Funerals can be quite heavy events and attended by friends and family with delicate emotions. Any attendee in their right mind would approach the situation with an air of tact and empathy. These attendees, however, were far from respectful. Try not to cringe after reading these accounts by mourners and workers sharing the most inconsiderate thing they had ever witnessed at a funeral.
All content has been edited for clarity.
They Knew It Was Going To Be Bad When The Funeral Director Checked His Watch
“At a funeral, I watched the funeral director stare at his watch at the side of the stage while the family of the 20-year-old decedent gave a tearful send off.
At exactly the 30-minute mark, the funeral director cut off the deceased’s brother mid-sentence at the podium, and said, ‘You’re out of time, it’s time for you to go.’
And he switched off the microphone and hustled everyone (about 100 people) out of the mortuary. If anyone wants to know where they can have a memorial service this cold and scummy, have it done in Centralia, Washington, the epicenter of all things cheap and scummy in the Pacific Northwest.”
It’s A Funeral, Not A Photoshoot
“I am a former funeral director. There was one time a girl, who looked about 19 years old (old enough to know better), who said she was an ‘Instagram model.’
She kept taking a ton of pictures of everything and kept taking pictures of herself by the casket making pouty faces. A little boy at the funeral completely broke down when we were about to lower the casket, and she wanted to stop and take a bunch of pictures with the kid. She was one of the grandchildren, but I really wanted to kick her out. She was acting like it was a freaking photoshoot.
I will also add this was the only time I have ever thought of kicking someone out of a funeral. It was visible that she was ticking off most of the people there.”
Not There For The Right Reasons
“This happened before the wake — actually, only hours after the woman died. She passed away in a bed in a nursing home, and the first of her adult children to arrive (none of which ever came to see her while she was alive) was frustrated that he couldn’t get her diamond wedding ring off because her finger was swollen.
He kept asking the nursing home staff if they had any way to get it off, even suggesting that they just cut it. It was very important that he get that ring before his siblings arrive, obviously so he could pawn it and feed whatever addiction he had. He didn’t seem the least bit moved that he was gazing upon his mother’s fresh corpse; he just wanted that ring.
I’m not sure what became of it; he definitely didn’t get it before his other siblings arrived, but none of them seemed any classier than he himself was.”
Talk About No Remorse
“A good girlfriend of mine passed away. Suicide was deemed the cause of death. She was cremated hours after her death at her husband’s request.
There was a short memorial service for her where she lived on the following day for her family and friends (this is the one I attended). Her husband was there and was smiling huge, laughing the whole entire time. He was loud and obnoxious, even wrestling with another man in the lobby of the funeral. I remember thinking how disrespectful he was and he was avoiding a lot of her family and friends.
He got engaged to another woman two weeks after her funeral on what would have been their three-year wedding anniversary. I really do think she may not have committed suicide after all.
Her mother was working diligently to get the police to re-open the case. A lawyer and private investigator were even helping her pro-bono. Sadly, her mother passed away earlier this year after finally making some progress from natural causes. Their family is continuing to look into it and hopes the truth comes to light at the very least.”
NOW She Decided To Show Up
“My grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2004 and passed away in 2011. She spent the last four years of her life in a nursing home. Despite the nursing home being a mere ten minutes away from her perfectly able-bodied sister (my great aunt) and her sister’s daughter (my father’s cousin), her sister never once visited her while she was in the nursing home. They were each other’s only siblings, and my grandmother often loaned (more like gave) her money when she experienced hard times.
After years of not hearing a peep from my great-aunt, she suddenly showed up about 30 minutes before the first viewing was set to begin, which is typically only meant for close family members so they can see the deceased and prepare themselves to receive mourners. My great-aunt strolled in wearing a stained pantsuit and with disheveled hair, looking every inch the class act she is. Without greeting anyone, she fixated on the slideshow I had lovingly created for my grandmother. After approximately 30 seconds, she exclaimed, ‘Why aren’t I in any of these photos?!’ to which I responded, ‘You are in the childhood photos at the beginning of the slideshow, which you didn’t bother to wait and see. I didn’t have any photos of you with my grandmother later in life.’
From that point on, everyone did their best to ignore her because she’s generally a selfish and unpleasant person. When she caught onto that tactic, she decided to be more direct. While I was kneeling in front of my grandmother’s casket and paying my respects, my great-aunt plopped down next to me, put her hand over mine, and said, ‘You know, this has been the hardest on me.’
I knew that my grandmother wouldn’t have wanted me to punch her elderly sister in the face at her wake, so I simply took her hand, pulled it off mine, put it back down over her other hand, and walked away.
A few minutes later, she strolled right up to my then-fiancé, now-husband and demanded to know who he was. No hello, no introduction or anything. He replied, ‘I’m [my name]’s fiancé.’ My great-aunt said, ‘She is getting married?’ My grandfather, who had had enough of this woman throughout the 59 years he was married to my grandmother, walked by and said, ‘Don’t hold your breath for that invitation.’
Once she realized that every family member at the wake deeply loathed her and she wasn’t going to get the attention she so desperately craved, she left. She spent a grand total of 20 minutes at the funeral home and thankfully, didn’t come to the funeral the next day. Her bratty daughter never paid her respects either, despite the fact that my father is the godfather to her child and has given her birthday gifts and Christmas gifts every single year.
The epilogue to that story? My great-aunt’s daughter (my father’s cousin) called my dad a few months back, telling him that her mother was in poor health and was basically intimating that she wanted money from my dad to help with her care.
My dad’s response? ‘I will spend just as much time thinking about your mother, as you and your mother did when my mother was ill.’ Then he hung up the phone. Haven’t heard from them since.”
“I went to the funeral of my friend’s 4-year-old son. He had died by strangulation on a faulty break away mini blind cord. After the funeral, her trashy friend surprised her with a replacement puppy. Needless to say, she didn’t want it. I ended up with a puppy that day.”
“Taken Care Of” Versus “Take Care Of It”
“My grandmother had been sick for a while, and on her deathbed, she was so concerned with what was going to happen to her cat. My cousins are the sweetest people and assured her that they would take the cat and look after her.
Once she passed away, we all drove the four hours to her funeral and my cousin was telling one of my aunts that she was going to take the cat. My aunt, not my grandmother’s daughter, chastised her for not getting the cat put down in order to put her in the casket with my grandmother.
I had to walk away, I was so disgusted. She went on and on about it. My grandmother would NOT have wanted that. I just thought it was ridiculous.
The cat did live a very happy life and was very much loved. She passed away three years ago due to heart problems.”
It’s A Funeral, Not A Daycare
“At my aunt’s visitation service, her childhood friend, who was also the preacher chosen for her service, showed up to mingle. He brought his father and his youngest son with him. Cool right?
Wrong! His kid openly mocked all of the mourners while running around the room like a feral child. Then he started picking at the flowers people had sent, destroying a few pink roses in the process. Then, when his grandfather was near, he kept begging him for money! And the old bat gave it to him!
Needless to say, I was so mad at this stupid brat, as was my family. We never forgot him, but thankfully he has improved. He was at my grandma’s services earlier this year when we used his father as a preacher again, and he has since learned to just stay back. And yes, we recognized him four years later, post-puberty, when he came in. I saw him in the snack room without his dad and knew who he was instantly, as did my 15-year-old cousin who would’ve only been 9 or 10 at our aunt’s funeral.”
They Put The “Fun” In Funeral
“I went to my Great Aunt’s funeral. I’ve never been to a burial before, only cremations. She’d just sort of stopped eating, withered away to nothing. She’d just given up I think after my Great Uncle had died. She used to be so full of life and such a funny character that In the end she just wasn’t herself anymore.
The church service was really lovely, lots of singing and eulogies with a few funny anecdotes about her. Then the pallbearers came in and we followed them into the cemetery. It’s an old cemetery and my Great Aunt nearly didn’t make it in as they said there wasn’t room. When we explained to them previously (when organizing the funeral) how many of our relatives were buried there, they relented and said we could use one of the few remaining spaces.
So picture us following this coffin, through two inches of snow and mud, all dressed in mourning attire, suits in shades of black and gray. We get to the grave, the hole is dug and the edges of the pit and the pile of soil are covered in one of those pretend grass carpet thingies. I guess the carpet is an attempt to make the hole look nicer, but its still just a hole.
We gather round and the undertaker hands each of the ladies a yellow rose from one of the bouquets. I take mine and hold my granny’s hand; my Great Aunt was her older sister. The Vicar lady recites a prayer as they begin to lower the coffin into the grave. I say begin, because it only gets about halfway before they realize it doesn’t quite fit. A few relatives begin to giggle a little, as quietly and respectfully as they can manage as the pallbearer’s sort of jiggle the straps they are using to lower my Great Aunty into her grave, trying to shuffle the coffin in.
After a few minutes of this, they lift the coffin up again and put it back on its supports. The head undertaker puts his hat on and begins to walk away. ‘Where’s he going?’ someone asks. ‘Maybe he’s going to get a shovel?’ says my granny grinning. The pallbearers look very uncomfortable, trying to remain solemn as possible in the midst of people laughing saying that this was just like my Great Aunt and did anyone happen to have a spade handy? One relative asks if we can put the coffin in sideways, but my granny mentions that Great Uncle ashes are in there and if we put the coffin in sideways he’ll spill. My uncle starts looking under the green carpet over the pile of dirt to see if the grave digger has left the spade there for filling in the grave later. He has, and a fork too for good measure. The pallbearers continue to stand there, heads bowed, occasionally sharing an uneasy look with one of their colleagues. I’m guessing this doesn’t happen often.
A couple of minutes later, the undertaker returns with the gravedigger in tow. They try taking off the carpet from one of the sides of the hole, to see if that’ll help. After a few more minutes of shuffling and my Uncle saying things like ‘looks like she did manage to put some weight on in the end’ it looks like it’s still not going to fit, the grave isn’t wide enough. So the poor grave digger grabs the spade and starts leaning into the grave to widen it. Eventually he has to jump into the grave to widen it lower down. So there we are, 20 or so people in our best clothes, standing in the mud and the snow laughing at the absurdity of it all as we watch a poor man in a six-foot hole digging a grave for our Aunty. He’s there for a while, digging away, and people are telling stories, memories and anecdotes about funny things that Aunty did when she was alive. Eventually he jumps out of the hole and they start lowering the coffin. The Vicar resumes her prayer and we all give a hearty cheer when my Great Aunt reaches the bottom. Everyone agreed that she’d find it all very amusing if she was watching. At least she’s given us all one last memory of her to hang on to.
Eccentric to the end, that’s my Aunty.”
A Whole Laundry List Of Offenses
“I’ve been a funeral director for a decade. Here’s a brief list. Sadly, there’s a lot of disgusting things that happen often.
‘Can I watch the embalming?’
‘Can you make her chest perkier?’
‘I’m going to put some weed in his casket. Don’t steal it.’
‘She’s dead, I don’t care. Get rid of her the cheapest way possible.’
‘If this person shows up, you need to kick them out’ … usually ends with the cops getting called.
‘Can you prop him up in the corner holding a bud light can?’ Yes, but it’s difficult and expensive (as I ready high index embalming fluid).
‘Play this song please.’ (I’ve heard ‘Staying Alive’, ‘Living Dead Girl’, ‘Thrift Shop’, and an array of death metal and inappropriate rap.)
I’ve also seen people jump into caskets, start fights, be under the influence of various substances, insult the dead, insult the family, and my favorite: I’ve seen the Westboro Baptists picketing the funerals of children and soldiers.”
It Was “Mood-Ruining”
“A woman I knew died at around 70 rather unexpectedly. She had said around 10 years earlier that if she were to die, she would want it to be a happy funeral where people could listen to fun music like Queen’s ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’ Her kids, while planning the funeral, felt like this wasn’t the general feeling that surrounded her death, and had opted for a lighthearted, but not overly cheerful musical score.
Except her oldest son. He had insisted, throughout the planning process, that they needed ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’ They argued to the point of exhaustion, and he finally relented.
Cue the day of the funeral. Everything goes off without a hitch, until the last speaker, the oldest son, goes onto the stage for a speech. Everyone is filled with that incredibly strange sensation that a good funeral brings out, sad, but filled with love. Things are alright.
Until he calls over to the tech guy at the end of his speech to cue the music. Freddy Mercury starts blaring through the air, and this guy is telling everyone to clap and sing along, himself being the only one singing. Some people were awkwardly clapping until it was finally over after a completely mood-ruining four minutes.”
He Buries His Shame
“A very loving, gentle man had passed away after a short battle with Alzheimers, and his rather large family are all in attendance at the burial.
It was a simple funeral, and the burial was similarly quiet and dignified. As the casket was being lowered into the ground, there was a dull thudding sound echoing across the cemetery. The man’s obnoxious grandson, who, at 7 years old should have known better, was throwing clods of dirt onto the coffin as it went down.
I still remember this clear as day, after more than 15 years. Partly because it was such a terrible, disrespectful thing to do, but mostly because that grandson was me. To this day, I have no idea why I did it, and the shame I feel about it is immense.”
They Were Forced To Do What??
“I was in the second grade. That means I was probably 7 years old. My teacher was a nun and was one of the most miserable, petty, overbearing, abusive people I’ve ever met. Corporal punishment was the norm in that class. And she was known as one of the strictest of all the teachers.
One day at school, she wasn’t there and we had a sub. Just before 2 pm., they line us up, the entire class, and we walk in a line several hundred yards up the road to this teacher’s house. As we enter her front door, she is at the door all aflutter, tearfully and animatedly telling each and every one of us how happy she is to see us there, how grateful she is for us to come by. The contrast in her demeanor was literally shocking. What in the world is going on here? At this point, I’m already a bit traumatized.
So then we make a right turn into her den and there is literally a coffin and a bunch of flowers on stands and a kneeling thing right in front of it.
Two by two, we are walked up to this open casket, holding the dead body of this teacher’s aged mother. We all kneel down in utter horror, face to face with this dead body and we proceed to do the sign of the cross and pray as fast as we can to get away from this completely unexpected vision of death.
Seven years old. I still can’t get that picture out of my head. I remember it like it was yesterday.”
“It Was So Boring”
“At my great aunt’s funeral my grandmother (her sister-in-law) kept trying to smoke inside, danced around with no shoes on ‘because it was so boring,’ and commented on how my great aunt wouldn’t be dead if she wasn’t so fat. They were best friends.
It was remarkable how fast she deteriorated after my great aunt died, basically instantly. Until then they used to do everything together, go shopping and make visits and all this stuff. I don’t think any of us ever suspected to what degree my great aunt helped keep her together. Like we had no idea anything was wrong until she was left to her own devices. Within a month or two she was in a home.
In her defense, I guess, my great aunt DID die from complications of being enormously overweight. It was supposed to be a routine surgery and she died on the table. Credit where credit’s due.”
Not A Time For Games, Especially That Game
“I was a funeral attendee. At my step-grandfather’s viewing/wake, the night before his funeral, all my hillbilly relatives were in attendance. Many had been drinking, and the atmosphere was rather festive. I must explain that this guy was not exactly beloved by my family. He was rotten to my grandmother, but she wouldn’t leave him. When I arrived, there was a cheer of ‘Hey!’ and hugs all around, and it was upbeat. All the adults were chatting or sneaking out back for another drink.
This meant the passel of kids from all these folks were largely unattended. When I went over to look at step-granddad, decked out in his best flannel shirt and overalls, I noticed the kids running around, but strangely, in a pattern. I stepped away, and figured out what was happening. They were playing ‘Touch the Dead Body.’ They had, one at a time, run up to the casket, touch a different part of the body, and then run back to the other side of the room to giggle.
My husband has never let me live that night down, not ever.”
Tasty, But Still Distasteful
“I went to my Grandma’s funeral with my family (keep in mind I was 15 at the time) and it was a four-hour drive. Being the snack-loving 15-year-old I was, I had a lot of Cheetos and ate a lot before the funeral. I kept eating and couldn’t wipe my hands, so I just put them in my pocket. At the end, when we went up to the casket, I said a few words to my grandmother, but then I realized I had grabbed her hands with mine. Now my grandma is dead with Cheetos hands.”