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?
To whom are you showing respect? The person in the casket will never know or have need of it. It is to the living that we really show respect, so I would think that if you respect those who now grieve, then it is they you should be in attendence to support.
I am not sure the fact that the deceased will not be cognizant of my presence is a valid reason for one to be absent. With your logic if one did not know the deceased's family members then there is really no reason to attend. So I guess my attendance, which is predicated on respecting and caring for the departed, is for my own benefit and closure as others have alluded to.
That is not the logic I am using for ALL funerals. Of course if you care about the deceased you could go despite knowing no one else there, but that is not the scenario you presented. There is no single reason why one should or should not attend a funeral. I was merely giving you a reason why you could or should go.
My point was that if people you care about are affected and your presence would be comforting to them, then it isn't necessary that you know, care, or respect the person in the box. If you can help people you care about cope with a loss that they feel, then why wouldn't you?
I'd like to add that if you really do not want to attend the funeral, then that is a valid enough reason to abstain.
I came to say pretty much what Reggie just said. Funerals are for those who are grieving. And even some of those who are grieving can have mixed feelings, too.
I too would have to agree with Reggie.The guy in the box doesn't know you were there. Funerals are for the ones left behind. If you had no respect for the deceased, I agree, stay away.I would assume grieving families looking to be comforted by kind words would likely not be up for hearing negative things about the deceased. As to not attending your father's funeral, you obviously have some personal issues that may be at the root of your question.I really hope this post helps resolve them.
I've attended way too many funerals in the last two years. Two of them were brothers of my stepmother, and I wasn't close to them and didn't know them very well. I attended their funerals (about a year and a half apart from each other) because I wanted to support my stepmom, who I love very much. So I think that it's important to attend in order to support the people who are very affected by the death, even if you didn't care for the person or know them very well. I know from experience that when someone you love dies, it is very nice to feel encouragement, sympathy and love from others.
When I was a teenager, a classmate OD'd. He was a guy people never really talked to. I was confused at the response of everyone in our class. People who had never even given him the time of day were suddenly grief stricken, crying, and telling stories about how amazing he was and how they once rubbed elbows with him in the hallway. Almost my entire class took the day off to attend his funeral. I didn't. That situation really stuck with me.
My mom LOVES funerals. No, really. She will offer to go to any funeral with anyone, even funerals for people she'd never met. I don't understand that at all. I rarely attend funerals regardless of relation. I won't be attending my father's funeral.
I even joke about how much I'd like to have a VIP list and a bouncer at my own funeral. "Oh, I'm sorry Mr Smith. It says here you hadn't spoken to Jewelz for 10 years except to call once in a while to ask for money. You're not on the list. Next."
In the case of, say, the death of one of my children's friends, I would certainly take them to a funeral if they wanted to attend. And if someone needs me to go with them, I would probably go. Other than that, I feel that if I didn't respect someone during their life, I'm not going to put on a fake show of respect after they're dead. Honesty is too important to me. Apparently you and I are on the same page.
"I won't be attending my father's funeral."
My situation as well.
I have often wondered at the tendency for people to treat the deceased as a saint even if they actively disliked the person in life. Why do people people put on a fake show of sympathy just because someone has died? If they were assholes before, don't pretend different just because they passed.
I think children are susceptible to melodrama when it comes to death. They not only feed off eachother, but they likely don't know how to feel or act when a peer dies. I have had a few peers die at various stages of my youth and witnessed that very thing to varying degrees.
When adults do it, it may be a way to gain attention or enjoy fellowship, though I couldn't say for sure. I know that I have never felt compelled to become panegyrical over someone simply because I am at their funeral.
Funerals give you a chance to support the other friends and relatives of the deceased, but perhaps just as importantly they give you a chance to get closure. Even as an atheist there is something about collecting your thoughts about the person, and saying a final "goodbye" (albeit in your own mind) that helps get you through the grief process.