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How To Survive a Funeral

Updated on December 18, 2013

Funerals Are Really Emotional Times

There comes a day when we have to bid a permanent goodbye to someone we knew and loved and cared about. It is a part of life. Dying is the end of our chapter on our earthly experience. As these events come to pass, I learn to abide by my beliefs. I have faith that this person is in a better place. They certainly are in pain no longer. It was nice that I did get to know them a little while when they were here.

Of course this is a different outlook if the individual was really young and they were taken in tragedy. These situations are hard to ease through and the words that we have really do no justice for the emotions that come with a funeral. There are no true words to express how sorry we are to the families that are left behind. The only thing we can do is let them know what we thought was special about that person and try to remember their goodness and their smiles. We hang on to the happier memories of that person and let them live on in spirit.

Sometimes there are feelings of anger or regret. What if we could have seen them once more and apologized or what if we knew this was to be and we could have spent more time with them. We cannot let these thoughts stand in the way. For whatever reason these folks have been released of the mortal coil. We need to set their spirit free with the universe and cherish their memories the best way we can.

Image: M Burgess - Please, do not copy, thank you!

Coping With Grief

There are as many books about grief as there are tears in the ocean. A meditation guide may be just what you need to help you through this difficult time. I know you are sad and the events seem dark, but ask what your dearly departed one would want for you. They do not want you to mourn them long, they would like you to remember them for the good times you shared together. You will grieve for a time; that is the natural thing to do. After someone passes away that was close to us we generally are in a state of shock for a time. About a year after the event we will have our realization awaken. These struggles are a normal part of loss. Do the best you can to get through the day and take care of yourself. Eat, go about your day. be sad, ok, but make sure it does not interfere with your responsibilities. Stay busy, stay active, and talk to the people in your life about how you feel. It is ok to express those feelings, If you do not have any close friends that will help you with this, join a support group or find a chat room online similar to the topic you wish to discuss. Any kind of discussion can be beneficial.

If you are experiencing overwhelming sadness to the point of depression and cannot let this go, please, seek professional care. Depression symptoms that last over two weeks needs advanced treatment.

Family Traditions - For Funerals

Often, funerals are teary events and they certainly are sad. We have lost a dear friend or family member and it is understandable to be sad. Many funerals include a spiritual leader sharing thoughts and scripture about the process of death. A eulogy is delivered by someone very close to the dearly departed. While these can be somber affairs, many of the funerals I have attended have included celebrations of life. We share the highlights of our departed dear one's life and try to find uplifting stories to share. These make for memorable memorials.

Music is generally part of the service and what funeral can be complete without Amazing Grace? Our family favorite is O, My Father which is an LDS Hymn. I was able to sing it at my grandmother's graveside 9 years ago and it was a humbling moment.

What traditions do your family funerals include?

Do you think funerals are for grieving or celebrations of Life?

Our Family Turns Grief Over

We Celebrate With A Wake

There are as many traditions for funerals as there are a diversity of people on the earth. In some countries the dead are honored with mourners and shrines. Sometimes these funerals are days long events. The traditions for many people can be found on Wikipedia with this link:

Our family traditionally does the Christian service. We are reverent and prayerful up to a point. Our grief usually turns to smiles at some point because although we are a serious bunch, we somehow always find a bit of mirth in what ever situation we are in. We have accepted this over the years. The most recent passing of our beloved, older generation has left with us moments to remember them kindly and with fond memories.

If you consider humor at a funeral to be sacrilegious, my apologies.

Funerals are solemn occasions and it is a sacred ceremony, but there is always something that stands out to make these situations bearable. Try to find a pleasant thought or a fun time to remember with your beloved deceased. It helps the grief to heal.

A Half An Hour Late

To His Own Funeral

Our Grandpa was a pilot and strived for precise scheduling in his life. He went to the same diner everyday at the same time to enjoy his usual brunch. He flew charters when he was younger and as a private pilot depended on a rigid timeline to run his business. His clients depended on it. We settled his final resting spot near an area north of the city that has a small aircraft runway on it. As we did the graveside services, a small plane tipped their wings in salute to this amazing man.

On the day of his funeral and burial, our family was gathered at the church and were waiting for the hearse to arrive. The meeting time approached and still no grandpa. A call to the funeral home revealed a timely error. Grandpa had been delivered to the wrong church. Apparently they had tried to pawn him off on the Jehovah Witnesses. We caught this amused spirit within our family. Grandpa truly was a half an hour late to his own funeral. It has been a muse of ours for a few years now.

While She...

Was An Hour Early.

Utah is where the final burial spot for our grandmother was. On the day of her funeral we attended a memorial in our city in Nevada and then drove many miles to participate in her graveside service. The workers for the final resting place arrived at the time on their clocks and we arrived with the hearse on ours. Utah is an hour behind us on the time zone.

In her years as an educator she fulfilled a lifelong quest to teach as she went along and this occasion was no different. We certainly learned a lot from this woman throughout her life and in her passing she shared with us one more lesson. At that graveside we learned how the area was arranged and settled before the funeral party was supposed to arrive. We stood there dumbfounded and amused that our beloved grandmother was an hour early for her final rest.

Kingdom Come - A Family Facing A Difficult Funeral

Whoopi Goldberg stars in this humorous look at one family's funeral experience. Things are not always easy to arrange. How do you deliver a eulogy for a person that was difficult in life? I love this movie not for the funny scenes but for its honesty.

Movie Trailer - Kingdom Come

The movie Kingdom Come shares both the tears and smiles that can accompany a funeral. I love this movie for the way it approaches a subject that too often goes unspoken. Death is a part of life whether we want to accept that or not. It is often a very uncomfortable subject.

Above are two of my experiences from funerals. They are heartfelt memories both in sadness and in the way they make me smile. My best advice for surviving a funeral is be at peace knowing that your beloved family member or friend is no longer suffering or in pain. Try to remember them kindly and if you can, write the memories down so you can preserve those precious times. Do not dwell on them sadly and do your best to go about your life better for having known them.

Do you have any family favorite funeral memories you would like to share?

Comments And Reviews - How To Survive A Funeral

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    • MBurgess profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Burgess 

      4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @CampingmanNW: I had looked at my granny passing with dread for years and when she did finally, I was emotionally strong enough to let her go. These memories are just a couple of the more amusing anecdotes from our family. I need to add their pictures and more material. These times are never easy,but they are a necessary part of life. Thank you for your visit and kind words! =)

    • CampingmanNW profile image


      4 years ago

      Death is never easy. No matter how much we prepare for it's eventuality, it always seems to catch us off guard. But remembering them as you have so eloquently written here, is the kindest and best memory of all. Thanks for sharing RiaB

    • MBurgess profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Burgess 

      4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @SimonJay: It is something we need to think about, no matter how hard it may be to experience. It is a part of out existence, unfortunately. Thank you for your visit, SimonJay!

    • SimonJay profile image


      4 years ago

      Thanks for the tips here i am trying to prepare.


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