Funeral or holiday?(46 Posts)
This is more of a WWYD. The wife of a very good friend is dying, and will go any minute, most likely. DP and I are due to go on holidays tomorrow, abroad for two weeks.
I really don't know if I should plan to go on holiday late/fly back for the funeral.
I'm really torn. They're very good friends and I feel like I'll regret it if I don't go.
But on the other hand, we've had a tough year in some respects (not as tough as them, obviously), and I feel like I owe it to DP to go on holiday.
Aaagh. Can't decide. What do you think?
(Also, I should say, that this is all taking place in a country where funerals happen very soon after death, so if she does go within the next couple of days, the funeral will definitely be while we're away - not the English scenario of a couple of weeks in the future)
My nana died a few days before I was due to go away. I was really struggling and my grandad took me to one side and told me to go. He told me she wouldn't want me to cancel and neither did he.
Tbh I didn't have a great time, especially the day of the funeral. But I am glad I went. Grandad was right, she loves holidays and wouldn't want me missing one.
I have never regretted it. We buried my grandad 2 weeks ago. I say as his funeral thinking about how he put me first, even when he was having a terrible time.
Sorry, forgot to add, I can't say what you should do.
I can only share my experience. It's different for everyone.
Go on holiday.
Fly back early if you need to.
The timings are uncertain, and funerals take a little while to arrange.
Your bereaved friend will need your support for far longer than the time immediately around the death and funeral. You can offer that.
I wouldn't go. A similar thing happened with my mum years ago and she hasn't forgiven herself.
You should do what your gut reaction is. I missed my nan's funeral because she died a few weeks before we went away. My parents were adamant I shouldn't cancel the holiday and I'm glad that I didn't. I spent my nan's last day with her and said my goodbyes then and didn't need the funeral to do so.
I'll counter my post by saying that I've been told on here that I am 'heartless' before, so you might not want to listen to me!
I would go and see the good friend now. See him, care for him, tell him how sorry you are. See his wife, hug her, say goodbye to her. But then go on your holiday.
You being at a funeral won't make any difference to the situation. It won't make her less dead. You can visit her grave/home/favourite place when you get back and say your goodbyes again if you wish. You can visit your friend and tell him how sorry you are. The timing makes no difference.
Nanny died a few days not weeks before we went.
Difficult one. Id go and see friend before going on holiday, spent time with them and go on holiday with maybe plan to come back. She might last longer than you think. Horrible situation as either decision is clear cut. 💐 X
I would do same as ex above. Go and visit, say goodbye. If the funeral does happen when you're away, spend a bit of time on that day remembering your friends, maybe do something special - light a candle in a church, write her name on a beach, put a stone on a cairn, have her favourite meal, whatever has meaning to you. And then write a card to your friend, telling him what you did to remember his wife, and post it. It might not get to him until you get back, but it will still be precious and appreciated.
ExLtEve's post is extremely sensible advice and as somebody who gets terribly maudlin and distressed at funerals it's the way I'd do it
Go on holiday.
My uncle didn't make it to my Dad's funeral (his only brother) because he was on holiday. It happens.
Also, timing wise, there is often at least two weeks before someone dying and the funeral. So this may all be unnecessary anyway.
I had about 180 people come to my husbands funeral. 90% I haven't seen since. (Excluding those who flew from abroad). The funeral is "fine". It was the deep hollow despair that followed afterwards where I needed people.
Exit advice is spot on.
The OP has said she is in a country where funerals happen a few days after NOT weeks.
I agree with LtEve.
DH was recently at a funeral, where the deceased's brother lives in Australia. The brother came to the UK to see him before he died, but didn't stay on for the funeral, which was about two weeks later.
Depending on which religion your friends are, you may find that you are back in time for the funeral, anyway, if she doesn't die until after you leave. IME, the funeral is often a couple of weeks later, but I believe that Jewish and Muslim traditions may dictate a much quicker burial.
I lost my dad 10 months ago. I'm Irish so we also have funerals within a couple of days of the death.
While we all appreciated people coming to the funeral, it was in the days and weeks afterwards that my mum really appreciated people being around. We all live far away and could only see mum at weekends- she was so lonely during the week that anyone who spent time with her then is almost part of our family now as it meant so much to all of us, but of course her in particular.
I agree with eve, go on your holiday and be there for your friend when you get back.
I would go on holiday but maybe ask if a family member could go to the funeral to represent you? My DD died suddenly and close friends were on holiday at the time. Her parents came to the funeral to represent her and pay their respects. Go visit your friends before you leave for holiday and say goodbye. If she does dies while you are away, on the day of the funeral you could do something lovely as someone already said, like go to a quiet spot on a beach and light a candle or go up a hill and takes some flowers. Have some quiet contemplation.
I would say "go". Your friend's wife might not die, and then you've missed your holiday for nothing. She might die, you might miss the funeral, but you'll be there when you come back - and that's the time that the bereaved person will need you most. So many people flock around prior to and on the day of the funeral then disappear and you don't see them for dust - you'll be the people who are around at that point, and your friend will be grateful for you then.
In all fairness though I think you should talk to your friend - he's not going to be keen to talk about your holiday, but I think you should say "look, we're not happy leaving you but we're going to be on holiday - call us if you need us and I/we will come back early if possible" - but fgs don't put any decision or responsibility onto him! Don't, for e.g., say "if you want us to stay, we will" because then, if you miss your holiday and his wife is still alive at the end of it, HE will feel guilty as well as you feeling resentful.
Make it as easy for him as possible whilst also making him aware that you're not just blithely swanning off - that you have thought about it, thought about him and his wife, and decided that this is the best course of action.
If he's any kind of reasonable he's likely to tell you to go anyway, tbh.
for you going through this - not an easy time.
With faiths that have quick burials there isn't the same expectation of people attending the funeral and it is understood that people can't get there at short notice. One side of my family is Jewish and has the very quick burial convention and often the funeral itself is only family however a year after the death there is another ceremony to set the (grave ) stone and that tends to be the one non family attend.
I'd assume other "quick" faiths have something similar with what is essentially a memorial service later on.
I know it sounds odd my then husband was absolutely shocked at my Dad's funeral as he was used to the standard British Christian funeral and thought the speed and brevity was almost disrespectful until I explained it was tradition and just a different normal and that the stone setting was the time everyone would come and remember with respect and that with the passing of the year the pain eases and the person is remembered with more smiles and fewer tears.
I'd go on the holiday but try and arrange that you will be notified if anything changes and then fly back if you need to and it is possible. It's unlikely your friend would want you to miss your holiday.
I'd stick around for the lady's funeral, make sandwiches, serve tea/ coffee, just do something to help with take away some of the stress of it for the family. You could always go on holiday some other time.
That said I remember moving heaven and earth to get my Mum and I to her brothers funeral in Ireland as we had 24 hours notice of the mass the evening before the funeral due to the quickness convention (Catholic on her side)
Apologies, didn't process your last paragraph of OP
early morning brain
She is still alive. Cancelling your holiday in case she slips away in those specific 2 weeks is a bit in poor taste tbh unless she or your friend have specifically asked you to. Follow LtEve's advice and make sure you are properly there for your friend throughout the long bereavement once you are back.
I am Irish and funerals are a big thing. It depends on how long your holiday is for. I came back from a 4 night city break after 1 night because someone close to me had died . I went back the following year to the city. My feeling is there will be plenty more holidays. I would stay for the funeral if you are close to them.
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