Author Topic: Funerals and Mourning  (Read 16985 times)

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FoxPaws

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Funerals and Mourning
« on: February 23, 2011, 07:00:37 PM »
The other thread for this seems to be specific to a particular event, so I thought I'd start a new one that was more general. Mods, if this is inappropriate, please delete.

For the Bereaved:
- No matter how tempting it is, resist the urge to use the funeral, obituary, or eulogy to air the deceased’s dirty laundry, settle old scores, or have the last word. Even if you are absolutely in the right on all counts, you'll still end up looking petty and mean spirited.

- Remember that shock, grief, and exhaustion have a huge impact on perceptions and emotions. Be generous with the benefit of the doubt until the situation has settled somewhat and you can be objective.

- Allow other members of the deceased’s family and friends to grieve in their own way without judgment. Work, exercise, humor, and even socializing are coping mechanisms just as valid as crying and praying. If going into the office, or out for a round of drinks, or hitting the gym gives someone the strength they need to remain functional, it's not for anyone else to decide or comment on whether it's proper or not.

For Those Supporting and/or Consoling the Bereaved:
- Keep expressions of condolence brief – "I'm so sorry for your loss,” is perfect. Trying to say more than that is usually what lands people in eHell.

- Please consider making a charitable donation in lieu of flowers if the family requests it. Plants and flowers have to be dealt with and/or disposed of after the funeral – if the loved ones are from out of town, have allergies or health issues, or just don't have green thumbs, giving them something else that has to be taken care of can be more burdensome than comforting.

- Sending or bringing food is a time honored tradition, but please make sure that it is welcome before doing so. Be especially aware of any dietary needs or restrictions, such as vegetarian or keeping kosher. Again, if most of the family is only in town for the funeral, it may be more of a hindrance than a help to have mountains of food to deal with before they can leave.

- Don't bother the family with mundane details if you can help it. Call the funeral home or house of worship for directions, service times, dress code, or any other information you might need. If you are coming from out of town, make sure those numbers are programmed into your phone.

Edited to fix grammatical glitches.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 09:37:26 AM by FoxPaws »
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camlan

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2011, 11:11:49 PM »

- Remember that shock, grief, and exhaustion have a huge impact on perceptions and emotions. Be generous with the benefit of the doubt until the situation has settled somewhat and you can be objective.


This goes for those supporting the bereaved, as well. People suffering from a loss are usually doing the best they can. Catty comments about the choice of coffin, or the hymns sung at the funeral, or what the widow is wearing are just mean.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Anyanka

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2011, 11:49:14 PM »
Funerals should celebrate the person. laughter can be approriate even in the funeral service.

Use the terms that the family use. Our family hates the terms " lost" and "taken from us". Others may prefer them to "died".


eta
No matter how devote your beliefs, exclaiming if the deceased/family of the deceased had been a better X, then they would not have died/suffered so much.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 12:03:37 AM by Anyanka »
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Tia

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2011, 02:37:46 PM »
Very nice list. I love that you mentioned grieving in your own way. it seems each passing I see there is always one who needs to "escape" all together until the stress has passed, and that poor soul always gets the blunt end of the criticism making it much worse than just a loss.

I would add that you not assume religion and keep your own "prayers" and such free from conversation unless it is clearly a particular denomination.

Past funeral etiquette, I like to wait a few weeks to offer gifts or a visit. Often people who loose experience a huge burst of support and food and then the dust settles and they are left alone by the end of the week. I like to be present as a gateway into a new normalcy without that person.

Mopsy428

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2011, 09:35:27 PM »
Some of these are corollaries to what others have said:

-Do not say to the mourners, "Well, if [deceased] hadn't done X, Y, or Z, (s)he would be alive". While that may be true, the mourners do not want to hear it, and it really serves no purpose.

-Do not say, "It was for the best" because at the moment, the mourners are probably thinking that it either wasn't for the best and/or it would have been "best" if the deceased had not become sick/had an accident.

-Please do not tell the grieving that it should be easier to "get over" an older person's death.

-Please do not tell parents who have just lost an infant that they can "have more children". It is their CHILD, not a computer. You can't replace a child.

-Cell phone use: TURN THEM OFF for calling hours or at the funeral. If you do not know how to use your cell phone, please keep it at home until you know how.

-Do not berate someone for taking all of their bereavement time allocated to him/her.

-Please be mindful of the rules of religious services. Do not talk during the service; take your child outside or to the "cry room" if (s)he is misbehaving, etc., etc.

Reader

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2011, 12:54:52 PM »
Can I add the following?

Please do not attend the funeral if you do not have a good history with the bereaved at all.

I was 16 when my mother passed.  At my mother's funeral a girl that had bullied me heavily through out middle school and into high school to a lesser degree, decided to attend and act like she was my good friend.  I never said anything to her, mainly because I think I was still in shock from my mom passing.  But I also remember being very angry with her for showing up and wondering what she was doing there, which interrupted me during my time of grieving.

Mopsy428

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2011, 10:55:11 PM »
Another thing: when someone you know has lost someone, do not immediately ask about how X relative is doing and completely ignore their feelings.

I'm saying the above badly, but here are a couple of examples:

When my maternal grandmother died, I had teachers who would say, "I heard about your grandmother! How is your mother doing? Is she OK?" Some teachers would completely forget to ask me how I was doing. I thought this was really odd. I mean, yes, ask about my mother; I don't mind that, but I did actually have a relationship with my grandmother and am sad, too.

When my paternal grandfather died, I had the same thing from people, except it wasn't just limited to teachers. I finally said to one person, "Dad's doing as well as can be expected. I am doing OK, too, considering I was the one who called 911 when he had his heart attack."  :-\

Bellantara

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2011, 11:03:48 PM »
Please do not lean on the deceased's casket, on his folded flag, while talking to other people.  >:( :o >:(  Goes double if you're a relative by marriage who's been out of the family for 30+ years. (Why yes, this did happen at my grandfather's funeral. I was too stunned to say anything.)

SamiHami

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2011, 08:23:04 AM »
Oh, and in the case of a suicide, don't run around at the funeral saying "I knew he would do it.  I knew it!"

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FoxPaws

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2011, 09:40:10 AM »
Oh, and in the case of a suicide, don't run around at the funeral saying "I knew he would do it.  I knew it!"
- And don't press for details that the family has not volunteered, such as how it was done, who found the body, whether there was a note, etc. It is beyond cruel to ask people to recount the worst experience of their lives just to satisfy someone else's morbid curiosity. This is true of any death, whether suicide, accident, or illness. If the family isn't sharing, consider the subject closed.
I am so a lady. And if you say I'm not, I'll slug you. - Cindy Brady

Anyanka

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2011, 12:12:48 AM »
Oh, and in the case of a suicide, don't run around at the funeral saying "I knew he would do it.  I knew it!"
- And don't press for details that the family has not volunteered, such as how it was done, who found the body, whether there was a note, etc. It is beyond cruel to ask people to recount the worst experience of their lives just to satisfy someone else's morbid curiosity. This is true of any death, whether suicide, accident, or illness. If the family isn't sharing, consider the subject closed.

Pod to the power of infinity. That's just tacky beyond belief...
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cabbagegirl28

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2011, 02:27:37 AM »
Oh, and in the case of a suicide, don't run around at the funeral saying "I knew he would do it.  I knew it!"
- And don't press for details that the family has not volunteered, such as how it was done, who found the body, whether there was a note, etc. It is beyond cruel to ask people to recount the worst experience of their lives just to satisfy someone else's morbid curiosity. This is true of any death, whether suicide, accident, or illness. If the family isn't sharing, consider the subject closed.

Pod to the power of infinity. That's just tacky beyond belief...

So much pod. In the case of suicide, they might be blaming themselves for the death, especially if that person found the body. Not cool to do that.


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violinp

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2011, 08:28:34 PM »
Re consoling the bereaved: Don't come up to them and hug them, especially if you've only met the person once before and don't know about their space issues. This happened to me when Grandma died. Her action was meant well, but it freaked me out.
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Black Delphinium

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2011, 08:50:50 PM »
-Unless there is a truly pressing reason(jury duty, medical emergency, funeral phobia, etc) don't skip the service and just come by for the food.

-Respect a person's wishes of whether or not they want to touch/kiss/look at the deceased. Forcing anyone(especially little kids) past their comfort zone is not nice.

-Respect that some people seriously do have funeral/death phobias and they might not be able to be there when the time comes for the funeral.
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DCZinger

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Re: Funerals and Mourning
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2011, 09:34:53 PM »
Please tend to any children you bring to the funeral.   That means keeping an eye on them so they are not running around the visitation area, and are not dismantling some of the flower arrangements.    If you do not think your children can behave....DON'T BRING THEM!     

If you are going to have a conversation, please do it where your back is not to the deceased.    There is plenty of room to sit and catch up....right in front of the casket is not the place.

Try not to discuss how good the deceased looks, or how the deceased doesn't look like he/she did when they were alive.

If you are planning a funeral with siblings....remember that it isn't all about you and what you did or didn't do for your deceased parent.   All of your siblings lost a parent...respect each other's view and honor your parent's wishes by planning it civilly and without rancor.

Don't ask your surviving parent what she/he is going to do with the leftover insurance money.   Anything that happens to be left over belongs to your surviving parent...and is theirs to do with as they see fit.    Just be thankful that your parent had a policy that covered the final arrangements and didn't stick you with the bill. 

Ditto about moving in with your surviving parent or asking for any of the deceased possessions.   If Mom (or Dad ) wants you to have Dad's (or Mom's car, jewelry, money, house, etc.) they will let you know in good time if at all.