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Funerals and number of Attendees

(120 Posts)
Judy54 Sat 02-Sep-23 15:03:49

I went to a funeral recently attended by well over a hundred people. It got me thinking about my own funeral. I have little immediate family left and a few close friends so it would be a small and low key affair. Do you ever think about your own funeral and who would attend or is it something you prefer not to consider right now?

Grandma70s Sat 02-Sep-23 21:58:10

Leaving your body for medical research is a really good idea. Both my parents did that, but when the time came only my father was accepted, which was why we had the very unsatisfactory funeral for my mother.

Marydoll Sat 02-Sep-23 22:56:48

My funeral service is already planned, complete with favourite hymns, all in a file on my PC. The funeral is already paid for in advance, so that my loved ones do not have to worry.

I was at a funeral last week in my church, which holds 700 people.
It was standing room only, because the deceased was only fifty years old and her family were well known in the community. She had five children and many of their friends also attended, some in school uniform.
It was an amazing sight, a true celebration of her life.

henetha Sat 02-Sep-23 23:32:18

I don't want a funeral. They are so expensive and just upset people.
And I've very few people who would come anyway. Hardly any relatives and most of my friends are dead.

buffyfly9 Sun 03-Sep-23 00:12:54

My parents died within a week of each other, my father with dementia and my mother to cancer. It was an awful time but I took comfort in that they were cremated together, privately one early morning and I collected their ashes a few days later. As they wished, there was no service, no mourners, and no flowers, donations instead to the RNLI. I told my daughter her father and I wanted the same and she was horrified. In her book there must be a lot of fuss and weeping and I can't stand the thought of it so it's anyone's guess as to what the last one of us will get. At least I won't know about it. !

nanna8 Sun 03-Sep-23 00:41:18

They tend to be quite big here, sometimes over a hundred. If a member of Probus dies I always go to the funeral as a mark of respect and to share memories with other friends. Some are better than others and most these days have slide shows of the person as they were in life. It is amazing how much we learn about each other and we often say it is a shame we didn’t know those things when they were living. Who’d have thought Bill
once won a marathon or that Marg was a well known scientist in her day ?

NotSpaghetti Sun 03-Sep-23 06:42:30

I think there won't be many at my funeral. It doesn't matter to me obviously but as we have a large immediate family I think they will support each other.

My parents had full churches at their funerals though - for my fathers funeral the whole back of the church and aisle had people standing too.

The singing was overwhelming and glorious.

I suppose there are many sorts of funerals but the numbers at Dad's funeral certainly was a comfort to mum.
They were both very involved in the community, in business and in charities so even though they were in a "new" area after a house move, they were already well loved and people came from far and wide too. Friends from their teens/20s onwards.

I went to the funeral of one of mum's friends shortly after mum died. I really didn't want to go went because I knew she would want me to. I think, other than her only daughter and husband and their 2 children, there were 2 representatives from her care home - and then me.
It was so very sad.
She was always a negative and difficult person but mum said that happened after her (amazing and fabulous) husband died and she was bereft. I sometimes think of her daughter at that lonely service.

NotSpaghetti Sun 03-Sep-23 06:50:29

I see some of you don't like the sadness and weeping of funerals and some said upthread they were upsetting. Well yes, and uplifting too.
I think that is partly the purpose of a funeral as it is so cathartic.

I will "happily" weep and wail - and do hope there is weeping and wailing when I go. I don't want a "celebration of life" I'm afraid.grin

Of course, my family will do what suits them. And it won't be my concern... I sometimes wonder if I've been born into the wrong culture!

martinthebandit Sun 03-Sep-23 07:13:57

I wish people would be aware that funerals aren’t for the dead, they are for the living.

There purpose is really to help those left behind to grieve, begin to move on and hopefully celebrate the life of the departed.

You may want no fuss etc etc but do those left behind feel the same?

Calendargirl Sun 03-Sep-23 07:37:26

I couldn’t sleep well last night, woke about 3.15 and awake until 5.45.

Lay there thinking about my and DH’s funeral.

We have decided on cremation, but think perhaps just a very private one, only our children and grandchildren present at the crematorium. Just music and a few words. Then we could all go to lunch somewhere.

Then next day maybe, a memorial service at our little village church, with appropriate hymns, music, readings and prayers, followed by a buffet in the village hall.

A chance for other relatives, friends, associates to get together and have a chat, which let’s face it is why many go to a funeral anyway.

All this passed through my insomnia laden mind last night, as apart from the definite decision on cremation, made ages ago, the rest has always been difficult to plan.

Whether this is what we finally decide upon….

Hope we are still here for many more years, but appreciate if you die in your 90’s say, there may not be many people to miss you anyway.

Daddima Sun 03-Sep-23 08:05:06


I wish people would be aware that funerals aren’t for the dead, they are for the living.

There purpose is really to help those left behind to grieve, begin to move on and hopefully celebrate the life of the departed.

You may want no fuss etc etc but do those left behind feel the same?

I agree with this, and if the deceased person’s wishes about service, venue etc are followed, that can be a great comfort to those left behind.
Although the Bodach was not Catholic, our priest was happy to conduct the service, because, as he said, he had conducted ‘ all our business’ ( wedding, baptisms etc) in the church, so it was only fair to do his funeral also!
Full Catholic service for me, with much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. I had wanted the full Mozart Requiem, though my musical friends are, like me, getting a bit long in the tooth, so I’ve cancelled that.

Imarocker Sun 03-Sep-23 09:43:02

We are Jewish and my mother’s body was collected by the Burial Society (for which we had contributed forever) within an hour of her death. The funeral took place 24 hours later. We have no choice of coffin and have no flowers. Those who can attend do. Those who can’t, will visit them at home during the following week. There is a short service at home in the evening after the funeral. However mourners sit Shiva for a week after the death. That is, immediate family do not go to work or do any housework and friends visit them and there is a short service every evening. The speed of burial can be problematic - it can sometimes be delayed 24 hours if close family are out of the country. But it is how our community operates and we have all learnt to cope with it. Perhaps not my boss who once asked if I could give two weeks notice of attending a funeral.

Glorianny Sun 03-Sep-23 10:28:35

Personally I would probably go for the no-fuss private cremation, but I do realise that my funeral isn't just about me. I was proud to write and read a eulogy for my mum. It gave me a chance to remember all the things she had done and told some of those who met her in later life more about her. It was part of the grieving process. And planning the music, the hymns and the eulogy gave me something to focus on . I'm not sure I'm entitled to make the decisions for my DSs, or indeed for my GCs as they grow older. Perhaps I should talk to them about it.

Iam64 Sun 03-Sep-23 11:09:15

Yes gloryannie talk with your children

Jaxjacky Sun 03-Sep-23 11:15:57

We wanted the no fuss private cremation, my children didn’t, so two cremations, including cars etc are fully paid up.

Dee1012 Sun 03-Sep-23 11:21:57

While my heart has always yearned for a Viking funeral with the theme from the film blasting out ...
Mine will be a low key cremation with immediate family and close friends only, if they want to be there.
Afterwards, hopefully people can do what they choose to do.

Judy54 Sun 03-Sep-23 15:04:24

No Joseann I don't mean that I am worried other people won't think I was a nice person. It is more about the fact that there won't be many people attending as unfortunately I know more people who are dead than alive, so there will be few people to mourn my loss.

5553n Sun 03-Sep-23 16:25:34

When my Dad died in 2015 he left strictly instructions he was to have no funeral, just him to the Crem at 8.30 am
This was to spare my Mum the ordeal of attending, however it distressed other family members that there was 'no closure'. In the e d when Mum died this January I gave her the most beautiful funeral imaginable. The Crem was packed with family and friends and we made it a celebration of both their lives with poems, a thead of music -which followed her whole life which gave everyone peace at last.

rubysong Sun 03-Sep-23 17:10:42

This is an interesting thread. Our problem is that we are in a rural area, about an hour away from the crematorium. If we have a funeral in church with lots of people we know there, then close family go to the crem and back before the wake, lots of attendees will have gone home rather than wait. We had this problem with my parents. There were lots of people at the funerals I hadn't seen for ages and would like to have spoken with but the 'afterwards' was at my brother's house and most had gone by the time we got back. A friend whose husband died recently went to the crematorium first, with close family, then had a memorial service in church and an afternoon tea in the village hall. It was really lovely but seemed odd that there was no coffin in church. Any ideas for a solution? My late F-i-l said 'you can put me in the dustbin'. (We didn't.) We had the funeral in church, followed by a wake at DH's brother's. The actual cremation didn't happen for a couple of weeks and none of us were there. That didn't seem ideal.

Cabbie21 Sun 03-Sep-23 17:12:46

When DH died he had left no instructions except that he wanted to be buried not cremated. We had a private woodland burial for the family, led by my vicar. It was in a beautiful setting, with lovely peaceful words and music. I will be buried there as well.
A month later, we had a service of thanksgiving in church, attended by only some of the family, but lots of friends from near and far, including former pupils and colleagues, with spoken and digital tributes, including a flute solo and hymns. It was a fitting occasion. About 80 attended in person, but 25+ devices tuned into the live stream and others watched later.

If I die whilst I am still singing in my church choir, I hope there will be a church service and good music, but it will be up to my children, who do not attend church. A funeral is for those left behind. I suppose it depends how old I am when I die and how active I still am as to what form it takes and who attends.

Calendargirl Sun 03-Sep-23 18:16:50


You describe exactly how it can be where I live. Unless you have the crem service first, the people who have attended a church service just end up going home, if the close family then travel to the crem before the wake. But it does seem a bit odd without the coffin.

Probably much less stressful for the immediate family though. The actual ‘goodbye’ has happened, and everyone can just relax a bit and engage more with the friends who have come to show respect and remember.

Cabbie21 Sun 03-Sep-23 20:17:42

The last five funerals I have been to had the burial first then the service without a coffin. But the service was one of Thanksgiving and remembering rather than mourning. It has worked well as it allows the family to have private time.

NotSpaghetti Mon 04-Sep-23 07:55:12

My own (rural) family who were also a pretty long way from the crematorium did this:

We had the service in the local church.
We then (all) drove over to the area of the crematorium.
The reception was at a hotel near the crematorium.
Family went straight to the crematorium and the other "guests" went to either the crematorium or the buffet at the hotel as they chose.
We (family) "caught up" the hotel group within 40 mins or so and I don't think anyone just went home.

This may work for some others.

SewnSew Mon 04-Sep-23 11:08:39

This is a problem for me - not for my own demise but that of my older sister who has severe dementia. She has no remaining friends and her only family consists of my husband, my son and his wife and me. I can't see the point of a religious service as none of us are churchgoers, but my husband and son are insistent that we should ask the local Catholic priest to "do something" as she was a practising Catholic and she would have liked it. I'd love to know what other people think.

DaisyL Mon 04-Sep-23 11:13:01

When my DH died at 83 there were over 200 people at his funeral. It was a beautiful service, with readings by his grandchildren and gorgeous music and flowers. We had a really good wake afterwards with a marquee on the lawn decorated with wonderful blown up photos of him. We drank lovely wine and had delicious canapes and everyone had a story to tell about him. Obviously not for him, but for his family and friends to raise a glass to him and remember him - it was very poignant but also cathartic. My aunt wo went at 101 had very few people at her funeral as she had outlived all her friends and two of her children.

sharonarnott Mon 04-Sep-23 11:18:13

I don't want a funeral. I have signed the forms to donate my body to a teaching school of medical science. If when the time comes my body is not required, my husband has been strictly instructed that I am to be cremated with nobody other than himself and another person of his choice present should he want to attend. I've asked in that instance to be used as fertiliser for the roses in the crematorium grounds should that happen