Author Topic: Funeral A/B List (Update Post 107)  (Read 10468 times)

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Yvaine

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2013, 07:23:38 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?

Sharnita

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2013, 07:29:24 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.

doodlemor

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2013, 07:31:04 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.

Yvaine

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #33 on: June 07, 2013, 07:31:13 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.

Mammavan3

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2013, 07:35:24 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.

citadelle

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2013, 07:46:19 PM »
Here in the Midwest, the church will put up a meal after the service. It is provided and served by church families.

lakey

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2013, 08:05:15 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.

Figgie

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2013, 08:33:44 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.  :)
« Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 08:40:31 PM by Figgie »

Sharnita

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #38 on: June 07, 2013, 08:40:48 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.

Figgie

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #39 on: June 07, 2013, 08:49:29 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. :)

*inviteseller

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #40 on: June 07, 2013, 08:51:00 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.

Twik

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #41 on: June 07, 2013, 09:42:25 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."
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sammycat

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #42 on: June 07, 2013, 09:51:03 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.

*inviteseller

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #43 on: June 07, 2013, 10:00:09 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.

Sharnita

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #44 on: June 07, 2013, 10:03:55 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?"