What has happened to funerals these days?

There's a book called "How To Do A Funeral". Can you imagine that? I hooted when I saw that.

Then I went to a funeral. We need more books like that.

Actually, if we were all the same, then the world would be a very boring place, so I am not advocating a funeral template that we all must follow. However, there are certain things that should remain constant.

Polite Etiquette:
  • Make sure your guests know they are noticed. Nod, smile, at least lift your hand in acknowledgment of them, even if you are conversing with someone else... but, do not look at everyone else and not the person you are conversing with.
  • Don't tell someone to hang on 20 more minutes without at least saying, "I'm so honored that you came" and without telling them where the bathroom is and where the coffee is
  • If you can't think of anything to say, hug them. In the South that always works
  • If your mother or mother-in-law is there, just say, "I'd love to sit and visit with you but I've got all these other people to nod, smile and wave at, please forgive me for not fawning all over you...even if she has to travel 350 miles round trip. Your first order of business is to be a good hostess. This helps with self-control and with grief. It costs nothing to be gracious.
  • Never, ever forget to introduce people who are talking with you and are in close proximity. You never know if they might have some wonderful common ground which will give you freedom to nod, smile and wave at people.
  • If you have to have the funeral at a funeral home, make sure there is good flow and a clump of people are not clogging the way to get to the family to express sympathy.
  • Try not to do the wake and the funeral in the same 3 hour period. This is exhausting for people who have to drive 350 miles round trip.

I have to tell you, I was very proud of my daughter. An objective fly on the wall would have known within the first few minutes that my daughter was gracious and very good at doing funerals even though this was her first experience with "immediate family death". The other two daughters-in-law were not prostrate with grief, but neither were they much good at being gracious hostesses. I want you to know, I am not being critical because, bless their hearts, they have never had to do a funeral before either.

So, please take these few things I've listed above as etiquette points to ponder. It isn't because it is the Southern Way. It is because they will serve you well in any gathering where you find yourself the hostess or host. There are just certain things that are done and not done which emblazon a banner across your forehead that either says, 'Gracious' or 'Uncouth Idiot'.

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