A series of incidents at my friends aunts wake and funeral this past week have left me convinced that funeral etiquette is the final frontier of rudeness. And it’s even worse when the family is either insane or dysfunctional. I think his family is a mixture of both! (with the exception of my friend and maybe a cousin or two) My friend was embarrassed that I witnessed it. I recognize that this is a touchy situation for lots of folks — grief makes people irritable or unintentionally thoughtless.
This is my own list of Do’s and Don’ts,(and I witnessed or heard about people doing every one I’m about to type.) among them:
•Try not to ask loudly and repeatedly at all events “What’s in the will?” and “Who’s getting the diamonds/the china cabinet/the house?”
•Try to respect the religious conventions in the funeral service.
•At the gathering after the funeral (held at the deceased relative’s house), do not flicker the lights on and off and announce, “Last call!”
•Don’t get falling down drunk! Weeeeee!
•Don’t steal the deceased Valium from her bathroom cabinet.
•If you’re grieving for a loss that is not of your own family (and I’m not including Significant Others or lifelong friends), do not go to that family’s house to do your grieving. They have enough to worry about, without feeling obligated to look after you. This time is Not About You.
•Don’t ever, ever ask “Who found her?” in front of a five year old child.
•If you’re the deceased sister, don’t greet visitors at the door with, “Hi! Thanks for coming by! I’m her sister, and I just lost 60 pounds!”
•Don’t make a run for the potted plants after the ceremony, taking them home with the CARDS STILL ATTACHED.
This was a Catholic Service and the only thing that was a little amusing was watching the non Catholics who had no idea about the stand up-sit down-kneel aerobics of the service. They looked like they were playing Simon Says. And losing.