General Question

coffeenut's avatar

When are you expected to attend a funeral?

Asked by coffeenut (6156 points ) November 17th, 2010

So, a family member recently informed me that her boyfriends mother is really sick and may pass away soon(ish) and if that happens I will be expected to go to the funeral….

This is really sad news, and I wish the family well but…

I really HATE funerals alot, for many reasons

I don’t know the mother at all (I think I met her once), I’m not a friend of the family or part of their family so I don’t understand why I would be expected to go.

As I understand it a funeral is for friends and family to say goodbye to a loved one and reflect on their life.

I’m at a loss, I don’t know what to do about this. What do you think?

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27 Answers

bobbinhood's avatar

I can’t fathom why you would be expected to go to that. I tried really hard to come up with something, but it’s not happening. Are you close to the boyfriend? If you are, the idea could be more to support him. Depending on how you think your family member would take it, I would probably try to graciously bow out.

chyna's avatar

I think you should do what you feel is right. No one should demand your appearance at a funeral of someone you don’t know. I only go to the funeral of someone I was close to, or if it is a close relative of someone I’m very close to.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Are you close to the family member that told you this? Could it be that they want you there for support? That’s really the only reason I could imagine them saying they expect you to come.

If you aren’t comfortable going, tell your family member that you aren’t able to make it once it actually happens.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I think it’s absolute garbage that anyone should feel obligated to attend a funeral at all.

Funerals are for the living, and if you don’t need to attend the funeral for your own reasons, I don’t see why you should have to. It isn’t like there is a lack of support for the family at these functions. Is it obvious that I hate funerals, too?

mrentropy's avatar

I’m with everyone else. If you’re not close to the boyfriend, don’t know the mother, and don’t know the family I’m not sure why you’re expected to be there.

mrlaconic's avatar

Like others have implied / said it depends on the dynamic of the relationship you have and to me it sounds like there isn’t one at all so there is no obligation from that aspect. But there is the other aspect of providing support.. your family member and boyfriend knew they person so they may need you.

Blueroses's avatar

A sincere sympathy card and your duty is done in this case.

marinelife's avatar

You are not expected to attend the funeral, and it is very officious of your relative to say that you are.

Send a sympathy card to the boyfriend.

WestRiverrat's avatar

One of my friends told me she would get me to her funeral. I told her I never would. She died of cancer a few years ago, and made me a pall bearer.

janedelila's avatar

I gotta say…My boyfriend died a year and a half ago and I don’t remember half the people that were there. I could go through the guest book I suppose and see, but I really don’t care. I don’t fault anybody that wasn’t there, Hey! I sure didn’t wanna be there. Just be there after and talk or listen. Do what feels like what you can. It’s enough I promise.

zenvelo's avatar

Is the family member part of your immediate family? or a little more distant? If it’s your sister, consider going to support her. But if it’s a cousin, I’d pass.

And if you go to the service, you don’t have to go to the burial or the reception after unless you want to.

Judi's avatar

My idea of a funeral is for friends to support each other. Maybe the family member wants you there for HER support?

john65pennington's avatar

I would go by the funeral home and sign the register. this should take care of any obligation you might have, toward this person and other family members. they cannot deny your signature on the guest book.

Kayak8's avatar

Because you are a trusted friend but not all that close, it makes you a perfect candidate for an alternative solution. You could instead offer to stay at the family home (the address is easily discerned from the obituary and google and this deters burglars) and offer to have coffee, etc. available when the family returns from the funeral.

I have done this several times and felt like I was contributing without having to go the funeral. You can also just go to calling hours and call it a day.

BarnacleBill's avatar

A funeral and visitation are two separate things.

You would not have to attend for your cousin’s boyfriend’s mother. If it were your cousin’s husband, and you were very close to them as a couple – did lots of things together, lived near each other, etc. – then going to the visitation at the funeral home would be nice, but it would not be necessary to go to the funeral itself.

Sending a card with a personal note would be a nice gesture.

You’re expected to go to the funeral for your immediate family and your spouse’s immediate family, for close friends and if a coworker dies. You should make an effort to go the visitation for a family death of someone that you’re not related to if that relationship is important to you. Visitations are generally scheduled so that people can stop by after work to express their condolences.

JLeslie's avatar

Funerals are for closure, for your own grieving process, and to support others in their grieving. I would not expect you to go to the funeral you describe, are you expected to go?

chyna's avatar

I love @Kayak8‘s idea. The couple behind me got robbed when they went to the wife’s father’s funeral which was posted in the paper. They had a huge gun collection stolen that was never recovered.

coffeenut's avatar

The only reason I would even consider going would be to support my family member…(if they even need it) I have a very limited relationship with the boyfriend.

Yes I’m a bad person for thinking about myself
I also work 6 days a week so unless it’s on a Sunday(they hinted it would be a weekday service) I’ll need to miss work(It will be really hard to get a day off for this) so I loose a days pay, then I need to spend money to buy “funeral clothes” because I have nothing remotely close.
Then I drive 1.5–2.0hrs to get there and back,
so the financial loss is factor too and yes I’m a Bad person thinking of myself at a time like this

zenvelo's avatar

@coffeenut that info changes a lot of things. Distance, missing work, and money for clothes, I think all speak to your not going. So the question, as many have mentioned, is how close of a family member is this?

mrentropy's avatar

@coffeenut So it’s your mother’s boyfriends’s mother that passed away and it’s your mother that wants you to go to the funeral? That changes things. Depending on your age.

But it does explain why you were expected to be there rather than asked to be there.

BarnacleBill's avatar

@coffeenut was this question edited? I would swear at one point it said that it was your cousin’s boyfriend’s mother?

Kayak8's avatar

Just for the record, funerals are RARELY held on Sundays for two reasons: 1) most pastors/ministers/priests are otherwise busy and 2) the gravediggers have to open and close the grave and Sunday is their day off.

tigress3681's avatar

Boyfriend’s mother? How closely related is this family member? Did you know this woman? TBQH, unless you were very close with this family member and you knew the woman who passed, I wouldn’t attend. Maybe send flowers. Now, if it was your relative’s husband’s mother, by all means, go.

Blueroses's avatar

^ When joining a conversation it is helpful to read the previous responses. @coffeenut did answer those questions here already.

JLeslie's avatar

@Kayak8 I’m pretty sure Jews have Sunday funerals. I think we avoid the Sabbath (Saturday) and we are supposed to bury within 24 hours, or as fast as possible. I might be wrong, I don’t know much about funerals.

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