Funeral Etiquette

When I say I have been to over a hundred funerals I’m not exaggerating. There have been funerals for family, friends and even strangers. As a child my school was directly across from the church, being an altar server it wasn’t uncommon to get pulled from class to serve at a funeral. There were days where instead of being in class I was at the church for back to back funerals. There were weekends that I served a funeral Saturday morning and then a wedding in the afternoon. With all this experience you would think the following question would be an easier one to answer.

Is it appropriate to bring Adam to a visitation?

Why is a baby at a funeral such a touchy subject? The one situation where I would find this completely unacceptable is at the funeral of another child. I would never take Adam to such a funeral, it would be too hard for those who are mourning the loss of their own child.

I believe funerals are an important event in life. Not so much for the person who is deceased but for those who are still living. It’s amazing to look back at a person’s life and see how many people their life has touched. I think it is very important to show your respects and comfort the family. I believe it is ok to smile and laugh at a funeral. It is a somber time but it’s also a celebration of the person’s life.

I can understand you don’t want a screaming baby while you are trying to mourn, so being the parent I am I would plan around Adam’s happier time during the day and at the first indication of an unhappy baby I would remove myself from the visitation.

I guess today I am going to perform a social experiment. I am attending my 4th visitation of the year. The first one was a very tragic death of a father during March Break with his family. This one I knew would be a hard visitation to attend to I decided to leave Adam at home with Gramma. The following 2 visitations I was posed with the questions, “Where is Adam? Why didn’t you bring him? I would have loved to see him!”. Well I wasn’t sure if it was socially acceptable to bring a baby to such an event.

The funeral today is for someone who I did many things with at the church. He headed the funeral choir, we read together at Sunday masses and we were birthday buddies. He lived a long and what appeared to be a fulfilled life. He was there at my Grandfather’s funeral and several years later he and his wife were the first people I saw as I walked down the aisle at my wedding. I cried when I read the obituary in the paper, and I am sure I will tear up when I go to the funeral home.

I’m going to take Adam with me today. I have been debating back and forth if this is acceptable or not, and I guess I won’t know until I actually take him and see the reactions.

I hope I’m not making a huge social etiquette mistake, I am secretly hoping that his smile and big blue eyes ease the pain of their loss even if it is for a few moments.

One thought on “Funeral Etiquette

  1. I think you’re making a good choice. A sweet baby makes an unhappy event a little bit better.

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