Post # 1
Could really use your help in trying to figure out if I should attend a memorial service in a few weeks.
It’s for a friend of mine that lost his battle with skin cancer. He was only 42. He lives in No.Cal and I live in So. Cal. Over the last 5 years or so, we haven’t seen each other very much (he used to come down to So. Cal often vs. me going up there). We weren’t super close, but enjoyed each other’s company.
I was not a good friend during the last year or so of his illness. I never went up to see him and honestly, he was fighting this so hard, his death was completely unexpected.
His family has planned this memorial service (he’s survived by a mom/dad, sister/her hubby & 2 nephews). I don’t know the family and they don’t know me (other than getting a call from his sister shortly after his passing saying that she found a note from me to him and found my phone number in his phone and wasn’t sure if I knew).
The thought of going to the funeral makes me disgusted with myself (that I would go to the funeral, but didn’t make the effort to visit him while he was alive).
My Fiance says I should go, because I’ll regret it if I don’t.
I’m not so sure he’s right. I’m sad about my friend’s passing and I don’t think attending a memorial service or not will make that big of a difference.
What I’m wondering is if it will make a difference to the family. But, again, they won’t know me other than perhaps on of his LA friends that came to the service. I’m not sure what value that would have, if any.
Any thoughts or things I haven’t considered??
Post # 3
I think from everything you’ve said and if it were ME… I wouldnt go. If you werent that close in the last year and his family doesnt really know you, then don’t go. Maybe send a card? If you’re at peace with not going, then say your own goodbye to him in your own way.
Post # 4
I think you should go. Its a funeral. This is your chance to say your final goodbyes. Even if you think it would be weird, it really wouldn’t. I’m sure the family will be happy you are there to support him (and them). If anyone were to say or judge you for not being a good friend while he was alive, they are out of line and wrong. You’ll feel much better if you just go.
Post # 5
If you decide not to go, it would be a nice gesture to have some type of floral arrangement delivered along with a card. The family did make an effort to inform you of your friend’s death so it would be a good thing for you to acknowledge his death in some way.
I understand how it would be awkward but just to put it in perspective, I had a friend from my previous job who I got together with for dinner a few times a year. His wife died and I went to the memorial service. He really appreciated the effort I made to be there even though we don’t socialize on a regular basis.
Post # 6
As someone explained to me when my ex’s father died, it isn’t about your relationship with the family, it’s about your relationship with the person who has died, and having the chance to remember him. If you can make the trip, you should go.
Post # 7
You said that you feel guilty for not visiting him while he was sick. I would think it would make you feel a little more at ease knowing that you at least attended his service. And you know………..HE will know you were there. That would be what would make me attend. I like to think no matter who’s service it is; no matter how close I am to them currently or in the past; that they know I was present and miss them…
Just my two cents.
Post # 8
If you decide not to go, send a card.
In making this decision, you’re right in saying that it probably doesn’t make a difference for his family so the decision depends on yourself. Will you have regrets in the future not going? Is the trip onerous? Even if you’re not very close to him in the recent yrs, did the friendship play a big role in your life at one time?
Post # 9
You might be surprised with his family. When I went to my co-worker/friend’s funeral I was all ready to explain myself, but his wife totally knew who I was and was glad I came to the wake. (Well as glad as you can be). If it’s a MAJOR hassle, don’t go and send a card, but ultimately you have to decide what you want to do. Sorry for your loss.
Post # 10
Well, I know that when a loved one of mine died- it meant so much to our family that people we didn’t know but knew him well, were willing to come say goodbye. My Mother still remembers every single person that even just sent a card. It does mean something to the family. They don’t need to know your relationship with their son/brother, they just need to know that he was/is cared about.
So, I do think you should go. You still carry guilt for not visiting him when he was sick. I think you’ll regret not going even more. I agree with your Fiance. I think it’d be better to go and know you went and said goodbye, than to risk looking back at it years later and to feel like you should have been there. And in a way, it can be an apology to him for being absent in his last year of life.
I can imagine how tough this is for you. I’m sorry you lost a friend.
Post # 11
I really think this is a personal choice. I don’t see a definite answer either way and I don’t think you will be judged for either choice.
However, this might be your chance for closure since his death was so unexpected and you have some feelings of guilt for not being close. Families often take comfort in seeing how many people loved their loved one.
Post # 12
Thanks, everyone – your thoughts are really helpful.
It’s about a 6.5 hour drive… so, not the worst, but not the easiest. It’s really the logistics of getting up there that are stopping me (if it were more local, I wouldn’t even question going).
Post # 13
I’m sorry for your loss. Please go. When my dad died it meant so much to me to see a packed service of people who loved him. I didn’t know most of them, but they knew my dad and that’s all that mattered. You can’t beat yourself up over not being there in his last year – it’s hard and scary to watch people fighting disease. But you can go, pay your respects to him and be supportive of his family. It might help you more than you know.
Post # 14
i lost my dad a month or so ago and i’ll share my personal experience. even though i didn’t know a lot of my dad’s coworkers and friends, i was really touched that so many of them took the effort to come to the viewing or funeral. many of them shared some fantastic stories with us and that really helped us cope. plus, it was really nice seeing all the people who did attend the memorial service. it was a nice gesture on their part. also, i lost touch with some friends and receiving flowers and treats from them was really touching. so if you can, at least send a card or if you can make the service, feel free to attend. as a grieving family member, little gestures like cards and the like really help lift some spirits.
Post # 15
Funeral and memorial services are for the living, not the deceased, in my opinion.
If you don’t feel the need to go then don’t feel obligated. His family will appreciate your presence if you attend but they won’t think “hey, where’s Oracle?” if you don’t. A card would definitely be thoughtful either way.
And I’m so sorry you lost a friend.
Post # 16
Hi everyone… just thought I’d update you to say I decided to go. Thanks for being part of the decision making, your condolences and great advice.