I have always felt compelled to attend the memorial service of friends and family that held a place in my heart. I don't particularly like it but I feel the compulsion to show my respects for the dearly departed. In the past few years I have had individuals in my own family who passed away and I chose not to attend their service. To the great chagrin of the still living members of my family. My reason for not attending- I did not respect the person and what they stood for. Is this a valid excuse to be a no show? Unfortunately my decision has created what looks to be a permanent rift in my relationship with certain members of my family. 'To thine own self' be true has always been a tenet I have tried to follow. Listening to a memorial service about someone who you have good reason to not respect seems to fly in the face of being true to oneself. Is this a selfish attitude?
When I was a kid, I was dragged to all sorts of funerals of my parents relatives or friends I didn't know. The last ones as a kid I remember having had to attend I must have been around 10 or so. Then there was a longer pause apparently, and my mum's dad died when I was studying for matricular examination. I didn't go to the funerals, since he had always been rude to me, and I considered studying more relevant than spending two days in a car (plus the time in location) for going to attend the service of someone I didn't care for or respect. Of course, now, over a decade later, my mum still bitches and whines about that every year.
The next service after that that I attended to was the funerals of my dad for yours ago. In the future, any funeral service I would consider attending is either a) family (mum, sister, husband's family), or b) non-denominational for someone I cared for at least moderately and is local enough for me to attend without having to go to the other side of the world, or c) close to b, but depending on the situation I might tolerate some religiosity as long as I can space out and it's local. And for a person that I cared for or respected. Or if attending would make a huge difference for work politics. If it's neither, or if it's too far, then it's at best a shot (or five) of some elixir of life and slaintè.
Hasn't really come up for me. Only two people in my life whom I cared about have passed away. Neither had a formal funeral, and even if they did, it would have been too far away to attend. I'm not shelling out airfare for that. It just doesn't mean anything to me.
I have no compulsion to go to such things for anyone. I know how I feel about other people and I know how I feel about death. If I don't feel like attending the funeral has any value then I won't attend. I don't really care what other people think of me for it. If anyone so much as made a rude comment about it to me, I'd tear into them without hesitation, and I would be merciless. I have no tolerance for that shit. With my own family, whatever memorial event we would do would be very small and personal with no obligations. That's how we are.
I might attend the funeral of someone I didn't respect if it was to offer moral support to someone I cared about. Let's say I had a fiancé whose best friend had died; I'd attend that funeral if my fiancé wanted me there, even if I thought the friend was a total dick.
@Kris: Your comment made my day :)
I've attended a few funerals in my days. Some for people I knew well, and some I didn't know well. But would I attend the funeral of someone I didn't respect?... Probably not. My thinking goes like this. If I don't respect them, they certainly aren't a friend. Likewise, they likely aren't someone I socialize with or are close to at all. I can't think of anyone that is sufficiently close to someone I do care about that I would be asked along as well. So with those situations remaining true, my presence wouldn't be expected or requested. Actually, I'd be the guy there that no one knows. However, if my wife had a great friend that I didn't like I would probably go along to comfort her that such a situation.
Funerals aren't about the dead. They offer a chance for people to come together and support one another through a difficult time. You attend a funeral for the closure, and to help others through theirs. Your personal quibbles with the deceased don't matter, the time to settle those has passed.
That's my take. I'm not trying to judge anyone, that's not my bent here. Just trying to remind everyone that it's about the people we care about.
Funerals and after-death rituals have more to do those who are still alive and somehow affected by the death of the individual. They help ease the psyche of those who mourn the demise of someone they knew, by providing a sense of closure. I don't believe in the afterlife - the person who died no longer needs anything. I Would attend the funeral of someone I didn't respect, given that someone I did like or respect was affected by this individual's death.
This man won't bother you anymore, but if you choose not to go to his funeral you will be hearing (from your family) a lot about him for the next few years. Even after death he would be bringing negativity into your life.
If I were you I would go, close that chapter and move on. Probably would make an excuse after offering my condolences, and get out of there. I wouldn't be going to the funeral because I respect him or them, but because I respect myself and my inner peace, and if I can avoid hearing BS....
Now, if you know that you won't be having your family on your ass constantly talking about the fact or you just don't give a damn, then just don't show up, make up an excuse.
I seldom go to funerals unless there is a good party to celebrate the person’s life planed. If I did not respect that person then I would not go because I would not have entertained them when they were alive if I did not respect them.
I will meet the family or friends before or afterwards and offer my sympathies. I visit a few weeks afterwards when everything has quietened down for a chat. It is often then that company is more appreciated than it is the day of the funeral.
If I was going to have a funeral (highly unlikely), I'd advertise it with 'Win fabulous prizes.' That way, everyone would feel excited to go, even if some of them thought that I was a tool when alive.
Some people go in order to dance on the grave. You should provide music, too.
You can't have a right proper funeral without disco balls, and I guess if there are going to be disco balls, there might as well be music.
Like! I look forward to your demise and my chance to boogie!