Should I or Shouldn't I Go to the Funeral?

By: Tom Gallagher
Monday, March 21, 2016

Should I or shouldn't I go to the funeral? This can be a very tough question to answer considering all the possible variables. One thing is for sure, no matter what the conditions, you have to be sure that you are confident in your decision to attend a funeral.

The first factor is the obvious one. Unless the obituary says it’s a private service, then the public should be welcome. Some families are private and don’t want a packed church or funeral home, so if the service is private, you must respect that. You can still send the family flowers, or a card expressing your condolences as they may appreciate your thoughts in the privacy of their own home.

Funerals today range from being ritualistic to being extremely informal; this is all decided on by the family. If you’re afraid of being uncomfortable, try not to let that stop you from going on its own. The person leading the funeral will direct mourners, where necessary.

Your Ex-Spouse

When you find out your former spouse has passed away, it may bring back all the happy memories you shared. Making a decision whether to attend the service honoring the passing of an ex-wife or ex-husband can be tough. The same can be said for a family member of your ex-husband or ex-wife. What do you do?

  • If there are no ill feelings with the family, and you merely drifted your own ways, then there is nothing wrong in attending the funeral. After all, this is done in memory of the years spent together or the children you shared. You may need to be there for the sake of your kids too.
     
  • If you know or feel that your presence would be upsetting to the family of the deceased, or they might have a difficult time putting hard feelings aside, then simply send a card or flowers.
     
  • If your relationship was rocky toward the end, then steer clear of any topics that could be considered derogatory or mean-spirited about the deceased, even if it’s true.

Former Friends

The same conditions can be said here as with an ex-spouse. If you know or feel that your presence would cause a problem, then opt for flowers, a card or donation instead.

Bottom line, if you feel your presence at the funeral can help support the family of the deceased, and it is not a private funeral, and you feel you want to attend, then go. If you have any doubts at all then it may be best you send your condolences via a card and there is nothing wrong with that.

 

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