Funeral Etiquette 101: Know Your Place

8 Nov

This post was inspired by recent events at work. Working in the funeral business I see a lot of crazy shit but what sparked this post absolutely infuriated me.

Know this, if you are not the spouse, parent or child of the deceased, you have zero say in how they choose to put their loved one to rest. And I mean ZERO! Whether you agree in the method of disposition (burial or cremation or something else) or not, you are to keep your mouth shut. If you feel the service should be public and not private, as the family would like, that is just too damn bad.

Recently we had a woman who lost her husband and just didn’t think she could handle public services. Her husband was well known and very well liked in the area and there is no doubt his service would have been huge. A huge service was something that she couldn’t endure, totally understandable, right? Well not for everyone.

This poor woman was basically bullied into allowing her husband’s coworkers to attend her final goodbye. She didn’t want flowers, they insisted on sending flowers.

Let me be very clear, this behavior is completely and totally unacceptable. Unless you are family, a funeral is not given for you. A funeral is something to help the family close this chapter of their loved one’s life. What you want and how you feel has absolutely no bearing.

A much better idea would have been for his coworkers to throw their own memorial or celebration of life. They could invite his wife but she wouldn’t be obligated to endure the spectacle.

To bully or pressure a grieving family to get your way is really shitty. Your job is to respect the wishes of the family and keep your damn mouth shut. Here’s an idea, how about you offer to be helpful? Cook a meal. Pick up kids. Offer something to take the load off their grief.

It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly selfish people can be, even when someone is experiencing one of their darkest hours. Please…PLEASE put yourself in their shoes, how would you feel if someone was pressuring you when you were trying to plan the final goodbye of someone you love.

A good funeral home will work as a buffer to the outside world when required. In this case, we omitted service information from the obituary. When people called or stopped by to inquire we informed them that services are private and we were unable to give out this information.

You’d be surprised at the stunts people will pull to try and trick us into giving out information, it really is despicable.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I invite you to enjoy the rest of your day.

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