Going To Funerals(14 Posts)
I rang my mother today and she mentioned that a good friend had died.
I asked whether she was going to the funeral, and she said no she didn't go to funerals any more.
Thinking back I'm not aware of her having gone to any since my father died 5 years back - and have no recollection of her having mentioned attending the funeral of any friends for a long time.
She has a health problem which means she has to go to the loo frequently - perhaps every hour, and perhaps more often if she's feeling anxious or unwell. Apparently at the last friend's funeral she did go to, it became necessary for her to leave the service and use the toilet. And ever since then she she won't attend funerals.
I was rather shocked, as I'd assumed that the wish to say a goodbye to friends and mourn collectively would take precedence over the social embarrassment about not being able to last out. Obviously if you don't suffer from bladder difficulties, it's hard to empathise fully with the practical complications. (But I would have thought locating the loo in advance and picking an aisle seat near the back, would make most things possible.)
But I thought I would ask other people - maybe some of who have similar difficulties - what they think?
some people don't like going to funerals so will use other reasons as an excuse not to go
(not that some actually like going to them but....YKWIM!))
My mum takes diuretic tablets. If she has to attend a function or has a long journey she doesn't take it that day.
My gran refused to go to another funeral after my grandad's. She outlived him by eleven years.
Oh, poor her. I can understand that. People do mourn differently, anyway, so perhaps funerals never meant for her what they do for you.
I have some bladder difficulties and I also have some social anxiety which makes it worse. I have always hated drawing attention to myself and even before I developed incontinence in pregnancy hated having to get up to go to the toilet somewhere like the cinema or on a train because it felt like I had to kind of 'announce' my need to use the toilet to everybody. The thought of having to stand up and walk past people to get to a toilet when everybody else is sat watching/listening to something quite scary and the thought of possibly having to get up more than once can be quite mortifying for me, I feel that people would be judging me for how frequently I might need to go (Logically I know that is ridiculous but I still feel that way). I have to wear incontinence protection and I am worried people will notice or that I may have an accident and leak if am unable to hold it and that everybody will see. I prefer to be somewhere where I can nip to the loo without everybody noticing and somewhere like a funeral is not that situation so I can understand the wish not to go to a funeral. I do understanding that most people probably wouldn't assume that I have incontinence or that I'm wearing a pull-up but still feel every time I get up to use the loo I'm drawing attention to myself and highlighting to everybody that I have bladder issues. So for me it's not really about having access to a loo (although obviously that is important) but also about being able to use it as many times as I may need to without anybody thinking 'Surely she can't be needing the loo again?'
I do understand people's comments. BUT put yourself in the position of being the funeral organiser - say your own mother. It is heartening to see people have taken the time to come and celebrate your mum's life and show respect. But you do note who didn't come......and you wonder why if you don't know. Having been in that position - and having also attended a funeral where 11 people turned up I do try to make an effort, and I don't take these excuses. If they were the ones organising they'd feel different.
I have organised funerals and completely understand it's a very personal decision to attend or not.
some people attend funerals because they like a drama and a sandwich!
other people attend for the best of reasons while others just can't bear funerals but send flowers etc.
each to their own and it's noones place to judge.
in your mums case op I think it's completely easy to understand why she wouldn't go.
completely your mums business.
I really don't like funerals and don't see why anyone should feel obliged to go to one if they don't feel like it.
The point of a funeral (to me) is to dispose of the body & to show support for other people who are grieving, should they need and want it.
In my view, attending a funeral has nothing to do with showing your love and/or respect for the deceased, who isn't there and therefore won't mind either way. (Nb I don't believe in an after-life so I think that the deceased can't 'see' who went to their funeral and/or appreciate or be unhappy re the turnout!)
I recently 'organised' a cremation for a close, much loved relation. My sibling & I agreed that we didn't want to invite anyone else, as she was elderly, had mostly elderly friends & we wanted to have as simple a send-off as poss.
Some people (I contacted to explain) were a bit surprised to hear we were doing it this way, (as it is not the usual thing to do), but totally understood our motives, & I suspect many were even quite relieved not to have had to decide whether or not to attend/make the effort to come. (Nb The people who would have wanted to come were mostly old people, some living far away, while the cremation was at 9am, in a v cold month. Plus we were not doing a meal/gathering afterwards.)
I knew I wanted to grieve privately, & in my own way, after a previous funeral had left me angry/upset, being a semi-religious thing & very alien to all my strongly held atheist beliefs. So, I didn't want a 'ceremony' of any kind. Luckily, my sibling (who has similar views) felt the same so we decided to just sit in silence for the 30 min crematorium booking. (No music. No words.) And who would have wanted to come miles on a cold morning just for that?!
Later on, I tried to visit all the people I thought would have liked to attend. I felt I had more time to chat with them one-to-one, doing it that way and it was a lot easier for them not to have to travel. (I made the effort.)
I think it must be hard/depressing for older folks to have to go to funerals of their old friends, thinking it will be their turn soon? So maybe they don't have to go? And maybe they shouldn't go, unless they really WANT to?
Maybe we should live for today more, and when people we love are gone/dead, we should remember them fondly rather than pretend that ceremonies will make any difference? (Maybe just raise a glass to them at home?)
IMO, there's absolutely no need to congregate in a church, or a crematorium, far from home at 9am on a freezing cold morning, just to PROVE that you liked/appreciated/loved the deceased and/or that you will miss them. (Unless you are religious, of course, and are unable to escape the fixed 'rules' of how we should deal with a death.)
They, (the dead), should have know who loved/liked/appreciated them when they were alive.
But you do note who didn't come...
Not everyone does. I can't tell you who didn't make it to my parents' funerals, whatever reasons they may have had. I probably could work it out, as we have lists of attendees from the funeral director, I appreciated the people who did make it. Some I know didn't make it, as they had let us know they wouldn't be able to. I go to funerals if I can, because I find them helpful to me to say goodbye to the person. But we are all different, and if other people choose not to, that's their choice.
A couple of my relatives haven't been to a funeral since the funeral of their spouse. My nana hasn't been to a funeral since her adult daughter died 15 years ago. She tells people her health isn't up to it, but she never wants to attend another funeral again. Most people are quite understanding - she just sends a mass card or sympathy card.
I know a lady who didn't go to her husbands funeral. She didn't like funerals, she said. She went shopping while the family all attended without her.
What LRD said
as usual. Sometimes people mourn differently and when they get to a certain age, they might be kind of "over" funerals.
Others of course scour the obituaries and attend one a week. Everyone's different.
I sympathise with her bladder situation. She might feel very awkward about it
I get why your mum doesn't like going to them for that reason, actually I don't blame any one for avoiding them for any reason! Getting up during a service can be very conspicuous- but has she seen her gp in case their is an issue?
I'm in my 20s and have experienced some pretty horrific funerals of friends over the past few years - I now only will go if it's family as I find them too painful. It might be selfish, but it keeps me sane.
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