My friend, who is Taiwanese American, is having a gathering at his home for his mother’s 49 day funeral ceremony. We will be making paper lotus blossoms. This is in the United States, and we are in our mid-30s. I am not sure what dress is appropriate for the 49 day funeral ceremony. Is it formal black? Casual since we will be making origami lotuses? Also, is it appropriate to bring food and alcohol? Are there more traditional offerings that I should bring? Are there any other customs that I should be aware of for this ceremony?
I'm coming up on the one-year anniversary of my husband's death and am trying to figure out how to mark it without a grave or ashes and with my young daughter. [more inside]
I need some quick potential solutions for compartmentalizing grief, at least for a little while. More beanplating in the extended. [more inside]
I'm looking for songs that lift your heart up, but in a... calming way? Examples of what I'm looking for would be Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's cover of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," Modest Mouse's "Float On," or maybe The Magnetic Fields' "The Book of Love." Something that wouldn't be out of place at a wedding OR a memorial service. A joyful solemnity is the best descriptor I can come up with for what I'm looking for. What have you got for me?
My dad is dying of cancer. I live a very long way away and have a small baby with health complications who probably shouldn't be flying just yet. Should I go sooner to see my dad before he gets too bad and leave my little baby behind? Should I wait for the all clear to travel with the baby and risk my dad getting really sick or dying without me seeing him? [more inside]
I need 3 songs for a funeral. Specifications within [more inside]
My friend's mother passed away. She loved 60s music, particularly Peter Paul and Mary. In her home, I found CDs of Peter Paul Mary, John Denver, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Cat Stevens. I know she loved the song Turn Turn Turn and Signs [more inside]
I've been to funerals where a casket was lowered into a grave using some kind of machine – what's the equivalent to this when the remains are cremated and put into a small box or urn? I imagine there's some happy medium between a giant apparatus and just dropping the box into the hole. If it makes a difference I'm interested in particular in how this is done in graves without a vault.
Next month, my siblings and I will have an interment ceremony when our parents' ashes will be placed in a vault. The vault is on the grounds of the Methodist church they attended and the minister of the church will preside over the ceremony. As none of us are churchgoers, we're in the dark as to the etiquette involved: whether and how much to pay the minister for his services and the mechanics of such a transaction. Cash? Check? Payable to him or the church? Amount? Any guidance appreciated.
What's the right thing to do here? [more inside]
Yes, I know it’s always nice to go as a gesture of support, but how important is it really, in this scenario? [more inside]
After my mother died last fall, and my family having no money to bury her, it got me thinking about my own inevitable death someday. I know you can prepay for your funeral at actual funeral homes, but I never stay in one location more than 2-3 years. I have no idea where I'll be when I die. I've thought about life insurance, but I think that takes a while to pay out? Are there some options I'm missing?
A close family friend recently lost a family member. I'd prefer to send food instead of flowers to try and make this horrible situation a tiny bit easier on everyone. The catch is that I live in New Jersey. Hope me, Mefi friends!! [more inside]
I need to read something from the new or old testament at my grandfather's funeral. I was close with him and he was a very special figure in my life. I'm not Catholic or Christian but I'd love to find something that resonates in some way about his life or has some bigger wisdom. I don't know which texts are proper for Catholic Funeral Service/Mass. I don't even know when to sit, stand or kneel... I would be grateful for suggestions from folks on some meaningful and appropriate choices. [more inside]
A good friend of mine recently passed away, and his mother asked me to pick two musical selections to play at his service. He was a big classical music buff, but I am not. I know Mahler was his favorite, but frankly, I have no idea where to even begin. Please help me identify Mahler compositions that are appropriate (in terms of mood and length) for a memorial service.
My mom is in pallative care and may pass away shortly. I'm an only child and we have no blood relatives here. The service would be attended by my husband and two teen kids plus a couple of elderly neighbors and me. What funeral service ideas are there for such a small attendance? [more inside]
My boyfriend has to go to a funeral out of town on his birthday. What can I do for him or sneak into his suitcase to brighten his day a little bit?
A friend tells me that there are few if any family-owned funeral parlors left in the US. Although nearly all funeral parlors appear to be small establishments, they are in fact operated by large corporations. The reason they maintain the family business atmosphere is because people don't want a big company dealing with their loved ones' remains. Is it true?
A family friend is hanging around Atlanta, GA right now trying to figure out what her rights are to see her father's body. The father's wife, who she has never met, has set a "restriction" at the mortuary. [more inside]
I need to fly from Seattle to Indiana this weekend for my grandmother's funeral. Are there options I may not know about for doing this at all affordably? [more inside]
Is there a way I can purchase life insurance and/or funeral insurance for my parents, and if so, which would be the best way to do it? [more inside]
I'm looking for decoration ideas for a children's grave. [more inside]
What are the best Windows 7 applications for making a respectful slideshow for a funeral? I'm thinking there will be mostly pictures, but some video may be included as well. For now I'm thinking I won't be including music in the slideshow, but I'd still like to hear about software with music functionality as well.
I'll be meeting the family of a close friend for the first time at his visitation and funeral. This seems awkward — more awkward than funerals usually are. How best to handle it? [more inside]
A family member lost her sense of smell in an accident and we would like to hold a little "memorial ceremony" to help her process it. Can you think of any songs, poems, quotations, readings, symbolic activities we could use? Serious and humorous suggestions are fine.
I am remarkably conflicted on whether to buy a plane ticket to attend a family friend's funeral tomorrow. Obviously I have to make this decision soon but I'm really struggling. [more inside]
I'm nearing the two-year anniversary of my dad's death, and a close friend just lost a family member in a tragic accident. As I remember my dad and support my friend, I am craving some sort of movement-based grief ritual - an active dance, set of motions, physical practice, to do with others, potentially at my (UU) church. [more inside]
Having not dealt with close family death often, i'm a little concerned about how to prepare my 12 yo daughter for the service etc. Thoughts? [more inside]
I'm reading a poem for my grandmother's memorial service. I want to find something I like that will also get my mother's OK. [more inside]
Where do atheist funerals/memorial services take place, and who, if anyone, officiates? [more inside]
Should I, a non-Muslim woman, wear a hijab to a Muslim burial? What else do I need to know to avoid offending anyone there? [more inside]
I have family coming in for a funeral this week. Our house is the hub, so I'm going to be feeding a group of 10-12 for 5 days. Any thoughts on comforting foods, that are relatively easy to prepare for that many? I am a good cook, but will have to spend some time at work this week, so I won't have tons of time to devote to this.
My sister has asked me to deliver the eulogy for my nephew at his funeral next week. He was 21 when he died of a drug overdose. I am happy to do it, but the difficulty is that I did not know him. So, I am having a hard time getting started... [more inside]
My dear friend's mother just passed away (in Iraq). I called her and comforted her a little by phone, but would flowers and/or food be appropriate? What else can I do for her to help? [more inside]
I am helping to make arrangements after the death of a relative. I find the format and style of the "memorial websites" at legacy.com to be tacky and - more important - deeply unreflective of his sense for design, his rejection of religion and overall un-sentimentality. We can do a newspaper obituaries, but they're also overpriced (starting around $300 for anything of decent size) and over-sentimental and there does need to be some kind of on-line statement of his passing. (Don't get me started on the vulture-hyenas at funeral homes; he asked for a Neptune Society cremation, which was a huge relief.) [more inside]
My Husbands Grandmother has died and he and his whole family are in transit to the funeral (I am unable to travel due to health reasons) and wanted to send flowers as I couldn't be there but I don't quite understand the etiquette involved with the style of Funeral they are having. [more inside]
A great friend of mine passed away. I can't make his funeral in another country tomorrow, and feel really guilty. Should I/what can I do? [more inside]
Usually I think of sending flowers when I won't be able to attend a funeral. I will be attending one this week, for a pretty close relative, and another relative asked me to go in on some flowers. Is it customary to send flowers even if you're attending? This is in the US.
My Dad died this week after a long illness. I don't feel a thing, except maybe tired. How do I get my feelings back? Are there resources for people like me? [more inside]
Hi, guys. My boyfriend's grandma died today of a brain tumor. I come from a culture where when someone dies you all go and spend time and mourn together with the close family of the dead. It is something similar to viewing in America. Now he calls me tonight and tells me she died and that the funeral is on Monday. Then he says that probably this weekend he will go home to his parents house and spend the weeken with them and that might be best if I don't go because I might not see them at their best and that way he gets to see them alone because he hasn't really spend any time alone with his family ever since we started dating. Like I said, I am Romanian and in our tradition you want exactly the opposite , people to come by and sit by your side. Is that a cultural change in America? Is he right? Is he acting goofy? Just don't know if I should just shut up and mind my own business? This is weird because he was ok before with me spending the entire weeken in the hospice. Tell me how would you react from an American perspective? We have different cultures.
When I was living in Honduras, I noticed that when a person died, the family would hang up a large piece of black fabric outside of their house or in their window. This banner would be cut into a shape that reminded me of a bow tie. This might be a long shot, but does anyone know what the history is behind this tradition? [more inside]
My Dad just called and my Mom unexpectedly died in her sleep at 62. We need help in knowing what to do. [more inside]
A very very dear friend died unexpectedly recently and I have been asked by the family to be among the non-family members who will speak at his memorial service. I've only ever spoken at my mother's memorial service, and I cheated by reading her favorite psalm. I know some things to do and some not to do, but I think I need more thoughts from the hivemind. [more inside]
I suppose just about everybody goes through this process at one time or another, but I (30 year-old man) and my sister (34 year-old woman) are helping my dad plan mom's funeral (after 40 years of marriage and a drawn-out battle with cancer). None of us (dad included) have really had to plan these things, and conflicted advice from different friends and loved ones isn't helping. How do we do this? (and how can this be announced online to friends and acquaintances?) [more inside]
I have a complicated relationship with my family. An elderly relative is dying in the next few weeks. I have an extremely important deadline coming up. I need help in coping. [more inside]
My grandfather is likely to die within the next few months. I am trying to figure out how, when it comes to that point, to inform people of the time of the funeral and the shiva, because I do not want to have to think about this when he dies. I do not want to phone or text anyone except two or three of my close friends. How do I inform other people? [more inside]
After a slow, sad decline over the past decade, one of my best friend's much beloved grandmother has passed away. While I never met her ouma in person my friend has often shared stories of her life, the things she had taught her and more recently the sorrow of her drawn out illness and her fears for the future as it became clear she didn't have very long left in this world. My question is: is it appropriate for me to attend the funeral service this coming week? [more inside]
Should I go to my ex-coworker's memorial tonight? He committed suicide a few weeks ago. I kind of don't want to go because I'm more pissed off than I am sad. [more inside]
I was recently in a small village cemetery in Portugal. In the cemetery there was a wall with coffins interred on shelves, with a modern lockable double glazed door over each vault so that you could look in at the contents. [more inside]
Things you do not want to hear 15 minutes before your dad's memorial service: "Uh ma'am? These cremains are kind of... chunky." [more inside]