Who’s Supposed to Plan a Memorial Service Anyway?

Oct 17, 2022 | 0 comments

Who Plans the Memorial Service?

Dear Abby

Dear Abby

In this Dear Abby column, the writer, Disappointed Griever, is appalled that a now-deceased friend’s adult sons want others to organize a memorial service for their father. Abby provides some great guidance.

DEAR ABBY: I have a friend who had been ill for some time. Three years ago, two of his adult sons moved in with him because they’d been kicked out of their mom’s house. They never got jobs or paid rent.

My friend died a month ago, and now his sons and “companion” want all of us who were his friends to organize a memorial service. They claim they “don’t know how to do this kind of thing.” My friend also has two adult daughters and three grandchildren.

Isn’t it the duty of the surviving family members to do this? While I wouldn’t mind providing a list of his friends and phone numbers, I feel the sons are lazy and exploitative, and I’m very uncomfortable being asked to form a group and do a job they should be doing. I’m not going to participate, and I wondered what you think. — DISAPPOINTED GRIEVER

DEAR GRIEVER: I think you are absolutely correct. The honor of giving your friend a loving and respectful sendoff belongs with his family. By all means provide a list of those who would like to pay their respects. And, while you’re at it, suggest the person who contacted you reach out to his father’s religious adviser or a local funeral home for guidance.

Their claim of not knowing how to do this kind of thing (funeral planning) is understandable, as so many people haven’t had to plan a funeral in their life. I agree with the letter writer that it sounds like the sons are lazy and exploitative. And yes, they should turn to a local funeral home, or perhaps engage the services of a local Certified Funeral Celebrant, to help them figure out a meaningful, memorable “good goodbye.”

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A Good Goodbye