service isn't part of the funeral itself, so she doesn't want people who are attending the funeral to (incorrectly) assume that they are invited to the restaurant too.

*I've never been "invited" to a funeral, and I feel that one doesn't need to receive an invitation in order to decide to attend.  It's usually an event open to the public.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 03:14:32 PM
Mixed feelings.  In general I would say that I give grieving family a break.  However, when people make the effort to attend a funeral, especially in a case where they might be doing it after a long work day, it seems like the gracious thing to do would be to include them in dinner.  Nobbody says it has to be big/fancy/expensive.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: WillyNilly on June 07, 2013, 03:17:16 PM
I don't think this sounds off at all. Some funerals have meals some don't. Sometimes they are in a family member's home, sometimes they are in a restaurant. Sometimes everyone is invited, sometimes only close friends and close family are invited. And as often as not when there is no 'part of the funeral' dinner, private groups of attendees will break off on their own for dinner. You have been invited to either to the funeral dinner as a close family member, or to break off to a private dinner at a funeral where there is no formal dinner as part of the service.

Its unreasonable to think the grieving family shoudl always be expected to host every funeral attendee to a meal - I have never ever heard of funeral where food was provided offsite but people weren't specifically invited to partake in it. Sometimes its a general invite "mourners are invited..." during the service, sometimes its a private invite, but its always by invite only.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: lkdrymom on June 07, 2013, 03:18:57 PM
I think there are alot of factors involved.  When my mom died we invited anyone who attended the graveside service to lunch.  When my cousin's husband died I saw at least 20 of his son's friends at the luncheon.

While I was dating DH2 his mom passed. There were only about 10 people at the graveside service.  I am not sure why they did not invite everyone out to lunch, but they only invited 4 others to come. Turns out others who attended the service decided to stop at the same restaurant we were at which was very awkward.  All ended eating together then one of the nephews paid for the lunch for everyone. DH and BIL did not know this under after nephew left. They were upset by this. I was embarassed that they did not invite everyone (mom left them enough not to worry about buying lunch for a large group).

On the other hand this week my son's friend died. You can imagine the turnout for a 17 year old. Could not expect to invite everyone in that case.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: TootsNYC on June 07, 2013, 03:28:30 PM
I always thought that the default was that the FAMILY had a meal. And that not everybody who attended the service was family.

I always assume that unless I'm close family, I don't go to the meal. Especially not if it's at a *restaurant*. It's one thing if the meal is at the church; I might expect it to be more inclusive. But even then, I don't assume that I'm included if I'm a work colleague or a social friend, unless I see other indicators.

And even when my mother's church hosted a soup potluck after her funeral, the minister made it a point to announce that everyone was invited.

But a restaurant gathering, to me, is invite-only.

Because nobody gets invited to the funeral; that's usually open to all.

So there is not an "A" list to the funeral. It's not like a wedding. There's NO list for the funeral. There's not etiquette for inviting anybody to a funeral--look in the books. No format, etc.

I think your aunt is completely within the bounds of propriety, and it's a good thing she mentioned this to you so that you don't proceed using assumpions from previous events.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 03:32:56 PM
Toots, that might be a regional thing.  Around here the family might provide the meal but in most cases all attendees are welcome to te meal.  Of course, family might make up 25% or more of the attendees depending on the situation but the plan there is usually food for everyone.

In the OP's case, the timing particularly strikes me.  It sounds like many people would go right after work, which would mean they would miss an opportunity to get/prepare supper on their own.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Figgie on June 07, 2013, 03:37:14 PM
It is standard to have a meal at the church after a funeral in this area.  My spouse's aunt already knows that she is breaking with tradition.  In fact she was upset with the funeral director for telling her that she needed to have the service either after or before a meal time, as it wasn't fair to expect people to show up and spend 1 - 2 1/2 hours immediately before meal time and then not provide some sort of hospitality.

I think what bothered me the most (thinking about it), is being called and told not to tell anyone else.  Almost as if she expected that we would be rude enough to discuss an invitation publicly without knowing whether or not someone else was invited.  Until we heard from her, I had just assumed no meal or immediate family only meal.
 
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: AngelicGamer on June 07, 2013, 03:40:46 PM
They do get invited to a funeral if it is a closed funeral at a funeral home due to not wanting a church service.  With my grandmother's funeral, my mother and aunt didn't want to deal with my grandmother's friends.  They are lovely people but would have raised stinks about various grievances against us at the funeral itself which we did not need.  So we invited the family and a few (3) very close friends that my grandmother would have wanted there.  And yes, everyone came to the meal afterwards where we all had martinis in her honor.

As for the meal after the service, I've never seen it done that you don't get invited to the meal afterwards.  Even if it is at a restaurant, but there is a set menu and drinks.  It could be a regional thing (Midwest here) or just what the family wanted to do.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 03:41:58 PM
It is standard to have a meal at the church after a funeral in this area.  My spouse's aunt already knows that she is breaking with tradition.  In fact she was upset with the funeral director for telling her that she needed to have the service either after or before a meal time, as it wasn't fair to expect people to show up and spend 1 - 2 1/2 hours immediately before meal time and then not provide some sort of hospitality.

I think what bothered me the most (thinking about it), is being called and told not to tell anyone else.  Almost as if she expected that we would be rude enough to discuss an invitation publicly without knowing whether or not someone else was invited.  Until we heard from her, I had just assumed no meal or immediate family only meal.

It seems like asking for trouble because friends could say "hey, we are going to hit applebee's for a quick bite - do you want to join us?"  It puts you and all the other secret invitees in an awkward position.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: jedikaiti on June 07, 2013, 03:42:25 PM
My experience is that there usually isn't a meal with a funeral. Funerals aren't really hosted events with invitees, unless there is some reason to limit attendance. There is nothing to stop Joe Snowflake who didn't know the deceased or any of his family from walking in off the street and attending the funeral. Thus, going out for dinner afterwards isn't really an A/B list situation - it's more like the family going out for food and to catch up and odds are, nobody feels like cooking.

When my grandfather died, my family hosted an open house after the funeral, and anyone who wanted to could come by, but an actual meal was not served. There might have been some finger sandwiches, but it was nibblers and drinks in the afternoon. That's generally what I've seen at other funerals - maybe an open house, but not an actual meal.

The only time I've seen a meal was when DH's mom passed away, and the ladies at the church put together a pot luck in the church gym for everyone who came to the funeral.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: *inviteseller on June 07, 2013, 03:48:14 PM
Maybe it is regional, but I have never gone to a funeral or memorial where there has not been some sort of gathering after, either at a home, restaurant, or the church.  When my nephew passed, the memorial was done after the evening viewing (started at 7) and after (so about 8 30) everyone was invited to the fire hall where my brother volunteers and the restaurant my nephew worked at catered a lovely feast (there was so many people that it was to be at brother's house but the fire hall had more room).  For my ex husband, the church put on a nice luncheon.(where my DD and I were invited but in no way welcomed and made to sit by ourselves in a corner  >:( )  Everyone is always invited and sometimes there are people who show up who couldn't make the funeral.  I see the meal after as a social event, as it is a group of people who have come together for a shared reason (remembering a loved one).   
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Thipu1 on June 07, 2013, 04:07:31 PM
I don't see this as an A and B list situation.

  In our experience, the wake, funeral and burial of an ordinary person is a public affair.  Anyone who felt a connection to the deceased is welcome to attend.  During the wake or at the cemetery, close family members and close friends are invited to a meal.  The hairdresser who the deceased always asked for  would be very surprised to be invited to this sort of thing although she very well might drop in at the wake to offer condolences.   

Unless the person who has passed was very prominent in the community, there are never formal invitations to any of these things.  There usually just isn't time. 
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 04:14:43 PM
See, the priest/pastor/officuant usually announces the time and location of the lunch to everyone in the churc or funeral home around here.  They make it clear if it will be immediately after or after the cemetary.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: NyaChan on June 07, 2013, 04:32:21 PM
It is standard to have a meal at the church after a funeral in this area.  My spouse's aunt already knows that she is breaking with tradition.  In fact she was upset with the funeral director for telling her that she needed to have the service either after or before a meal time, as it wasn't fair to expect people to show up and spend 1 - 2 1/2 hours immediately before meal time and then not provide some sort of hospitality.

I think what bothered me the most (thinking about it), is being called and told not to tell anyone else.  Almost as if she expected that we would be rude enough to discuss an invitation publicly without knowing whether or not someone else was invited.  Until we heard from her, I had just assumed no meal or immediate family only meal.


This is what I don't get - a funeral isn't a party or a celebration that you are asking people to come to for your own sake.  If someone comes, it is because the deceased meant enough to them to want to be present and mourn at their burial or they are there to support someone else.  You aren't doing the deceased family who is grieving for their loss some favor by showing up.   

ETA:  in our communities we will usually have some gathering after the burial that includes some snacks, maybe a meal.  I just don't see the serving of refreshments as an obligation or a fairness issue when it comes to holding a funeral service, especially when one can't necessarily control who shows up. 
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: WillyNilly on June 07, 2013, 04:37:18 PM
I've been to all kinds of, shall we call them 'honoring the dead' events. They vary so much!

The "norm" in my area is there is a "wake" at a funeral home. There are usually 2 wake times (occasionally 3, 1 afternoon, 2 evening), usually the same day - the afternoon wake (about 1-4 pm) and the evening wake (about 6-9 pm). These are what anyone coming to pay their respects would come to. Family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Attendance can range for 10 people to 200 people. The casket (or urn) is usually at the front of the room. sometimes its open. People can go up and pay their respects. Throughout the room are flowers, and usually photos of the departed. One sitting might have a bit of a service, or some speakers, but its not required or anything, I'd say its 50/50 to have a service or speakers at a wake. Only close family and close friends would attend both wakes for the whole time. Mostly they are 'drop in' type events. They are not cheerful events, but they aren't overly solemn either - its all milling about and chatting.

During the "break" between wake sittings the close family and friends usually go out to eat or go to a family member's home for a meal. This is not by any means a 'public' meal, this only for the folks who are close enough they'd be there all day.

The next day is the funeral. It might be in a house of worship, or it might be graveside. Funerals themselves are usually only attended by the close family and friends - basically the same group who did the full day of two wakes. 25 people at a funeral is a lot, even if 600 passed through the wake(s). After the funeral, if everyone is close, they might all go for a meal together, or the funeral group will split up into groups to go out (or just go home).

The other norm is a shiva, which is similar to the wake, except its in a family member's home and essentially is a potluck (although many people send catered food, instead of bringing home made). Its people milling about and chatting. It is not the funeral, but it is the event most people would attend to pay their respects. The funeral is a more private affair.

I have attended other 'honoring the dead' events, where there is no wake, its only the church funeral, or memorial events where its sometime after the passing. But the wake which is the most common to me, does not include a meal that is open to all. Even a shiva will have plenty of food, but its not a meal one is invited to, its simply food available as people walk around and chat.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Figgie on June 07, 2013, 04:44:28 PM
It is standard to have a meal at the church after a funeral in this area.  My spouse's aunt already knows that she is breaking with tradition.  In fact she was upset with the funeral director for telling her that she needed to have the service either after or before a meal time, as it wasn't fair to expect people to show up and spend 1 - 2 1/2 hours immediately before meal time and then not provide some sort of hospitality.

I think what bothered me the most (thinking about it), is being called and told not to tell anyone else.  Almost as if she expected that we would be rude enough to discuss an invitation publicly without knowing whether or not someone else was invited.  Until we heard from her, I had just assumed no meal or immediate family only meal.


This is what I don't get - a funeral isn't a party or a celebration that you are asking people to come to for your own sake.  If someone comes, it is because the deceased meant enough to them to want to be present and mourn at their burial or they are there to support someone else.  You aren't doing the deceased family who is grieving for their loss some favor by showing up.   

ETA:  in our communities we will usually have some gathering after the burial that includes some snacks, maybe a meal.  I just don't see the serving of refreshments as an obligation or a fairness issue when it comes to holding a funeral service, especially when one can't necessarily control who shows up.

It might be a Midwest thing.  :)  Since it seems to be cultural to feed people at everything around here.  Funerals have meals after them.  The meals are at the church, funeral home  (they are now built or remodeled to have commercial kitchens/eating areas), family home, restaurant or wherever the funeral/memorial service is held.  There are special funeral prices for caterers that the funeral homes give out.

It is very unusual for hospitality not to be offered to people who are kind enough to travel and attend a funeral of a loved one.  Unusual enough, that my husband's aunt is trying to keep the meal that is being offered a secret from the majority of attendees, most of whom will be friends and family of her stepchildren.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: NyaChan on June 07, 2013, 04:52:14 PM
I'm in the Midwest and from a culture that has people practically shoving food down each other's throats  ::)  As a personal opinion, however, I don't think that a family member  of the deceased should be seen as rude for choosing not to host everyone if they don't want to.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Isilleke on June 07, 2013, 04:52:40 PM
We just buried my grandfather last week and most of the planning was done at my house, so I have seen firsthand how things go here (Europe).

Here it's common to send letters to everyone the close family wants to (so close friends of spouse, children and grandchildren in this case) and everyone who has to have one (his own friends, extended family, his old job etc). There will also be an ad placed in the papers telling people when the funeral will be in case they want to pay their respects.

In this letter may be an invitation to luncheon. In my case this was family and his own close friends only.

So the results for my grandfather (who used to be the head of a school) was that:
1. the church was full. As in, people were standing. Not surprisingly since we sent out 600 letters and he was always very
    beloved at his old school.
2. after the service, only the people who wanted came to the cemetery.
3. at the luncheon were only the once with the invites.

In my grandfathers case we are already with 68 (children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren). I think for the luncheon we were with about 150 (of which maybe 10 people weren't family).

This is very normal here.
Everyone is allowed to come to the service if they want to, but only the people who are invited can come to the luncheon. (Which consists of sandwiches etc). No one considers this rude, since it is the norm here.


So for me personally what you described seemed very normal, but I expect it depends on where you live and what the traditions are.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 04:56:22 PM
It is interesting how things differ.  Like I said, the norm here is for everyone to be welcome at the dinner.  That being said, if there was a funeral with 600 people attending the church would have 300 people calling to offer food for the luncheon.  That would probably include cheerful donations for ham, lunch meats, etc.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Figgie on June 07, 2013, 04:58:01 PM
My experience is very similar to Sharnita's experience.  I'm really glad I posted this, because it is very interesting reading about the different funeral customs and how different the etiquette can be depending on where you live.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: WillyNilly on June 07, 2013, 05:07:17 PM
It is standard to have a meal at the church after a funeral in this area.  My spouse's aunt already knows that she is breaking with tradition.  In fact she was upset with the funeral director for telling her that she needed to have the service either after or before a meal time, as it wasn't fair to expect people to show up and spend 1 - 2 1/2 hours immediately before meal time and then not provide some sort of hospitality.

I think what bothered me the most (thinking about it), is being called and told not to tell anyone else.  Almost as if she expected that we would be rude enough to discuss an invitation publicly without knowing whether or not someone else was invited.  Until we heard from her, I had just assumed no meal or immediate family only meal.


This is what I don't get - a funeral isn't a party or a celebration that you are asking people to come to for your own sake.  If someone comes, it is because the deceased meant enough to them to want to be present and mourn at their burial or they are there to support someone else.  You aren't doing the deceased family who is grieving for their loss some favor by showing up.   

ETA:  in our communities we will usually have some gathering after the burial that includes some snacks, maybe a meal.  I just don't see the serving of refreshments as an obligation or a fairness issue when it comes to holding a funeral service, especially when one can't necessarily control who shows up.

It might be a Midwest thing.  :)  Since it seems to be cultural to feed people at everything around here.  Funerals have meals after them.  The meals are at the church, funeral home  (they are now built or remodeled to have commercial kitchens/eating areas), family home, restaurant or wherever the funeral/memorial service is held.  There are special funeral prices for caterers that the funeral homes give out.

It is very unusual for hospitality not to be offered to people who are kind enough to travel and attend a funeral of a loved one.  Unusual enough, that my husband's aunt is trying to keep the meal that is being offered a secret from the majority of attendees, most of whom will be friends and family of her stepchildren.

I have never heard of until these boards, people eating at a funeral home. In fact I don't even think its legal in my state (every funeral home I've ever been in - and I've been to at least 2 dozen wakes in my life) has a sign "no food or beverage my be brought in or consumed". I presume the staff may eat in their offices or maybe there is a staff room, but even that I'm not sure of. I have never known a funeral home to have catering room or eating area.

In fact this NYTimes article confirms, its against the law here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/10/dining/10fune.html?oref=login
Quote
...the New York state law prohibiting the "preparation, sale, service, or distribution of food or beverages in any part of a funeral establishment to or by friends, relatives, mourners, family, visitors or next of kin of any deceased person."

So to anyone from NY, the whole idea of "invite everyone to eat" is going to be a very different situation, as it means securing a location for everyone, as well as paying for or coordinating the foodstuffs.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Aquamarine on June 07, 2013, 05:09:19 PM
There is no A or B list because this is not a social event but rather family members getting together after services to get a bite to eat.  From my experience this is a really common occurrence.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Yvaine on June 07, 2013, 05:12:56 PM
It is standard to have a meal at the church after a funeral in this area.  My spouse's aunt already knows that she is breaking with tradition.  In fact she was upset with the funeral director for telling her that she needed to have the service either after or before a meal time, as it wasn't fair to expect people to show up and spend 1 - 2 1/2 hours immediately before meal time and then not provide some sort of hospitality.

I think what bothered me the most (thinking about it), is being called and told not to tell anyone else.  Almost as if she expected that we would be rude enough to discuss an invitation publicly without knowing whether or not someone else was invited.  Until we heard from her, I had just assumed no meal or immediate family only meal.


This is what I don't get - a funeral isn't a party or a celebration that you are asking people to come to for your own sake.  If someone comes, it is because the deceased meant enough to them to want to be present and mourn at their burial or they are there to support someone else.  You aren't doing the deceased family who is grieving for their loss some favor by showing up.   

ETA:  in our communities we will usually have some gathering after the burial that includes some snacks, maybe a meal.  I just don't see the serving of refreshments as an obligation or a fairness issue when it comes to holding a funeral service, especially when one can't necessarily control who shows up.

It might be a Midwest thing.  :)  Since it seems to be cultural to feed people at everything around here.  Funerals have meals after them.  The meals are at the church, funeral home  (they are now built or remodeled to have commercial kitchens/eating areas), family home, restaurant or wherever the funeral/memorial service is held.  There are special funeral prices for caterers that the funeral homes give out.

It is very unusual for hospitality not to be offered to people who are kind enough to travel and attend a funeral of a loved one.  Unusual enough, that my husband's aunt is trying to keep the meal that is being offered a secret from the majority of attendees, most of whom will be friends and family of her stepchildren.

I have never heard of until these boards, people eating at a funeral home. In fact I don't even think its legal in my state (every funeral home I've ever been in - and I've been to at least 2 dozen wakes in my life) has a sign "no food or beverage my be brought in or consumed". I presume the staff may eat in their offices or maybe there is a staff room, but even that I'm not sure of. I have never known a funeral home to have catering room or eating area.

What I've experienced in the actual funeral home is a sort of "break room" where the immediate family can go periodically throughout the day. The funeral home may provide things like donuts from a nearby supermarket, canned soda, that sort of thing (i.e. it's not made on site). And it's just for the inner circle; the funeral director will show them where it is ahead of time and you can go there both for a food boost during the day or just to escape the crowd for a little while.

As for the meal afterward, I don't think I've ever even heard about a restaurant meal unless I was part of the inner circle. Either there's something that only the immediate family know about (and I have been to some of these) or there's a church-basement sort of thing being put on by a whole church. I wouldn't expect the bereaved family themselves to "host" me in any real sense.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 05:16:21 PM
I've exprienced the family hosting people at the restaurant when it is a small, graveside service type of thing.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Isilleke on June 07, 2013, 05:23:19 PM
That would explain the big difference, seeing as how here the luncheon is always in a restaurant.

Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 05:25:31 PM
We use churches, VFW Halls, etc.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: mime on June 07, 2013, 05:38:56 PM
It is very interesting to read about the different traditions...

I'm also in the Midwest, and I cannot remember attending any funeral here that did not include a meal immediately following the service, in the same building. The meal may be very simple, but it is always provided, and not usually by the family.

My childhood church believes that providing a meal is an act of kindness or service they do for the grieving attendees. The same is true of DH's childhood church, and many others I know of, spanning several denominations of my own faith, and that of another faith. This seems to be the norm where I am.

I'm sure it is hard to know how many attendees to anticipate. Sometimes I am impressed that the 'church ladies' magically make it work every time.  :D

The other common traditions here are less likely to come with a meal-- burials often only involve close family, and if the wake is on a separate day from the funeral, it is more of an open-house with no food. That's where I see smaller family-groups of maybe 6-12 people deciding in the moment to get some dinner before going their separate ways.

Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 05:44:04 PM
It is very interesting to read about the different traditions...

I'm also in the Midwest, and I cannot remember attending any funeral here that did not include a meal immediately following the service, in the same building. The meal may be very simple, but it is always provided, and not usually by the family.


I'm sure it is hard to know how many attendees to anticipate. Sometimes I am impressed that the 'church ladies' magically make it work every time.  :D

The other common traditions here are less likely to come with a meal-- burials often only involve close family, and if the wake is on a separate day from the funeral, it is more of an open-house with no food. That's where I see smaller family-groups of maybe 6-12 people deciding in the moment to get some dinner before going their separate ways.

Yeah, conversely, even when you are part of the grieveing family it is an act of community to share the meal with the other people who were at the funeral. 
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: mich3554 on June 07, 2013, 05:47:48 PM
I don't see it as an A/B list.  When my SO's stepfather died last year, there were over 150 people at his memorial service.  Only family and very close friends (about 30 or so in total) were invited back to the house for a meal.

There was coffee and pastries after the service though.

When my mom died, there were probably 50 or so at her service.  We had no refreshments afterwards, but a small reception only for close family at my cousin's home.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Yvaine on June 07, 2013, 06:23:38 PM
It is very interesting to read about the different traditions...

I'm also in the Midwest, and I cannot remember attending any funeral here that did not include a meal immediately following the service, in the same building. The meal may be very simple, but it is always provided, and not usually by the family.


I'm sure it is hard to know how many attendees to anticipate. Sometimes I am impressed that the 'church ladies' magically make it work every time.  :D

The other common traditions here are less likely to come with a meal-- burials often only involve close family, and if the wake is on a separate day from the funeral, it is more of an open-house with no food. That's where I see smaller family-groups of maybe 6-12 people deciding in the moment to get some dinner before going their separate ways.

Yeah, conversely, even when you are part of the grieveing family it is an act of community to share the meal with the other people who were at the funeral.

I really think this makes the most sense when the meal, as mentioned by some, is provided by someone other than the family (like their religious community). I mean, they're grieving, they're dealing with a ton of funeral expenses, why should they have to buy several hundred people dinner too?
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 06:29:24 PM
See, when that many people are showing up, a significant portion are offering to help with the dinner (at least around here).  You don't have a lot of people attending the funeral without also having a lot of people offering to help.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: doodlemor on June 07, 2013, 06:31:04 PM
I've seen funeral customs change a bit in my lifetime. 

When I was a child we all went back to the home of the next of kin, and had a meal from all the foods that neighbors had brought since the death.  There were usually enough foods brought in that the family didn't have to cook during the previous several days of funeral home calling hours, either.

Nowadays where I live there is usually a luncheon in the church hall after a funeral, or sometimes in a restaurant.  When I've been to a restaurant after-event there has always been a set menu.  Sometimes there is a meal for only the family, but not always.  Generally, it seems to me that people don't go to the after-event unless they are very close to the family, even if a blanket invitation has been given.

It seems like people are having fewer calling hours, too, and there are more funerals in churches than in the funeral homes.  Many people now have just a few hours of calling, followed by the funeral. 

In your case, Figgie, it sounds like for whatever reason your aunt does not want to spend time with and deal with her late husband's relatives.  It's understandable that this makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, because they are grieving too. 

I think that a grieving widow should be given a pass for many things.  It's unfortunate that she is going to do this, though, because the excluded relatives are likely to be very upset if/when they find out that they have been excluded.

I wonder what aunt will say if they directly ask her about a post graveside event, or actually invite your aunt to something that they have planned.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Yvaine on June 07, 2013, 06:31:13 PM
See, when that many people are showing up, a significant portion are offering to help with the dinner (at least around here).  You don't have a lot of people attending the funeral without also having a lot of people offering to help.

In that case it's another way of having it provided by the community. I was talking about the expectation that the bereaved fully host, including paying for everybody at a restaurant.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Mammavan3 on June 07, 2013, 06:35:24 PM
I think the rudeness would depend on regional norms. Here (NY/NJ metropolitan area) after the internment, the funeral director invites everyone to the repast, either in a home or restaurant. In my many years of attending funerals, I have never heard of this not being done. The guests do a version of self-selection. Generally only family members and close friends accept the invitation.  I have skipped those for co-workers or their relatives and more casual friends.

When my DM died, it was a relief to occupy my mind with organizing the repast. When the young son of a dear friend died unexpectedly, his friends travelled hundreds of miles to attend his funeral. I believe there were over 125 people at the repast in a restaurant.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: citadelle on June 07, 2013, 06:46:19 PM
Here in the Midwest, the church will put up a meal after the service. It is provided and served by church families.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: lakey on June 07, 2013, 07:05:15 PM
The Catholic parishes in my area provide a lunch in the church hall after the graveside rite. The parish provides meat and the side dishes are donated by members of the parish. It is  traditional to make a donation to cover the cost of the meat, but not required. The parish office will tell you that you don't have to. In my parents' parish the woman who heads the committee makes a really good boneless chicken breast dish. The hardest thing is they want you to estimate how many people there might be, which is pretty difficult.

There are no invitations to a Catholic funeral, anyone can attend, because it is a church service. So anyone who wants to can go to the lunch. In some parishes a lot of the older people go to the funerals and lunches, even of people they don't know that well. This is considered acceptable.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Figgie on June 07, 2013, 07:33:44 PM
Well, as to the rudeness...my spouse just got off of the phone with his aunt who started the conversation saying:  "I know I'm being rude."  :)

She doesn't want a meal to include her step children's friends and family.  It has nothing to do with money, as the Catholic church would have provided the meal.  And I wish I could say that she is making these decisions because she is experiencing severe grief.  Unfortunately, when she called my brother-in-law (first family member she got a hold of), the first words out of her mouth were:  "Bill died.  Finally."

He hadn't been ill, his mind was good and he hadn't needed or received any type of assistance with his daily living.  He had a heart condition that was being treated, but it appears that he had a heart attack and died. 

I actually feel sorriest for his five children, their spouses and the grandchildren.  By shortening the wake to one hour and having the funeral and then graveside service immediately after, they aren't really going to easily have time to spend with their extended families and friends to get the support they need and deserve.  But they have no say and no control over any aspects of the funeral.

As to the meals being served in the funeral homes...what is amusing is that they basically  have duplicated the "church basement" atmosphere.  :)  It is set up like every church basement I've ever been in except it isn't in the basement...usually just down the hall from where the service was held.  I would have thought that they might have at least made it look a little different, but I suppose they went with what would be familiar to the majority of people.  :)
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 07:40:48 PM
Well, as the rudeness...my spouse just got off of the phone with his aunt who started the conversation saying:  "I know I'm being rude."  :)

She doesn't want a meal to include her step children's friends and family.  It has nothing to do with money, as the Catholic church would have provided the meal.  And I wish I could say that she is making these decisions because she is experiencing severe grief.  Unfortunately, when she called my brother-in-law (first family member she got a hold of), the first words out of her mouth were:  "Bill died.  Finally."

He hadn't been ill, his mind was good and he hadn't needed or received any type of assistance with his daily living.  He had a heart condition that was being treated, but it appears that he had a heart attack and died. 

I actually feel sorriest for his five children, their spouses and the grandchildren.  By shortening the wake to one hour and having the funeral and then graveside service immediately after, they aren't really going to easily have time to spend with their extended families and friends to get the support they need and deserve.  But they have no say and no control over any aspects of the funeral.As to the meals being served in the funeral homes...what is amusing is that they basically  have duplicated the "church basement" atmosphere.  :)  It is set up like every church basement I've ever been in except it isn't in the basement...usually just down the hall from where the service was held.  I would have thought that they might have at least made it look a little different, but I suppose they went with what would be familiar to the majority of people.  :)

I think she is potentially venturing near the borders of inconsiderate here.  His children are grieving as well and it would be nice to consider their need  for support. If they have rude/toxic friends or family it would be understandable that she is planning a format that would avoid them, of course.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Figgie on June 07, 2013, 07:49:29 PM
I agree completely with you, Sharnita!  There just isn't anyone alive who can talk to her and get her to see that the funeral isn't just hers...that her step-children have lost their father and should be able to get some kind of closure too.

She might have listened to her brother (my spouse's father), but he has been gone for eight years and there really isn't anyone else that can get through to her.  Headstrong is the word her mother used to use.  My mother-in-law (her sister-in-law) used to say she had rocks between her ears. :)
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: *inviteseller on June 07, 2013, 07:51:00 PM
It is standard to have a meal at the church after a funeral in this area.  My spouse's aunt already knows that she is breaking with tradition.  In fact she was upset with the funeral director for telling her that she needed to have the service either after or before a meal time, as it wasn't fair to expect people to show up and spend 1 - 2 1/2 hours immediately before meal time and then not provide some sort of hospitality.

I think what bothered me the most (thinking about it), is being called and told not to tell anyone else.  Almost as if she expected that we would be rude enough to discuss an invitation publicly without knowing whether or not someone else was invited.  Until we heard from her, I had just assumed no meal or immediate family only meal.


This is what I don't get - a funeral isn't a party or a celebration that you are asking people to come to for your own sake.  If someone comes, it is because the deceased meant enough to them to want to be present and mourn at their burial or they are there to support someone else.  You aren't doing the deceased family who is grieving for their loss some favor by showing up.   

ETA:  in our communities we will usually have some gathering after the burial that includes some snacks, maybe a meal.  I just don't see the serving of refreshments as an obligation or a fairness issue when it comes to holding a funeral service, especially when one can't necessarily control who shows up. 

But it isn't fair to hold viewing and services during a meal time and expecting everyone to be ok.  If I had sit thru a regular mealtime for that long, I would be woozy and digging in my purse for a snack!!  She either provides a light meal, or even a finger food selection or changes times.  And it is fine if she only wants to invite a select few, but if others are skipping a meal due to the times of the services (I am assuming this is a weekday and a lot of the people may be coming straight from work) and they find out that there is a seemingly A/B list for the meal, I would be a bit miffed (and running for the nearest drive thru!)

I just read OP's update...and that is appalling!   The poor relatives who are actually grieving!  I know darn well my former MIL did NOT want me at former husbands but she was keeping her mouth shut and we kept our distance as best we could.  But to just rush things?  This is looking like the beginnings of a train wreck.

And as for the grieving family providing the meal..that I have never seen.  It is usually the church, the neighbors, or others in the community who donate food and their time (my brother said they were going to have to buy another fridge to store all the food people brought when my nephew passed).  I will say I have never gone to a restaurant after..usually a house, or a local hall, or the family home.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Twik on June 07, 2013, 08:42:25 PM
This sounds very strange t me. After all the emotional strain, and the high cost of the funeral, the family is then expected to pay for a meal for anyone who shows up to the funeral? Seems very entitled of the guests to expect it in this day and age, when its nt a case of "let's go back go the farmhouse and put some more water into the soup."
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: sammycat on June 07, 2013, 08:51:03 PM
Maybe it is regional, but I have never gone to a funeral or memorial where there has not been some sort of gathering after, either at a home, restaurant, or the church.  When my nephew passed, the memorial was done after the evening viewing (started at 7) and after (so about 8 30) everyone was invited to the fire hall where my brother volunteers and the restaurant my nephew worked at catered a lovely feast (there was so many people that it was to be at brother's house but the fire hall had more room).  For my ex husband, the church put on a nice luncheon.(where my DD and I were invited but in no way welcomed and made to sit by ourselves in a corner  >:( )  Everyone is always invited and sometimes there are people who show up who couldn't make the funeral. I see the meal after as a social event, as it is a group of people who have come together for a shared reason (remembering a loved one).

This is exactly my experience too. I don't recall having an actual sit down meal after a funeral, but there has always been a gathering at either someone's home, or a room attached to the church or funeral home. It usually consists of a lot of finger food (enough to fill you up more than most meals will), or sometimes something a bit heavier (quiche, lasagne).

This is often provided by the 'church ladies', a caterer organised by the church/funeral home, or, if at home, extended family and friends will provide/organise it.

*inviteseller, I'm sorry you and our DD were treated so disgustingly at your exes funeral.  :(

Regarding the OP, having just read the update, I think the widow is being extremely selfish and inconsiderate. As other posters have said, she's not the only one grieving and people are more likely to want to spend some time together after the service than before.  I hope the uncle's children have their own gathering at another time and don't invite the stepmother. Her comment that "Bill died. Finally" is unbelievable.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: *inviteseller on June 07, 2013, 09:00:09 PM
Twik- Unless it is someone well known (politician or such) where things are more formal, I have never seen a family pay for these meals.  The church ladies put it together..I have been to ones that were sandwiches and coleslaw/fruit salad, and ones that were an actual sit down warm meal, or the extended family of the deceased/neighbors/friends bring over casseroles or sandwich trays or set up a pot luck, and in the case of my nephew, the restaurant he worked for graciously donated a ton of wonderful food (and the employees to set it up).  I don't think anyone ever expects the family to do it, but I guess if it is held at a restaurant the family would set that up (come to think of it, formers bosses mother's luncheon was at a restaraunt but put together by her cousins.  We have restaurants here that advertise private rooms for funeral luncheons and they do brisk business.

Sammycat - we expected nothing less, she actually out did herself in her rudeness in front of an audience at the church luncheon, but DD and I and 2 of his friends had a good laugh about it later.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 09:03:55 PM
This sounds very strange t me. After all the emotional strain, and the high cost of the funeral, the family is then expected to pay for a meal for anyone who shows up to the funeral? Seems very entitled of the guests to expect it in this day and age, when its nt a case of "let's go back go the farmhouse and put some more water into the soup."

I think it has been made pretty clear that people don't expect that.  They generally say "What can I drop off at the church/VFW kitchen for the lunceon?"
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: WillyNilly on June 07, 2013, 09:04:25 PM
Perhaps part of the issue is the widow knows no one will be providing the meal. If she isn't a member of a church and knows her friends & neighbors don't usually provide food, then it would fall to her. I mean the dinner OP was invited to is with the widow hosting right? And her reasoning for the limited guest list is she doesn't want to host the stepkids friends, right? So really I don't blame the widow for not wanting to host.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: sammycat on June 07, 2013, 09:04:52 PM
Sammycat - we expected nothing less, she actually out did herself in her rudeness in front of an audience at the church luncheon, but DD and I and 2 of his friends had a good laugh about it later.

She sounds like a real peach.  :-\

I can understand, to an extent, exes not being particularly welcome at a funeral (not that that excuses any rudeness), but treating the children, especially minors, of the deceased, in that manner too, takes it to another completely unacceptable level.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 09:07:14 PM
Perhaps part of the issue is the widow knows no one will be providing the meal. If she isn't a member of a church and knows her friends & neighbors don't usually provide food, then it would fall to her. I mean the dinner OP was invited to is with the widow hosting right? And her reasoning for the limited guest list is she doesn't want to host the stepkids friends, right? So really I don't blame the widow for not wanting to host.

No, I think she is hosting so she doesn't have to lunch with her stepkids family and friends which is something she would have to do if the church hosted/provided the food. 
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: *inviteseller on June 07, 2013, 09:29:32 PM
I also see it as she doesn't want to socialize with the steps and their friends.  She admitted she knows it is wrong, so she is rude.  And why is she having an interment at night?  I don't know any cemetery that would do that and to be honest, it would.creep.me.out!
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: TootsNYC on June 07, 2013, 09:31:52 PM
Here in NYC, I've almost never seen the church provide a luncheon--it's always on the family. And it's almost always at a restaurant. Because few NYers have homes that large (my ILs do; see 3rd graph).

For one thing, it's held after the graveside service, and the cemeteries are usually a ways away, so it's not like it's contiguous. People would have to come BACK to the church, or BACK to the restaurant, and most of them don't unless they're close family.

So the church doesn't hold the luncheons here that they have done for my family back in the Midwest.

Once there was a memorial mass for a sibling of my MIL or FIL who died in Europe, and afterward all the relatives simply showed up at my MIL's house and looked at her, waiting for food. My MIL hadn't been expecting it in the least; I thought it was SO rude. Nobody brought anything (true, since most of them didn't live close, they'd have had to stop at a grocery store, which they might not have easily located, but still!)

Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: TootsNYC on June 07, 2013, 09:33:48 PM
One point: there's nothing keeping the deceased husband's own children from gathering together on their own, without their step mother. Given how little she cares for them, it might be best that way.

Perhaps the OP's husband's sister is simply gathering HER family around HER. And since this is not an official "everybody getting together after," she doesn't want things to get confused. She's not really acting as an official hostess of a larger gathering; she simply gathering her OWN support system. Probably the OP and her husband wouldn't be of that much comfort to their uncle-by-marriage's children.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 09:36:01 PM
Oh, in the midwest people frequently drive to the cemetary (could be 10 or 15 miles away) then drive back to the church.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: TootsNYC on June 07, 2013, 09:37:46 PM
Oh, in the midwest people frequently drive to the cemetary (could be 10 or 15 miles away) then drive back to the church.

We're talking a hour's drive through traffic, though.

10 miles is longer in NYC than it is in the Midwest. I grew up there--I know.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 09:42:04 PM
Oh, in the midwest people frequently drive to the cemetary (could be 10 or 15 miles away) then drive back to the church.

We're talking a hour's drive through traffic, though.

10 miles is longer in NYC than it is in the Midwest. I grew up there--I know.

The majority of the population doesn't actually live in NYC, though so I am not sure the experience of those living there is a good yardstick for everyone else.  It doesn't sound like your experiences there are anything like the community where OP/aunt are living.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Figgie on June 07, 2013, 09:42:16 PM
She and her husband were long time members of a fairly large Catholic Church.  If she didn't want to pay for a meal, she wouldn't have to, as it would be provided by the church to everyone who attended the funeral.

She isn't willing to do that and I don't really understand or know why.  Although I'm sure I'll find out at the funeral, as she has absolutely NO mouth to brain filter and never has. :)  It could be that she thinks she is punishing her step-children or it could be that she is trying to show everyone else how to do a funeral, as this is the first one she has ever planned. 

But those are just guesses...we really don't know why she is doing what she is doing.  I just wish that she would have chosen the high road and allowed the church to provide the meal and then, if she wanted to spend time with only her family, she could have invited people over for dessert or something.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 09:44:34 PM
She and her husband were long time members of a fairly large Catholic Church.  If she didn't want to pay for a meal, she wouldn't have to, as it would be provided by the church to everyone who attended the funeral.

She isn't willing to do that and I don't really understand or know why.  Although I'm sure I'll find out at the funeral, as she has absolutely NO mouth to brain filter and never has. :)  It could be that she thinks she is punishing her step-children or it could be that she is trying to show everyone else how to do a funeral, as this is the first one she has ever planned. 

But those are just guesses...we really don't know why she is doing what she is doing.  I just wish that she would have chosen the high road and allowed the church to provide the meal and then, if she wanted to spend time with only her family, she could have invited people over for dessert or something.

Or maybe she could have privately asked those people to make sure they sat next to her at the lunch?  She still could have had "her" table.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: NyaChan on June 07, 2013, 10:04:25 PM
Once there was a memorial mass for a sibling of my MIL or FIL who died in Europe, and afterward all the relatives simply showed up at my MIL's house and looked at her, waiting for food. My MIL hadn't been expecting it in the least; I thought it was SO rude. Nobody brought anything (true, since most of them didn't live close, they'd have had to stop at a grocery store, which they might not have easily located, but still!)

That is exactly what shouldn't happen  >:(  How did MIL handle it?
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: LifeOnPluto on June 08, 2013, 02:57:46 AM
I tend to agree with everything Inviteseller has said. I've never heard of having a funeral at night. And I do agree with the Minister - it's rude for the aunt to have the service and funeral during a time that most people normally eat dinner.

It's unfortunate that the aunt seems to be working so hard at cutting the deceased's children out of the picture (although obviously I don't know both sides of the story). In this case, it might be best if the deceased's children arrange their own memorial service for their father.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: TootsNYC on June 08, 2013, 10:20:20 AM
Once there was a memorial mass for a sibling of my MIL or FIL who died in Europe, and afterward all the relatives simply showed up at my MIL's house and looked at her, waiting for food. My MIL hadn't been expecting it in the least; I thought it was SO rude. Nobody brought anything (true, since most of them didn't live close, they'd have had to stop at a grocery store, which they might not have easily located, but still!)

That is exactly what shouldn't happen  >:(  How did MIL handle it?

She went in the kitchen and started cooking, and sent DH & I and another sympathetic cousin to the grocery store for precooked chicken, etc.

There was one of the older ladies that just really offended me--it was her judgmental, expectant look. And I realized that my MIL & FIL have always had people over to their house for lots of events, and everybody else has just gotten really, really lazy.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: LadyR on June 08, 2013, 12:06:49 PM
I'm used to after a funeral there being sandwiches and sweets in a hall or church basement. No formal meal, but everyone is welcome.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: SPuck on June 08, 2013, 05:01:33 PM
I know darn well my former MIL did NOT want me at former husbands but she was keeping her mouth shut and we kept our distance as best we could.

Sorry, about the thread jack but was it your husband or her husband whose funeral she didn't want you attending?

As for the funeral/meal combination it sounds like it could be a cultural issue. I live in the Northeast, and my parents have attended funerals where wasn't provided. On the other hand after the passing of my grandmother's husband (and her eventual passing) food was provided for anyone who attended the funeral. My grandfather and father also both expect food and drink served after their respective passings.

I guess when it comes down do it food is probably going to be more expected for people who are at a funeral to support the living closest to the dead.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: jedikaiti on June 08, 2013, 06:46:55 PM
Perhaps part of the issue is the widow knows no one will be providing the meal. If she isn't a member of a church and knows her friends & neighbors don't usually provide food, then it would fall to her. I mean the dinner OP was invited to is with the widow hosting right? And her reasoning for the limited guest list is she doesn't want to host the stepkids friends, right? So really I don't blame the widow for not wanting to host.

No, I think she is hosting so she doesn't have to lunch with her stepkids family and friends which is something she would have to do if the church hosted/provided the food.


Well, nobody HAS to go out with her. The rest of the family can organize a more inclusive gathering if they want.

When DH's mom passed, after the wake there was a spontaneous decision for everyone in the family to go to dinner at a local landmark restaurant where the kids could run wild and the adults could catch up. (It's the kind of place designed for kids to run wild.) No hosting, just a collective, "Hey, let's go here!"

I can totally imagine someone not invited to the Aunt's dinner coming up with something like this, and everyone else deciding that would be a more enjoyable time than placing bets on how far Aunt will put her foot in her mouth next. And next thing you know, Aunt is dining alone, and everyone else is catching up and having a great time.

Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Winterlight on June 08, 2013, 09:36:54 PM
At a recent memorial service on a weekday evening, we grabbed a quick bite beforehand and then there were little nibbly things afterwards. The family ate separately- they were all off work, while the rest of us were coming from offices or schools.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: magician5 on June 08, 2013, 09:52:26 PM
The way I've noticed around here is: viewing is open to all, funeral service (wherever it is, church or mortuary) is open to all, interment may be private, and after that ... I suppose visiting and food in the home would be limited to graveside invitees, and if I ever saw a restaurant dinner in place of gathering in the home I certainly would not expect the entire world to be invited.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: ladyknight1 on June 08, 2013, 10:55:13 PM
I live in Florida, and every funeral I have attended has had a light meal served afterwards. The food is always provided by people in the departed's congregation or social organization.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: GrammarNerd on June 09, 2013, 07:13:33 AM
I have a relative who lives about two hours away from me (different state), who is in the funeral business.  She's remarked more than once that the dinners are *just not done* where they are.  They are a thing of the past.  You go to the funeral and then you go home.  Whereas where I live, something is generally done, either at the church, if they can arrange it and have space, or at a restaurant.  So I think it's definitely a regional thing.

And re: the responses about the dinner being for family; when my sister passed away, we had a small funeral b/c it was mainly just some family members.  We were going to go with the family for a lunch afterwards at a local restaurant.  There were some old acquaintances of my sister's that she hadn't seen in years.  We knew of them and they'd always struck me as the type that would glom on to you and be your best friend all of a sudden; hard to explain, but creepy and kind of users.  Sure enough, they stayed for the ENTIRE thing, and then just sort of glommed onto our family group when we went to the dinner.  Several people.  People that she hadn't seen in probably about 10 years.  People that acted like they were soooooo close to her (and us).  Even my sister commented that it was pretty obvious how they were just there to get the free meal.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: *inviteseller on June 09, 2013, 08:01:23 AM
SPuck - It was my former husband and father of our minor child, and I asked former SIL (who I do get along with) numerous times to make sure MIL was ok with me being there and she said yes, she isn't happy but she knew it would be wrong not to have me.  Only a few people spoke to me and DD, most snubbed us in the receiving line (walked right past us) and MIL, when we told her as we were leaving luncheon that all she had to do was call for anything she needed, said "I have my church family, I don't need anyone else.  Well la ti da..witch.  But the luncheon the church ladies put on was spectacular ! 
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Roe on June 09, 2013, 09:12:01 AM
It's tradition in my culture to have a meal after, usually in the Parish Hall of the church.  And yes, everyone who attended is invited.

However, I certainly wouldn't hold it against anyone if they didn't have a meal of some sort.  After all, as a PP mentioned funerals are NOT hosting situations.  So to the OP, don't hold it against your aunt.  She might just need time with "family only" and doesn't want to invite people she feels she has to entertain.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: cocacola35 on June 09, 2013, 10:21:02 AM
The way I've noticed around here is: viewing is open to all, funeral service (wherever it is, church or mortuary) is open to all, interment may be private, and after that ... I suppose visiting and food in the home would be limited to graveside invitees, and if I ever saw a restaurant dinner in place of gathering in the home I certainly would not expect the entire world to be invited.

This is the norm around my area (South Texas) as well.  In my experience, the churches or funeral homes around here don't provide refreshments afterwards.  Most of the time there is a gathering at the family's home after the funeral with some refreshments, but that is only for close friends and family.  I certainly wouldn't expect the grieving family to host a meal or provide food for everyone that attended the funeral.  I'm also finding it odd that some people here think having funeral services at dinner time and the family not providing refreshments before or after is "rude".  Funerals/wakes here are often in the evening or late afternoon so people that are working during the day can attend.  When I go to a funeral, I'm not expecting the grieving family to preform the usual hosting requirements of a party.  Often there is no refreshments before or afterwards unless you are close to the family.  If you really want to be at the service and know you may get hungry at that time, you can plan your day accordingly and get a bite to eat BEFORE the service.       

The only place where I see the aunt in the OP being rude is excluding her stepchildren from the restaurant gathering.  Although after reading a few of the updates here, the family dynamics seem more complex and maybe the stepchildren wouldn't go even if they were invited.   
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Two Ravens on June 09, 2013, 11:34:38 AM
It's very interesting to read about the different customs in different areas.

I know when my husband's grandmother died in Kansas, there was a meal provided in the church basement. All the food was provided by the church ladies, who were also friends with the deceased.

When my grandmother died here in New England, we provided a buffet meal at a local country club, with an open bar. (hey, we're Irish!).
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Peregrine on June 09, 2013, 12:32:34 PM
It's definitely interesting to see the regional differences in funeral customs.

I have been to a couple at this point in my life and both were different.  For my grandfather's funeral it was along the lines of an open house at his home with food that the neighbors and his civic organization dropped off....and there was a ton of it, but it was all finger food and nibblies to be eaten off of paper plates, during a quick drop in visit after the private interment.

The other funeral I have been to was for my DH's grandmother, in which a luncheon was paid for by the oldest son for the immediate family at a local buffet restaurant.  Since my GMIL had 8 children the immediate family was VERY large.  I don't even want to speculate the size of the bill, I am assuming that he might have gotten some help from their church to host it.

I kind of see the tradition of a post funeral meal dying in a lot of areas as people aren't as involved in churches and civic/fraternal organizations.  Church attendance has been going down hill in a lot of denominations and the church ladies who run things are starting to die out themselves.  I think it is also similar with civic organizations, the Rotary, Lions, VFW, Eagles, Elks, and Granges are just not as active in a lot of places, and the members are getting the point where they aren't as able to provide the same level of support to their members.  Just in terms of the urban US, I would assume that funeral services are going to start later in the evening in order to accommodate working people who don't have paid time off.  I can see a lot of external factors affecting how things get done.

In this case, it seems that there are some pretty major unpleasant family dynamics at play.  I personally, don't see a problem with someone deciding to hold their own family dinner.  Which is worse the family silently glaring at each other on opposite sides of the room and seething or just having separate post-funeral plans.  I guess I just don't see the reason to do it "the way it's always been done" if it doesn't suit the person paying for the funeral.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: WillyNilly on June 09, 2013, 12:38:48 PM
One thing that really strikes me about so many of these stories about meals is the repeated mention of church. I know very few people who actually attend church regularly. Seriously I would estimate less then 15% of all the people I know (friends, co-workers, neighbors) seem to attend church other then for holidays or big events (or temple, or other religious house). So the idea of having a church provide anything is really just not an option for most people I know. Although truth be told even the people who I know who do attend church still don't have the meals... at least not for the general mourners, they might have them for the family or the church community.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: TinyVulgarUnicorn on June 09, 2013, 01:18:52 PM
One thing that really strikes me about so many of these stories about meals is the repeated mention of church. I know very few people who actually attend church regularly. Seriously I would estimate less then 15% of all the people I know (friends, co-workers, neighbors) seem to attend church other then for holidays or big events (or temple, or other religious house). So the idea of having a church provide anything is really just not an option for most people I know. Although truth be told even the people who I know who do attend church still don't have the meals... at least not for the general mourners, they might have them for the family or the church community.

This is very true and I was thinking the same thing.  Our family never went to church so when my father passed away we had a wake at the funeral home for immediate family and then we had a memorial service at my aunts house a few days later.  There is no way my mom or any of us siblings could have afforded to feed all 150-180 people that showed up, but we were extremely lucky that my family provided a lot of food and many people brought food.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: LadyR on June 09, 2013, 01:48:55 PM
One thing that really strikes me about so many of these stories about meals is the repeated mention of church. I know very few people who actually attend church regularly. Seriously I would estimate less then 15% of all the people I know (friends, co-workers, neighbors) seem to attend church other then for holidays or big events (or temple, or other religious house). So the idea of having a church provide anything is really just not an option for most people I know. Although truth be told even the people who I know who do attend church still don't have the meals... at least not for the general mourners, they might have them for the family or the church community.

A lot of my family who ren't active church members still have their funerals at the kittle church in my town and for a small fee the church group makes sandwiches and sweets. My father's service was held at the local legion and for $200 the legion women's group provided sandwiches and sweets for close to 100 people. I've also seen the after part held at the funeral home or a community centres, but most often its the Legion or the church basement. There is always food though.

After my father' service, I did go out for dinner with friends (after about two hours of greeting people) and pretty much the whole restaurant was made up of small groups who had also been at the funeral (this was adtually uncomfortable for me as I'd wanted to relax with my friends and forget for a little while and people kept coming up to me and talking to me about my dad/the service, however there was only one restaurant in town so it was unavoidable)
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Roe on June 09, 2013, 01:54:08 PM
The way I've noticed around here is: viewing is open to all, funeral service (wherever it is, church or mortuary) is open to all, interment may be private, and after that ... I suppose visiting and food in the home would be limited to graveside invitees, and if I ever saw a restaurant dinner in place of gathering in the home I certainly would not expect the entire world to be invited.

This is the norm around my area (South Texas) as well.  In my experience, the churches or funeral homes around here don't provide refreshments afterwards. 



Interesting. I'm from South Texas as well and it has always been our custom to eat afterwards, like I mentioned, usually at the Parish Hall of the church.  Only in rare instances was a meal not provided after.  Maybe it's more cultural instead of regional? 

Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: magician5 on June 09, 2013, 03:10:26 PM
These many stories are very interesting. But getting back to the wasn't the original question whether all the attendees should expect to be invited to the post-funeral restaurant meal planned by the deceased's family? It wasn't clear to me who was going to be paying ... each diner, or the aunt.

Then follows a lot of discussion about traditions.

My position is: doesn't matter what is usual, what matters is what the next-of-kin arrange. Doesn't matter if it's a church-arranged meal for the entire congregation, or barbecue and mead at a Viking boat-burning, or a just-close-family post-funeral gathering in the home, or (if the widow wishes it) nothing at all. Nobody has a right to gripe about what is planned, or to expect "what most other folks around here do."
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 09, 2013, 03:20:48 PM
See, I would disagree with "nobody". In this cade, I would ay the children of the deceased.do have some right to complain. I would definitely agree that mosy people have no right to complain.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Thipu1 on June 09, 2013, 03:53:51 PM
I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s in lower New York State.  Our family was very Roman Catholic. 

At the time, the deceased would be waked at home.  Furniture would be moved from the living room.  The coffin would be moved in, flowers were delivered and folding chairs were stacked anywhere they could be for the two days of the wake.    Family members continued to live in the house while all this was going on. 

Family and friends would bring in huge amounts of food.  I remember seeing baked hams and whole, roast turkeys.  There would also be cakes, pies and side dishes of all descriptions. This largesse was intended to help the family living in the house.  It was also intended to feed people who came to the wake. 

The wake usually lasted for two night and an afternoon.  When the wake closed down around 9 in the evening, anyone who was there was invited to partake of refreshments.  The last night of the wake was always a bit manic.  You could expect delegations from any and all of the following:

The Altar and Rosary Society
The Knights of Columbus
The Volunteer Fire Department
The local police department
The Odd Fellow's Lodge

My uncle was a Catholic priest.  He was well liked in his parish and somebody had the brilliant idea to
 send two bus-loads of well-wishers to my Grandfather's wake.  Grandpa was waked at home.  There were serious questions the integrity of the living room floor. 

Although the visitors may not have expected it, the family did feel an obligation to feed these people
at least a little something.  Family and friends anticipated this sort of thing.  That was why they generously provided hams and turkeys.

Around the turn from the 1950s to the 1960s, this sort of wake was recognized as insane.  The wake was moved from the house of the deceased to the funeral home.  Still, the idea of hospitality towards people who came to pay respects persisted.  It now took the form of coffee and cake served by the
funeral home at the end of the evening wake.  It was not unusual for the grieving family to be presented with a silver cake server engraved with the name of the deceased and the date of death. 

After the burial, close relatives and very close friend's would be invited back to the house. Everybody knew that this was to 'eat up what was left' and the get the house back in order. 
   
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Peregrine on June 09, 2013, 04:11:13 PM
See, I would disagree with "nobody". In this cade, I would ay the children of the deceased.do have some right to complain. I would definitely agree that mosy people have no right to complain.

I agree with you to a point Sharnita.  The children do have a right to complain, but I think that the ultimate say lies with whomever pays for the funeral/services (usually the spouse).  If the kids don't like how stepmom does the funeral they are within their rights to pay for and hold their own memorial.  However, if the kids chipped in towards covering the costs, I think they absolutely have a say and should be able to help create a meaningful memorial.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Yvaine on June 09, 2013, 04:29:24 PM
See, I would disagree with "nobody". In this cade, I would ay the children of the deceased.do have some right to complain. I would definitely agree that mosy people have no right to complain.

I agree with you to a point Sharnita.  The children do have a right to complain, but I think that the ultimate say lies with whomever pays for the funeral/services (usually the spouse).  If the kids don't like how stepmom does the funeral they are within their rights to pay for and hold their own memorial.  However, if the kids chipped in towards covering the costs, I think they absolutely have a say and should be able to help create a meaningful memorial.

And then avoid being like those people on the main blog who then billed the wife for the memorial she didn't have anything to do with!
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: *inviteseller on June 09, 2013, 05:46:34 PM
No one else in the family has a say over a widow/widower though.  By law they are the top of the next of kin list and as much as his kids may want to do things differently, they have no say in the actual funeral arrangements.  What they should do is set up their own memorial service for all the people Aunt seems to be snubbing.

But as much as they legally don't have a say, this woman is extremely disrespectful to his children by basically cutting them out and slapping together a half baked funeral just for the fact she wants to get it out of the way (my take on it).  I know my step mother would never do anything without consulting my sister and I because, as much as she is his wife, we are his kids and will be grieving too.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: TootsNYC on June 09, 2013, 07:10:37 PM
See, I would disagree with "nobody". In this cade, I would ay the children of the deceased.do have some right to complain. I would definitely agree that mosy people have no right to complain.

But again--nobody is STOPPING them from arranging something of their own, or getting together with the aunts & uncles from their FATHER's side of the marriage. And if they enter into this knowing that there isn't going to be an "official" meal hosted by "the widow," then they have room to do this.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: WillyNilly on June 09, 2013, 07:19:18 PM
when my father passes, my stepmother will of course be his next of kin. But I would be right there with her, helping her with all the arrangements. I wouldn't dare presume I should just sit back and let her shoulder all the burden and expect my concerns to be taken into account. It seems like the aunt/widow in this case was doing it all alone - where were the kids? So maybe part of her not wanting to include them is because she feels they haven't been involved.

This might even extend beyond just the funeral arrangements. Yesterday I was out with a friend who is a second wife. Her husband's kids were in their late teens/early twenties when she married him and they lived with their mom, so she never really "mothered" them (whether that relevant or not). Anyway yesterday she was lamenting how 2 of the three have not gotten back to her about Father's Day dinner, which she is is organizing and will pay for. She's organizing it because last year they didn't even bother to call their dad. On Mother's Day each year though they post all sorts of "Best mom ever!" comments and photos on Facebook. And they don't even call their dad... unless they want money of course. Or a new car. Or a place to crash in NYC (they live regionally but not in the city).

So maybe this widow feels the kids were never very interested in socializing when their dad was alive, why should she make an effort to ease their social mourning time now that he's gone?

Edited: because I left out a few words.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 09, 2013, 07:28:05 PM
See, I would disagree with "nobody". In this cade, I would ay the children of the deceased.do have some right to complain. I would definitely agree that mosy people have no right to complain.

But again--nobody is STOPPING them from arranging something of their own, or getting together with the aunts & uncles from their FATHER's side of the marriage. And if they enter into this knowing that there isn't going to be an "official" meal hosted by "the widow," then they have room to do this.

I don't know that the church does it after they have also done a service for Stepmother and the offer to do a dinnder for her has been declined.  So the dinner has been offered to the family, she has declined, I don't know that realistically they can do this on their own.  So I would say that her refusal of the church's offer is stopping them.  It has been offered once and refused. 
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: *inviteseller on June 09, 2013, 07:48:19 PM
The fact the woman is admitting she knows she is wrong and is doing it this way so she does not have to be around her husbands kids and their families and friends is what bothers me.  What is she hoping to accomplish by acting like this.  She doesn't have to pay for a restaurant because the church will do it, but she is setting up a meal in a restaurant simply to avoid her husbands family.  Who is paying for this meal at the restaurant?
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: TootsNYC on June 09, 2013, 08:44:32 PM
See, I would disagree with "nobody". In this cade, I would ay the children of the deceased.do have some right to complain. I would definitely agree that mosy people have no right to complain.

But again--nobody is STOPPING them from arranging something of their own, or getting together with the aunts & uncles from their FATHER's side of the marriage. And if they enter into this knowing that there isn't going to be an "official" meal hosted by "the widow," then they have room to do this.

I don't know that the church does it after they have also done a service for Stepmother and the offer to do a dinnder for her has been declined.  So the dinner has been offered to the family, she has declined, I don't know that realistically they can do this on their own.  So I would say that her refusal of the church's offer is stopping them.  It has been offered once and refused.

She is still not STOPPING THEM from going to a restaurant on their own. She just isn't. They know that there is no large, official gathering. if they *want* a gathering, they also know that everyone they'd want to surround themselves with is in all probability free.

They can get off their butts and arrange something.

Maybe they won't know how to arrange something that lots of peripheral people can come to, but they sure as heck can get together as siblings, or with their father's sister, etc.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Figgie on June 09, 2013, 09:45:17 PM
Well, my husband's uncle (brother of the widow) called my husband to ask him if there was anything he could think of to do to get his sister/my husband's aunt to change what she is doing.  Of course, there truly isn't anything my spouse can do are say, as she is as stubborn as the day is long.  :)

Her stepchildren all seem to be decent people.  The three youngest were 14, 12 and 11 when she married their father and so she was quite involved in raising them.  As far as we have known, there is no issue with the stepchildren treating her badly (she has never complained and she would have if she felt at all disrespected).

Her brother thinks that she is so obsessed with having a full choir sing at the service that nothing else appears to matter to her.  I expect that he probably knows his sister and is correct about what is going on with her.

My spouse doesn't believe that she is acting this way because she is grieving...her behavior is pretty typical of the kind of person that she is, which is extremely self-centered.  I really think that it just doesn't cross her mind that her choices are impacting people other than herself.  She just doesn't really think about other people and never really has.

My husband has decided that we aren't going to stay for the graveside service, which will be after dark.  We will be driving a total of five hours round trip and this will just be too late for us with a 2 1/2 hour drive home.  So, we won't be going to the restaurant after the graveside service, as we are heading home right after the funeral instead.

I'm kind of glad, because to be honest, being in a cemetery after dark sort of creeps me out.  :)

Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: kareng57 on June 09, 2013, 10:06:01 PM
One thing that really strikes me about so many of these stories about meals is the repeated mention of church. I know very few people who actually attend church regularly. Seriously I would estimate less then 15% of all the people I know (friends, co-workers, neighbors) seem to attend church other then for holidays or big events (or temple, or other religious house). So the idea of having a church provide anything is really just not an option for most people I know. Although truth be told even the people who I know who do attend church still don't have the meals... at least not for the general mourners, they might have them for the family or the church community.

A lot of my family who ren't active church members still have their funerals at the kittle church in my town and for a small fee the church group makes sandwiches and sweets. My father's service was held at the local legion and for $200 the legion women's group provided sandwiches and sweets for close to 100 people. I've also seen the after part held at the funeral home or a community centres, but most often its the Legion or the church basement. There is always food though.

After my father' service, I did go out for dinner with friends (after about two hours of greeting people) and pretty much the whole restaurant was made up of small groups who had also been at the funeral (this was adtually uncomfortable for me as I'd wanted to relax with my friends and forget for a little while and people kept coming up to me and talking to me about my dad/the service, however there was only one restaurant in town so it was unavoidable)


My church did that too - when I was a SAHM I would occasionally get calls, about two days ahead of time, about reporting for sandwich-making for a funeral.  They did charge a nominal fee (probably not much more than covering costs, and for all I know it might have been waived completely in some instances) but it was far less than ordering sandwich-trays from an outside caterer.

It really varies around here - I don't think that most folks "expect" refreshments after a funeral/memorial, but it is done fairly often.  The funeral home where we had my Dh's memorial service did have a reception-room, but we opted to take a kind neighbour up on her offer to have the refreshments at her house (I picked up the deli trays and beverages myself).

But even without the background, I'm really not seeing a  A/B list here.  Presumably, the close family members are going to want to eat dinner at some point, no matter what.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: *inviteseller on June 09, 2013, 10:50:08 PM
Yes Toots, there is nothing stopping them from doing their own thing..and I don't think this is a case of lazy people hanging on someones coattails but of the Aunt having something in secret so as not to invite the dead mans own children...that is the rude part.  She is telling her select invitees not to say anything to others, not to spare feelings, but because she is deliberately snubbing the mans own children.  I am a stepchild and my dad is unfortunately dying.  My step mother would NEVER do anything like this !  She will (if I know her) actually be inviting everyone so she could surround herself with those who knew and loved him so we can all tell stories and share some laughs with the tears/  This woman sounds just so nasty that honestly, his kids would be better off making their own celebration of their father's life without her.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Curious Cat on June 09, 2013, 11:07:31 PM
Oh, in the midwest people frequently drive to the cemetary (could be 10 or 15 miles away) then drive back to the church.

We're talking a hour's drive through traffic, though.

10 miles is longer in NYC than it is in the Midwest. I grew up there--I know.

The majority of the population doesn't actually live in NYC, though so I am not sure the experience of those living there is a good yardstick for everyone else.  It doesn't sound like your experiences there are anything like the community where OP/aunt are living.

It seems like threads would be pretty short if the only people who replied had experienced the exact same things as the OP.  I grew up in the suburbs of large NE city and my experience is much closer tootsnyc's than anything you described.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: jedikaiti on June 09, 2013, 11:29:01 PM
One thing that really strikes me about so many of these stories about meals is the repeated mention of church. I know very few people who actually attend church regularly. Seriously I would estimate less then 15% of all the people I know (friends, co-workers, neighbors) seem to attend church other then for holidays or big events (or temple, or other religious house). So the idea of having a church provide anything is really just not an option for most people I know. Although truth be told even the people who I know who do attend church still don't have the meals... at least not for the general mourners, they might have them for the family or the church community.

That's one thing I have noticed as well.

When my (maternal) Grandfather died, I think much of the food for the open house after was provided by (paternal) relatives and other friends... although I am sure my parents probably called down to the local grocery store and gotten some meat & cheese trays (or that type of thing) made up  to be picked up while we were at the serivce. But my Grandpa was not religious, and there was no church service, and certainly no church ladies to provide food.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: baglady on June 10, 2013, 07:04:39 AM
Some of the posts here are reading as if the OP's aunt is excluding her husband's children from the funeral. She isn't. She is just choosing not to spend time with them after the funeral, and she is totally within her rights to do this. She could also choose to go out to eat by herself or with her BFF, or just go home to bed. The stepchildren are adults with their own families and can make their own after-funeral plans -- separately or jointly.

I've never been to a funeral/memorial with the expectation of being fed unless it was announced in advance ("Service at X Church/Y funeral home with buffet reception to follow at Z site"). Sometimes I've gone to a funeral and been invited on the spot to attend a gathering afterward or go out to eat. But unless it's announced beforehand, I make my own meal plans for before or after.

Aunt's plans may be out of the ordinary for her family or community, but they're not rude. JMO.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: TootsNYC on June 10, 2013, 10:06:12 AM
Oh, in the midwest people frequently drive to the cemetary (could be 10 or 15 miles away) then drive back to the church.

We're talking a hour's drive through traffic, though.

10 miles is longer in NYC than it is in the Midwest. I grew up there--I know.

The majority of the population doesn't actually live in NYC, though so I am not sure the experience of those living there is a good yardstick for everyone else.  It doesn't sound like your experiences there are anything like the community where OP/aunt are living.

It seems like threads would be pretty short if the only people who replied had experienced the exact same things as the OP.  I grew up in the suburbs of large NE city and my experience is much closer tootsnyc's than anything you described.

yeah, I'm not sure ANY region's experience is a good yardstick for anywhere else.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: mime on June 10, 2013, 02:44:25 PM
One thing that really strikes me about so many of these stories about meals is the repeated mention of church. I know very few people who actually attend church regularly. Seriously I would estimate less then 15% of all the people I know (friends, co-workers, neighbors) seem to attend church other then for holidays or big events (or temple, or other religious house). So the idea of having a church provide anything is really just not an option for most people I know. Although truth be told even the people who I know who do attend church still don't have the meals... at least not for the general mourners, they might have them for the family or the church community.

A lot of my family who ren't active church members still have their funerals at the kittle church in my town and for a small fee the church group makes sandwiches and sweets. My father's service was held at the local legion and for $200 the legion women's group provided sandwiches and sweets for close to 100 people. I've also seen the after part held at the funeral home or a community centres, but most often its the Legion or the church basement. There is always food though.

...


My church did that too - when I was a SAHM I would occasionally get calls, about two days ahead of time, about reporting for sandwich-making for a funeral.  They did charge a nominal fee (probably not much more than covering costs, and for all I know it might have been waived completely in some instances) but it was far less than ordering sandwich-trays from an outside caterer.

...

The same is true of many churches around here. My childhood church (and others nearby) never turn down a request for a funeral, regardless of church attendance or membership. There is never a charge. They always provide a meal. This is a way they feel like they can serve the people in the community around them.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: WillyNilly on June 10, 2013, 03:02:32 PM
One thing that really strikes me about so many of these stories about meals is the repeated mention of church. I know very few people who actually attend church regularly. Seriously I would estimate less then 15% of all the people I know (friends, co-workers, neighbors) seem to attend church other then for holidays or big events (or temple, or other religious house). So the idea of having a church provide anything is really just not an option for most people I know. Although truth be told even the people who I know who do attend church still don't have the meals... at least not for the general mourners, they might have them for the family or the church community.

A lot of my family who ren't active church members still have their funerals at the kittle church in my town and for a small fee the church group makes sandwiches and sweets. My father's service was held at the local legion and for $200 the legion women's group provided sandwiches and sweets for close to 100 people. I've also seen the after part held at the funeral home or a community centres, but most often its the Legion or the church basement. There is always food though.

...


My church did that too - when I was a SAHM I would occasionally get calls, about two days ahead of time, about reporting for sandwich-making for a funeral.  They did charge a nominal fee (probably not much more than covering costs, and for all I know it might have been waived completely in some instances) but it was far less than ordering sandwich-trays from an outside caterer.

...

The same is true of many churches around here. My childhood church (and others nearby) never turn down a request for a funeral, regardless of church attendance or membership. There is never a charge. They always provide a meal. This is a way they feel like they can serve the people in the community around them.


My point is, many of the funerals don't even have religious services or if they do they are held at the funeral home not at the church (and in my state at least it is illegal for there to be food of any nature served or consumed to any non-employee within a funeral home). How would the church even know someone died and/or if they did because something was said at the wake how would they get people over to the church to eat the food?

For people not affiliated with organized religion saying "churches do this" its like saying to the average person "oh your local nuclear physicists union handles it" - its just something many people have absolutely no connection whatsoever to.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Mammavan3 on June 10, 2013, 03:20:32 PM
Oh, in the midwest people frequently drive to the cemetary (could be 10 or 15 miles away) then drive back to the church.

We're talking a hour's drive through traffic, though.

10 miles is longer in NYC than it is in the Midwest. I grew up there--I know.

The majority of the population doesn't actually live in NYC, though so I am not sure the experience of those living there is a good yardstick for everyone else.  It doesn't sound like your experiences there are anything like the community where OP/aunt are living.

It seems like threads would be pretty short if the only people who replied had experienced the exact same things as the OP.  I grew up in the suburbs of large NE city and my experience is much closer tootsnyc's than anything you described.

yeah, I'm not sure ANY region's experience is a good yardstick for anywhere else.

But it is a good yardstick as to how things are done in that area, and the not-very-bereaved widow is definitely and deliberately choosing to do something that is contrary to the norms in HER area and is, if not rude, at least inconsiderate and unfeeling.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 10, 2013, 03:43:57 PM
More to the point, the church has offered this in conjuncture with this service and she has rejejected the meal the kids would like because she doesn't want to be sround these people when she might just as easily accept and excuse herself. Wouldn't cost hrr a darn thing snd the rest of the family could have the fellowship and support they desire.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: NyaChan on June 10, 2013, 03:47:48 PM
More to the point, the church has offered this in conjuncture with this service and she has rejejected the meal the kids would like because she doesn't want to be sround these people when she might just as easily accept and excuse herself. Wouldn't cost hrr a darn thing snd the rest of the family could have the fellowship and support they desire.

But it isn't the kids' church, it is her church.  If she accepts, won't they expect her to be there?
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Figgie on June 10, 2013, 04:30:20 PM
The church is the church that all of the children grew up going to and three of them (and their families) are still members.  So yes, they could have the meal there after the service but my husband's aunt doesn't want to do it that way.

She isn't a malicious woman...there isn't an ounce of malice in the decisions she is making.  She is just a profoundly self-centered person and really isn't capable of putting herself in her stepchildren's shoes and seeing how painful the loss of their father is for them and how she is making things more difficult for them. 

I don't know how to explain it...if it isn't about her, it doesn't really exist.  She is just always right and everyone else is wrong or they misunderstood. 

And details about when and where the funeral is going to be have been changed because I really don't want anyone possibly knowing that I posted about it.  While I doubt if my husband's aunt would be on Ehell (she knows everything about everything after all)  :), I wouldn't want to hurt any of the stepchildren.  I will update later this week after the funeral is over.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: NyaChan on June 10, 2013, 04:33:13 PM
The church is the church that all of the children grew up going to and three of them (and their families) are still members.  So yes, they could have the meal there after the service but my husband's aunt doesn't want to do it that way.

She isn't a malicious woman...there isn't an ounce of malice in the decisions she is making.  She is just a profoundly self-centered person and really isn't capable of putting herself in her stepchildren's shoes and seeing how painful the loss of their father is for them and how she is making things more difficult for them. 

I don't know how to explain it...if it isn't about her, it doesn't really exist.  She is just always right and everyone else is wrong or they misunderstood. 

And details about when and where the funeral is going to be have been changed because I really don't want anyone possibly knowing that I posted about it.  While I doubt if my husband's aunt would be on Ehell (she knows everything about everything after all)  :), I wouldn't want to hurt any of the stepchildren.  I will update later this week after the funeral is over.

I thought the children were from out of state.  If they are members of the church then don't they have the same right to the church benefits of post-funeral food?  Why can't the children arrange this with the church? 
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Figgie on June 10, 2013, 04:35:28 PM
NyaChan, the widow and only the widow is the one who makes the decisions about the funeral.  The stepchildren have no say in this at all.  So, my husband's aunt will have chosen the time, place, music, readings and everything else related to the funeral.  Since she doesn't want to have a meal at the church after the service, there will be no meal.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: NyaChan on June 10, 2013, 04:37:21 PM
NyaChan, the widow and only the widow is the one who makes the decisions about the funeral.  The stepchildren have no say in this at all.  So, my husband's aunt will have chosen the time, place, music, readings and everything else related to the funeral.  Since she doesn't want to have a meal at the church after the service, there will be no meal.

Ah I see, it didn't occur to me that the widow's exclusive rights in general would be the same as the church rules.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Minmom3 on June 10, 2013, 04:55:40 PM
Some of the posts here are reading as if the OP's aunt is excluding her husband's children from the funeral. She isn't. She is just choosing not to spend time with them after the funeral, and she is totally within her rights to do this. She could also choose to go out to eat by herself or with her BFF, or just go home to bed. The stepchildren are adults with their own families and can make their own after-funeral plans -- separately or jointly.

I've never been to a funeral/memorial with the expectation of being fed unless it was announced in advance ("Service at X Church/Y funeral home with buffet reception to follow at Z site"). Sometimes I've gone to a funeral and been invited on the spot to attend a gathering afterward or go out to eat. But unless it's announced beforehand, I make my own meal plans for before or after.

Aunt's plans may be out of the ordinary for her family or community, but they're not rude. JMO.

But it reads to me as if Aunt is ONLY not having a meal after so she can avoid her stepkids.  I think THAT is rude.  Granted, we don't know the relationship between the widow and the step kids, but OP hasn't said they had a cantankerous relationship, just that Aunt is deliberately and purposefully avoiding them after the funeral.  IMO, that is rude, and hurtful and mean.  If the kids didn't care that she's purposefully avoiding them, would the OP have even posted about this?  I think probably she wouldn't.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: TootsNYC on June 10, 2013, 05:19:03 PM
NyaChan, the widow and only the widow is the one who makes the decisions about the funeral.  The stepchildren have no say in this at all.  So, my husband's aunt will have chosen the time, place, music, readings and everything else related to the funeral.  Since she doesn't want to have a meal at the church after the service, there will be no meal.

Ah I see, it didn't occur to me that the widow's exclusive rights in general would be the same as the church rules.

It's less that and more simply that the church needs to have only ONE person to deal with, and they'll follow the lead of the widow.

If the kids had called up and said, "Stepmom doesn't want to bother w/ a dinner, but we'd like one because we know many people would come, would you do it?" they might be quite willing to.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: baglady on June 10, 2013, 07:27:24 PM
NyaChan, the widow and only the widow is the one who makes the decisions about the funeral.  The stepchildren have no say in this at all.  So, my husband's aunt will have chosen the time, place, music, readings and everything else related to the funeral.  Since she doesn't want to have a meal at the church after the service, there will be no meal.

Ah I see, it didn't occur to me that the widow's exclusive rights in general would be the same as the church rules.

It's less that and more simply that the church needs to have only ONE person to deal with, and they'll follow the lead of the widow.

If the kids had called up and said, "Stepmom doesn't want to bother w/ a dinner, but we'd like one because we know many people would come, would you do it?" they might be quite willing to.

I'd like to think this is a possibility, but I'm guessing not. I'm picturing the pastor, or whoever's in charge of putting on post-funeral dinners, backing away in near-panic at the thought of getting involved in a family feud by doing the meal against the widow's wishes. As a general rule, church folk do not like conflict!

Maybe my judgment on this is colored by the fact that I'm from a "funerals do not always come with meals" background, and I've been to a wide variety of funerals/memorials over the years. But I don't see the aunt's decision as mean-spirited. Maybe she's uncomfortable around them because they resent her for replacing their mom. Maybe they have rambunctious children who would be getting on her last nerve. Maybe she's a serious introvert who will have had her fill of being "on" by funeral's end. We don't know.

It would be nice if she could be the bigger person, swallow her distaste for being around the stepkids and include them in the post-funeral meal plans -- whether that meal is at the church, a restaurant or home. But like it or not, one person has the final say on arrangements, and if there is a spouse, that's the person.

I've never been to a funeral or memorial (or lack thereof) where someone wasn't happy with the arrangements. The religious relatives are upset that there was no church service. The atheist friends are annoyed that there *was* a religious service. Some people will be unhappy that there is no reception after the funeral, while others will be displeased to discover there is one, if they weren't expecting it and hadn't budgeted the time for it (this was me at the last funeral I attended).

And I said this upthread, but feel the need to reiterate: This is not the funeral. This is dinner after the funeral. The widow is within her rights to spend the time after the funeral as she chooses. Besides, if she and the stepchildren don't get along, would they really want to spend more time than they have to with her?
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: Sharnita on June 10, 2013, 08:25:40 PM
But once again, she could have pardoned herself while they all had the luncheon.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List
Post by: kareng57 on June 10, 2013, 10:27:46 PM
Oh, in the midwest people frequently drive to the cemetary (could be 10 or 15 miles away) then drive back to the church.

We're talking a hour's drive through traffic, though.

10 miles is longer in NYC than it is in the Midwest. I grew up there--I know.

The majority of the population doesn't actually live in NYC, though so I am not sure the experience of those living there is a good yardstick for everyone else.  It doesn't sound like your experiences there are anything like the community where OP/aunt are living.

It seems like threads would be pretty short if the only people who replied had experienced the exact same things as the OP.  I grew up in the suburbs of large NE city and my experience is much closer tootsnyc's than anything you described.

yeah, I'm not sure ANY region's experience is a good yardstick for anywhere else.


I agree, and I think "region" should encompass more than geographic-region.  Very often, it's also a lot to do with ethnic/religious traditions even within the same neighbourhood.  "That's what's done here" quite often can encompass a very limited experience.
Title: Re: Funeral A/B List (Update Post 107)
Post by: Figgie on June 12, 2013, 01:07:56 PM
The funeral was beautiful.  Full choir and the church was packed with around 400 plus people. 

Wake was kind of a mess with no receiving line and tons of people jammed into a small atrium trying to talk with family members.  The funeral also started late because it was difficult for the funeral directors to get everyone pulled together and moving in the same direction, i.e into the sanctuary of the church.

The head priest (there are five of them attached to this particular Catholic church) made an executive decision to have light refreshments after the service.  This was coffee, water, lemonade and plate after plate after plate of bars and cookies.

We found out about it when we arrived (we were invited to arrive before the wake started to spend time with my husband's aunt).  While she wasn't thrilled, she also wasn't going to argue with a priest who had been so kind, supportive and helpful about the entire process.  An announcement was made by the priest that there had been a change in plans and that the internment would be private, family only and take place on the following day and that there would be refreshments served in (don't remember what they called the room) after the service.

And it turned out that my husband's aunt was too tired to try and get everyone together at a restaurant and it was decided that we will all meet sometime in October when some more distant family members can be present.  She just told those people she had invited about the change in plans when she spoke with them at the visitation prior to the funeral.

So, everything worked out.  :) 

I know that for other areas, regions, religions and cultures, offering food after a funeral is not the norm.  It most definitely is in this particular area and my husband's aunt knew she was being rude by not doing so and said so herself. 

But I am glad I posted, because I learned a great deal about funeral traditions that I didn't know.  Hopefully, this will help me to be more accepting and positive when I go to funerals where the traditions differ from the ones I'm familiar with.  :)

As to the stepchildren...I would guess that at least half if not more of the people who attended were friends or family related to them.  They (stepchildren) were supportive of my husband's aunt and things seem to be okay between all of them as best as we could tell from a distance.

I'm sure after all of the years she's been married to their father, they know how self-centered she is and that she is not a malicious self-centered person, just one who lacks any empathy for others.  They appear to know how to deal with her.  :)

Edited to add missing words!