The Decline of Obituaries and Funeral Services


My grandfather just died a few weeks ago. He was an unbeliever. His remaining child, had him cremated (as I know he would have requested; my grandmother and their two children died and were cremated back in 2008 and 2009/2010 IDK exactly). There was no funeral service or any ceremony of any kind.

An obituary was typed up and apparently sent out to the family members, but nothing was published in the newspaper or online. I can’t figure out the point of an announcement of my grandfather’s death to family who knew him and knew the facts of his life.

There has been mention of having some kind of memorial gathering at some point, but no plans have been made at this time.

My H’s grandmother died last year, there was no funeral, no interment. She also was cremated. A few months later, the family gathered at a funeral home and had a unstructured time of various relatives standing up to share a particular memory of their mother / grandmother. The grandmother had been both Mormon, then Catholic, then Mormon and then Seventh Day Adventist before she was moved to a convalescent home.

I guess this is just more of an observation about the state of things today. I don’t really see a point of having a family gathering to remember my grandfather. Those of us who had a close relationship to him, have our memories, and those who didn’t don’t. The point of having a funeral Mass was to offer prayers for the soul of the departed.

Has anyone else experienced this type of gathering in memory of a deceased love one?


No, we always have a religious service of some sort in our family.
The point of having it is to pray.
It’s not memory time. That’s for later when we eat lunch. Or during the viewing.


The circumstances around my mothers final years were complicated.

We had a memorial service Mass for her.

The obit had date of birth and date of death.

But I am seeing more and more of folks who have no obit (I know about their death from Facebook), and seemingly no funeral.


I’m sorry for your loss :confused:


Funeral services cost money. A lot of people simply don’t have the cash and also don’t have any life insurance. They get the cheapest possible everything.


In our case we couldn’t get the body


I’m sorry you had that experience.


We did something like this when my grandmother died. She was nominally Catholic but stopped attending mass when the Boston diocese shuttered her life long parish in the early 2000’s. She was cremated and we had a memorial gathering at a hotel a week and a half later. No funeral was held and she was interred with the bodies of my grandfather and his brother in a separate burial attended by just my uncle and aunt (don’t believe a priest was present due to my mom and her siblings being peeved at the priest who had presided over my grandfather’s burial). We did run an obit in the local paper however.

My grandfather, who was also nominally Catholic, somewhat similarly didn’t have a funeral, just a wake style gathering at the funeral home before the burial. And obit was also run in the paper where he grew up.

My other grandparents, who were also nominally Catholic, were both cremated but didn’t have a wake, funeral, or burial. They’re still on a shelf at my aunt’s house. No obit was run for either beyond those automatic ones the funeral homes put online with the birth and death dates. We often joke it’s like they’re still alive and we’ve just not visited in a long while as there’s been little acknowledgement of their death.


In our local paper, I have noticed that lately, a lot of people (even some Catholics) get cremated, no mass, no burial. Just a notice of their death, their relatives, and a little about their life. Lots of “in lieu of flowers please send donations to the funeral home to help defray expenses.” (Don’t people get life insurance anymore?)

I asked a friend in the business about it, and he said it has changed a lot. Many people just cremating and that is it. It makes me wonder where all these cremains are going to be. “I hereby leave the cremains of my mother and father to my oldest child, along with mine…?” What will become of all of them?


Why didn’t you have funeral Masses for your grandparents? Just because they weren’t very good Catholics doesn’t seem like a very good reason not to.

I’ve scheduled a Mass for non-observant deceased relatives of mine


Don’t people have money any more? Funerals are sort of expensive, but not that bad. My father had a viewing, cremation, and burial of the cremains for maybe $8000. He already owned a plot.

My mother is still with us, she paid for her funeral in advance. Even has here marker where her remains will be interred.


Our family has the FULL Funeral Mass and all the rest with it. We have a Rosary usually the night before the funeral at the funeral home. Our loved ones have a funeral Mass and a full graveside blessing and burial


When I was working as a social worker a number of years ago, one of the clients died and left their cremains with one of my coworkers. Surprise, surprise, surprise I guess when that delivery came.

She wanted to know what to do with it. I suggested she bury them out at her farm. Although I also wondered if the friars at her local church would inter the cremains there?


Okay, that is just weird.


AND from personal experience if we have specific wishes of what is done with us after our death it needs to be written down and recorded with the funeral home because when family gets involved anything can happen.


I’m sorry for your loss.

It’s kind of ‘funny’ (don’t know if that’s the right word) that the seeming decline of funerals and obituaries should be brought up now, given that there was a funeral at my parish last Thursday, two today, and one of on Wednesday this week.


With people being so mobile these days, memorial services are often planned for a later date so folks can make arrangements to travel. Very few get the newspaper anymore, so obituaries are less common. Cemetery plots are crazy expensive, and tombstones as well. Customs are definitely changing.

Also, more and more deaths are investigated and autopsies performed than before. I have a friend who’s mother died ten weeks ago, and her body is still being held by the coroners office.


A lot of things are changing. Tech is allowing things that have been the same for a long time to change. People move around a lot more, and that results in practices changing to suit a new dynamic.

I’m sure that things will smooth out as new practices are refined.


That’s ridiculous. I can see why cremation is popular.


If I were to have an old friend die I’m not even sure how I’d hear about it. Strange times in this supposed “era of communication.”

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