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The W - Random - Funerals, etiquette, dress, etc. etc. etc.
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Oliver
Scrapple








Since: 20.6.02
From: Kolob

Since last post: 21 hours
Last activity: 4 hours
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.33
OK, I may sound like a completely clueless dick here, but please bear with me.

My girlfriend (Faith) lost her uncle recently, and has asked me to attend the funeral with her.

Thing is, in my 26 years, I've never attended a single funeral.

WIth that in mind, what can I expect? Wat happens? What is considered proper dress for this? How do I make small talk with people there, considering that I won't really know anyone there, with exception of Faith, her sister and her mom?

Faith's commented that I've been a rock solid support to her since we found out (last Friday as we visited her mother), but I don't want to come off as a jackass or an unfeeling brute when the funeral comes, since the only funerals I've seen were on TV or in movies.

I've grown to trust and rely upon the opinions of the Wienerboard community on all aspects of wrestling and what have you; so I know this won't be any different.

Thanks;

Stevie



Go Packers! Beat the Bengals!

(To Submit2theXFace: I haven't caved; I just don't like Cinci)
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gargs
Goetta








Since: 27.8.02
From: The OC

Since last post: 3979 days
Last activity: 3612 days
#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.00
excuse me. EXCUSE ME . . . Intercontinental Champion here . . .

What to expect depends on the family, their religion, etc. Is this the actual funeral, or just calling hours?

As for clothes...It used to be that men wore a suit, or at least a shirt & tie to a funeral, usually black. However, recently I've seen almost a "dressing down" during funerals, some even wearing jeans. However, I don't think jeans to be appropriate. You should wear something a little more dressed-up casual if you choose not to go with the shirt & tie. A neat button down shirt and perhaps a pair of black, charcoal, or navy blue pants, and dress shoes. No sneakers.

The most difficult part for me is what to say to the family of the deceased. When I'm greeting someone, I'm usually smiling, so it's very difficult for me to shake their hand or give them a hug/kiss and try to extend my condolences. I usually try to keep it brief by saying "I'm very sorry," or "my sympathies/condolences."

(edited by gargs on 9.12.03 1329)


...'cause this is my United States of Whatever.
Mayhem
Scrapple








Since: 25.4.03
From: Nashville, TN

Since last post: 30 days
Last activity: 2 days
#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.83

You can't go wrong with wearing a shirt & tie with slacks. If you feel overdressed, you can always take the tie off.



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JayJayDean
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Seattle, WA

Since last post: 3 days
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.22
I'd ask your girlfriend what she felt was appropriate and go with that. She likely knows her family's feelings and expectations well enough that you'll get the right direction from her, especially once you tell her you've never been to a funeral.



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dunkndollaz
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Since: 3.1.02
From: Northern NJ

Since last post: 8 days
Last activity: 2 days
#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.83
reigion and ethnic background play a huge part but it is safe to say no bold colors, solid shirt, muted pattern in the tie if you don't have a solid dark color tie......"My sympathies/condolences on your loss." or "I am very sorry for your loss."

Funerals are never easy no matter whether you knew the person or not. It sounds like your presence is what your girlfriend needs the most.



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Grimis
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Since: 11.7.02
From: MD

Since last post: 1305 days
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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29
I had to go with my girlfirend's family to two funerals in a week a few years back. I wore black suit, black tie, and black shirt.

As far as decorum, generally just keep your mouth shut. There is really nothing that you can say to make things better, and it is easy to keep quiet than to upset an already greiving family.



The history of taxation shows that taxes which are inherently excessive are not paid. The high rates inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw his capital from productive business.
- Andrew Mellon
Gugs
Bierwurst








Since: 9.7.02
From: Sleep (That's where I'm a viking)

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.26
Nothing bright, nothing flashy, nothing funny.Dark blue or black shirt, dark red tie, gray slacks, best shoes you have.



    Originally posted by ringmistress
    You may not believe this, but one year, I pretended I was a mistress (of the S&M variety). I was told I had the right voice for it. Just wanted to let you know that.


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Nag
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Since: 10.1.03
From: Enter your city here

Since last post: 2212 days
Last activity: 267 days
Y!:
#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.49
    Originally posted by Grimis
    As far as decorum, generally just keep your mouth shut. There is really nothing that you can say to make things better, and it is easy to keep quiet than to upset an already greiving family.


No, he won't make it better, yet he should say something to the family members. If he didn't, it might just look like he is going cause his girlfriend dragged him there.

Grimis
Scrapple








Since: 11.7.02
From: MD

Since last post: 1305 days
Last activity: 1101 days
#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29
    Originally posted by Nag
    No, he won't make it better, yet he should say something to the family members. If he didn't, it might just look like he is going cause his girlfriend dragged him there.
Good point. Let me rephrase tp: before you speak, stop, think about it, then say it



The history of taxation shows that taxes which are inherently excessive are not paid. The high rates inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw his capital from productive business.
- Andrew Mellon
spf
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Since: 2.1.02
From: The Las Vegas of Canada

Since last post: 25 days
Last activity: 18 hours
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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.23
A good rule of thumb is don't initiate any conversations with anyone who you don't already know (your girlfriend would be an obvious exception). Inevitably people will ask how you knew the deceased and be honest but brief about it. Agreed on the dress, dark and dressy but not flashy is the way to go. Other thing is to be prepared to be on your own for a good part of the day, as your girlfriend will have a lot of people likely to talk to and who will want to talk to her, so don't feel bad if there's long stretches where she's not around you. If you have to go to any sort of mass or anything, just find the oldest person in the room and do exactly what they do, they're usually the ones who know these sorts of things. Best of luck getting through it, and just be there for her.



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Since: 2.1.02
From: The Silver Spring in the Land of Mary.

Since last post: 7 days
Last activity: 2 days
#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05
Suit, Tie... pretend you are dressing for court/fancy dinner. Look good. Dress shirt, dress shoes.

As for conversation, just let your girl introduce you to everyone and go from there. "Oh, you married her uncle? How long have you two been married?"

Make sure you say "My Condolences." (or something like that) to the family, so later they can't say "That jerk didn't pass his repsects to anyone!"

Stuff like that.

My best friend brought her new boyfried Brian to my mom's funeral last week. He just sat with Susan, got introduced to everyone and just stayed out of the way and was there for susan. She was just as broken up as my family was.

(edited by rikidozan on 9.12.03 1651)



"The band is OUT ON THE FIELD!!!"

HairRaiser
Kishke








Since: 13.1.03
From: S. Attleboro, MA

Since last post: 2645 days
Last activity: 1981 days
#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.67
Conservative suit, as said above you can take off the jacket if that seems to be the way everyone else is going.

As for conversation, if you're going to be there for most of the visitation then it's possible that you'll run into some people who've been there for a while and want to talk about something else, just let them lead. If you didn't really know her uncle, then you're likely going to be a good sounding board for people wanting to tell pleasant stories about him which can be comforting in its own way.
MoeGates
Andouille








Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

Since last post: 52 min.
Last activity: 20 min.
#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.28
Dark suit, dress shoes, plain tie. Nobody is going to think you're dressed too drab for a funeral.

I agree that the more you stay out of the way, the better. You're job is to be the emotional support for your girlfriend.

If, inevitably, you're in a situation where you have to talk to a family member, a simple "my condolences" is fine. If it's the kind of thing where it seems like maybe you're expected to say more, either a) have a very short, simple story ready about when he was nice to you or b) if you've never met the guy, have a short, simple story ready about some meaningful moment or conversation he had with your girlfriend (i.e., "you know, it was Harry who finally convinced Jane to go to Medical school. He told her she wouldn't regret it, and buy, was he right.") Make sure your girlfriend's in on this story. Generally at Jewish funerals (which are most of the ones I've been to), most everyone is expected to have a nice story or two about the deceased, even if you never even met him. Although, if this was a Jewish funeral he'd have already been buried either Sunday or Monday, so nevermind.

And of course, if it's an Irish funeral, you can ignore everything everyone's said so far, and all bets are off.

Last thing, if you get caught with someone who's emotional and wants to talk, just smile and nod. And smile and nod. And smile and nod. And smile and nod. As long as they keep going. You don't want to be the asshole that was too busy to hear about life of the deceased at his own funeral.





I wonder how much money George W. Bush gave Paris Hilton.
Oliver
Scrapple








Since: 20.6.02
From: Kolob

Since last post: 21 hours
Last activity: 4 hours
#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.33
Know what? I got exactly what I expected and more from everyone here...awesome advice on a very touchy subject. I'm feeling much better (i.e. less uncomfortable) for the event. I'd spoken to Faith earlier today, and she's down in the dumps.

To you all, my friends, I thank you all. You're amazing. The funeral is at 1:00pm tomorrow (Edmonton time) and I will admit, I'm NOT looking forward to it.



Go Packers! Beat the Bengals!

(To Submit2theXFace: I haven't caved; I just don't like Cinci)
The Thrill
Banger








Since: 16.4.02
From: Green Bay, WI

Since last post: 225 days
Last activity: 71 days
#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.66
I'll echo the stuff about the dark suit/tie/dress shoes. Without question.

The one piece of advice I'd pass along is NOT to try to comfort the bereaved by saying "Everything happens for a reason." I heard that once at a funeral, and the deceased family gave that guy such a look...

Anyway, good for you for being there for her, and best of luck.





Star wipe, and...we're out.
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MoeGates
Andouille








Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

Since last post: 52 min.
Last activity: 20 min.
#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.28
Ah. Very true. Stay away from any kind of of spiritual/religious/afterlife/fate expressions, as you never know what the families beliefs are. Even stuff you may think is normal and innocent may get taken very badly.

At a wedding where the bride's mother was deceased, while in a conversation about her my wife made the comment "she was with us today," which she thought was a nice, normal thing to say, but which was not taken well at all.



I wonder how much money George W. Bush gave Paris Hilton.
Freeway
Scrapple








Since: 3.1.02
From: Calgary

Since last post: 340 days
Last activity: 28 days
#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.96
    Originally posted by SOK
    Know what? I got exactly what I expected and more from everyone here...awesome advice on a very touchy subject. I'm feeling much better (i.e. less uncomfortable) for the event. I'd spoken to Faith earlier today, and she's down in the dumps.

    To you all, my friends, I thank you all. You're amazing. The funeral is at 1:00pm tomorrow (Edmonton time) and I will admit, I'm NOT looking forward to it.


I was in Nova Scotia for my uncle's wedding and my great uncle died and I had to go to his funeral. It sucked, but I learned the cardinal rules (especially for semi-Irish funerals): The food will be good, the stories will be funny, but people will be sad. So shut up and laugh when everyone else laughs and cry when everyone else cries. Remember: they can't be angry at everyone, so do what everyone else is doing.

My condolences, SOK.



FLAMES: 13-8-1-3; 30pts
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Oliver
Scrapple








Since: 20.6.02
From: Kolob

Since last post: 21 hours
Last activity: 4 hours
#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.36
I apologize for not responding to this sooner, but there was some inquiry as to how the entire event turned out.

The funeral started on time, and the service lasted about an hour and a half. It was held in a beautiful Lutheran church east of Edmonton. The church was pretty much packed.

The service itself was quite beautiful, and I got the feeling that the pastor had a fantastic friendship with the deceased when he was alive. I learned a lot about his life during the eulogy.

The deceased's widow was in attendance, and seemed genuinely moved by the support of everyone at the funeral. The strength she showed throughout the event was remarkable and inspirational.

After the service, the immediate family members headed out to the grave site to say their last goodbyes and bury the deceased, and the remaining guests were treated to a sandwich lunch in the church's conference room. That room was PACKED, and there were so many people just chatting it up, enjoying the company of family. During the dinner, Faith, and her sister sat and marveled at how all their family changed/aged/grew. During such time, I started thinking about how I wanted my funeral to go.

The funeral didn't go without a hitch, however...Faith's mom's ex-husband was in attendance and made his presence known; while he didn't say anything to Delphine (Faith's mom) when we were there, his piercing stare certainly said enough. Speaking of Delphine, she was very appreciative that I was there, and I was treated to a motherly hug that I found that I'd missed (seeing as that I haven't seen my mom in two plus years).

The funeral was everything and nothing I expected. Lots of tears were shed that day. Faith was remarkably strong throughout the funeral. However, I spend the rest of the day with her, and kept her company as she fell asleep, sleeping, with my hand in hers. SHortly after, I retired to the couch in the living room to sleep.

I don't think I'd ever want to attend another funeral for as long as I live, but I know that I will in the future. I'm very much NOT looking forward to it, I guarentee.

My thanks to everyone here who posted and offered tips and especially those who took time to email me asking how things were. Just another reason why I love this community, I think.

Sincerely,

Stevie



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I switched it from "i" to "y" so I would have to say that yours could never fly. Two changes is just wrong.
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