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To feel sad that so few people are coming to my mother's funeral?

44 replies

theresnoonequitelikegrandma · 22/08/2015 12:08

My Mum, despite many health issues including heart failure and dementia, managed to reach her 90th birthday this month and then, as she had told us she intended to, passed away peacefully within a week of her celebrations. Her funeral is next week and I can't help feeling sad that there will only be a handful of people attending.

She spent the last years of her life in a care home local to me and the rest of our family are spread far and wide but it was her wish to have the service here, even though she and my late father lived in a different part of the country for many years. I don't know if it's distance that makes people unwilling to come (although there is a distant relative coming over from another country!) or if it's just that so many of her friends are also now elderly and infirm. We have had cards and messages, so it's clear that she touched people's lives.

It just seems so sad that after 90 years on the planet there will be fewer than 20 people there to say goodbye.

OP posts:

ilovesooty · 22/08/2015 12:10

My mother is 95 and in a care home, so I feel for you. Just wanted to say I'm sorry for your loss.


iwantgin · 22/08/2015 12:12

Sorry for your loss OP.

yanbu to want more at the service, but take comfort in the fact that you received cards which at least means that there are people out there who are thinking of you all. Flowers


Solo · 22/08/2015 12:16

Sorry for your loss OP. :(

It is very sad isn't it? but those that are attending really want to be there with you for your Mum, so that is something to remember at this sad time.

I've heard of a case where the only person that attended a funeral was a carer from the care home and (I think) her doctor.

All the best OP.


Floisme · 22/08/2015 12:16

My mum was in her 90s when she died and, despite having had lots of friends all her life, there weren't many people at her funeral. Most friends/family of her generation were either already dead or were themselves in too poor health to come. I imagine it's the same for your mum and I don't think it should be taken as a reflection on her. I think it's the price you pay for a long life, sadly.

I'm very sorry for her loss.


WishIWasWonderwoman · 22/08/2015 12:17

Flowers Sorry to hear of your loss.

The older you get, the fewer friends you have around to go to your funeral. Were there many at her party?

A dear relative of mine passed away four years ago at the age of 87, she was very popular in her community and had spent only eight months in care home before the end, but her funeral was mainly family who could make the trip and 4-5 people she knew. It was a marked difference even to her husband who had passed away three years previously. In their cases, it was a combination of the distance they lived from most people and also their ages, many of their friends were too frail or had died themselves.

It's hard to go to a funeral with a small group, to me it seemed extremely unfair that this woman who had moved countries for love, raised three wonderful children, held a community together, volunteered countless hours and done so much for so many people had a turn out of 15 at her funeral. But it wasn't that people didn't care, it was that they had passed on earlier or simple couldn't make it.

I know it's really difficult though.


EllenJanethickerknickers · 22/08/2015 12:33

My DDad's funeral was standing room only, but he was only 74 so most of his family and friends were still alive. My DM died last year aged 83 and only a handful of neighbours and friends came, in some cases their DC as their representatives and only those who were local. Her surviving siblings were even older than her and 200 miles away.

It's sad, but no reflection on your DM's popularity or how much she has touched others' lives. In fact it just means that she had lived a relatively long and healthy life, hopefully, in comparison to her peers. It's all part of the cycle of life. Flowers


tobysmum77 · 22/08/2015 12:37

It's simple, the older you are the more of your friends have died before you. It was about 20 for my grandmother who died at 93 also, and one or two unexpected extras. She was never a lonely person, sociable to the end but it's how it is.

I thought you were going to say the turnout was going to be 2.

Sorry for your loss.


wafflyversatile · 22/08/2015 12:41

It is sad but it's how things are when you live to a ripe old age. Try to remember that even if only 20 are there, more will be thinking of her on the day. Maybe have the minister make mention of those who would have been there if they could.


AspieAndNT · 22/08/2015 12:44

Totally understand how you feel. My Nan was 93yrs when she passed last year and there were not many there either because she had outlived so many people - including her own son (my Dad) - who was an only child.

In a way though, this somehow brought a little comfort to me as it showed what a long and wonderful life she had had.

The ones who did attend were mainly from my Mum's side of the family as they all got on so well, and friends of my Dad's.

We had afternoon tea for the wake at a local hotel as my Nan loved cream cakes (and then moaned she was putting on weight Grin )


DorothyGherkins · 22/08/2015 12:45

Thinking of you theresnoone.

Its a difficult time, it was similar for my mums funeral, hardly anyone there. But the ones that truly loved her made the effort, and I found it quite comforting that all those attending really wanted to be there, not just out of a sense of duty.


TheWildRumpyPumpus · 22/08/2015 12:49

DH's gran died earlier this year at 96 and there were 12-15 at her funeral. Apart from us it was mostly friends of FIL there to support him as she was the last of her generation from the family to go, and a lot of her friends were also poorly and unable to travel.

Celebrate her long life, she was obviously well loved and regarded from all the cards you have received.


LazyLohan · 22/08/2015 12:57

As others have said, at that age many friends have already passed and those who can't will struggle to travel.

Rather than dwelling on the quantity of people at the funeral think of the quality of her relationships with those who are there and even those who are not. The fact not many people may be able to attend is no reflection of how much your mother was loved in her lifetime, and as long as the people who were important to her, that she had the strongest relationships with are there then numbers don't really matter.

Maybe it would help you to think in terms of your mothers past relationships with parents, siblings, spouses and friends who are no longer here. Because I think that will give you a much more accurate feeling of how much your mother was loved than counting bums on seats.


SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed · 22/08/2015 13:01

I'm sorry for your loss Flowers

I agree with pp. A lot of your mum's friends will be to frail to make the journey. My FIL is in his late 80s, when he lost a friend earlier this year he couldn't go to the funeral because it was so far away and he just isn't able to travel such a long distance. He did want to go, and was thinking about his friend on the day of the funeral though. I know it's not much consolation, but a lot of people who can't attend will be thinking of you.


Fizzielove · 22/08/2015 13:03

Just wanted to say sorry for your loss.


pudcat · 22/08/2015 13:08

My Mum was 91 when she died last year. Most of her friends had already died or were too infirm to come to funeral. So it was just family - 15 of us and 3 carers from her nursing home. It turned out ok because the family all came back to mine for food. I made it all and it was lovely to reminisce. Some stayed in the kitchen and others spread in to the lounge and dining room. It kept me going getting it all ready, but when it was just my youngest son and husband left, I totally lost it. Yours will be fine.


Summeblaze · 22/08/2015 13:11

I always joke to my family that I only want my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren etc etc at my funeral as this means I will have lasted longer than everyone else which will mean I have had a long long life. Take comfort that your DM has too.

Funerals of those who have been taken too young are always packed. I know what I'd prefer for any of my family.

???? Sorry for your loss. Xxx


Osolea · 22/08/2015 13:12

So sorry you've lost your Mum.

I agree with others, it seems to be a thing that the longer you live the fewer people there are at your funeral. It doesn't mean anything except that friends and family are older and unable to travel, or have passed away themselves.

My Gran died last year and I felt the same, she had a large family that were mostly all there but it did feel small in comparison to funerals I've been to of much younger people where there have been hundereds in attendance. It feels wrong because you know that the longer someone has lived, the more chance they've had to touch other people's lives, but it's just the way it seems to be.


LumelaMme · 22/08/2015 13:13

It's rough, OP. I only know of one 90-ish person who had a huge funeral, and he was sharp as a tack to the end of his life, had lots of friends who were younger than he was (and thus able to travel), had been active in numerous organisations for much of his adult life, had lived in the same area for fifty years, and was an active member of a minority community where the older members stuck together. In other words, lots of people knew him and loved him, and they either lived locally or were younger (and therefore fitter).

So don't feel any worse than you need to: the cards and messages tell their own story across the distances that people can't manage to travel.


MummaV · 22/08/2015 13:16

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thanks

I believe it is common for people of that generation though. I recently went to an elderly relatives funeral and there were 9 of us there. Where as last year I went to a young colleagues funeral and there were over 100 people there. I believe it is all down to age and ill health.

Just remember the people who are there or have shown support cared about your mum a great deal and want you to know they care.


ForalltheSaints · 22/08/2015 13:21

My grandmother when she died aged 91 had moved to a home near my mum and dad and so was in the same situation as your mother.

It may be if it is in a church you attend that there will be members of the congregation who know you who will come along. I expected fewer than 20 people and there were around 50 at my grandmother's funeral.


derxa · 22/08/2015 13:25

My dad's funeral was on Tuesday. He was 92 but his situation was much like the person in Lumela's post. There must have been over 300 people at the church service. However we had a private burial attended by me my DH and two DSs. It was very a sad but beautiful ceremony in a tiny country graveyard. A few of the people at the church were there for entertainment and some including the man at the church door I could have cheerfully strangled. Anyway your Mum was well loved by those who knew her and made a difference in her life. Sorry for you loss Flowers OP


Viviennemary · 22/08/2015 13:27

It is sad but I agree with everyone saying that most of her friends will be too frail to make the journey. And the family has received lots of letters which is a comfort. Good idea about asking the person taking the service to mention friends who couldn't be there.


SiobhanSharpe · 22/08/2015 13:31

So sorry for your loss, there'snoone. Your story could be mine, they are almost identical. My DM died just over a year ago, just short of her 90th birthday, after being in a nursing home for several years suffering from dementia and other illnesses. There were about 15 of us at the service although we had expected a few more, 20 to 25 perhaps, but it was still a comforting ceremony and occasion (although we had over-catered a bit) ; we did our best for her and like to think she would have been happy at how it went. That's all anyone can do.


Floisme · 22/08/2015 13:34

That should have said 'your loss' obviously. Sorry for the mistake, Blush


TheHouseOnTheLane · 22/08/2015 13:34

I'm so sorry Flowers as others have said, many of her friends from the past are gone or too old's ok...she lives on in memory. The funeral is only one part of her life...a tiny part.

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