Author Topic: Viewing etiquette  (Read 3462 times)

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Yvaine

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2013, 11:09:31 AM »
Ah.  I've never been at a viewing where part of the "viewing" process includes a receiving line.  My interpretation is that they all went together to pay their respects to the deceased, and then left the line.

Where are you?

I've never been to a viewing without a receiving line. I'm in the central US.

In the cultures I am associated with, the viewing is for the living to gain comfort and closure. All the dead need are prayers, if that. The immediate family stays during the entire viewing, and sometimes used to stay all night, though I haven't seen that for many, many years. (I've never done that.)

I even went to one where the deceased was not back from the crematorium yet, so there was just his picture and his family. (Along with a few hundred mourners - he was a teacher in the large community for his entire career and very active in other community programs.)


Midwest :)

People who come to viewings obviously do talk to the next of kin and give condolences, but it's not necessarily right after the last respects are made.  In fact, I've never been to a viewing that had a real line.  People just go up to the casket and next of kin when they're available.

Yes, this. This is what has happened when I've been to viewings too. The bereaved don't stand up by the casket having a receiving line--they generally go up to the casket at whatever time they're inspired to do so, and the rest of the time are seated or mingling with the crowd. Occasionally if a lot of people arrive at the viewing at once, an impromptu line will start for viewing the deceased, but the deceased's nearest and dearest aren't standing up there with the casket. They are in the crowd and people will generally go speak to them either before or after seeing the casket, but not in the same fell swoop.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2013, 01:05:06 PM »
I've seen so many different methods of viewings.

I've been to ones where the family is in a receiving line in a lobby area and you pay your last respects after you go through the receiving line and there really is no additional space to visit with others.
I've been to ones where a couple of family members stand in a lobby area to great mourners coming to pay respects and other family members stand near the casket.
I've been to ones where you first went to pay last respects and then you went into a room where the family was greating mourners.
At the funeral home used for my parent's funerals, they always had a gathering room where the family met with those coming to pay respects but the the casket was in a separate alcove area where people could go to pay last respects privately and then rejoin the group in the gathering room. 

In this instance I would not have blinked an eye at someone joining a group further up in the receiving line. 

jpcher

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2013, 01:14:55 PM »
This is a different situation from a line in a store or show.

You need to be with family.

I have been to lots of funerals that had lines and didn't think anything about it when others joined people ahead of me when there was an obvious reason for getting ahead of me.

A sad situation like that is not a time for childish drama. It is a time for grace and compassion and understanding.

This.

Double This.



camlan

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2013, 01:47:21 PM »
The last wake I went to, the line went up to the casket, where you could kneel to say a prayer, and then the deceased's 13 children were in line, from youngest to oldest. So, a definite receiving line. And they were all pretty much there the whole time, except for bathroom breaks. They had been hoping to take turns, and possibly run out for food, but the crowds of people coming simply prevented that.

Actually, that wake is a good example for this thread. Most of the people coming knew some of the kids, but not all of the kids. So they'd just shake hands and exchange a few words with most of the family, but maybe stop for a few minutes with the person they knew the best. And the two oldest brothers are priests and therefore pretty well known in the community and a lot of their parishioners, who had never met their father, came to pay respects, so there was a constant tie-up at the end of the line. So the line stopped occasionally, and sometimes flowed around one member of the family who was deep in conversation with a close friend. One person "line-jumping" to join a group further ahead in line really would not have made a difference in how long it took any one person to get through the line.
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Sharnita

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2013, 02:00:03 PM »
But really, with any line, one one person moves up to join family or close friends they happen to see what is to say that the same situation wouldn't present itself to others in line over the next few hours? They all kbow the deceaseased or somebody who loved the deceased so chances of knowing somebody else in line seem pretty high.

audrey1962

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2013, 02:14:56 PM »
In fact, I've never been to a viewing that had a real line.  People just go up to the casket and next of kin when they're available.

This has been my experience as well. I am in metro Detroit.

ETA: Perhaps that's why, of the funerals I attend, the visitation is scheduled from 1-8 pm or some other very long chunk of time.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 02:18:59 PM by audrey1962 »

mindicherry

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2013, 10:34:33 PM »
I'm not certain what you are saying. Did you join the line farther up and thus "push ahead"? If so, then yes, I think you were rude. You forced everyone behind them (but ahead of your original position) to be put back one space in line. To me, that's rude.

If, however, you just went to greet them and then returned to your regular place, no problem. I would probably have said, in a slightly loud voice to reassure the people behind them, "I'm just visiting, not getting in line."
No!

When my BIL died, or any of my grandparents died...I am sorry - but I am not going to stand in line behind people who knew him from the VA or went to college with them.

Funeral "cuts" aren't "cuts".  They just are what they are.

Now - if you want to get in to an argument over "I was his BFF freshman year" vs "I was his Best Man at his wedding"..have at it.  But family always comes first at a funeral...no matter how long the line is!

ETA:  Yes - I know someone is going to bring up the "toxic uncle who hasn't spoken to anyone in 17 years and just doesn't want to wait in line...that doesn't apply here!"
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 10:36:59 PM by mindicherry »

Sharnita

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2013, 10:37:21 PM »
I'm not certain what you are saying. Did you join the line farther up and thus "push ahead"? If so, then yes, I think you were rude. You forced everyone behind them (but ahead of your original position) to be put back one space in line. To me, that's rude.

If, however, you just went to greet them and then returned to your regular place, no problem. I would probably have said, in a slightly loud voice to reassure the people behind them, "I'm just visiting, not getting in line."
No!

When my BIL died, or any of my grandparents died...I am sorry - but I am not going to stand in line behind people who knew him from the VA or went to college with them.

Funeral "cuts" aren't "cuts".  They just are what they are.

Now - if you want to get in to an argument over "I was his BFF freshman year" vs "I was his Best Man at his wedding"..have at it.  But family always comes first at a funeral...no matter how long the line is!

When your BIL or Granparent dies I would hope you are there helping recieve, not just doing a quick walk by.

mindicherry

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2013, 10:43:32 PM »
I'm not certain what you are saying. Did you join the line farther up and thus "push ahead"? If so, then yes, I think you were rude. You forced everyone behind them (but ahead of your original position) to be put back one space in line. To me, that's rude.

If, however, you just went to greet them and then returned to your regular place, no problem. I would probably have said, in a slightly loud voice to reassure the people behind them, "I'm just visiting, not getting in line."
No!

When my BIL died, or any of my grandparents died...I am sorry - but I am not going to stand in line behind people who knew him from the VA or went to college with them.

Funeral "cuts" aren't "cuts".  They just are what they are.

Now - if you want to get in to an argument over "I was his BFF freshman year" vs "I was his Best Man at his wedding"..have at it.  But family always comes first at a funeral...no matter how long the line is!

When your BIL or Granparent dies I would hope you are there helping recieve, not just doing a quick walk by.
when your grandparent was 1 of 8 with 42 grandchildren and your BIL was 1 of 12 with (who-knows-how-many) immediate relatices, the receiving line can become ridiculous.

Of course, in those situations, the receiving line just becomes spouse, parents and children.

(But thanks for your insight in to my proper role when a loved one dies)

« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 01:23:54 AM by mindicherry »

Sharnita

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2013, 08:17:01 AM »
Well, since you feel free to use your family as the standard for all of society...

ettiquit

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2013, 09:02:51 AM »
When a cousin of mine died at a very young age, I remember how uncomfortable I felt at the funeral because I was sitting in the row in front of his mother.  He and his mother were estranged, but I was not at all close to this cousin (great kid, we just didn't spend much time together).  I see both sides to the above argument.  I was technically closer and had a better relationship to my cousin than his mother did, but it was his mother

I don't think there's any rational way to order a viewing line by order of importance, and I'm not sure there's any point with being upset about your place in line.  It's about paying last respects and consoling the ones closest to the deceased, not a popularity contest.

bopper

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2013, 09:09:54 AM »
I disagree with the "you need to be with family".  In the case of a death a significant portion of the people in line are family of somebody or another, in one way or another. Now, if somebody is really distraught and needs support from people who are divided by the line, the appropariate way to handle it would be for the people ahead to go back to join their loved ones.  That would give people their supporrt system without further delaying anybody who has  been waiting patiently.

As far as very close family, I would expect them to stay for a more extended period of time so they would maybe go in, sit down, wait until there was a lull, comfort others, etc.

So you are the Grandma of the deceased.. Your granddaughter was killed in a drunk driving accident and there is 100 people in line waiting to pay their respects (not a receiving line, but a line to see the coffin).  You are supposed to get in the back of the line, and not go directly in and console your niece (mother of the deceased)?  Or the mother of the deceased should go to the back of the line and wait with you?
I beg to differ.

Sharnita

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2013, 09:15:40 AM »
I think that with anything people in line wait patiently but also expect a line to function the way any line functions. They might have worked a full day and after leaving the funeral home they need to go home, cook supper, do laundry, etc.  They have been in line and it is long but after  15 minutes they are finally getting kinda close. Then somebody who just arrived recognizes their cousin further ahead in line and cuts. Somebody else cuts to join a coworker. There are more polite options to talk or get family support.

squeakers

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #28 on: January 04, 2013, 09:19:18 AM »
I disagree with the "you need to be with family".  In the case of a death a significant portion of the people in line are family of somebody or another, in one way or another. Now, if somebody is really distraught and needs support from people who are divided by the line, the appropariate way to handle it would be for the people ahead to go back to join their loved ones.  That would give people their supporrt system without further delaying anybody who has  been waiting patiently.

As far as very close family, I would expect them to stay for a more extended period of time so they would maybe go in, sit down, wait until there was a lull, comfort others, etc.

So you are the Grandma of the deceased.. Your granddaughter was killed in a drunk driving accident and there is 100 people in line waiting to pay their respects (not a receiving line, but a line to see the coffin).  You are supposed to get in the back of the line, and not go directly in and console your niece (mother of the deceased)?  Or the mother of the deceased should go to the back of the line and wait with you?
I beg to differ.

Typically those who are that close to the family are at the head of the line receiving people.  (The last 2 viewings I was at went Receivers and then coffin.)

When my BIL passed away we got in line.  The man helped raise me but I wasn't his wife, his son or a grandchild.

When my Uncle-in-law died we got in line even though he was also my husband's God father.

In the lines for both were other relatives, family friends who had known the deceased longer than I have been alive and co-workers/friends/neighbors.

The line is there not to say who is closest or most dear to the deceased but to provide some order in a chaotic and painful moment.
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Sharnita

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Re: Viewing etiquette
« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2013, 10:29:48 AM »
Exactly - I don't really get quoting a post where I speciffically mention close family being part of the receiving line and concluding that I am talking about Grandma at the back of the line.  I would think that Grandma would help recieve - either standing with bereaved parents or sitting on the couch they provide if she can't stand.  And as far as the mother, or even grandma - the people who are receiving/welcoming/whatever term you use generally arrive before the gneral public and certainly come in to make arrangments and check on the set up before the official "opening" for lack of a better word.  The have an opportunity to do that privately without 100 other people around.