Author Topic: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake? Update p79  (Read 10262 times)

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Elfmama

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #45 on: November 24, 2013, 03:32:59 PM »
My family can do whatever they want after I'm dead, but I really don't want them to spend a ton of money. They can have a funeral, or they can have a cremation and nothing else. But I plan to haunt them if they shell out a massive amount of money over my dead body. If I were to give those instructions, it wouldn't mean, "Don't do anything to remember me." It would mean, "Don't spend half of the life insurance payout on my stupid coffin."

I'm much the same way. I know I want to be cremated and told my DH "no viewings, there's no point in spending the money on a casket if I'm not going to be buried in it!" Besides that, it's really up to him just what they do to remember me.
I think in that case one can rent a fancy casket.  MIL's was one of the fancy enameled metal ones, not wood, the kind that runs in the mid-four-figures.  We left the mausoleum before they put her in the niche, but I'm assuming that the casket went in there too. 

I don't want to be embalmed, personally.  It's a waste of money if I'm just going to be cremated in a day or so.  Ditto with the fancy casket.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 03:39:26 PM by Elfmama »
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nolechica

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #46 on: November 24, 2013, 04:15:31 PM »
I think there's a difference in events are for the living and letting selfish people have their way.  Not everyone needs a final farewell to move on with their grief and people that demand that extended family come for a service/wake/lunch is selfish to a certain extent.  Hence my supporting the decedent's final wishes in 99% of cases (illegal wishes aside).

turnip

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #47 on: November 24, 2013, 04:48:35 PM »
We had a case where a family member died and had a very formal, ritualized service according to the religion he was a strong believer in.  No one objected to that - but afterwards many of the younger generation were saddened that there hadn't been room for personal farewells or reminiscences.    I actually think that had they thought of this, having a separate 'wake' away from the pomp-and-circumstance of a religious ceremony would have been comforting for a lot of the mourners.

nolechica

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #48 on: November 24, 2013, 04:57:42 PM »
We had a case where a family member died and had a very formal, ritualized service according to the religion he was a strong believer in.  No one objected to that - but afterwards many of the younger generation were saddened that there hadn't been room for personal farewells or reminiscences.    I actually think that had they thought of this, having a separate 'wake' away from the pomp-and-circumstance of a religious ceremony would have been comforting for a lot of the mourners.

Yeah memorial services are better for that.

daen

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #49 on: November 24, 2013, 07:38:42 PM »
I have considered planning my own funeral.
It's not that I want to make sure that no one plays that song or that the right person reads the right passage. It would be more that this way, my family doesn't have to put a lot of thought into selecting music or readings that would reflect me and my life - I would have already done it for them.
Unfortunately, I have some depression issues, and thinking about my own death, however broadly/indirectly/positively, sets off bad trains of thought in my head. So it's all moot.

That being said - I had a co-worker whose father died after a brief illness. He was adamant that there be no funeral, no wake, no nothing. His wife felt she had to honor this, but the family really felt the need to mark their father's death in some way. So they "visited" for a few evenings, and told stories about their dad. Not a wake, no, nothing that formal - it was just that everyone ended up in someone's kitchen, and the conversation turned to Dad...

The opinion among the rest of us at work was that our co-worker's father was somewhat selfish and unrealistic to demand that there be no group event where people could grieve together. We kept this opinion firmly to ourselves whenever she was around, of course, but I understand she said something of the sort herself at one point.

iridaceae

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #50 on: November 24, 2013, 08:14:53 PM »

I think that some people before death hope that their loved ones *can* "forget about them". No one wants to think of their loved ones weeping for them. But telling them not to mourn is like telling the tide not to come in. If having a ceremony to help the grieving process helps, then they should be allowed to have one.

"Don't mourn for me" may come from a loving place, but it's an impossible command. At some point, we must accept that we can't control our loved ones' reactions, and insisting on no outward mourning is no better than demanding that they spend the rest of their lives in black.

Why do you assume that "no wake" equals "don't mourn"? I guarantee you it does not.

sparksals

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #51 on: November 24, 2013, 08:24:14 PM »
This is exactly how we did it.  My dad didn't want a funeral, so we had no service.  But we had a 'wake' at the house.   It was a great way for us to get closure and to see friends and family we haven't seen in years.


Sharnita

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #52 on: November 24, 2013, 08:35:51 PM »
I think there needs to be some sort of balance in making the decision.  If dad had strong feelings about "no big fuss" those feelings might be strong enough that they are almost religious. A wake can be a bigger "deal" than a simple funeral/burial/memorial.  I think the best approach would be a discussion beforehand about what everyone believes and is comfortable with. In the case of the OP, it does sound like they are violating the spirit of the wishes expressed by the deceased.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #53 on: November 24, 2013, 09:01:23 PM »
I have considered planning my own funeral.
It's not that I want to make sure that no one plays that song or that the right person reads the right passage. It would be more that this way, my family doesn't have to put a lot of thought into selecting music or readings that would reflect me and my life - I would have already done it for them.
Unfortunately, I have some depression issues, and thinking about my own death, however broadly/indirectly/positively, sets off bad trains of thought in my head. So it's all moot.

That being said - I had a co-worker whose father died after a brief illness. He was adamant that there be no funeral, no wake, no nothing. His wife felt she had to honor this, but the family really felt the need to mark their father's death in some way. So they "visited" for a few evenings, and told stories about their dad. Not a wake, no, nothing that formal - it was just that everyone ended up in someone's kitchen, and the conversation turned to Dad...

The opinion among the rest of us at work was that our co-worker's father was somewhat selfish and unrealistic to demand that there be no group event where people could grieve together. We kept this opinion firmly to ourselves whenever she was around, of course, but I understand she said something of the sort herself at one point.

I personally agree with this perspective. I'm not sure of the exact wording DF's relative used. I just heard that he specified "No funeral, please".

I think the conflict within DF's family has arisen because many relatives feel strongly that the Deceased would have hated the thought of a big, fancy wake, and everyone talking about him, and him being the centre of attention, etc.

CakeEater

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #54 on: November 25, 2013, 01:14:08 AM »
I have considered planning my own funeral.
It's not that I want to make sure that no one plays that song or that the right person reads the right passage. It would be more that this way, my family doesn't have to put a lot of thought into selecting music or readings that would reflect me and my life - I would have already done it for them.
Unfortunately, I have some depression issues, and thinking about my own death, however broadly/indirectly/positively, sets off bad trains of thought in my head. So it's all moot.

That being said - I had a co-worker whose father died after a brief illness. He was adamant that there be no funeral, no wake, no nothing. His wife felt she had to honor this, but the family really felt the need to mark their father's death in some way. So they "visited" for a few evenings, and told stories about their dad. Not a wake, no, nothing that formal - it was just that everyone ended up in someone's kitchen, and the conversation turned to Dad...

The opinion among the rest of us at work was that our co-worker's father was somewhat selfish and unrealistic to demand that there be no group event where people could grieve together. We kept this opinion firmly to ourselves whenever she was around, of course, but I understand she said something of the sort herself at one point.

I personally agree with this perspective. I'm not sure of the exact wording DF's relative used. I just heard that he specified "No funeral, please".

I think the conflict within DF's family has arisen because many relatives feel strongly that the Deceased would have hated the thought of a big, fancy wake, and everyone talking about him, and him being the centre of attention, etc.

In my philosophy, although he was the focus for the wake, it's not really about him, though. It's about the need of his remaining family to mark his passing in some way, or about catching up with family, or about comforting each other. It's actually about the survivors, not about the deceased. He's not there to be embarrassed by the attention, after all.

Miss Unleaded

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #55 on: November 25, 2013, 02:02:39 AM »

What do you guys think? Are the sons being rude, or not?

I'm of two minds about it.

I don't believe in an afterlife so I'm not convinced it's possible to be rude to the dead. 

On the other hand, I'd be uncomfortable attending a wake if I suspected the deceased would have been against it.  I'd really feel 'put on the spot' if I were invited because I'd be torn between respecting the deceased's wishes and supporting the bereaved at a big shindig.

If the sons had instead held a small wake with only the deceased's nearest and dearest, I probably wouldn't have been able to fault that at all.  Is there any particular reason they felt compelled to invite 'everyone who knew the Deceased'?  There is a lot of room between 'no funeral' and 'massive wake' that would have satisfied both the need to grieve and respecting the dead.

perpetua

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #56 on: November 25, 2013, 08:33:49 AM »
Interesting question.

My Mum died back in August.  She specified in her will - made several years ago before dementia took hold of her - that she wanted cremation, a recyclable coffin and absolutely no religious content in the funeral whatsoever, and that's exactly what we did. The service was very short as a result - about 15 minutes. A few of us gathered - about 12 - the secular chaplain said a few words and gave us some time for quiet reflection, and then did the committal and it was all over in a flash. Since Mum hated to be the centre of attention, I think she would have approved.

One thing we did stumble over was the flowers. She had specified no flowers, but my Dad, in his 80s and quite traditional, couldn't bear the idea that people might think he hadn't bothered to make the effort to buy flowers for his wife's coffin and over the course of the week that thought began to really upset him. So we did go against her will on that and we selected a very simple spray for the top in a colour she would have liked, and how we did it was I paid for them so that he wouldn't feel he was going against her will. What we did was told everyone else no flowers, and asked for donations to the Alzheimer's Society in lieu, which a very common thing to do here. We thought that was a good compromise, and all the people who attended were close friends who were happy to go along with that. After the funeral was over, we had the flowers put into bunches and sent down to the care home where she lived for the last 3 years of her life, to brighten the place up (they were simple flowers and not at all "funeral-y").

We also didn't know what to do with the ashes, since she hadn't specified her wishes in that area. Dad didn't want them back - he thought it was macabre to have someone sitting in a pot on the mantlepiece, and I don't think he's quite ready to scatter, because that means saying goodbye. So for now her ashes are still at the funeral director's while we decide what to do with her, which sounds a bit grim but I think it would have tickled her, actually.

I think had she specified no funeral at all, we probably would have done just that. Neither of us really wanted to have to go - we were absolutely dreading it - Dad was worried about making a fool of himself breaking down in front of people and I didn't find that it gave me any closure at all. It was just a hideous, awful experience that I would rather have not had to go through. Plus, we had already said goodbye years ago, really, such is the nature of Alzheimer's. Had she specified that not having one was her wish, we probably would have honoured it for those reasons alone, I think.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 08:39:23 AM by perpetua »

Hmmmmm

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #57 on: November 25, 2013, 08:40:57 AM »
I noticed a few posters who've said it would be wrong to have a religious ceremony for someone who wasn't religious themselves.  Well, that's what happened with my dad.

He was not religious. My stepmum is. He prepaid his funeral once he knew he didn't have long to live. This included a service in the funeral parlour, not the church.

When he died, my stepmum found she really wanted the support of her religion during the ceremony. So we (my half-brother and I) agreed to have it in the church, with a priest Dad liked and had met several times over the years (and knocked back the occasional whisky with).

Everything else was just as Dad had planned - including cremation, not burial (which stepmum's religion frowns on). No one made out that he was a believer in or a supporter of that particular religion. We scattered his ashes in the sea, just as he requested.

I would say that if the deceased had specifically stated they wanted (to the extent of arranging and paying for!) a non-religious funeral, I'd see it as utterly disrespectful to their memory to hold one. Even if they didn't make claims that the deceased was a follower of that religion, it basically serves to negate and belittle their right to have not been a believer. What if the deceased was a Catholic, and their surviving spouse an atheist who decided not to bother with a Catholic service for them because they didn't believe in it?


He was my dad and I loved him very much.

It didn't feel disrespectful to me.

I can completely understand your family's decision. There is a difference between not religious and anti-religion. I have a BIL who is not religious but would be fine is my sister decided to have a religious ceremony for his funeral just like he was fine to have religion as part if their wedding ceremony.

If someone is anti- religion or has stated they do not want a religious ceremony then changing would be wrong. But it sounds like this dad organized a funeral and when prompted with "are you a member of a church." he said no and the offered their parlor.

perpetua

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #58 on: November 25, 2013, 08:54:25 AM »
I noticed a few posters who've said it would be wrong to have a religious ceremony for someone who wasn't religious themselves.  Well, that's what happened with my dad.

He was not religious. My stepmum is. He prepaid his funeral once he knew he didn't have long to live. This included a service in the funeral parlour, not the church.

When he died, my stepmum found she really wanted the support of her religion during the ceremony. So we (my half-brother and I) agreed to have it in the church, with a priest Dad liked and had met several times over the years (and knocked back the occasional whisky with).

Everything else was just as Dad had planned - including cremation, not burial (which stepmum's religion frowns on). No one made out that he was a believer in or a supporter of that particular religion. We scattered his ashes in the sea, just as he requested.

I would say that if the deceased had specifically stated they wanted (to the extent of arranging and paying for!) a non-religious funeral, I'd see it as utterly disrespectful to their memory to hold one. Even if they didn't make claims that the deceased was a follower of that religion, it basically serves to negate and belittle their right to have not been a believer. What if the deceased was a Catholic, and their surviving spouse an atheist who decided not to bother with a Catholic service for them because they didn't believe in it?


He was my dad and I loved him very much.

It didn't feel disrespectful to me.

I can completely understand your family's decision. There is a difference between not religious and anti-religion. I have a BIL who is not religious but would be fine is my sister decided to have a religious ceremony for his funeral just like he was fine to have religion as part if their wedding ceremony.

If someone is anti- religion or has stated they do not want a religious ceremony then changing would be wrong. But it sounds like this dad organized a funeral and when prompted with "are you a member of a church." he said no and the offered their parlor.

Yeah, that's my feeling too. It all depends on what the deceased's reason was for not having a religious service. if they were adamant that they didn't want religious content in their funeral, like my Mum was, I feel it would be disrespectful to go against those wishes; if one of the congregation wants the support of their religion during the service then perhaps asking their priest/preacher/rabbi/whoever to attend alongside them would be the appropriate thing to do. If on the other hand the deceased had no strong feelings about it one way or the other and selected the funeral home service because it was easier, then it's probably not so much of an issue.

Twik

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Re: "No funeral for me, please" = big, fancy wake?
« Reply #59 on: November 25, 2013, 09:49:37 AM »
Sometimes I think the intent of such requests get lost in translation. If the deceased meant "I have a moral repulsion to funeral ceremonies in general," that should be honored. If they were trying to say "Funerals are expensive and emotionally draining. Please don't feel you have to do any of this if you don't feel up to it," then having a ceremony if it helps the survivors is not *really* going against their wishes, because the wishes were "do whatever is going to help *you* in a difficult time".
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