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Possibly sensitive subject - funerals and not wanting to have one

(22 Posts)
Frrrightattendant Tue 06-Oct-09 11:26:19

I am really, really sorry if this comes across as totally insensitive, it is something that's troubled me for literally years and I don't know what is OK and what's not - so could use some perspective and guidance.

I have never wanted to have a funeral. Partly I have (I strongly suspect) Aspergers which means that social occasions terrify me - even if I don't have AS they just do.

I've been to some funerals but missed quite a few (distant relatives etc) and stayed behind to feed everyone else's pets instead, which my mother explained to people - I am not certain what she said, or why, but she 'assumed' I didn't want to go and just took it I would stay behind. Which did upset me a little as I would have liked the option and wasn't sure why she assumed it - but Iw as grateful also.

I can't bear the idea of people coming to a church or whatever and standing there/sitting there singing dolefully and having people talk about me and what an interesting/dull/ etc person I was (I am dull, btw)

I used to play the organ at our church for funerals occasionally when nobody else was available, and nobody sang, it was awful, dreary and miserable. I know there are 'celebration' type funerals people have, but tbh that idea doesn't do it for me either.

I would just rather be buried quietly without any faffing and not have the church bit, readings, hymns, party thing after.

My question is, are you allowed to do it like that? Do you get to choose? And most importantly, is this likely to upset the people left behind?

I'm not expecting to pop off imminently but when I do - are people going to feel cheated if there is no 'do'?

Thanks - and sorry once again. I can't really ask my immediate family iyswim.

FlameWithTooManyHormones Tue 06-Oct-09 11:30:53

You are allowed to do whatever you want - afaik there are companies where you can get your whole passing organised, paid for etc in advance so when the time comes they just do what is instructed with one phone call (I have no idea what happens if the company goes bust or something in the meantime - that has always bothered me....)

But yes, it probably would upset the people left behind. People tend to want some sort of final goodbye

kreecherlivesupstairs Tue 06-Oct-09 11:30:57

I think you know the answer to the question is it likely to upset people left behind.
IMVHO,FWIW, once you are dead you are dead, you won't be hovering around your own coffin watching people being upset.
I imagine is it legal, but you'd have to make your wishes known before you die obviously so that would involve solicitors probably and telling a close family member.

Frrrightattendant Tue 06-Oct-09 11:36:03

Thanks but sorry, I had no idea about he answer - thatw as why I was asking sad

I am sorry - I don't always understand these things. I have always assumed people would rather not have to go, iykwim?

Frrrightattendant Tue 06-Oct-09 11:37:02

Just the thing for a wet Tuesday morning.

rolledhedgehog Tue 06-Oct-09 11:37:17

When my Dad died my sister and I didn't have a funeral for him. He was taken from the coroner's office to the funeral home and then to be cremated without ceremony or mounrners.

We did this because we belived it is what he would have wanted. It didn't upset me...the opposite actually as his death was very upsetting and the funeral would not have helped us. It felt the right thing to do. The funeral director said it was not uncommon.

I have to admit I didn't tell many people he had done this as I feared judgement! He was very much loved and missed but the funeral would have been a public display we could not face and we felt was not needed.

FlameWithTooManyHormones Tue 06-Oct-09 11:42:52

You have nothing to apologise for! My sister has AS (we think) and has made some very specific requests about what can and can't happen when my mum dies. It doesn't bother me, so I am happy to go with what she wants as she is the one who will be affected if it isn't done iyswim.

AMumInScotland Tue 06-Oct-09 11:47:21

I think a lot of people do want to go to a funeral though, I mean of course not wishing the person dead, but wanting the chance to mark their passing, celebrate their life, say goodbye, even have a family get-together.

So, even if you don't like funerals, it may be that those closest to you at the time would prefer to have one than not.

I've been to a total of 5 funerals, all for elderly close relatives, and I would never have wanted to have missed them, because it felt right to go and have a service to mark the end of their life.

But you certainly don't have to have one, and can simply have the body buried or cremated without getting the family and friends involved.

Frrrightattendant Tue 06-Oct-09 11:47:44

Thankyou Rolledhedgehog - I appreciate your post and am very sorry to hear about your Dad sad

This is the thing, when I did mention it to someone years ago they seemed very shocked and I didn't understand what I had said to cause them to be upset. Obviously it is something a lot of people expcet to happen.

Fwiw it sounds like you did exactly the right thing.

Frrrightattendant Tue 06-Oct-09 11:50:06

Thanks Flame too, and AMIS

All your posts are helping me work out how to approach it better if/when I do discuss it with my family.

I felt wrong not going to those funerals, and afraid people would be offended with me - but if there is no funeral, people can't feel obliged I suppose. Though they may want to have one and if I am dead I don't want to spoil that for them, because it won't affect me anyway.

Frrrightattendant Tue 06-Oct-09 11:51:09

What I did was have some quiet time and think about the person who had died, and say goodbye in my own way - if that counts. I felt like a freak tbh, just didn't really talk about it to anyone.

MrsBadger Tue 06-Oct-09 11:54:38

I have always thought that the funeral was for the benefit of the people left behind and that any plans made should be with them in mind, iyswim.

I might prefer to go with no fuss but I know that my family and friends will appreciate, if nothing else, the opportunity to bellow Cwm Rhondda one last time, so they shall have their chance.

The (few) funerals I have been to I have appreciated for their sense of closure, their usefulness as an occasion to see otherwise disparate family and for the way they have drawn together those left behind.

Though putting it crudely, it's a bit like weddings, isn't it? - you make the decisions, and it depends on your priorities whether you make compromises so your guests have a good time or you do it exactly your own way and sod anyone who doesn;t like it.

Put it this way, no-one's going to argue with you about it when it comes to the crunch...

AMumInScotland Tue 06-Oct-09 11:57:07

Please don't feel there's anything wrong in not going to funerals - I'm sure no-one thought ill of you for it. Some people just don't like funerals, or get too upset to face them, or want to say their goodbyes in their own way. Anyone who knows you would know that you were upset at the death, so they wouldn't think you didn't care.

I think all you can do is let your close family know how you feel about funerals, and trust them to make suitable arrangements when the time comes. That might mean not having one at all or making it very low-key if they feel they want to do something.

Frrrightattendant Tue 06-Oct-09 11:57:45


I have always dreaded the thought of a wedding in particular. I hate going to them and would never want any fuss myself/ register office and celebratory cornish pastie all the way.

You have made me think.

Frrrightattendant Tue 06-Oct-09 11:58:49

Amis - most of my relatives dislike me already, or disapprove rather. I think they probably did think I didn't care!! But thanks for sugegstion. I will do that.

janinlondon Tue 06-Oct-09 12:22:38

I am 100% with you OP. I have told all my family that I do not under any circumstances want a funeral. Some of them have tried to convince me otherwise, but I simply see no point. Its expensive and if you have not exactly set the world on fire during your life it is pointless to put someone through the angst of trying to think of something to say about you. I hate funerals.

whyme2 Tue 06-Oct-09 12:31:10

I found this really interesting. My dh has said he does not want any kind of service when he dies, just to be buried in a woodland.
I am torn because of all the reasons listed above. I think if I had to deal with his death I would have some kind of 'do', mostly for family and friends really but no service, although I would like to be there when he is buried.

If your relatives don't understand your request then some kind of legal thing might be necessary.

janinlondon Tue 06-Oct-09 13:09:20

Ah, you see I am also planning to outwit them by leaving my body to body, no funeral. Do you think my cunning plan will work???

Frrrightattendant Tue 06-Oct-09 13:10:34

Exactly Jan. Indeed I think the word I am looking for is 'embarrassing' - my own funeral, not other people's. I would be embarrassed to know that kind of thing was going to have to be done on my behalf, that sort of fuss be made.

I understand wanting to be with a loved one when they are put in the ground etc, I would too - but I hardly know anyone so if anyone DID turn up to my funeral it would likely be those who would have been going to church for the midday service anyway...well, that and my parents, possibly or children depending on when it happens.

I am sure they won't require a whole half hour service dedicated to saying goodbye.
Hoping they can just do it at the cemetery or wherever.

Frrrightattendant Tue 06-Oct-09 13:11:12

That's a good idea Jan. I might do that too. Mind you I doubt they would want me.

FlameWithTooManyHormones Tue 06-Oct-09 14:40:19

lol @ outwitting them - they'd still probably go and do a memorial wink

KristinaM Tue 06-Oct-09 14:53:35

i agree with mrs badger - its for the people left behind. its a ritual that is part of how many societies deal with bereavement

there is no right or wrong way. if doesnt have to be religious or have music of any kind or be doleful , if that's not what is wanted. it doesnt have to be on the day of the interrment or in teh same place.

yes, you need to dispose of the body in a legal way but you don't need to do anything else in terms of marking the occasion

so if you would prefer that

poeple got togetherhr in a pub and raised a glass or your memory

or climbed to teh top of a hill and read a poem, that fine

just write it down and leave it with your will.vageuly muttering " oh I dont like funerals" is unlikely to convey your wishes clearly enough"!!

and you should really discuss it with your next of kin. i am sure you woudl want to consider their feelings too

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