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Funerals

Dori
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 Dori
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I was wondering how you see things when it comes to funerals? Do you expect your family members, partners/boyfriends to stand next to you? How would you feel if they leave you to stand alone, while they stay away from you? Would you see it as if it was your fault for something, maybe they are ashamed or just unable to face their emotions?

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Elsa
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Hi, Dori.  It sounds like you wanted this support and assumed you would have it, which is understandable. But other people may not realize you would like them, physically near you. I feel funerals are hard for everyone and forgiving people, whatever, on the day of a funeral, is a good idea if you can swing it.

But I would hate to be standing alone at a funeral if I expected otherwise,  It would make me feel sad and probably lonely as well.

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Dori
 Dori
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@elsa Hi Elsa, it's a custom to stand next to each other, especially family members. When you realize you are standing alone, looking back where is everyone and realizing each of them is in their corner, it really does make you feel more lonely than sad.

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Elsa
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@dori I'm sorry. 🙁

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Sue Ellen
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Funerals and the visitations can be trying, emotional times. I am sorry that you are hurt.  Often times, people are too busy dealing with their own emotions to bother with how they interact with others. 

How people act depends on several factors. As much as I like to hold back, observe, and deal with my own emotions, I find I have to seek out others if I’m to interact. Sometimes that is quite an effort. I avoided one overly emotional person until I could gather my strength. I’m glad I did approach and talk to her. 

Also, customs vary.  Often times this is expected behavior that isn’t always spoken or discussed in advance. It’s custom by experience.  In my experience (Protestant southern USA), the family stands at the casket to greet visitors during the visitation.  Family acts like hosts at a reception. When the visitor attendance slows, the family will disperse and visit, but stay close to the casket. During the actual ceremony, the family sits on the right side while others sit on the left side of the aisle. 

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Elsa
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@sue-ellen I have seen this as well. The family collectively hosts the funeral like an event.

At a Catholic mass, at the visitation, someone from the family is with the deceased to be consoled rather than to welcome people. The whole thing is a lot more somber. Lots of black clothing! The family is in the front rows, before and during the mass.  There may be a lunch afterward. The people in the parish are another kind of "family".

 

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Dori
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@elsa Same here, but before the Catholic mass, family members stand in the first row (children, closest relatives, brothers, sisters, etc.) in front of the casket, distant relatives mostly in the second row. I agree with you both, funerals are emotionally exhausting for all, not just people who lost loved ones. I went on many, really many funerals, on some I was just someone distant, on some, I was a niece and some of them were very personal. I don't cry at funerals, never so I was never in a position where someone needed to console me, rather I do it for others that come to pay their condolences to me, I feel bad for the crying, so I give a hug and say everything will be okay. But yes, I did expect my brother to stand next to me in that front row, it seemed the normal thing to do, but he decided to stay away from me, leaning the wall. My partner said he won't be standing next to me because we aren't married, and he was next to his mum. So, I stood alone. My best friend was in the crowd, she didn't take her eyes off of me, and I didn't take my eyes off of her too. It was the loneliest moment of my life. I was thinking to put this topic here for a long time now, just to see if maybe I'm missing something, and maybe I am. Elsa was maybe right. Maybe my energy was too loud and strong, saying: stay away from me, I'll do it by myself. Sometimes I'm not aware of my intense energy. Thank you Elsa for pointing that out. Maybe my expectations weren't coordinated with my inner energy...

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Elsa
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@dori ((((((Dori)))))) I'm so sorry. There is nothing wrong with your energy. It sounds like you did everything right... like asking your partner to be with you.  Thank God for your friend. No clue what's up with your brother.  But you did nothing wrong.

It just seems you were inexplicably caught like a deer in headlights. I am so very sorry.

It sounds like you might want to forgive yourself (for doing nothing wrong). It was a bad, hard day. You definitely should have had the support you needed.

When I wrote about people not realizing you wanted someone to stay near, I thought it might be a "read my mind" thing, but it wasn't! Because you asked your partner and your friend knew.  

So bottom line, you did not fail or do anything wrong at all. Got emotional at a funeral?  You just proved yourself a feeling human being. I am sorry this was so hard.  

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Dori
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@elsa Thank you Elsa ❤️ You know, it's been bothering me for a really long time, so much I started to think okay, maybe this is something that's normal, maybe something people do, maybe I was exaggerating. So, the last few days it's been bothering me again, very much. I like to say to my best friend, that was looking at me and giving me support in that way, I'm still standing on those first steps, alone. And you know how people promise you that you won't be alone, and end up alone in the worst possible place. That's why I came here to see how others are handling such situations, I started to think it was me. Yes, I did feel very much alone, but I thought to myself: well, my darling, this is it, this is how it's going to be with those who you are left with, don't count on them, and you already knew that even before this funeral. I stood there and I was proud of myself. Maybe that's why I wrote above, maybe it was my energy.

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Elsa
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Posted by: @dori

I stood there and I was proud of myself. Maybe that's why I wrote above, maybe it was my energy.

It's possible.  But hopefully, not!

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Dori
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@elsa still, I will consider it as an option. I was proud because I didn't break, realizing no one was next to me. I can't describe it quite well, I was alone in a physical sense, but in a spiritual, I wasn't, and that is what gave me the biggest strength.

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Libra Noir
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Sometimes things are not personal. In order to be upset you have to draw a lot of conclusions about why people do what they do. Chances are their actions were not directed at you, but were motivated by some other inner process and they are not thinking about others. 

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Dori
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@libra-noir I considered that too. We all have our inner fights, grief, way how we process things, especially sadness.

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Libra Noir
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@dori Especially at a funeral! Death is not something that is easy for some people. 

You could always ask them too, go to the source. I know that’s probably easier said than done depending on the family dynamics. 

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sophiab
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@dori It seems that you were the strongest person that day, emotionally, spiritually.  Sometimes that kind of strength makes others feel uncomfortable, because it highlights their vulnerabilities. Sadly, this kind of experience can be isolating and lonely, it would be great if everyone was in that place too, but reality is they are not. You probably know yourself better through the actions you took and can be proud you acted with strength and conviction when it mattered, and also take this forward. This sort of self responsibility comes with a bit of sadness to bear. When I am in your shoes, I will certainly think about what you did... it's pure courage, right? 

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Dori
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@sophiab Thank you ❤️ At first I was in a bit of a shock. We had funerals before, many of them, and the spot where I stood, we stood there before, many times. So, I couldn't understand why my brother decided to stand behind me, next to the wall together with his wife, as just a few minutes ago we were greeting people in a morgue, together. We were okay, no fights, nothing bad happened between us. And then, he pulled back. The day before I asked my partner would he be with me, he said no. I would have never said no to him for such a thing at such a moment. Married or not. Never. Yes, death is hard, and funerals are hard too, but if you stick together it's better, not much, but at least you are together. 

I hope no one will ever be in my shoes because that kind of experience can linger for a long time, and I don't mean it in a good or positive way. 

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sophiab
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@dori It made me think that there were people missing from the family dynamic that day, who by their very presence would have led to people acting differently, mostly your brother. Families have centers of gravity and when this shifts people can be spun out into space and may or may not regroup...perhaps given time, healing. With your boyfriend it seems he was being avoidant. By being in your shoes, I meant dealing with the loss of a close relative in general. My parents are elderly, relatively fit, but its only a matter of time, so it takes up space in my head. I wonder how it will be, and if I can deal with it with strength like you.

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Dori
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@sophiab it could be, anything is possible. My brother had a special connection with our mum, and she was his conscience as we like to joke, and by losing her, I think he is very lost. My boyfriend is selfish and he thinks he can face life situations and emotions, but actually, he runs from it. Losing my both parents, was my biggest fear of all. Losing my dad was harder, because I was younger, and I didn't know how to deal with the pain that he will die. But I did prepare myself. I used to sit crying my soul out in front of the mirror and saying to myself: you can do this, you can endure it, you can endure anything, be strong, and be brave, you can do it. I used to do it for hours. It helped me, when the time came, I was ready for that phone call from the hospital. But you can't avoid sadness, emptiness, or loneliness. It comes later and you can never be prepared because it comes in all shapes and forms. But, that friend from a crowd, that was looking at me, God blessed me with her, and talks we had, for hours. There is always at least one person who will stand next to you on those stairs. Maybe it wasn't my brother or boyfriend, but she is. All you need is just one shoulder that you can count on in such a moment. One is enough to survive and keep moving on.

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sophiab
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@dori Thank you for sharing your experience and advice.

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Dori
 Dori
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@sophiab you're welcome

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