I have a question about funeral etiquette that I would like cleared up. Although its something I (very fortunately) do not have to deal with at the moment, I have seen it in obituaries and am confused on the appropriateness.
In just about every obituary I have seen in the past few years, there is a line that will say, “In lieu of flowers, please donate to…” and there is usually a charity, college fund for the deceased’s child(ren), a fund for funeral expenses, etc.
I feel that this turns funerals into a gimme grab. How is it any different than a bride and groom saying they prefer cash to gifts on their wedding invitations? Or enclosing registry cards for a baby shower?
When my child’s father died, his mother requested that in lieu of flowers, people donate to the building fund for her church. Not only was he not a member of that church, he was a strict atheist! His friends–myself included (pregnant with his child at the time)– were not allowed to attend his funeral and pay our last respects to him, but she wanted to make sure we contributed to that church fund! Ever since then, the practice has left a terrible taste in my mouth, but because it concerns families in mourning, I understand I may be wrong.
(For the record, I am not an atheist, but a very happy Christian who is secure in her faith.) 0502-16
I’m curious as to how certain people could be restricted from attending a funeral. Are there bouncers outside the building with a ban list of unapproved people who are not allowed admittance? I can see not inviting specific people to sit in the family pews where the primary mourners are seated but blocking people at the door? Never heard of it.
My thoughts on donation seeking using the death of someone are thus: It’s one thing to request donations to the deceased’s favorite charity. Requesting that mourners honor the memory of the deceased with a charitable donation to their favorite charity instead of buying flowers that will die directs money in such a way as to be a final legacy in the deceased’s name. I’m widely known among family and acquaintances for my passion for two charities and it wouldn’t be surprising if everyone were asked to honor my life with a donation to a charity I loved.
It’s an entirely different thing to request donations in the deceased’s name for a project/charity the deceased had no connection to whatsoever. That’s exploitation of the situation to fund one’s own pet charities.
As for requesting money to pay for the funeral, in my opinion this is shameful because it exposes the deceased as someone who did not make arrangements for life’s final act thus putting family in such dire financial staits that money must be begged to pay for it. I’m particular horrified when the deceased left a sizeable inheritance yet the survivors use GoFundMe to pay for the funeral. Funerals are much like weddings in that there is a difference between needs and wants and the cost can vary considerably depending on what one considers to be a need. There are choices to be made that all add up to an expensive funeral….limo to and from grave side, teak/mahogany caskets, food for a reception, large tombstones,etc. Asking people to donate for a $16,000.00 funeral takes a lot of hubris, in my opinion, when there are cheaper options available.