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Death ettiquette

(61 Posts)
ReluctantlyRedundant101 Thu 27-Oct-16 10:05:40

My father died last week after a long illness and some of my friends didn't send a card or come to the house or the funeral simply texted or phoned me instead. AIBU to be slightly annoyed?

MrsHathaway Thu 27-Oct-16 10:10:30

I'm sorry for your loss.

Cards are great because you can read them as often as you like. You can reread texts too although it's not the same.

I would say that your friends have been good friends if they've been actively contacting you at all. Some people simply can't drop everything for a funeral - I wouldn't have been able to get time off for a friend's father's funeral - so I don't think that's necessarily a measure of friendship or respect.

It's completely normal to rage against the world when you're bereaved, but I think your current annoyance is misplaced. The "bad" friends are the ones who didn't acknowledge your loss at all.

DorcasthePuffin Thu 27-Oct-16 10:13:00

I'm so sorry for your loss.

I'm afraid I would have no idea that a card would be the done thing after a bereavement. I would think any form of contact would be ok. So it may be that your sense of the 'right thing to do' is not shared by your friends, and they have no idea you could feel hurt by this. Try to accept the friendship they are showing you, by whatever channels.

JEMISMYNAME Thu 27-Oct-16 10:15:43

I was in your situation not too long ago. I think some people just don't know how to respond to recently bereaved people. Sadly when people are a bit rubbish that's what sticks in your mind. You have a long road ahead of grieving. It's going to be full of ups and downs and I am truly sorry for your loss and that you feel unsupported by your friends but I don't think you are unreasonable.

PollyPickets Thu 27-Oct-16 10:28:29

Tbh OP I don't think there is any correct way to respond to death. At least they did phone / text, it did show that they were thinking of you.

Cards are becoming outdated now (partly due to expense) which means not many people may choose to send their condolences the digital way. I probably wouldn't buy a card myself (maybe for a distant relative / acquaintance) but not for a close friend because I would hope they know I am there for them in a physical sense.

And many people can't make funerals for various reasons (work commitments, kids, can't face funerals themselves etc)

ReluctantlyRedundant101 Thu 27-Oct-16 10:28:54

I think that's it exactly JEM I know what I would do (and have done) in similar situations and I suppose I expect the same treatment from others

JenniferYellowHat1980 Thu 27-Oct-16 10:37:34

I lost my DM earlier this year. Until then bereavement etiquette was an unknown to me. I found that any kind of communication was fine but that lack of it was not.

DanGleballs Thu 27-Oct-16 10:42:31

Unfortunately, as a nation, we don't seem to deal with grief very well, especially other peoples. I think that people often don't know what to say or do when actually saying nothing is worse than a clumsy attempt at expressing their condolences.

Sorry for your loss.

cheeeseplease Thu 27-Oct-16 10:42:56

You are not being unreasonable at all. I would be very offended if my friends did not show up at either the house or funeral, or at least let me know that they wouldn't be able to make it.. but it would want to be a good reason.

I'm in Ireland though and maybe etiquette is slightly different? Family and friends generally show up en masse here (and rightly so - I think)

So very sorry for your loss flowers

Flingmoo Thu 27-Oct-16 10:44:58

Maybe they want to give you space and don't realise that a visit might be comforting. And some people are a bit rubbish at confronting the sheer awfulness of bereavement - it makes them uncomfortable as they don't know what to say or do, so instead of making an effort they keep their distance. Sad but true sad

PurpleDaisies Thu 27-Oct-16 10:45:32

Sorry for your loss. flowers

I agree with others that cards aren't necessarily the norm any more and the texts/phone calls you've had are likely considered to be equivalent by your friends.

MarianneSolong Thu 27-Oct-16 10:46:20

I think we get angry when people die, rather than living on and being there for us.

And the anger that's to do with death gets deflected onto the living.

Also, for pretty much everyone else life is carrying on unchanged. They take a minute or two to send a message. And probably when you see them next they will ask how you are getting on, how the funeral went etc.

It's a difficult time.

Hoppinggreen Thu 27-Oct-16 10:46:31

If any of my friends parents died then unless I knew the parent well I would only send a card or text. I wouldn't go to their house as I would feel that I was intruding on a family time.
Also I really wouldn't expect visitors if one of my patents died.

grannytomine Thu 27-Oct-16 10:48:26

Well the contacted you, personally I would prefer a friend to pick up the phone and speak to me rather than send a card. I wouldn't judge them though.

MaximumVolume Thu 27-Oct-16 10:51:00

When my Dad died only one friend came to the funeral. It was tough as family & family friends were focused on my Mum & her grief (quite reasonably).

When my friend's Dad died earlier in the year I remembered this & made sure I was able to go to the funeral in support of her. I know she really appreciated it. We're reasonably young to be losing parents (early 30s) so I think it's simply that our friends haven't had need to think about it properly.

shinynewusername Thu 27-Oct-16 10:53:13

So, rather than spending 2 minutes to send an impersonal card with some Hallmark cliche on the front, they took the time to pick up the phone and speak to you? The bastards.

Sorry for your loss but YABU.

PoohBearsHole Thu 27-Oct-16 10:54:48

I'm so sorry for you loss, I am sure you are feeling incredibly sensitive right now and obviously emotional.

It is hard to know what to do these days as we send so much via email and text and I would very much consider this that you are at the forefront of your friends minds. Death is very tricky for many to write about, when a friend of mine died I wrote/ to his wife who I had never met - it took me hours to try and find something to say that didn't give the wrong impression sad he died very unexpectedly which made it worse. However when my best friends father died after a long illness I didn't write to her, I checked on her regularly via phone/text but didn't send a physical letter/card to her.

With regards to his funeral, I'm so sorry that your friends were unable to make it. However please don't see this that they don't care. It is really difficult for people to get time off work, change half term holiday plans, sometimes find childcare and this is a relatively short period of time sad . I am struggling to get to a family funeral as I have no holiday left from work and I have had a good 3 weeks to try and sort this out! So it is not as easy as it perhaps once was sad employers are not as understanding as they once were sad

Onenerfwarfrombreakdown Thu 27-Oct-16 10:55:01

I wouldn't go to the house unless it was one of my very closest friends as I would feel I was intruding and see it as time for family. I think a phone call is a lovely way to contact, it's personal and caring - much more than just picking up a card with the weekly shop!

Texts are a bit meh but then I'm in my 40s and realise people younger than me would think it was completely fine to communicate in this way, as it gives you time to respond when suits you and you can reread if you want.
Sorry for your loss OP but I think you are being a wee bit U, tho I understand the need to rant at something in the early stages of grief when you can't rant at the person who has left. flowers

Onenerfwarfrombreakdown Thu 27-Oct-16 10:57:20

And was it made clear in the announcement that friends were welcome at the funeral? Many families have more private funerals. I wouldn't go unless I was sure it was ok.

JeepersMcoy Thu 27-Oct-16 10:57:48

I think everyone is different in what they would want or expect at a time like this. A lot of people have different ideas of what is appropriate or desired and many just don't really know how to act. Your friends have acted with kindness and that should be appreciated even if it isn't exactly what you would have wanted or how you would have done it.

My mum died last year after a very long illness and I didn't expect anything in particular from my friends who didnt know her well apart from a kind word or two. Unless they knew my mum very well I wouldn't have thought they would come to the funeral and personally I wouldn't have welcomed visits at that time as I just needed to be on my own with my family to deal with things.

myownprivateidaho Thu 27-Oct-16 10:58:04

Sorry for your loss. I completely agree with MrsHathaway that one way grief can come out is anger. I think that your friends who called and texted were trying to be supportive, and that it is misplaced to be angry at them. It's not the right use of your energy -- concentrate on their friendship and the feelings that motivated them to get in touch with you.

LikeDylanInTheMovies Thu 27-Oct-16 10:58:43

Hopping Rightly or wrongly I'd think the same. Unless I knew the family well, I wouldn't think about going to the funeral as that would feel like intruding on private grief.

Also there's the practicalities, very few employers would be happy to grant leave at short notice to attend funerals of people you are connected with at one step removed. So even those who wanted to come possibly couldn't.

Liiinoo Thu 27-Oct-16 10:59:37

Death 'etiquette' is tricky. It varies so much from culture to culture and then from family to family.
I am from an Irish church going background and we would always send a card and/or a Mass card, probably visit the house and also attend the funeral service of anyone we even vaguely knew, but here in England things are different. A friend of mine here has died and although I have sent a card I wouldn't dream of visiting the house as I would feel like I was intruding. I am also uncertain about attending the funeral for the same reason.

This is a really difficult time for you OP and I am sorry you feel unsupported. I hope your friends are thinking of you with love and are just shy/awkward/crap at knowing what to do when someone dies.

kath6144 Thu 27-Oct-16 10:59:54

My mum passed away earlier this year age 90.

I got cards from my close friends, similar age to me late 40s into 50s, plus some texts, and flowers from a group of local friends and my work.

However, not one of my mums friends or neighbours (ages prob mid 60s up) sent a card, even though my DB and I were at her house for almost a week after she died and again for the funeral a week after that. Her closest friend did visit, but more at my request as she was also her longest standing friend and we wanted to confirm info for Eulogy.

Similarly with my relatives, one female cousin sent both myself and DB a card, no other cousins did, neither did my dads relatives in Ireland, although my uncle and auntie came over for funeral.

I would always send someone a card when a close relative died, but it seems not everyone holds the same thought!

MatildaTheCat Thu 27-Oct-16 11:02:28

Different cultures deal with death in very different ways. Some do house calls but many people would feel that was intrusive.

A reletive's of mine dies earlier this year and his daughter announced it on Facebook which I though was deeply unclassy. Even my parents, same generation were not informed until I told them myself. I attended the funeral and made a donation to the charity requested but received no acknowledgement of this. So it can cut both ways.

Anyway, sorry for you loss and be comforted that your friends are thinking of you even if they have different ways of showing it.

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