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Monday, May 27, 2024

Should I go to a funeral?

Though few of us had the courage to express it aloud, this is a question that everyone of us may ask ourselves. But first, what makes us attend funerals? If we don’t show up there, what will happen to us? Is it worthwhile to bring kids to memorial services?

Every one of us has to make the independent decision to attend a funeral at least once in our lifetime. This usually doesn’t involve the passing of those who are closest to you, but rather that of coworkers, neighbors, a friend’s parents, or distant relatives. Any person’s farewell becomes both the last major event of his life and a momentous occasion for the meeting of his relatives and friends.

SOCIAL NORMS

There is a ritual to bid a person farewell to the afterlife in every culture. There are moments when the sadness seems to never end and moments when the joy never stops. Hiring mourners for the procession was a common practice in classical Greece and Rome. These days, strippers are even invited to festivals in Taiwan, and people dance at funerals in Ghana with coffins. Sometimes it’s simple for us to choose whether or not to go. However, social norms frequently exert pressure on us, and this should still be considered.

Sergey V. (41 years old) shares his opinion on this matter: “There are some generally accepted social and moral obligations. Close relatives and friends may not understand the absence of a relative or friend at the funeral and interpret this behavior in their own way. That is, burial is also a way to maintain social connections, and if you don’t show up at the funeral, others may perceive it very negatively.”

WHY GO?

  1. Farewell. All life ends in death. And it’s always important to put an end to it.
  2. Empathy and support. “I went to the funeral to support my mother. Her friend died, and I knew how hard it was both physically and mentally. Of course, this is a sad event, but I felt good knowing that I helped my mother get through this day,” writes Iryna (46 years old).
  3. Awareness of the reality of what happened. It also happens that it is only at the funeral that it “dawns” on a person that his interlocutor, project partner or relative is no longer alive. This is the first step to acceptance—one of the stages of experiencing loss.

WHEN NOT TO GO?

You should pay attention to yourself. If the funeral will be attended primarily by strangers, your acquaintance was formal or not very intimate, and there is no need to say farewell to them, you can consider if it is truly important to be there and “keep a straight face.” And occasionally, you want to remember a well-known someone while he is still alive because you truly don’t want to see him dead. If the wake is being held at home in this situation, you could volunteer to assist the family with preparations. If going to the funeral will merely be an unpleasant obligation for you, it is scarcely worth it.

“WHAT SHOULD I DO?”

Strangely enough, a funeral and a birthday can be compared, says Sergey. The reasons for choosing a decision are same, even though the feelings are obviously very different. There is no question—you go if it’s a well-known person’s funeral and you are aware that there will only be your own. You are not allowed to feel guilty about laughing, crying, or recalling confusing tales. However, this is uncommon. It’s essentially a mixture of acquaintances, coworkers, and family—that is, people you don’t know very well. During your revelations about the deceased, you will need to wear social masks, consider your remarks, and scan the area to check whether anyone else is present. You simply lack social graces. But when it comes to a funeral, there

“I have worked with this topic and I can say that sometimes people just don’t know what to do at a funeral,” says psychotherapist Gurgen Khachaturian. How one should act, what actions are suitable and what are not. Thus, the simplest response is usually the best one: go if you know how to act at a funeral. Don’t go if you don’t know. Rituals and ceremonies provide great assistance in such a situation. Everything has been created for a very long time; follow the instructions.

Generally speaking, people attend funerals to offer support. Furthermore, it doesn’t always transfer into suitable language. A bereaved person expresses his sorrow to the visitors. It’s also a little more bearable. It is always appropriate to share tales and memories of the deceased.

The main advice is that if you go, then experience the feelings that arise in you. And even if there is no sadness, just be there and show the person who is going through a heavy loss that you are with them. Support, hug, hold hand. All this is necessary, it alleviates his condition.”

SHOULD I TAKE MY CHILDREN TO THE FUNERAL?

“Children typically accept death very well, so nothing horrible will happen if you bring them to a funeral. Is it appropriate to bring my child to a loved one’s funeral? I’m going to take it. Furthermore, it is dishonest to keep the passing of a close relative a secret from him. This supposed “lie for good” causes the child to discover the truth as an adult and start to believe that people are telling lies to him. Children can therefore be brought in, but they must be assisted in feeling all of the emotions that surface. The psychotherapist goes on, “And they will have a peaceful attitude toward death when they are adults.”

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