Author Topic: Regional Funeral Etiquette  (Read 2468 times)

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sparksals

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Regional Funeral Etiquette
« on: March 20, 2013, 08:30:28 PM »
My husband's coworker's spouse passed away the other day at age 42 of a very rare form of cancer.  He left his wife,  two young adult children and one grandchild.   He worked for the same agency, just different department so everyone knew each other.  The funeral is tomorrow.   We are confused about the family request and I'm hoping people here can help. 

A notice was sent through husband's work that the family requests condolences be sent to the church at which the funeral will be held.   I have never heard of this before. 

We were going to mail a card to the widow, but now we are unsure if we should take it to the funeral instead of mailing.  Do they mean instead of sending flowers to the home,  bring them to the church?  Is this a way to politely ask for financial donations?  Is this a way to request no flowers?

Where I come from, people send cards and flowers to the home of the bereaved.  The flowers come for several days before and after the funeral and cards come for a couple weeks after once the news spreads. The obituary usually states a form of 'in lieu of flowers, please donate to X charity'.   Condolences come in many forms like sending cards, flowers, posting condolences on the obituary guestbook, the funeral home website.. etc.

We live in Minnesota, but we are not from here and don't know if this is a cultural/regional custom.    We don't want to do anything wrong, but we don't understand what exactly their request for condolences means.

Can anyone help?


Sharnita

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 08:32:23 PM »
I'm from Michigan but that wording is abt confusing for me too.  Is there anybody from work you could call and ask?

WillyNilly

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 09:08:48 PM »
Huh. I am stumped too. To me it almost makes me wonder if there is a problem with the home somehow - for example I know in NY if you are not declared "in hospice" and you die at home, the police have to come and investigate. Even if its known the deceased had cancer or whatever. Usually its pretty cut & dry, but maybe with a young person and a rare cancer, it would be a bigger investigation and the family wouldn't have access to the home for while. Alternately maybe the house is too upsetting for them to be in (memories, etc).

Otherwise I'd think they meant flowers and donations should be sent to the church, much like a typical "in lieu of flowers, please donate to X charity" request (only since its a church, they are happy to get flowers as well as anything else).

I agree if you can ask someone from the area, or who was close friends with them, or maybe even call the church, that'd be the best way to find out.

Library Dragon

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 09:11:31 PM »
In many funeral homes they have special stands that display all the cards that are sent.  They are placed near the flowers. 

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WillyNilly

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 09:30:22 PM »
In many funeral homes they have special stands that display all the cards that are sent.  They are placed near the flowers.

Maybe its just because I come from a very Catholic area, but I always thought those were specifically for Mass cards, not for regular condolence cards...

Library Dragon

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 09:51:11 PM »
NJC (Not For Catholics  ;) )

We only make up 3% of the state's population.  Up from 2.5% 20 years ago!  Yahoo! 

Sorry, I got sidetracked.  I have seen it at funerals for non-Catholics here. 

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katycoo

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 10:01:12 PM »
I'd call the church for clarification.  I'm sure they won't mind explaining the custom.

Figgie

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2013, 10:07:40 PM »
While I've never heard of the family requesting condolences be sent to the church, it is very common in the rural part of Minnesota (where we live), for all flowers to be sent to the church and/or funeral home.  When flowers are ordered, you just tell the florist the date and place.  It is also very typical for people who attend either the wake, funeral or both, to bring a sympathy card with them and deposit them in a basket next to the book you sign with your name and address.

The only time I ever mail sympathy cards is when I am not going to be attending either the wake or the funeral.  As far as a request for money...that is typically evident in the obituary.  If there is no list of charities, no request to donate to the charity of your choice and the family requests no flowers, that is considered to be like a request for monetary donations to help defray the cost of the funeral. 

Sharnita

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2013, 10:19:26 PM »
You know, I bet if you called the church office they could tell you.

baglady

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2013, 12:41:42 AM »
Could it be that the family wants to keep its address out of the paper? Or the paper itself has a policy of not publishing them? I know many small- to medium-town papers used to routinely include the street address of the deceased in obits, and even the addresses of siblings or grown children if they lived in town. Many of them abandoned that practice because burglars would watch the obits and go rob the home when they knew the occupants would be at the funeral.

In my experience flowers *always* go to the funeral home. Sympathy cards are mailed to the home of the closest survivor, or in some cases, to the survivor the sender was closest to (Example of the latter: If my friend Martha's dad dies, but I never met him or his wife, I'd send the card to Martha, not to her mom.)

It's also my experience that most senders of sympathy cards know, or can easily get, the necessary mailing address. If not, I suppose it would be OK to send cards to "The family of John Doe, in care of Smith Funeral Home." But the general rule around here is, flowers to the funeral home, cards to the family's home, memorial charitable donations directly to the charity (which keeps track and informs the family).

I've never heard of *bringing* a sympathy card to the funeral home. Mass cards, perhaps, but those are actually a gift. A plain old sympathy card isn't necessary if you are delivering your condolences in person.
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kudeebee

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2013, 08:24:19 AM »
In my experience, flowers are  sent to the funeral home.  Then after the funeral they are delivered to the home or nursing homes or some are left at the church--according to the families wishes.

Cards can go either way, some are sent to the home.  Other people will bring the cards to the visitation or the funeral.  Either way is accepted.

I would guess that the family prefers to not have cards sent to the house.  Perhaps they are not staying at the house.  Maybe they do not have a secure mailbox or it is small and they worry that it won't hold all the cards.  Maybe they want to keep all the cards in one place and then deal with them at a later time.  Maybe they don't think they can handle the reminder of the death with cards arriving in the mail each day.

So, if you are ordering flowers, call the flower shop and they will ask for the information.  If you want to send a card, send it to the church or take it with you to visitation/funeral if you are attending.

Luci45

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2013, 08:51:19 AM »
I've never seen condolences sent to the church and am wondering if that is a new way of saying donations to the church.

I would call the funeral home. In my experience, the funeral home writes the obituary and sends it to the chosen newspapers. This is in Illinois (all of it!) and northern Indiana.

Also, when ordering flowers, we just tell the florist whose funeral it is for and they know to send the display to the funeral home or the church. If after the fact, we send a plant to the family home. Although we personally only send flowers to close family. Everyone else gets a donation. Because of my own experiences, I much prefer that.

Redwing

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2013, 08:57:17 AM »
I wonder if the church has a committee that assists the families in keeping track of who sent what and writing thank you notes.  As I mentioned in the other thread, when my dearest friend suffered a horrible loss, her church had a committe that assisted her in writing thank you notes, etc.  Some churchs I am aware of will really step in to help grieving families deal with the nuts and bolts of wake and funeral planning.

oogyda

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2013, 09:11:38 AM »
Does the church provide a luncheon/meal following the service? 

I have experience with a church that actually opens the cards and takes any money (even checks) to put in their "Memorial Fund".  This is the fund that is used to finance meals. 
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Girlie

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Re: Regional Funeral Etiquette
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2013, 03:26:11 PM »
My first thought is that the family is trying to discourage unwanted visitors. My family is not very private about a great many things, but I could understand if they thought that maybe having stuff sent to the church would be less of a disruption than having it all sent to their home.

Of course, we'll probably do something if anyone in my immediate family dies, because we have problems with my extended family; ie. they are known to cause problems, and we want to do everything possible to discourage them from coming to our family home. It would not be beneath some of them to just decide to take something as a "memento."