I don't want to walk you up to the casket!
September 6, 2007 6:32 PM Subscribe
How do I tactfully avoid having to accompany people to the casket at a family member's funeral?
I am not comfortable at open-casket funerals, mainly because of the way my family handles them. I may soon be attending the funeral of an immediate family member. In my family, as each guest arrives, they are shortly expected to walk up to the casket with an immediate family member. In turn, immediate family members are expected to accompany each guest to the casket.
I don't like to get closer than the front row of seats in the funeral home when the casket is open, which it almost always is. A lot of people in my family insist on standing directly in front of the casket, talking about the person, sometimes even draping their fingers over the side! And then there are always those "oh, (s)he looks so good! (S)he looks like (s)he's just sleeping!" comments. Those make me even more squeamish. I also hate walking past the casket as the funeral ends, where you're supposed to look at the body and pay your final respects, but because I don't see any tactful way to sneak out before going through that little line, I usually just suffer through it.
So how do I tactfully say "no, I won't be walking you to the casket to pay your respects?" (Yes, there are other family members who can do so, but I might be asked as well.) And how do you reply when they make those tactless comments about the body looking good?