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Old 11-20-2010, 07:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
sbscout's Avatar
Location: back home again...
Death of a friend... don't want to go to the services

A very dear friend of mine died late Thursday night in a one-car accident. Witnesses say she just veered off the road and hit a tree. No evidence of drugs or alcohol. She wasn't texting. She WAS scheduled to do a sleep study for apnea in a couple of weeks, so the possibility of just falling asleep at the wheel is a definite possibility.

A great person who leaves a hubby and 5th grade twins.

The services are Monday night. I am extremely uncomfortable going to viewings and funerals (I don't know anyone who's really comfortable). I tend to view the little video and talk to people I know.

I also tend to avoid the casket and the receiving line.

I know that funeral services are a chance for closure. I would much prefer to have my last memories of Barb be happy ones and not... well you get the idea.

I'll go because she was my friend. I'll go to try to comfort the family. But I wonder if there's a way to grieve without this process.

What are your feelings about attending viewings and funerals? Do you think it's just an accepted, if morbid, rite? Or does it offer a final chance for family and friends to say goodbye?

I see both sides, but right now I'm leaning toward the morbidity side.

Goodbye, Barb. You were a special person to a lot of people.
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Central Central Florida
I'm sorry for the loss of your friend and can totally relate to your ambiguous feelings.

Someone close to me died a few years ago and their family chose not to have a funeral or service. We had all discussed it and most were in agreement that they couldn't stand the idea that people who hadn't been in touch for years would come out of the woodwork and saw the whole process as a sort of atonement for them that would accomplish nothing for those that loved her. What we did -- spent nearly 48 hours together reminiscing about good and bad times we shared during her lifetime, laughing and crying, drinking and eating -- was about the most beautiful and real thing we could have done.

Can you tell I abhor funerals? The marriage of awkward, forced niceties and sadness. Ugh.
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Oregon
I'm sorry for your loss, sbscout.

I didn't go to my grandfather's "memorial service." It wasn't for him. He didn't really want one. My former aunt insisted that we have one, and insisted her preacher do the memorial service. When my parents informed me that there was to be a memorial service, they also let me know that it was totally okay if I didn't want to attend. Instead, I went with my family when we went to inter his ashes some time after the memorial service.

I am thankful that I have a family that is so understanding about grief and death. My mother's first husband died of cancer when they were both still in their early 20s, and so she's always had a different perspective than other people when it came to dying. I grew up knowing that my mother had had a husband who died, and so death was not the forbidden topic it might be in other households. ZS can tell you how frank my parents are about this kind of thing--after a while, I find it kind of morbid, but ultimately I'm glad that we can talk about it.

For most of our family, we've done private services where we've dispersed the person's ashes according to their wishes. My other grandfather was poured into the Pilchuck River in Washington. My oma was scattered into a stormy Pacific on a gray November day she would have loved. A little bit of her ashes were left afterward, so they were mixed with my grandpa's ashes when those were interred. I have fond feelings of those days, despite the funerary aspect. They are seared into my memory.

I hope that even if you aren't able to find comfort in the funeral that you might comfort someone else who cared for Barb.
If I am not better, at least I am different. --Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Manhattan, NY
I'm sorry to hear you lost a close friend.

I pick and choose to attend services based on the person that needs the support.

As far as for close loved ones, I did attend my aunt's funeral a couple of years ago. It sucked and was weird to connect with relatives I don't like or even despise. Making nice like, "We don't see each other enough..." "Call me when you're in town.." all that bullshit.

I've been learning that I have to do something to commemorate milestones in life, whatever that means.
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Old 11-20-2010, 01:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Windy City
When my grandmother passed away last year, it was really overwhelming to be on the other side and have all these people I barely knew constantly coming up to me and my family.

What i appreciated most were the letters we got that told of a memory she was involved in somehow. I could read those when I was ready, and in the right frame of mind to treasure them.
Calling from deep in the heart, from where the eyes can't see and the ears can't hear, from where the mountain trails end and only love can go... ~~~ Three Rivers Hare Krishna
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Old 11-20-2010, 01:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Toronto
Originally Posted by amonkie View Post
When my grandmother passed away last year, it was really overwhelming to be on the other side and have all these people I barely knew constantly coming up to me and my family.


Ditto that.

When my parents died, I was very appreciative of the people that did show up. It made me feel a bit better knowing that people thought well of my parents to come and pay their respects.

No-one likes going to funerals, but we do it to tell those who were family that are still alive that we knew and appreciated their loved one. That the deceased person meant something to us as well and that they (the surviving family) are not alone in this.

You don't have to view the casket, (I prefer closed caaskets myself), you don't have to stay a long time, but it's a good thing to show up, to take 30 minutes of your time, to shake the hand of the family members and say, "I am sorry for your loss".

I remember those who showed up at my parents funeral. I also remember those who did not (a couple of close cousins who my parents were always good to as kids. I will never think of them in the same way again I can assure you. When I recently saw the one cousin, I was thinking, "where hell were you when your uncle died") Petty I know, but no-one ever said humans are logical.)

If she meant anything to you - you need to go - only for 5 minutes. You might feel a bit better about yourself.
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: land of pit vipers
I was right out of college when my father died, and my mother died 7 years ago. For both of my parents we had graveside services only. No one wanted to deal with a viewing, the church service and all that stuff, and this is what my parents wanted as well. Since then I have looked at the memory books in which people who came to the service signed their names, and I really don't remember many of those people being there. It's nice now to know that they cared and showed up, but at the time I didn't even notice. What meant the most to me were the personal notes on cards, and the letters from old friends who wrote about times they had shared with my parents. So, don't sweat it. Don't go. I hate funerals and only go when it is socially mandatory, and even then I'll beg out if I can.

As an edit, the only person who I really remember being at my father's funeral was his sister, my aunt. That was the last time I saw her. I haven't heard one word from her since. It would have meant a lot more to me if she had stayed in touch, so that is why her presence is memorable. If she had not showed I wouldn't remember it now.
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Last edited by Grancey; 11-20-2010 at 03:27 PM..
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Old 11-20-2010, 05:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
Location: Here
Very sorry about your loss.

I don’t believe in closure. And seeing your friend won’t help you to grieve. Grief is a process that unfolds over time that does not really have the “end” that closure suggests. It may lighten over time, but loss is still loss and is unfixable. It just evolves into something else.

But this is not about you. It is about being mature and caring and sucking it up. Nobody wants to go to funerals. We go, because it is the right thing to do and our presence really does matter. Even if nobody remembers. It still matters in principal.

I also remember and appreciated everyone who took the time out to stop in and tell stories or extend a hand, when I lost a close relative. I treasured the personal notes I received and appreciated the effort it took for some people to come.

I really think it takes little energy on your part to go. It may be hard for you, but I bet it will be much harder for her 2 young children. Perhaps you can offer them some comfort.

At least you still can.
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Old 11-20-2010, 05:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cynthetiq View Post
I'm sorry to hear you lost a close friend.

I pick and choose to attend services based on the person that needs the support.

If there are family that I know, or if I'm afraid there won't be a lot of people come pay their respects, then I make it a point to show up. It's the least I can do if it's someone I care about. But I agree that I hate the entire experience.
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