Even if you haven’t been to a funeral service before, you probably know the basics of proper funeral etiquette. Dress formally and conservatively, turn your cell phone off, and listen attentively—these are all basic pointers. But what should you do if you’re part of a blended family? The rules of etiquette can be somewhat blurry in these situations. Every family is different, but you can consider the following factors before you decide what to do.
Consider the relationships.
Some blended families do enjoy harmonious relationships with the family of their ex-spouse. If this applies to you, then it would generally be expected of you to attend the funeral of someone in your ex-spouse’s family and vice versa. If your spouse’s ex is the decedent, then it may be appropriate to attend the funeral service to support the children. Regardless of who has died and what the relationships are, it’s never a good idea to attend a funeral when you’ve been specifically asked not to do so.
Remind yourself of the reason for the gathering.
If you do attend the funeral of someone who passed away in your ex-spouse’s family, or if the ex is attending a funeral for your family, both of you should remind yourselves of the purpose of the gathering. This isn’t the right time to discuss pick-up and drop-off times for the minor children, and it probably isn’t the best time to try to make amends if there has been a rift. Express your condolences briefly and politely, and then give the family some space.
Send your support from a distance.
Even if you feel that the decedent would have wanted you at the funeral service, it’s best to send your support from a distance if the immediate family would prefer that you didn’t attend. It’s appropriate to send a flower arrangement or food basket.
Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in Oahu, HI, offers compassionate and respectful guidance to families who face difficult decisions after the loss of a loved one. Our funeral directors work with families of all backgrounds and faiths. Call (808) 239-8811 to discuss funeral planning.
Celebrating Your Heritage
Obon is similar to America’s Thanksgiving. At the beginning of Obon, spirits are called to the cemeteries through the burning of incense and the offering of a prayer. At the end of Obon, the spirits are led to a river or the ocean’s edge on their way back to the world of the deceased, guided by a flower lantern with a candle inside. Although some of the Obon rituals are somber, much of the holiday is festive. It’s a time when families happily reunite and celebrate the Obon Festival and Flower Lantern Floating Ceremony for all loved and ancestors that have passed away.
The festival has been held since the 7th century. While many of the events have changed over time, it remains one of the most significant and enjoyable of the Japanese festivals. It goes by a variety of names, the most popular of which is “The Obon Festival and Flower Lantern Floating Ceremony”.
Teaching Our Children and Grandchildren
Heritage is kept alive when we pass along the understanding and traditions to our youth. To see and participate in the Festival, our children and grandchildren learn to respect and honor the sacrifices of those who came before them.
For more information, please visit our events page.
An obituary is a thoughtful way to celebrate someone’s life before bidding him or her goodbye at the funeral home. It also serves to inform other mourners of the date and time of the funeral service. There’s no set-in-stone rule regarding who should write the obituary for a loved one. Often, it’s written by the closest family member, which might be a surviving spouse, adult child, sibling, or parent.
However, the closest family member might not feel emotionally capable of writing the obituary in the wake of the death. An obituary can be written by anyone who knew the decedent well and feels capable of writing about him or her. Often, writing an obituary is a collaborative process. Whoever agrees to perform this task may consult other surviving family members or close friends regarding which details to include.
At Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, our funeral service directors in Oahu, HI, would like to extend their sincerest sympathies to your family. You can contact us at (808) 239-8811 if you need any assistance arranging the funeral or if you would like information about our grief support services.
Funeral services are often held in houses of worship, but this certainly isn’t a requirement. If the decedent described himself or herself as an atheist, humanist, freethinker, or simply non-religious, then it isn’t appropriate to include any religious references in the funeral ceremony. Even if you are religious, it’s important to honor the wishes of your deceased loved one.
Find out if your loved one had expressed any preferences.
Beyond the preference to avoid any religious imagery or references, your loved one may have expressed a preference for burial or cremation. If he or she chose cremation, perhaps they also had an opinion about interment or scattering. You can contact the funeral home to find out if your loved one pre-planned their funeral. Otherwise, ask other family members if they had ever discussed funeral plans with the decedent. Some people keep directions for their funeral ceremonies in the same place that they keep their wills.
Hold the service at the funeral home.
Since holding the ceremony at a house of worship is inappropriate, you may decide to have the service at the funeral home or at a place that held special meaning for your loved one. There may be more than one gathering. Many families choose to hold the service at the funeral home, with a reception to follow at the family home.
Assemble a list of secular readings and songs.
If your loved one didn’t leave suggestions for readings and songs, look for selections that best fit their life and character. Consider choosing readings from poets or philosophers. You could select your loved one’s favorite songs, regardless of whether they might be classical orchestral music or classic rock. Many humanists prefer that a memorial service be a celebration of life, rather than an event that dwells on death.
At Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, our funeral directors will help your family plan a funeral service or end of life celebration that best fits your loved one’s preferences and personality. Our memorial park in Oahu, HI, welcomes inquiries from families from all walks of life. Call (808) 239-8811.
If you haven’t yet pre-arranged your funeral, you might want to consider the many advantages of doing so. Advance planning can guarantee the location you want and will ease the burden on your loved ones at their most difficult time.
While you consider whether to pre-arrange, watch this featured video. You’ll learn the importance of making key decisions in advance so your loved ones aren’t left guessing, and how to avoid unplanned expenses and emotional overspending.
Valley of the Temples Memorial Park offers funeral pre-planning in Oahu, HI, which may be pre-funded or not, depending on your preference. Call our funeral home at (808) 239-8811 with any questions you may have.
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