My Wonderful Life

Funerals: To attend or not to attend?

posted on 4/18/12 by Staff

If someone you know dies, but you weren’t extremely close, should you go to their funeral? Everyone’s relationships are different, so consider the following when making your decision: 

  1. Ask yourself if the family would be open to your attendance. If you have a special memory with this person, the family might appreciate hearing what you have to say. You may not get another chance to share these memories with someone who may appreciate it most.
  2. Even if you didn’t know them very well, you could learn more about the type of person they were when they were alive. Learning about their journey could even teach you something about yourself, or make you strive to try new things or new experiences.
  3. Real Simple recently asked if you should make the determination based on how well you know the person who died or how well you know the family? A reader answered by saying, “In my opinion, as long as the funeral isn’t a private affair, anyone is free to attend. I can’t imagine many situations in which someone would be angry at a person who showed up to pay respects. Most people instinctively avoid funerals because they don’t know how to deal with death. Many of us are uncomfortable talking about the subject, let alone confronting it head-on. We justify this, when we can, with excuses like “I want to respect the privacy of the family” and “I don’t want it to seem as if I’m appropriating their tragedy as my own.” But close relatives of the deceased often feel isolated at this time. It’s a kindness for you to remind them that they are part of a larger community that cares about what they are going through.”
  4. Going to a funeral to support another friend even though you may not personally know the deceased is also acceptable and your friend would most likely appreciate the gesture.

7 Previous comments:

(1) On April 18, 2012, TW () said:
The husband of an acquaintance of mine died suddenly, at 53. They have 3 children. A group of us were discussing whether to attend the wake. All the typical reasons for not attending came up. One person said, "yes, it sucks to go to a funeral - but it sucks more for the the family." Once I took the focus off my self I could treat it as an act of service and support. It was time well-spent.

I agree 100 percent with TW's comment - the bereaved are not going to be thinking about who's "supposed" to be there...they will be grateful to see so many people who cared enough to pay their respects.
(3) On March 18, 2014, sue () said:
Is it appropriate for me to attend my boyfriends ex wife funeral. we have been together for 3 yrs and have been very close they have a 15 yr old daughter.I know well
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