BIL funeral today


Oh if I could have just been a friend and not a family member!!! This was the strangest viewing/funeral I have ever been to. Even stranger than the NASCAR eulogy at dh’s uncles funeral.
To start with, the obituary… was different in different papers. The local paper obituary was written by the deceased’s girlfriend. It made no mention of the deceased’s wife (who died a couple years ago) and was worded a little funny… like… Dave used to attend St Johns, used to work at XXXXX, used to … to reference his life with his wife (dh’s sister). Then in other papers it either totally left his relatives out or mentioned his wife but not his girlfriend.

So we went to the viewing… just as we walked in, dh’s niece was in hysterics and yelling about it being her uncle and how she wasn’t welcome. I guess this all stemmed from some sort of fight with the girlfriends sister… who was just horrible and threatened to have her removed from the viewing by the police.

Apparently there were a whole lot of hard feelings going on because the girlfriend and her family made all arrangements and left out the deceased’s immediate family and my dh’s family. When the niece called her uncles mom and asked if she could put a pin on him at the viewing, there was a misunderstanding of some sort and it ended with the girlfriends sister threatening to beat her a**. How all this came about, I have no clue, but it just kept escalating.

So anyway, back to the viewing. There were 3 distinct camps… girlfriends family, deceased’s family, and wife’s family. The bad thing is that they are pretty much intertwined… kind of redneck style… girlfriends sister is married to wifes family cousin…etc… So, my dh tried to talk to his cousin… and his wife came over and pulled him away. I wanted to go over to girlfriend and give my condolences, she had always been nice to me, but if I did dh’s niece would have gone off… Poor deceased’s family was caught in the middle and since they were from out of town… nobody knew what to say to whom. The man who was the girlfriends pastor was selected to do the service even though Dave (deceased) and his family, and dh’s family was Lutheran. My SIL’s pastor came with them from out of town to help the families (this was the nicest thing I had ever seen) even though it was a 4-5 hour trip… he also talked to the methodist minister about the service, and offered assistance to anyone who needed it… then he drove SIL’s children back home (4-5 hour trip) so he wasn’t there for the funeral.

So the viewing was drama, drama, drama… the funeral was at the funeral home instead of a church (only church in town is a Lutheran church), but I knew there was going to be a huge problem… he had so many friends and family…too many for a funeral here. But they did. All the fire dept, EMT’s were there because he was a volunteer… then there were tons of people from his last employer there… and of course lots of family. I have never gone to a funeral that wasn’t at a church… so this was all new to me. Anyway, I was rather upset that due to the small size of this place, our family was not able to sit together… kids were sitting in one area, husband was behind them and I was in front of them. I was seated next to dh’s nieces mom (divorced from BIL many yrs ago). I had met her at the viewing… you could tell she was annoyed that I was seated there because she was “saving” the seat for her daughter…who didn’t show up after all the fuss at the viewing.



Anyway, it was totally free form… no liturgy or order at all. First he talked and read from Psalms then at one point they played some recording of a country song… and then the minister talked about it… he read a bit more from Psalms… then his wife played an organ…then another recorded song when a little girl passed out and every firefighter and EMT jumped up to “save” her. The minister mentioned Dave’s wife several times… but not always in the best light… like: Dave married Vicki and after she died he came to know the Lord… Ummmm… they went to church every week at the Lutheran Church… but the girlfriend got him to go to the Methodist church after they were dating for a while. Then they did something I have never seen… they had a procession up past the open casket and people were ushered out the door right after. They all waited in their cars until everyone had gone past and then the pall bearers loaded him in the hearse… with nobody in the building. the funeral director looked at me like I was strange when I stopped the kids and asked if they wanted to go through this line or not… the kids did not and I didn’t think it was right to force them so I pulled them out of line and we walked around the back and out of the funeral home.

So, we went to the cemetery… it was cold!!! There was a tent for relatives… a short prayer, then they removed the firefighters flag and folded it and gave it to the mom. Then instead of them lowering the casket and people putting a flower on the casket… people walked by… and took a flower… and when those were out… some people grabbed flowers out of an arrangement that was at the headstone (DH’s sister)… it was bizzare…

The luncheon was served at the Lutheran church… it was kind of weird considering that the funeral was done by the Methodist minister… but was the most normal part of this whole thing.


I’m sorry you had a death in the family, but quite honestly, that sounds like a normal funeral. I’ve been to one Catholic funeral, and 6 or 7 protestant funerals in the funeral home and aside from the Catholic one, the others were all pretty much like you described. Reading, song, reading/preaching, song, reading/preaching/pseudo-alter call (which disturbed me at my mom’s funeral - she wasn’t religious and I had no idea the guy I asked to speak was going to do that :eek: ), file out by the body, grave site, then take random flowers and leave. Hopefully some of those people will start to get along… honestly that kind of behavior at a funeral is just not acceptable in my opinion.


Wow, I must be sheltered because this didn’t seem or feel normal at all. It kind of creeped me out actually…


Nah, not sheltered, just used to the Catholic way of doing things, and that’s not a bad thing :slight_smile:


I called a Lutheran girlfriend today and asked her… she said it was on the normal side too, except for the outbursts and the flowers at the cemetery… I guess I am sheltered… or they just do things totally different in the midwest than the East coast.


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