It is important to evaluate yourself before attending a funeral. If you have friction within your family, it is paramount that you gain control of yourself before arriving at the funeral home. Death brings on a tsunami of emotion and if you have had trouble in the past controlling your emotions, chances are, you will have even more difficulties at the services.
If you feel that you will be unable to control yourself, it may be a good idea to arrive just before the services begin so that you are not forced to be in an uncontrolled or uncomfortable situation. Another solution is to bring someone with you that can help you control yourself. Realize that your companion is not there to control the person with whom you have an issue, but that they are there to control you. If that means you, take a break at their call, that is what you do. If that means that they keep you separated, from certain family members, that is what you allow.
One should avoid confrontations at a funeral at all costs. Misbehavior at a funeral is nearly unforgivable by other family members. It wedges embarrassment, disapproval and anger between families that is potentially insurmountable. As time goes by, these issues fester and become resentment, aggression, and hatred. Remember, you have many years to live with the family into which you were born. These are the people who will defend you to the death, unless, of course, you have misbehaved at the death of one of their own.
As the decedent’s second son approached the first son’s wife with disrespect, there was no stopping her husband from protecting her. I immediately ended my phone conversation and reentered my parlor. Dodging blows, I stepped in between the brothers, and ushered the offending son out of the room. He was allowed to stay for his mother’s funeral service, but he had to sit beside his funeral director like a schoolboy beside his teacher. We sat on the front row, and I could feel the eyes of 150 people, who 10 minutes ago had compassion for this man, now staring him down with embarrassment, disapproval and anger.
As I have seen my friends who were in attendance at the funeral, they have voiced their embarrassment and apologized over and over again. They have also expressed their extreme anger toward the second son for creating such a terrible situation at the death of their beloved relative. Even though I have cautioned them that judgments are extreme at emotional events, I fear that they do not feel compelled to forgive him for his actions. It may be many years, if ever, before he receives a welcome back into his family.
The casualties were great that day for the second son, at his mother’s funeral, he lost his family.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am the owner and Funeral Director in Charge at Queen City Funeral Home. I am an author, syndicated columnist, and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.