Should I or Shouldn’t I Go to the Funeral?

By: Myles O'Riordan
Thursday, February 18, 2016

Death and funerals often give rise to complicated emotions, especially if there was bad blood between you and the newly deceased. Many people are unsure of whether they should go to the funeral or not, if it would be better to instead attend the visitation or meet with the family at an appropriate time after the ceremony, or even avoid the whole thing altogether.

There are so many factors to consider when you're trying to decide what to do that it can be overwhelming. While we cannot speak for every unique case, perhaps this article may be able to offer assistance to you.

Family only

If the service is marked as "family only,' then you should respect that. If you are not a member of the immediate family, then make time to attend the visitation or simply make a phone call or house call in the days following the service. However, there may be times when you are personally invited by a family member to attend, even though it is marked as family only. In that case, you should attend if at all possible.

Similarly, if you believe that your presence would be inappropriate or would disturb others, then you might want to consider attending. In that case, it would be best for you to consider your relationship with the bereaved before making your decision.

Relations with the deceased

Another thing you need to consider is your relationship with the deceased. Sometimes, people don't get along, or argue. You may have had a poor relationship with the deceased. In that case, consider the feelings of the rest of the family. If you were invited only out of courtesy or politeness, then you may consider skipping the service. If that is so, then you need to think about what you, personally, want to do.

You may have had a poor relationship with the deceased, but a strong relationship with other family members. In that case, you should attend to show support for your friend or family who are mourning.


Finally, it may not be logistically possible for you to attend. Due to travel time, finances or other responsibilities, you may not be able to take the time you need to attend the service. In that case, be sure to contact the bereaved as soon as possible and voice your support for them, even though you cannot attend the service.

Again, we cannot speak in specifics, only in generalities. If you want to attend, and are invited, then you should attempt to. If you do not want to attend due to your relationship with the deceased, but are invited, then think about it. If you are not invited, but want to attend, consider the feelings of the bereaved and respect their wishes.


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