Reasons I Like Attending a Funeral

Funeral thoughts.

Original photo by Terri Webster Schrandt

The Reasons I Like Attending a Funeral

This may be an unlikely subject for a post, but let me explain. I realize that funerals may not be the happiest of occasions. However, if you are over 50 years old, I’m sure you’ve been to a couple by now. In fact, the older we get, the more they become a common occurrence. Thus, Cathy, of My Side of 50, and I decided to concentrate this week on the funeral ceremony. Cathy has 19 practical ways to help when someone dies.  If you’ve ever had a loved one pass, then you know how hard these times can be to remember everything.  Cathy gives some great ideas on what you can do to pitch in to help someone close to you, during these times. I would suspect you already know a couple of these tips, but it’s always nice to have list to reference as it is hard to remember them when you need them. So my suggestion would be to pin her post to your Pinterest page for easy retrieval.

Stay tuned for later in the week, where we will be showing our outfits for attending a funeral. This is definitely a time to make sure you have appropriate clothing for this occasion. Because we don’t usually have weeks or months to get prepared for it like you do for a wedding.

My History

Personally, I have been to many funerals. If I remember correctly, the first one was for my grandfather (pictured here). I was probably in my early 20’s, and I don’t really remember it being an awful experience. Maybe one reason for that is because I was well known at his church. He used to take me all the time when I was a young girl, so many of the people there knew me from long ago. And who doesn’t love hearing “I remember you from when you were a little girl?”

But I have quite a small immediate family, so most of the other funerals that I have attended aren’t close family (besides my dad). When I was practicing as a dentist, I would try to attend the funerals of many of my patients. In fact, I still read the obituaries every day, just to keep up with anyone that I might have known from that time in my life. And it was while I was attending these ceremonies, that I realized how much I enjoyed them.

As for me, I’m one of those “Pollyanna” personality types along with being very practical. So the idea of a funeral, may not be my favorite affair, but the truth of the matter, is we are all going to die at sometime. Thus I’ve learned that looking at this with a different perspective, can make it more pleasant. Here are a couple of reasons that I would now say, I like going to a funeral.

Funeral thoughts.


Without question it’s sad that the person who has passed is no longer with us. Of course, we are not happy about that fact. But I’ve always heard that the funeral experience is more about supporting the family. I think most of us could feel good about the thought that we are helping out others by attending. And if you think that “just” showing up at the funeral, isn’t much? I would beg to differ.

I remember at my dad’s funeral, thinking how meaningful it was that so many people took the time out of their busy schedule to come show their respect. Even if I wasn’t able to talk to everyone or remember who was there, just the fact that the church was crowded left me with an amazing feeling.

Even when I’m the guest at a funeral service, there are many times that there isn’t a chance to greet the family or give my condolences in person. That’s why I always make sure to take along a sympathy card and sign the register.

Funeral thoughts.


I think there is a huge sense of community when you attend a funeral or memorial service. The feeling that you are not alone and are part of this group who knew this person, can be very uplifting. I can’t tell you how many times that it’s so helpful for me to see others I know at these events. Just the fact that I can talk to someone else who is feeling what I am feeling, is so beneficial. Besides, it’s a perfect time to share the stories that you each know about the deceased.

The other aspect, is the fact that there tends to be quite a bit of hugging at this occasion. The physical aspect of hugging is good for not only condolences to the other person, but also yourself. I know how important the act of touch can be, and it’s at times like this that it’s even more important. I’m sure most of you already have heard the fact that a hug is very powerful and has health benefits. That’s because it’s been shown that when this physical interaction happens it causes the release of the happy hormones. Another advantage is it can even reduce some of the stress hormones in our bodies.

Funeral thoughts.


Have you ever notice that you learn so much about a person at their funeral?  When I was telling Nancy about the subject of this post, she even said, “at the end of every funeral I’ve attended, I always say, ‘I wished I had known them better’.”

I think this is because you usually only know the person in question in a certain context. Yet at the funeral, there are many times that others will share their stories of the deceased. And usually these are stories you had never heard! One of my favorite times at a funeral is when someone shares the funny antics. As someone with a license plate that reads Hah Hah, I am a huge fan of being able to see the positive and uplifting side of things. Even at a funeral!

It always reminds me of the Kenny Chesney song  “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven But Nobody Wants to Go Now!”

What about you? Have you been to many funerals? Do you enjoy them or not?

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  • Becky H

    I truly believe that something good comes of everything no matter how bad – and I think a lot of that is the community you talk about – people rallying to support one another #FabFridayPost

    • Jodie Filogomo

      That’s how I feel too, Becky!
      Thanks so much for your thoughts—it really is an important subject!!

  • Katie Davis

    Its an odd juxta isn’t it? That you can like something so depressing. However, it is good to want to offer and receive support!
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

    • Jodie Filogomo

      That’s such the truth Katie.
      Thanks for joining the conversation!

  • Ruth

    I’ve been to quite a few funerals. I usually go to support a friend or loved one, so I understand what you are talking about. I usually try to get there early enough to give hugs to the ones I am there to support, but even if I can’t be there early, I always sign the registry so they’ll be able to remember that I cared enough to be there for them. I don’t like standing up at the open casket and looking at the person’s body, but if that’s what it takes to comfort a friend, then that’s what I do.
    This is a very well written piece.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      I love how you expressed that Ruth. Signing the registry so they will be able to remember that you cared enough to be there. Because even if you do get to talk to the family or even hug them, sometimes the grief is so overwhelming that it’s hard to remember. So being able to look back at the written registry can be so helpful!!
      Thanks so much for your thoughts!

  • Bernadette Laganella

    Such a heartfelt post filled with many practical and lovely ideas for helping people deal with the reality of loss.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Bernadette. It is a reality if we live long enough, so I feel like we might as well be prepared.

  • Kym Thorpe

    Just in the past couple of weeks, I’ve attended three funerals, which seems like too many. But all three of the ladies we honored had gone on to heaven, so the funerals were actually filled with hope and joy. As you said, I found out a lot about each of them that I hadn’t known while they were alive.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      That does seem like a lot of funerals at once, Kym. But it’s nice to know that you were able to enjoy them!

  • When you go to a funeral, you usually see distant family members that you haven’t seen for years and years. Sad to say, you wouldn’t have seen them otherwise. So while a funeral may not be the happiest of occasions it still is a time to be with relatives and people you love.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      You’re so right Jenny.
      I guess what that says to me, is we all feel like it’s an important occasion to get together—and thus even in sadness there is that silver lining!
      Thanks so much for giving your voice to this!

  • Jaki Jelley

    They are a great time for remembering. It doesn’t matter which one I go to, they always take me back to my Nan’s when I was just 15 years old. My first funeral and I did a reading. Still something I’m very proud of. #abloggingoodtime

    • Jodie Filogomo

      That’s so wonderful that you have such a great remembrance of this event, Jaki!! I love hearing those stories!!

  • Judy Gramith

    I’m sure many of your readers will benefit from the opportunity to discuss this subject. You’ve done a worthy service by offering a forum for that!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Jude!

  • Min Write of the Middle

    I am terrible at funerals. I am very emotional to the point that it is embarrassing. The most recent funeral I went to was for my mother-in-law. I managed to keep from being too embarrassing (with sunglasses on in the church) until all the grandchildren (including my kids) carried her casket out of the church. Then I lost it and well *sigh*. Having said that – I have been to funerals that I think are beautiful. A beautiful tribute. Funerals are a little easier to accept when someone was elderly but some are just terribly difficult and I have been to them too. You are right in saying that you often learn much more about a person at their funeral and then wish you’d spent more time with them and got to know them better. Goes to show that we should show an interest in our friends and family NOW and listen to them and be curious about them NOW. Really lovely post Jodie. #TeamLovinLife

    • Jodie Filogomo

      First, I don’t think it should be embarrassing that you’re emotional, Min–especially at these events. I’d spin it to say that it shows your everloving heart and how it breaks for those affected by the loss.
      But you are righter than right that we should spend time with our friends & family now and really listen to their stories. Or ask about new stories. Although I laugh because some of my friends tell stories about me that even I don’t remember (maybe they are making them up–ha ha)
      I really appreciate that you shared this, and happy weekend!

  • Thank you for sharing this Jodie! You know we just don’t talk about funerals but we need to more. Although there is sadness it is also a time to remember and celebrate a life. I’m glad you linked this post the The Blended Blog. Have a great weekend!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      We really don’t talk about them much, do we Carrie. Yet they are such a important time since it happens to absolutely everyone.
      Thanks for your voice and happy weekend!

  • CathyLynchLawdanski

    Beautiful perspective on the opportunity we have to show love and support as a funeral. And to connect with others. Thanks for these great insight’s, Jodie!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      That’s so nice of you to say that Cathy! Thanks!

  • Lisa Yvonne

    I think this is a great post, and a needed perspective shift for me!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      It’s still not the funnest of occasions—but if it’s something we end up having to do time after time, I feel like I might as well find the silver lining!!
      Thanks for joining in Lisa!

  • I dont like funerals and i feel uncomfortable all the time I’m there or at the wake. I dont like to cope in public so I struggle every time.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      I’m sure many people feel this way Mainy. And you may never feel comfortable at them, but kudos to you for at least going—I’m sure it means a lot to the family.

  • Ann H

    I’ve not been to many … only very close family and although I’m very sad there is an element of family support that often is missed afterwards. #wotw

    • Jodie Filogomo

      So true, so true Ann.

  • Michelle Leslie

    Funerals suck. Sorry Jodie, I loved reading your post and all your points are valid, but I still hate funerals and saying goodbye to someone you love. Don’t we all though. I’m one of those people who prefer to be there in the days after the funeral, when the shock has worn off and the person who is suffering the most from the loss still wants to talk and everyone has moved on or stopped listening. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but when my sister died in a car accident the funeral passed in a haze, I can’t remember a thing. What I do remember is those people who were there long after the funeral was over. The ones who listened and let me ball my eyes out over and over again. I haven’t been to a funeral now in 29 years, but I so respect that we all grieve in different ways. As long as we’re there for each other in our own way.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      There’s nothing to be sorry for, Michelle. I love hearing other people’s perspective. Considering the fact that we are all wired so differently, it’d be silly to expect us all to react the same way.
      But you are exactly right about the “real” friends being there after the ceremony. That means more than anything.
      And even though it was so long ago, those tragic events are brutal. With all my respect, I am sorry for the loss of your sister. And I’m so glad you had some support at that time.

  • Jocelyn (@ReadingRes)

    You do make a good point about the support and sense of community you feel at funerals, definitely true. I’ve been to more than I’d like, and they fall into two categories for me, the ones that are a celebration of life and passing, and then the tragedies. I handle funerals of elderly people much better than the ones I have attended of my young friends, or the baby of friends in one case. Those are hard. Thanks for sharing your perspective on them with #WotW

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Well, you are definitely right Jocelyn. The age of the person does seem to make such a difference in the emotions.
      Some lives are cut short and it doesn’t seem fair or right, but I guess it’s another example of how we aren’t in control of it.

  • That whole discovery thing is indeed a very positive outcome of a funeral. It’s such a shame we can’t learn all that stuff about the person while they’re still alive. Their stories are usually so fascinating.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      You are so right Leanne. Heck–I hardly remember all the stories about me—so I wonder which ones will come out at my funeral?

  • Chris @BoomingOn

    Unfortunately, there will be times when we are involved in funerals very intimately, especially as we age. But I think even if you don’t know someone very well, it’s important to attend funerals as a mark of respect and to support those left behind, who you might know better. I was so appreciative of the people who attended my Dad’s funeral, not only the ones that knew him.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      It really does make you feel good to know that others take the time to attend these events.
      Thanks for stopping by Chris.

  • What a great topic for a post! I absolutely have gone to many (I’m 41) and have at times left saying,”Wow, I didn’t realize he/she did that, or this” . Including my grandfather & dad who I was very close too. Meeting different people from their past put into light more of who they were when they were more my age. Although, I don’t like why I’m attending a funeral, the community of people who come to celebrate their life always reminds me to enjoy life daily and hopefully to impact others like those who’s funeral I’ve attended have. #ablogginggoodtime

    • Jodie Filogomo

      That’s exactly how I feel too! I love talking to other folks at the service and hearing all of their stories about the person! To me it’s quite uplifting in such a somber time!
      Thanks for popping over and giving your perspective–I always appreciate that!

  • I’ve been to too many funerals. Having lost both my parents and several friends who were much too young, I struggle with attending them. I like to go along to honour the person, but I always end up in tears. We tried to make Mum’s send off a positive one, but I still cried lots of tears. Tears can be cathartic 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Jodie Filogomo

      But I don’t think tears are bad—especially for this ceremony. In fact (not to be disrespectful, but) in our post on what to wear to the funeral, I even touched on the fact that the number one thing is waterproof mascara. I find I will cry even at funerals of those I don’t know super well. But I think (like you said) the tears can make us feel better!

  • Kathy Marris

    Yes I’ve been to many funerals, some very sad and others more like a celebration of the deceased’s life. It is always interesting to listen to the eulogy to find out about the person’s past. It is also a great occasion to catch up with family and friends you haven’t seen in ages. So yes I don’t really mind attending funerals. 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Jodie Filogomo

      I love the ones that are all about celebrating the person’s life, Kathy!
      At my MIL’s funeral (who was 90+) there was so much laughter and love —because that was her personality and it resonated in the people around her! That’s what I want mine to be like!!
      Thanks for your words & thoughts!

  • What a lovely take on a maudlin subject 🙂 I’m also a bit of a Pollyanna, but I haven’t thought of these positive takes on attending a funeral. You’re so right about the support – of course we shouldn’t just go to show respect – it’s the support for the family which is really really important too 🙂 #teamlovinlife

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Johanna for your thoughts too. 🙂

  • Jumped over from the Senior Salon
    This was a very different kind of post for you, Jodie – and very well done.

    I haven’t been to a great many funerals and memorial services, but more than a few. How I feel about them depends upon the service. Some are touching, some uplifting, some even humorous, military, extremely religious and not at all – and my feelings for all of those is essentially positive. But one with a “sinners in the hands of an angry god” southern minister made it difficult, even, for me to sit in the pew without squirming.

    A long-time good friend’s mother had died and the family dynamic was already a bit dicey. My friend was tapped by the mother to deliver the eulogy, which didn’t exactly thrill the rest of the many siblings for more than a few highly unusual reasons besides the fact that he was the youngest. Two other good friends and I were there for support for HIM in what certainly could have been expected to be a tense situation, and their feelings were similar to my own.

    I have to tell you, Jodie, my friend’s eulogy was the only part of the service that was NOT delivered in that cadence with loud and lowered voice alternating, seemingly with nothing to do with the words being spoken. It was difficult for me to understand what he was saying at times, given his delivery. Stranger still, for me, a man in the congregation (the husband of one of my friend’s sisters, I learned later) punctuated with increasing louder and more frequent, “You tell it, brother! Amen!” type comments. Before he got loud enough for me to make out what he was saying, I honestly believed he had Tourette’s.

    Somebody had sent a huge horse-shoe flower arrangement (like they put over the neck of the winner of the Kentucky Derby) which was placed very near the open coffin, and the picture behind the minister was a 3-D picture of Jesus on the cross. Right before the end, the minister called for anyone who had not been saved to come to the alter to be touched by the Holy Spirit, after reminding us all forcefully that those who were not were heading straight to hell.

    For most of my friend’s family this was the minister they were used to, so I suppose it was comforting for the loved ones. Not being familiar with this style of preaching, I found it difficult. If this would have been my first funeral experience, I doubt I would ever have attended another. I doubt that even you would have found it difficult to love that one.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    • Jodie Filogomo

      It’s almost a comical story Madelyn—at least reading it now. I’m sure when you were going through it …it might not have been so funny.

      • No – I had to struggle not to laugh at the time. btw- I’m now at SIX month old comments, so I’m stopping. I have no idea how you keep up with them, so you may not even see these guys. I meant well.

  • I think funerals can be a very special time and it is important to show loved ones your support as you mentioned. Well said Jodie.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Amy!

  • Rebecca Phillips

    Wow, this is perfectly written. I have always been the worker bee at weddings, funerals and other family events because, well I love to organize things. LOL. This is a very valuable post that all of us can benefit from!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      And you being the worker bee can be such a blessing Rebecca!! Thank golly for people like you!

  • This is a very helpful post! Funerals are definitely never easy but it does help by having some kind of support.


    • Jodie Filogomo


  • Stevie Turner

    My mother’s funeral has been organised for tomorrow. I’m dreading it, but am happy knowing that she is out of pain and suffering now.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      I’m so sorry Stevie. I didn’t realize that your mom had just passed. Please accept my condolences, as I know how hard this time can be.

      • Stevie Turner

        Thanks Jodie. It was a happy release for her I think.

    • I am so sorry to read that, Stevie. What difficult timing for you right now — not than any time is particularly easy when a parent passes. I hope all goes smoothly and you find peace, closure and closeness. I am so sorry for your loss.

      • Stevie Turner

        Thanks Madelyn. x

  • This is a very helpful post Jodie. I personally don’t like funerals. I want to remember people as they were when they were with me and it seems every time I have seen someone in a coffin that is how I remember them. I do believe in supporting those who have to say good bye to a loved one and always want to do anything I can to help.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      I can see your point Cheryl!
      I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of the whole embalming part or open casket. I really love it when there is a board places by the coffin showing many different photos of the person in their life!
      Thanks for your thoughts. 🙂

  • I haven’t been to too many funerals but because I have a small immediate family, they have usually been close to me which makes it harder. Delivering a good funeral helps in terms of giving the deceased person the right send-off, with nothing striking the wrong note. For the funeral of my brother, who was 60, we had a humanist service (he wasn’t religious) and chose music that would have made him smile, such as the sound track to a series of comedy films he loved. The other sad thing about funerals is that you tend to see relatives you haven’t seen for years, and it makes you realise how harder we should work at staying in touch.
    Well done Jodie for this post, as death is something everyone avoids talking about although it happens to all of us.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      I think choosing music that would make the deceased happy is the best idea Gail! How fortunate to think of that. Because remembering that person’s likes and interests bring everyone closer, in my opinion!!
      I really appreciate that you shared your story!! 🙂

  • You are so right. Certainly you never wish for a funeral, but that sense of love and camaraderie is something you can’t get anywhere else <3

    Enclothed Cognition

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Keri!

  • I never been to any but I do love your reasoning of why you like them. Community is a big thing and having love and support can help deal with the massive loss 🙂

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks for your thoughts Heather. 🙂

  • Terri Webster Schrandt

    You raise a lot of important points about the need to support others at funerals. I just read another blogger’s post about her attending (and presiding over) a friend’s funeral and she talked about the impermanence of life. We are all going to leave the Earth one day and we should support each other while we still can!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      You are so right, Terri!

  • This is such a good post and such a great reminder that even during our darkest, most difficult days, we can find something good:)


    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Laura! That is how I usually look at life. If we look hard enough, there is usually a silver lining somewhere.

  • Karen

    I read this with great interest today because I couldn’t initially get on board with the idea of enjoying going to a funeral. You make very good points here, all that I agree with. I don’t dread going to funerals, and I feel good after I’ve gone to have been there for support for the family. I also remember at my dad’s, we had a memorial service on a Saturday of all things, and the church was packed. On a Saturday. That made an impression on me about being there for support, even on what many view as a day off from everything. This was a good post Jodie. I’m going to pin the tips like you suggested, because I know the next one is coming whether it’s sooner or later, and things like this are good to refer to.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      My husband was against me saying that I like attending a funeral. He kept wanting me to change it because he thought it might be taken the wrong way.
      But maybe part of the reason I now like going is I tell myself I will learn so much about the person and see some people I may know. I hope I can show the family some support just by my presence. And I want my days to be filled with positivity—so even if I’m going to a funeral, I want to look at the good points instead of dreading it.
      I really appreciate you taking the time to comment on this, Karen. It’s certainly not the “fluff” of fashion that I usually discuss.

  • You look like a movie star in your profile picture lol you remind me of an actress not sure what her name is. I love that you run this blog with your mother and step mom this is so cute and your header is really on point, did you make it yourself? Dominica from London! xXx

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Hi Dominca!! Thanks so much for stopping by!
      I used to get told I looked like Rebecca De Mornay back when the movie Risky Business came out–ha ha!
      As for the header, SpyGirl, Anne M. Bray drew the images!! Aren’t they fun?

      • Omg you actually do I had to google her just now lol, but there is another actress can’t think what film she was in and she’s in so many!! Lol I’m really bad, I know she was in one of them Christmas love comedies. xXx

        • Jodie Filogomo

          :)…You’ll have to tell me when you remember Dominica!! I’d love to know!!

  • I’ve been to many more than I care to but you’re so right, it is about supporting the family. And the community is nice and so good for everyone. I hate to say it, but it’s in one of the few times everyone gets together.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Maybe you’re too young for that movie: 4 Weddings & a Funeral? That’s exactly the premises (if I remember correctly—it was a long time ago). Everyone gets together at these events, and that in itself is a blessing.
      Thanks for your thoughts, Laura!

  • Oh I have been to a few! I find it awfull I also dont think in : we are all going to die one day. I want to live forever(ironic isn t it)

    • Jodie Filogomo

      A little ironic, yes, Nancy! But then again, why concentrate on the part of life that you deem awful? Enjoy life while we are able is the best message!! 🙂

  • PetiteOver40

    What a thought-provoking topic, Jodie! As I look back in my mind over the funerals I’ve attended I can’t say I enjoyed them but I can now see their value for all the reasons you listed in your post. If nature takes its general course in my life, I will be attending a lot more funerals in the future and I’ll carry the thoughts you’ve shared here with me with hopes of providing community and comfort in my own way.

    One of the things I do find enjoyable is walking through cemeteries. Whether I’m there because of a funeral or because of a genealogical expedition, I find cemeteries to be so peaceful. And, now that I’m thinking about it, it’s the cemetery part of the funeral where I connect most to what you said about enjoying funerals. This is where I feel most comforted and where I feel I am most comforting to the family. I’m not sure why.

    Such an interesting and important topic, Jodie! Thank you for bringing it up! ❤️


    • Jodie Filogomo

      That’s so compelling to hear your thoughts on this Sherry.
      I think the cemeteries are my least favorite part of this occasion to be truthful. Maybe because I don’t want to be buried in the dirt (you know what an indoor kind of girl I am). I am hoping to donate my body to science (like a true science major, right?). But that’s why I love starting these conversations—there is no one right answer. And everyone is so unique in their thoughts & experiences!
      I really appreciate that you shared this!!

    • Charlotte Miller

      Yes Sherry, Cemeteries are so very interesting. As I’ve traveled-I notice them and in the foreign countries they tell so much of that area’s culture. I’ll never forget one behind the Iron Curtain in Prague (1975) a Ghetto cemetery that looked like something from a horror movie. It was even dark and rainy that day with not a blade of grass visible. Left quite an impression.

      • PetiteOver40

        I think I remember that cemetery, Charlotte! When I visited Prague in 1990, the Iron Curtain had just come down. We went to a cemetery that sounded like what you describe. I believe it was a Jewish cemetery that dated centuries back. The stones were crammed in tight and they were dark with age. Some were mossed over. It had a very otherworldly, haunted appearance. Does that sound about right?

        • Charlotte Miller

          Sherry, Yes–that’s the one. Jodie was about 10 at the time and luckily she stayed on the bus. In the movie–Schindler’s List one (maybe that one) was shown at the end with survivors putting stones on the headstones to honor the dead. Stones instead of flowers.Never leaves your memory.

  • Pinning for future reference. My father chose to be cremated and my mother has requested the same when the time comes. It was very difficult when the funeral home brought my father’s urn and just kind of handed it to my mom, who reacted kind of out of character, too. It was like he was delivering flowers or something. I hated that no one spoke about the good man my father was, there was no ceremony or opportunity for closure and saying goodbye. My mom just placed the urn on the window seat and that was that.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      It’s certainly wonderful to the family to have a ceremony—even if it is considered more work & stress (all my opinions, of course). So without this rite, the end could feel not finished, I suppose. That’s so interesting to hear your experience with this Leslie.
      But I thought you could still have a service, even if someone is being cremated??

      • My mother was cremated and her ashes put in a wooden container that looked like a tiny coffin. Since she is buried at Arlington Cemetery, she had a military funeral with honor guards who two-stepped it all the way to the grave-site — especially odd to me because she was not the typical military wife who would have wanted this, the “coffin” transported by four of them was so tiny and the service was closed to all but our immediate family, so it seemed to me that they almost outnumbered us. The meal we shared once we returned to the house had a great deal more closeness to it.

        I believe it was familiar and thus comforting to my father, and perhaps my mother’s brother, an Army doctor, but it wasn’t exactly the warm and fuzzy send off I’m sure my mother would have preferred and which would have suited her so much better – a very different attempt at closure, but certainly a service for someone who was cremated.

        • Jodie Filogomo

          That’s a very interesting aspect—a memorial/service that is what the living want as opposed to what you think the deceased would like. Now there’s a controversy…But in the end, isn’t it all about the living anyways? Very thought provoking, I’d say!

  • Nicole Mölders

    We lived in a small village when I grew up. Funerals were at 2 pm, the time my mom took her nap. Thus, she send my sis and me to funerals when a neighbor or prominent person of the village died. “Someone has to represent the family” she said. My sis and I often were the only except for the kids to the deceased’s family. We hated it especially when we even had no clue who the person was. My mom always asked us who was at the funeral. Thus, there was no way to cheat and just do something else during that time.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Wow…that’s so interesting Nicole! So has it changed the way you think about funerals now? Do you hate them because of this? Or do they seem easier because you’ve been to them when you were young?

  • donnaduck

    I’ve been to more funerals than I cared to, for sure. From my sister’s when she was killed in a car accident, my 4 month old granddaughter’s, a 12 year old boy, who I taught in Sunday School, who committed suicide, my dad’s three years ago, to all my loving grandparents’, and I can say that only in these recent years have I come to be comforted by going to funerals. They’re definitely there to help the family move on, receive comfort, catch up with relatives and friends who you haven’t seen for a long time, and almost be a rite of passage into whatever you believe comes after death. Going to a funeral can bring needed closure, but also can bring a reminder to the ones attending that life is short and we never know how much time on earth we’re given. So, while I am comforted for the most part at funerals, they also make me acutely aware that I must try to be more loving, more kind, more forgiving, and less critical in my days left on earth. We all touch others’ lives, at one point or another, and have more influence on them than we might realize. And that’s what I see at funerals- ways others have touched a life I have touched in some way. There’s some comfort in that, as well of course, as grief and sadness.

    Thanks for this kind of post, Jodie. You never know how a life may be touched by a blog…

    • Jodie Filogomo

      I do think the hardest funerals are the ones of the young ones—the ones that haven’t lived their life yet (or at least how we perceive a life to be lived).
      But you are incredibly right Donna—it is a huge realization that life is too short and we should count our blessings and tell people we love them daily! I think that’s one reason I still read the obits every day. They are a constant reminder that life can change in a moment and to be happy for what I have!
      Thank you so much for your wonderful reflection on this.

  • Very thought provoking. Its incredible how something that will happen to all of us, die, can become a tricky or hard to talk about issue. The first meaningful person that died for me was my uncle, I was 15. After that, my grandfather, all I can say is that the right people make a difference at a moment like that. The important thing is to be there, not in the way but at the side, so people know they can reach out.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      That’s such a fabulous point Lorena! Being there for others (but not as a burden) is so, so important!!
      Thanks for sharing your experiences –I always thinks it helps so much to hear other’s perspective!

  • I’m one of those people that does not handle funerals well. But, I will say I do feel like I always learn something about the person I didn’t know and am always amazed.

    Pumps and Push-Ups

    • Jodie Filogomo

      It’ll be interesting to see if your perspective changes over the years, Brooke. Because I know when I was younger, it did seem uncomfortable. You didn’t know what to say, etc. But I think it’s like anything in life—the more you do it the easier it gets. And knowing that you are comforting others can be such a blessing!

  • Kristi Woods

    Interesting conversation, Jodie. A funeral is something most of us will go to at one point or another. The sense of community was a strong one for me when my dad passed away 18 months ago. It remains a fresh and strong attribute to the difficult time. Blessings.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks for your thoughts Kristi! It is interesting how such a “sorrowful” event can bring us closer–I think that can be the silver lining for many of us!

  • Laura

    I do find funerals comforting. I always feel that a funeral is for those living, not for the person that passed away. It’s helpful to grieve together and find support and closure. I like sharing stories from their lives and remembering the positive aspects about them. It helps to think they had a good life.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      That’s exactly how I feel Laura! It’s taken me years to figure it out, but it can be such an uplifting time even though we are all sad!
      Thanks so much for your perspective!!

  • I haven’t been to one funeral. Is that weird?

    When members of my family has passed away I’ve always lived too far away.

    On one occasion I made the choice not to attend my Grandfather’s funeral because I wanted to remember him living rather than dead. Now after reading your post I suppose that was very selfish of me because it is true that the funeral is more about the family that is left behind.

    Interesting subject!


    • Jodie Filogomo

      Wow, Suzanne—that’s amazing you haven’t been to any funerals. I can totally understand why you didn’t go to your grandfather’s though. That’s how I feel about visiting my dad’s gravesite—that’s not where I feel close to him. But you were in a different place then, so that’s what felt right to you. That’s why we shouldn’t always judge other people’s behavior when it comes to these rites. Everyone reacts so differently.
      I do think that it’s the same as everything in life, the more you experience something, the more comfortable you are with it.
      Thanks for joining in —I always love to hear everyone’s perspective!!

  • Good Heavens…you are always on my wavelength.

    My MIL just passed earlier this month after a several month decline.

    I know that not everyone feels as we do, but to me, funerals are the most important part…for SO many reasons…many of which you just touched on. They are not always easy, but they are rich with opportunities to celebrate family, friendship, the gift of life–and for the faithful–the hope of resurrection.

    We had so many special moments with the one we just “celebrated.” Laughing, crying reconnecting with family and friends and everything in between! All the grandchildren took roles in her Mass…from readings to Eucharistic Minister-ing to offering the eulogy. It was lovely and she was likely beaming.

    Again, not everyone feels the same way, but we were grateful for everyone who made the sacrifice to come to her final service (and, TBH, pretty disappointed in a few who didn’t).

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Wow, Em…I’m so sorry for you & your family.
      It’s nice to know that there are others that feel the same way I do! And celebrating someone’s life is the best way to approach this event IMO!
      And maybe those that didn’t make it to your MIL’s funeral, were those who have a hard time handling this kind of event and sorrow??

      • Mmmm…really just focusing on one couple from my immediate family…and… nope, lol. It just wasn’t important enough.

        • Jodie Filogomo


  • Adrienne Terrebonne

    I have been to several funerals and they always make me a little uncomfortable. Probably because our family never really talked about our feelings as I grew up so funerals were difficult. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      I can relate, Adrienne because I’m sure the first couple that I went to after my grandfather’s was like that. But I think the more you go to, the more you know what to expect and can appreciate some of the aspects!!
      Thanks for giving your voice to the discussion!!