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Author Topic: Family day trip...to a funeral  (Read 17138 times)

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weaselfrance

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Family day trip...to a funeral
« on: August 26, 2015, 10:54:36 AM »
My father died last week after a long battle with cancer. Mum and I are currently dealing with the logistics of the situation as well as our grief. The funeral is booked and we're trying to sort out numbers for the wake to tell the venue hosting it.

My father was one of five. Gerry is the oldest brother, married to Ruby. Karl is the youngest brother and he has been given the job of chasing up RSVP's. He called my mum this morning, the conversation went something like this:

Karl: Ruby wants to know if she can bring Linda and Tony to the funeral and wake.
Mum: Who?
Karl: Ruby's sister and BIL.
Mum: Never met them, don't know them, they never met (Dad's name). So the answer is no.

Karl rang back. The conversation went something like this

Karl: We've got a problem. A big problem.
Mum: What?
Karl: Ruby says if Linda and Tony can't come, she's not coming to the funeral
Mum: How is that a problem for us? If she doesn't want to come, she can stay away. We don't know these people and I'm not having the funeral turned into a free day out for these people.
Karl: You might have met them at (my grandmother's) funeral. They came to that, and they'd never met her either.

My mother, at this point, made some very un-e-hell appropriate remarks about Karl's lack of spine, Ruby's outrageous request and the ghoulishness of people who want to impose themselves on the grieving families of people they wouldn't know if they had to pick them out of a line up.

I'm proud of my mother's shiny spine, but seriously, who could ever think this was an OK way to behave?

Edited for a typo
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 10:56:30 AM by weaselfrance »

rose red

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2015, 11:43:59 AM »
How was Ruby's relationship with your dad? Is it possible the sister and BIL are there to support Ruby? I'm sorry for the loss of your father, but grieving is an emotion of the living and they need support from those close to them even if the support comes from those who never met the dearly departed. My personal experience is for a coworker who lost a loved one and a bunch of coworkers went to the wake to support *her* even though we never met the loved one.

However, I admit I haven't been to many wakes so I don't know much about the etiquette, and those are your mother's wishes no matter what the etiquette.

NFPwife

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2015, 11:48:44 AM »
First, I'm so sorry for your loss.

This request does seem a bit odd. If they'd been planning to "make a day of it" so to speak, Ruby's sister and BIL could easily skip the wake and find something else to do during that time. It does seem like they're trying to get a bit of hospitality on their day trip and, at best, it's quite clueless. I'll cut your mother some slack on the eHell approved side (she's grieving after all) and give her a virtual high five for helping them get a clue. (Although I doubt Karl will pass on the full message :D )

weaselfrance

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2015, 11:57:13 AM »
Ruby last saw my father at my grandmother's funeral back in 2004.

My parents didn't exchange Christmas/birthday cards with them.

When we knew the end was close, all the family were invited to the house to say their goodbyes, Gerry came and Ruby didn't.

We're not a close family and I'm 100% positive that Ruby's not looking for emotional support to get her through the day.

Ruby sees her sister at least twice a week, they are near neighbours, so it's not as if Linda and Tony wouldn't be able to find anything else to do on the day.

rose red

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2015, 12:11:30 PM »
Well, then that's weird and cold.

Mergatroyd

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2015, 12:36:30 PM »
That is just weird. Ruby doesn't need to go, let alone her sister.

ncgal

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2015, 01:22:02 PM »

~~~~~HUGS~~~~

Maybe I just dont understand, but when my father died, we just notified people.  we never took count of how many people where coming to the funeral or the visiting the night before.

I recently went to the memorial service of the father of a friend of mine.  I never met her father.  I went to be a support for his daughter as  did other co-workers.  I dont think there was a head count before hand.  Just wondering why a head count is needed? 


edited to add hugs

NFPwife

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2015, 01:25:58 PM »
I'm not the OP, but in my area of the country the wake following the funeral can be a sit down meal or a catered event where you definitely need a head count. In my family, this can include an open bar. This isn't an event extended to everyone graveside, it's an event to which people are invited separate from the visitation and the funeral. (These can run a couple thousand dollars.)

In both mine and DH's family, if there are only a handful of people at the graveside who were not invited to the wake, the officiant is asked to extend the invitation during the graveside service.

weaselfrance

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2015, 01:28:11 PM »
We need a rough idea of who is coming because there will be food at the wake. We needed to let the venue know how many are coming by the end of the week so they can cater for the right number of people. The funeral is 12 pm so we're providing lunch for all the guests.


TootsNYC

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2015, 01:33:53 PM »
Ditto to NFPwife.

At the last funeral we went to, for a cousin (aunt) that I'd never met (but had been welcomed into the family by from a distance), we assumed we would not be going to the meal afterward. And at the graveside, we were invited, and the daughters/nieces made a point of underlining the invitation.

But it can be expensive!

You don't really want to include just everyone who came to the funeral (especially because people self-invite themselves to the funeral).

At one funeral I went to, I assumed we wouldn't be included, but the son made a point of seeking me out quietly. There were other people there who really weren't someone they would have wanted to pay $25 per head to entertain at that time.

At my mom's funeral, the church offered to host the gathering after, and so it was huge--lots of people from the church attended, and it was pretty much open to anyone who had bothered to come to the funeral.

But even at the $25/head price, the two traveling* companions of a legit attendee would be welcome, in the eyes of anyone I can personally envision facing that question.
   They'd have never said no in the first place.
    I think the followup "I won't come if they can't come" was rude, and it does cast the whole thing into more of a "social day out" feel.


*I don't know that Ruby is coming from out of town--maybe she lives across the city and doesn't have a long drive.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2015, 01:57:29 PM »
Yes, in my family we typically offer some kind of meal after the graveside service.  The church has no problem preparing the food, but we still have to pay for it.  And it would be very embarrassing for us to run out of food. 

Pooky582

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2015, 02:27:06 PM »
I'm very sorry for your loss, weaselfrance.

In response to PP, The problem isn't that Ruby "invited" people to the funeral (and it doesn't seem to be for her own moral support given that she isn't close to her late BIL),, but that she invited them to the wake. Where I live, attending the funeral does not mean you automatically attend the wake also.  Only the family and closest friends do. Given that Ruby isn't close to the family, it seems to me that she feels entitled to bring people to entertain or keep her company while her husband is with his family.

She crossed a huge line by threatening not to come to a family members funeral because she wasn't getting her way. I hope Karl realizes how crazy inappropriate that is and doesn't try to force this issue more.

I'm impressed by your mothers backbone! I would like to think I'd react the same way.

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2015, 02:51:16 PM »
"How is that a problem for us? If she doesn't want to come, she can stay away. We don't know these people and I'm not having the funeral turned into a free day out for these people."

I'd say this is perfectly fine, and ignore anything else.

I'm very sorry for your loss.

TracyXJ

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2015, 03:38:30 PM »
Ruby is just so out there with trying to bring these 2 extra people with them.  I have this bad feeling that if they came, they'd all hole up at a table by themselves and probably be laughing and carrying on in a fashion that would not suit the occasion.

I'm also really ticked at Karl.  The first call is kind of OK.  But to call back with the "Big Problem" thing?  No, the big problem is the loss of OP's Dad.  This a minor blip and he should have handled it instead of putting it on the widow.

Maude

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Re: Family day trip...to a funeral
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2015, 05:43:43 AM »
I am sorry for your loss.

Your mother has her head screwed on the right way.
It's amazing how often a funeral is turned into a circus,
not only with the wake,but with all and sundry wanting
to take part in the proceedings. It is very stressful for the family.