Stupid Death Rituals

My Mom’s funeral is in 4 days. I feel so sad, so lost and overwhelmed by the details. I have told my family that most of the arrangements seem excessive, a huge waste of money and make me very uncomfortable. What else can I do?


Hi Len:

Thanks for your question. I am sorry hearing about your Mom. Funerals are indeed difficult family issues to deal with.

I remember having similar discussions with my sisters. They were stronger than me (as least on the outside) and were able to handle most of the details. Here is what I suggest:

-Be thankful that you are not the only person responsible for the details of your Mom’s funeral. There are many decisions to be made. Be glad you do not have to do this all yourself.

-If any of your suggestions are incorporated – but thankful for that too.

-If your opinions and suggestions have been overruled than know that you have done your best to be heard. We have an expression in our family, it is:

“At certain times we are not running a democracy. This is one of those times.”

What this really means is there are often situations when family opinions are purposely ignored. This truly hurts feelings, but the stronger family members or the legal authorities do have the final say about how things will go.

Decide which of the rituals you choose to participate in. You do not have to do them all. For example, when my Father died, I did not:

-Go to the “Viewing” at the Funeral Home. (I was the only one in the whole family (including extended family) who did not go to the “Viewing”. I hate those things, so I decided to stay home.

-I did not go to the cemetery after the service either. I had no interest in seeing my Dad’s body and coffin put in the ground. That would have really upset me.

So, indeed say what is on your mind. Hope that some of your ideas are adopted but don’t go “over board” if things do not go your way. My siblings did listen to me, changed a few minor things but still did everything major – just as they had planned.

Conduct yourself over the next week in a manner that your Mother would be proud of you. Funerals are “Command Performances in Families.” Don’t let the next couple of days of “details” stop you from honouring and celebrating your Mother, in your own way.

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