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Shady Lane
06-20-2007, 10:54 PM
Okay, I've never been to a funeral. Can someone tell me the protocal?

If any of these are relevent:

My dead guy was seventeen or eighteen, Christian, died of a heart attack, and has parents but no large extended family.

Do you need to be invited to a funeral? Or can you just go?

It won't be very large.

I basically need to know what happens, where each bit takes place, who will speak, what prayers/hymns will be recited...and anything else I should know.

Thanks!

Southern_girl29
06-20-2007, 11:12 PM
Most funerals, unless the family wants it to be private, don't require an invitation. If you want to go, you just show up. Some funerals take place at the funeral home. The minister of the church (or a minister chosen by the family) will stand at the front of the room behind a podium, which is usually placed in front of the casket, and give a sermon. He usually starts by listing the survivors and gives a little biography of the person who died. Then, he gives the sermon. It think the sermon depends on the minister and what the family wants.

As for hymns, this is also up to a family. When my father died, my cousin sang Amazing Grace, then a song by Vince Gill was played. We also said the Lord's Prayer. Hope this helps.

Soccer Mom
06-20-2007, 11:12 PM
Most funerals are open for anyone to attend. If it is a private ceremony, the information isn't published. For most, the info is listed in the newspaper.

There is generally a viewing/visitation with the family. Close friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc... come by to pay their respects.

A common scenario is viewing/visitation for a day or two. Then the funeral. If the person was religious this is done at their church. Speakers often include a pastor close to that person or to the family, family members and sometimes close friends. Depending on the person's religion there may be a specific service/protocal to follow.

Then those who will be attending the graveside service get in their cars and follow the family. You leave your headlights on to show you are part of the procession which is led by police escorting the family and the hearse as the person is conveyed to the graveside.

I can help you determine appropriate hymns and more specific info if you let me know the denomination/religion. (I spent seven years as the music minister at a church. I've been to MANY funerals.) PM if you need more info, Shady.

Roger J Carlson
06-20-2007, 11:17 PM
Here's an idea. Why not go to an actual funeral?

Rich
06-20-2007, 11:21 PM
Some folks go to funerals just for the air conditioning. I'm sure you'll have no problem going unnoticed.

I'm 66. If your piece is not that urgent, I'll gladly invite you to my demise.

Shady Lane
06-20-2007, 11:22 PM
Thanks for the help, guys. I think I've got what I need. ;)

CACTUSWENDY
06-20-2007, 11:25 PM
To add to the above, when it is a young person, only child, sometimes the family will do something more for the friends. One way, is having heilium balloons with a tiny note with the friends name attached to the string. They are given out, the name signed on the tiny paper and at the proper time, usually after a prayer, and in unision they release their balloon. It is a very moving moment to see all the balloons float up and away. This is usually done at the grave side although when the body has been creamated it can be done outside in the park like area of the furneral home.

I think it depends on how mature the young person was and what type of age space seperates his friends.

In some cultures a rose is laid on the casket. Some furnerals are almost party like and some very, very sober. It will depend on your boys parents background and faith. Not all folks view death as a sad thing.

In some areas of the counrty they have viewings for the family, friends, etc. if the person is being shipped to another town/city/area.

dobiwon
06-20-2007, 11:37 PM
Here's an idea. Why not go to an actual funeral?

This is great advice. People can tell you about funerals, but you'll be able to write a much better description if you've experience a few yourself. Pick the Christian denomination you're planning to write about, and call a few churches. Church congregations are like extended families, and all members are often invited to attend as a sign of loving support.

alleycat
06-20-2007, 11:39 PM
Here's an idea. Why not go to an actual funeral?
That could be a sequel to Wedding Crashers . . . Funeral Crashers. "Hey, could someone turn down that music . . . it's depressing."

stormie
06-20-2007, 11:47 PM
Years ago I remember there was a woman in town who'd just go to whatever funeral was taking place that day. She'd sit in the back, unobtrusively. And she'd cry.

BTW, there doesn't have to be a body. The body could have been donated to science, or have died at sea, etc. That would then be called a memorial service (Protestant) or memorial mass (if Catholic). Photos would be displayed on an easel in the vestibule, or entrance to the main part of the church, or up near the altar rail, to the side.

When there is a body or cremains, that's a funeral service (Protestant) or funeral mass (Catholic).

Not everyone dresses in black. Not all guys wear suits, nor women, dresses.

alleycat
06-21-2007, 12:08 AM
Then there's the fun of having a funeral director sell you a casket. Oh, and vault. And you thought used cars salemen were shady.

Been there, done that.

Soccer Mom
06-21-2007, 01:00 AM
I hated going to funerals with my grandmother. Everytime one of her friends (or passing aquaintances) died, we would go. The place had canned music and it was DREADFUL. Horrible. Slow. Organ. Music. UGH!

HoosierCowgirl
06-21-2007, 01:13 AM
Okay, I've never been to a funeral. Can someone tell me the protocal?

If any of these are relevent:

My dead guy was seventeen or eighteen, Christian, died of a heart attack, and has parents but no large extended family.

Do you need to be invited to a funeral? Or can you just go?

It won't be very large.

I basically need to know what happens, where each bit takes place, who will speak, what prayers/hymns will be recited...and anything else I should know.

Thanks!

A lot of times, the younger the person and more unexpected teh death, more people come to the funeral. If he were in school, still, classmates and team mates and friends like that could be expected.

Teh family usually takes a day or two to make arrangements. The funeral home personnel help. They are the ones who contact the newspapers. It's up to the family and friends, once they learn of the death, to decide if they want to attend. There's usually a calling before the funeral. Sometimes the evening before, or for a small funeral an hour before the service.

The family and funeral home workers can discuss with the church pastor what music will be used, often ones that meant a lot to the deceased. The pastor will talk to the family about information for the eulogy and might have a short message. (Since I go to an evangelical church, there's not a lot of ritual -- it's more about saying something meaningful)

Family and friends often send flowers or make donations to the deceased's favorite charity.

Male relatives or friends serve as pall bearers and after the casket is closed (if it was open) help load it in the hearse. At the cemetery they help carry it to the grave. If there's a graveside service (not always) there might be an awning and some chairs around the grave. Sometimes the funeral director actually puts the casket in the grave (there's a hydraulic system on the scaffolding around the grave and the casket is lowered on nylon webbing) or sometimes when it's over you just walk away with the coffin still above ground. We've seen it done both ways. Neither is very happy.

Hope that helps.

Ann