Author Topic: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)  (Read 4545 times)

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Adelaide

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Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« on: December 29, 2011, 01:41:49 AM »
When a cousin of mine passed away, the visitation was a rather large one-he had several friends and family members show up. His death was a shock, especially since he was 35 at the time. When one walks into the funeral home, there is a large foyer with double doors leading to the main area. At my cousin's visitation, his three sisters (all in their early 20's) were positioned in the foyer-in order to walk into the main area, one had to pass directly by them. I assume their mother had strategically placed them there in order to speak to people. However, there was one problem: they were completely and utterly inconsolable. They were wailing, blowing their noses, and crying so loudly and so hard that none of them could even speak and were pretty much inconsolable the entire time. I don't begrudge them their grief at all, but only bring this up because I would like to know what to do when I am in that situation. Is it better to leave or to stay if you can't control your grief at the funeral or visitation of someone very close to you?

Shopaholic

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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2011, 03:52:51 AM »
I think it's a completely personal decision, depending on how important it is to you to be at the visitation/funeral.
No one decent will call you out for grieving at a funeral. Grief is an immensely personal thing.

That said, I think in your example the sisters should have been escorted inside the funeral home, as it must have been very hard on them to stand there at the entrance.I really doubt they were aware of their surroundings based on your description of their grief, but I think it would have been charitable of a family member to relieve them of their assumed duties, they were obviously in no shape to speak to people.

cicero

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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2011, 04:15:02 AM »
i wouldn't think twice if the sisters of the deceased were inconsolable at the funeral/visitation. of course they were going to be sad and in shock. in fact, i wouldn't think twice about anyone who cried at  a funeral - i always cry at funerals

in this case, the three sisters shouldn't have been given the task of "greeters" as they were not up to it.


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Bijou

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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2011, 06:39:28 AM »
I agree with Cicero.  Grieving is expected at a funeral.  I don't know why anyone would think otherwise.  Having them to greet the people was not a good idea, but maybe the family thought they must have greeters and had no other choice.  I thought the funeral director is the one who would be doing the greeting, while the family is in the family room, alone. 
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JoyinVirginia

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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2011, 08:07:01 AM »
I agree with Cicero.  Grieving is expected at a funeral.  I don't know why anyone would think otherwise.  Having them to greet the people was not a good idea, but maybe the family thought they must have greeters and had no other choice.  I thought the funeral director is the one who would be doing the greeting, while the family is in the family room, alone.
I agree with this, usually a funeral home staff member would direct mourners to the visitation room. The mourning close family members should be sitting comfortably and visitors should come to them.

Sharnita

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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2011, 08:07:55 AM »
I actually think some of this is cultural.  Different cultures have different apporaches to expressing emotions be they love, anger or grief.  What one group finds acceptable or even expected might not be appropriate for another group.

I don't think there is any problem feeling grief that deeply or even expressing it.  However, if that is not the norm for your cultural group then they shouldn't be the greeters and maybe shouldn't even be interacting with visitors.

FWIW, I have seen crying and then I have seen throw-yourself-on the-casket. collapsing, shouting out your grief.  I don't know where these poor young woman fell on the spectrum and I am not saying any one style is right but if you are used tp more subdued expressions of grief the more overt approach might add to the emotional turmoil.  I imagine that if you are not used to the subdued that you might be distressed to think nobody seems terribly upset.

Kitty Hawk

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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2011, 08:22:37 AM »
We don't know for certain that the sisters were there as greeters.  The OP said she only "assumed" so.

Perhaps they felt uncomfortable being in the main room and moved to the foyer to be away from the crowd.

penelope2017

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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2011, 09:17:06 AM »
To me this is what's appropriate in the current situation.

People cry at funerals/visitations. Often visitations are the first slap of reality that your loved one has died. It can shock you into your grief and your reaction might surprise you. My brother is 35. I have two sisters. I can assure you we'd be inconsolable as well. You certainly shouldn't stay home from a funeral or visitation, or remove yourself, if you're going to cry. Some people cry quietly, some don't. People shouldn't be looked at as inappropriate expressing grief at a memorial event.

At the mall? The office? A friend's Christmas party? Crying uncontrollably isn't appropriate.

Searcher

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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2011, 09:21:43 AM »
At funerals, wakes, memorial services, IMO crying is/can be the norm. 

In other situations, no, crying would not be appropriate.

But I hate to judge people who are grieving openly for it.  Some people are mostly "stiff upper lip" types who've been keeping it solemn and bearing up until that point, but then lose it because they've been holding it in up to now and they need to finally let it go-even in public.  To criticize such people, if that's what's going on, just adds to the pain and suffering they're undergoing.  You never know.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2011, 09:24:23 AM »
We don't know for certain that the sisters were there as greeters.  The OP said she only "assumed" so.

Perhaps they felt uncomfortable being in the main room and moved to the foyer to be away from the crowd.

This.

I refused to go into the actual funeral home for the first few hours of my father's visitation.  I didn't want to go anywhere near that casket; I was not ready to see him like that yet.  I sat in the "foyer" of sorts until I was ready, and I cried while I was out there. 
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2011, 11:22:56 AM »
I agree with Kitty Hawk and Dark Magdalena about the possible reasons for the sisters to be where they were.  There is nothing wrong with expressing your grief.

If I knew the sisters well, I'd probably give them each a little hug, hand them some more kleenex and move on.  No point in trying to make conversation if they aren't up to it.  I recently attended the funeral of my best friend's mother.  We are both cryers, especially if one of us is already crying.  So I did my best with the stiff upper lip to keep my BFF from crying, since there were a lot of people who wanted to speak to her.
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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2011, 08:08:21 PM »
I think this issue is cultural/family oriented. If it were my family and my brother's funeral, my parents are pretty stoic people so open displays of grief would distress them and the inconsolable person would probably be better stepping out till they could calm down. OTOH, a friend's family would think nothing of it.
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Danismom

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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2011, 09:05:57 PM »
In my area, the inconsolable sisters might have been escorted to the door as a way of helping them "get some air".  Of course, someone should have been there to comfort them as well as greet the incoming guests or at least ease the discomfort.  With the deaths in my family, we haven't had "greeters" at the funeral home but I guess in some regions/areas that would be normal.

kareng57

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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2011, 09:14:50 PM »
In my area, the inconsolable sisters might have been escorted to the door as a way of helping them "get some air".  Of course, someone should have been there to comfort them as well as greet the incoming guests or at least ease the discomfort.  With the deaths in my family, we haven't had "greeters" at the funeral home but I guess in some regions/areas that would be normal.


I agree that in a case like this, the tact/discretion of the funeral director(s) should be relied upon.  Perhaps he/she could gently guide them into an ante-room for a little while.  Of course, everyone expects sadness/tears from the bereaved - but near-collapsing, terribly vocal grief is different, and might make visitors wonder uncomfortably about what they are supposed to do.

Viewings/visitations aren't common where I am, but I too thought that the "greeters" would be funeral-home staff, and that the family would be sitting quietly near the casket.

Ceallach

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Re: Visitation/Funeral Etiquette (crying)
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2011, 09:25:30 PM »
Crying openly is 100% ok in this context.  Having said that, it is odd that they stand in the doorway, and somebody could have gently taken them to a seat or similar if they seemed to be inconsolable.   (To me, inconsolable means so distraught as to be barely able to stand and function, not just weeping constantly).

On the other hand, if they were standing there crying but were still greeting people that's ok IMHO - seeing their loved ones was no doubt important to them at that moment.  When one is grieving, the support of their friends and family is a wonderful thing, and being right there to gather those condolences as they arrive is fine if that's what they're comfortable doing.
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