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Telling people about a bereavement in family

(71 Posts)
Graygirl Sun 09-Feb-20 18:39:01

Don't know how this came up over a cuppa with DD A friend of hers just lost a aunt and when she went to visit family found every blind/curtin drawn in the house . She was asking what we're the traditions in other families .I told her this . When I was growing up a black wreath was placed on front door and removed after funeral, in fact there was a lady in the street who had the job of storing 3of them for any one to borrow

ninathenana Sun 09-Feb-20 19:00:13

Mum always closed the curtains if a funeral was happening the neighbourhood

MawB Sun 09-Feb-20 19:05:07

Nowadays it’s more likely to be an email round the family or a WhatsApp message.

Jomarie Sun 09-Feb-20 19:07:26

I remember that pulling the curtains was normal practice back in the day (l950'/60's and before) but I also remember being very surprised to see in 1991 my sister (older by 5 years) had pulled all her curtains after the death of her stepfather (my father) - me and my two other sisters felt it was a little ostentatious and not in keeping with how we had all been brought up. Our father would not have been impressed as he was the least pretentious man/being I have ever known. She always was the drama queen grin

M0nica Sun 09-Feb-20 19:53:19

I remember recently bereaved people, especially men wearing a black band on their arm for several months.

i haver as to whether this is a good thing or bad, on the pro side, it lets people know that you are not at your best and to cut some slack, but it is a sort of label, saying look at me I have just lost a family member.

I think if it wasa general thing that no one thought twice about doing, it would give bereaved people some breathing time

MissAdventure Sun 09-Feb-20 20:06:21

You can just tell a Facebook user these days, it seems.
Then they pass it on to the world and his wife.

52bright Sun 09-Feb-20 21:28:52

I remember that when I was a child, neighbours in a street would all draw their curtains when a hearse came into the street and children playing out were all called in by their mothers before the hearse arrived.

SueDonim Sun 09-Feb-20 21:53:49

I’ve never come across anyone who drew the curtains to mark a death. However, when I was a child, I read somewhere that in former times, when someone was very ill people laid straw in the road near their house to deaden the sound of horses and carts.

I then became very ill for several weeks with some chest problem, likely whooping cough. I was very disappointed that my parents didn’t arrange for straw to be laid in the street so I’d be undisturbed. Though in my case, it wouldn’t have been horses and carts, more likely the Mods & Rockers who liked to have a fight on a Saturday night!

MissAdventure Sun 09-Feb-20 22:01:51

My mum used to draw the curtains if there had been a death in the neighbourhood.

janeainsworth Sun 09-Feb-20 22:31:53

People used to draw the curtains if there was a funeral in our road.
I don’t think it was dramatic or pretentious jomarie, it was just seen as a mark of respect.
We weren’t allowed to play out either.

MissAdventure Sun 09-Feb-20 22:37:24

Men would take their hats off if a funeral procession passed by.
Does that still happen?

fatgran57 Sun 09-Feb-20 22:39:14

We were always told that when a funeral went past when we were on the street we should stop walking/talking and stand still until it had gone by.

I still put a black line across the corner of the envelope when sending a sympathy card.

grandtanteJE65 Thu 13-Feb-20 12:56:11

I don't remember seeing people in mourning arm-bands, but when I was little in the 1950s the curtains were certainly drawn in every room of a house when someone died. Neighbours on the route the hearse took to the church drew theirs too on the day of the funeral.

In Denmark at that time black-edge envelopes and cards were sent to friends to announce a death, and thank you notes for flowers and wreaths were likewise sent in black-edge envelopes. They were out of fashion in Scotland by that time, though.

When my mother died, we phoned friends and relatives who lived too far away for us to go and visit with the news.
After the funeral we sent cards thanking those who had written to condole or sent flowers.

I was told too as a child to stop and stand to attention when a funeral passed us in the street. In Denmark, I had to remember to curtsey when the coffin was abreast of me too.

Very few people do this today.

grandtanteJE65 Thu 13-Feb-20 12:57:46

Elderly widows in Scotland in the 1950s wore black. In Spain a lot of widows still do, even fairly young women.

Cabbie21 Thu 13-Feb-20 13:13:34

I remember people wearing black armbands back in the fifties. In the 70 ies I was taken by surprise when I suddenly realised that the neighbours had drawn their curtains. It was the day of the funeral of a neighbour. I had never come across this before, or since.

grannyticktock Thu 13-Feb-20 14:52:36

That reminds me of our childhood code to tell another girl when her slip was showing beneath her skirt: "Charlie's dead!" . This was short for "Charlie's dead and the blinds are down", so the drawing-down of blinds must have been either current or in recent memory. I can't recall actually seeing it but I would certainly have understood the significance if I had.

threexnanny Thu 13-Feb-20 20:47:34

My grandmother wore all black (except for woolly vest) from the day she was widowed to the day she died. Black edged envelopes announcing a death were still received in our family from abroad until early 70's. It was possible to buy them here, but less commonly used I think. Black armbands and curtains drawn for a funeral were also the norm for us.

MawB Thu 13-Feb-20 21:18:28

I remember bus drivers in Eire taking their hands off the wheel and crossing themselves when they saw a hearse or funeral cortège.
Alarming for the rest of us!

whywhywhy Thu 13-Feb-20 22:02:56

MawB I still do that now. It was something that I grew up with. We always drew the curtains when a neighbour died and they were closed on the day of the funeral.

rosecarmel Thu 13-Feb-20 22:29:52

Mostly older women wore long, black veils made of lace to funerals and wakes and cried alot- Some wailed-

When someone from our town died in the VietNam war a star was placed next to their name on the wooden honor roll outside the court house- A black wreath was placed in front of it-

There used to be an open flower car, usually a black El Camino looking vehicle, that followed the hearse to the cemetery- I don't see them anymore- I think they switched to minivans-

MawB Thu 13-Feb-20 22:49:08

No, well in Scotland at leat and I believe Ireland and possibly rural England, women did not go to funerals. They stayed at home preparing the “funeral meats “ (or tea) Only men attended the actual funeral, even in my childhood.
And “long black veils”? What part of N America are you in?

rosecarmel Thu 13-Feb-20 23:01:17

I'm in the rust belt now but childhood was spent on the east coast around NYC- Many Italian families-

MawB Thu 13-Feb-20 23:45:55

Many Italian families
I think that explains it Rosecarmel !

optimist Fri 14-Feb-20 09:52:36

I recently spotted on Facebook that my niece (in Belgium) had died aged 49. The information was posted by her brother and sister as there are no living parents. I immediately telephoned them for the details. The modern way

polnan Fri 14-Feb-20 09:55:17

and funerals, everyone wore black, now we were bright colours, and think blessings and goodness on everyone,
I like the current trend...