Author Topic: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)  (Read 476 times)

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Offline KevShmev

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Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« on: December 26, 2022, 09:31:50 PM »
When did this trend begin?

For nearly every wake I have ever been to prior up until 2014-2015, the immediate family is always around and everyone attending makes their way to each person or some of them when you can, which seems to make the most sense, but my cousin's wake seven years ago had a line to talk to the immediate family (which took an hour and change to get through, as he was in the pipefitter's union, so there were a lot of people at the wake), and my aunt's wake this evening was similar (but we arrived at the right time and got through it fairly quickly).

I find this to be a terrible idea, for both the immediate family AND the guests. 

For the immediate family, you are basically stuck at the front waiting for each person to see you, giving you little to no chance to have a moment to yourself if you need it.  It feels like you are on display.

For the guests, it stinks because you are stuck in a line for much or all of your visit.  What if you are a casual friend who wants to casually pop in for 20 minutes and pay your respects, but end up having to wait an hour just to see your friend (who might be part of the family that you have to wait in the line to talk to). 

I find it to be just terrible all-around.  When my mom passed away back in February, I was pretty insistent that we not do a line at the wake, and my dad and both brothers were in total agreement.  And there was no issues with anyone getting to talk to any of us, and those who wanted to pop in for a few just to make their appearance and pay their respects were able to do so in a timely manner.

When did this trend start and is it more common now than I realize?  And why on earth is this a good idea?  I would love to hear some reasons as to why it is a good idea.

Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2022, 10:18:38 PM »
Never been to a wake. Sounds miserable for the family, as you described.

Thinking more on this (gee, thanks Kev...) I have never been to a viewing. I said in another thread I've been to 2 funerals. Somehow I forgot one, the only one with an open casket. The only time I have seen a dead person. We all passed the open coffin at the end of the service. It was my dad's mom, who I wasn't close with and hadn't seen her in many years before she died, so the impact on me was not significant. It was also the only time I have been at a graveside ceremony (is that even the right term?) to see her lowered in to the ground.

My parents told me and my sister long ago "We are both signed up to be cremated. Keep our services short and sweet."
« Last Edit: December 26, 2022, 11:20:30 PM by Cool Chris »
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Offline kingshmegland

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2022, 06:54:22 AM »
I don't remember any other way but with lines.  There was always a line with the family next to the casket.  At least here in N.E. 
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2022, 08:24:37 AM »
Honestly, most funerals are a pretty bad idea in general. If you're religious then you've already done your trip. You either made it or you didn't. Kind of seems like now you're just making other people share in your burden. If the dead's family/friends are religious, they should be praying on their own without it being made into a spectacle. I'm all in favor of a gathering to remember the good things about somebody, but wait a month or two and have a nice party where people can actually enjoy their remembrance. That's what most of my family goes in for. Treat it as a happy thing. That's certainly what I'd want.

As for waiting in line, were people handing them envelopes of cash or something? Otherwise it just seems like shitty planning.
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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2022, 08:32:54 AM »
At the few I've been to, none have had a line at them that I can recall. My family ones have been services, usually a mass and a graveside service, followed by a reception at a house.

AA funerals are amazing though...we gather and set up a podium, and take turns telling hysterical and embarrassing stories about the deceased, it's a true celebration of life, and everyone really remembers the joy said person brought to the rooms.

Offline Stadler

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2022, 10:03:19 AM »
We opted for no viewing for my parents.  This comes with guilt - are we not honouring them - but they were both cremated and in the spring we’ll have a short ceremony at the cemetery to inter them in the ground.   I think the best of both worlds.   

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2022, 10:05:48 AM »
I don't remember any other way but with lines.  There was always a line with the family next to the casket.  At least here in N.E.

Same here Joe. Every funeral I've attended the close family is at the front by the casket and there's a 'receiving' line that makes its way to them and they greet and speak with everyone for a bit. It does take forever but as I said....that's how every funeral I've been to has been.

I've been to Memorials as well that were kind of like what EB mentioned....it was a month or two after the person passed and it was more of a celebration of their life and what not.
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Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2022, 08:30:12 PM »
We opted for no viewing for my parents. 

Was this part of their last requests, a joint decision?

Every funeral I've attended the close family is at the front by the casket and there's a 'receiving' line that makes its way to them and they greet and speak with everyone for a bit.

I have never been part of the "close family" of the deceased, so cannot speak from experience. But merely speculating, I cannot imagine having any desire to speak with every single person who came to my close relative's funeral. You may want to offer me your condolences. I do not want them right then and there. Catch me at the life celebration/memorial we have later.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2022, 08:30:19 PM »
I guess lines are the norm.  *shrugs*

I still don't get it.  It still seems awful for both the family and the guests, and I still don't understand why it is done. 

Barto, I agree with your take about having more of a remembrance months later rather than a sad gathering right away, but I get that it is the proper thing to have the extended family and friends there right away to be there for the immediate family, and as someone who lost my mom earlier this year, having a lot of the family around in those days and moments made an awful time slightly less awful.  If nothing, seeing all of my cousins and other relatives and friends, some of whom I had not seen in a while, was a good distraction for fleeting moments, and those are sorely needed.

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2022, 08:32:37 PM »
With my mom's waje, it was tough seeing my neighborhood friends showing up. Man, I cried so much.
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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2022, 11:55:34 PM »
Generally speaking, I try to stay away from lines as SOP during my funerals, especially when they are at my facility. I like to have it more casual with people being able to wander and talk to people as they please. But there are a few times lines help with things or are more necessary.

-It helps in making sure everyone signs the register and gets any of the handouts such as prayer cards, memorial folders, service pamphlets, etc.
-Once you have a certain number of people flowing through the door it helps keep things orderly and make sure everyone gets through and gets their time.
-At most churches you're a guest and at their mercy. And for many, they've done funerals the same way for 50-100 years, and everyone that goes there is used to the way it runs, good luck changing anything.

Honestly, most funerals are a pretty bad idea in general. If you're religious then you've already done your trip. You either made it or you didn't. Kind of seems like now you're just making other people share in your burden. If the dead's family/friends are religious, they should be praying on their own without it being made into a spectacle. I'm all in favor of a gathering to remember the good things about somebody, but wait a month or two and have a nice party where people can actually enjoy their remembrance. That's what most of my family goes in for. Treat it as a happy thing. That's certainly what I'd want.

Your comments seem to imply that funerals are only held for religious or ceremonial reasons, which is way off base. Though that is often the case, funerals can be done in a wide variety of ways to help a lot of people in a lot of different ways. Frankly some of my favorite funerals over the years are for those folks with little to no religious involvement but who want to find interesting ways to honor their loved ones and create a memorable experience.

AA funerals are amazing though...we gather and set up a podium, and take turns telling hysterical and embarrassing stories about the deceased, it's a true celebration of life, and everyone really remembers the joy said person brought to the rooms.

This is a good example of how some services are. It's not always a pastor coming up and talking for 30 minutes about how the only way you can honor the deceased is by accepting god and becoming an uber Christian (my least favorite kind of funeral service). I've had plenty of services where the bulk is family and friends sharing.

Seriously though, I can't tell you how many times someone has told me, without directly telling me, that I'm going straight to hell in the course of "honoring" someone who has died. It's fucking pathetic.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2022, 04:59:28 PM »
Thanks for your input, Nick. I was hoping you'd see this thread and add some perspective.  :tup :tup


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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2022, 08:09:47 PM »
Nick, I am sorry if I am not fully aware of what you do, other than knowing you work in the realm of the topic at hand. With respects to that...

Generally speaking, I try to stay away from lines as SOP during my funerals, especially when they are at my facility. I like to have it more casual with people being able to wander and talk to people as they please. But there are a few times lines help with things or are more necessary.

How much do you coordinate how things are run? Are you 100% running the show, offering guided suggestions, or how does it work?

-At most churches you're a guest and at their mercy. And for many, they've done funerals the same way for 50-100 years, and everyone that goes there is used to the way it runs, good luck changing anything.

So if I don't want a viewing line (what do they call it? It's a receiving line at a wedding), are they going to make me have one? I do not belong to a church, and maybe am being myopic, but if a church told me I was "at their mercy" with respects to every detail of the funeral I was setting up, I would tell them I'd find another facility.
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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2022, 08:20:39 PM »
Nick, I am sorry if I am not fully aware of what you do, other than knowing you work in the realm of the topic at hand. With respects to that...

Generally speaking, I try to stay away from lines as SOP during my funerals, especially when they are at my facility. I like to have it more casual with people being able to wander and talk to people as they please. But there are a few times lines help with things or are more necessary.

How much do you coordinate how things are run? Are you 100% running the show, offering guided suggestions, or how does it work?

-At most churches you're a guest and at their mercy. And for many, they've done funerals the same way for 50-100 years, and everyone that goes there is used to the way it runs, good luck changing anything.

So if I don't want a viewing line (what do they call it? It's a receiving line at a wedding), are they going to make me have one? I do not belong to a church, and maybe am being myopic, but if a church told me I was "at their mercy" with respects to every detail of the funeral I was setting up, I would tell them I'd find another facility.

I'm a funeral director, licensed in Pennsylvania, and for reasons that it also helps with my job in various capacities, I'm also a life insurance agent and notary.

In answer to your first question, it all depends on what the family wants. Some know what they want and I'm just trying to facilitate that for them. Others want 23 options presented and then I help tune in on what they've selected. In either case, the amount of control I have is mainly based on where the funeral is. My facility, an outside facility that lets me do mostly what I want, or an outside facility that has a pretty set funeral standard. The middle case are typically churches that are more flexible towards family wishes as well, so usually can still have a decent amount of control there. The last bunch generally aren't budging much, but...

In relation to your last point, the families there generally aren't going to rock the boat there much either. Your question basically boils down to, what if I, a round peg, decide to try and ram myself through this square hole? Chances are if you weren't comfortable with how those churches ran things, you wouldn't have attended there your whole life with enough dedication that your family would think you want your funeral there.
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Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2022, 08:34:13 PM »
Thank you for the reply, Nick, that was in line with my expectation. I worked for a company that managed facilities that would host wedding receptions, so I understand needing to work with clients, helping them understand what works, what doesn't, helping guide their decisions that you feel with your experience will be the best taking in to consideration all factors like budget, space, etc...
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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2022, 09:25:49 AM »
I hate those lines, too. I understand waiting in line to see the person's body or other things like Nick mentioned, but to make the family stand in the same spot and wait for everybody to come talk makes little sense to me. But I do love a good funeral/memorial. Generally prefer the type RJ described to more structured and religious ones, though old churches can at least be cool to check out.

Fun fact that I'm sure I shared here a long time ago: I once met a cute DT fan at a wake and we briefly dated. Leave it to me to pick up a dude at a funeral home :lol
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2022, 10:07:43 AM »
I hate those lines, too. I understand waiting in line to see the person's body or other things like Nick mentioned, but to make the family stand in the same spot and wait for everybody to come talk makes little sense to me. But I do love a good funeral/memorial. Generally prefer the type RJ described to more structured and religious ones, though old churches can at least be cool to check out.

Fun fact that I'm sure I shared here a long time ago: I once met a cute DT fan at a wake and we briefly dated. Leave it to me to pick up a dude at a funeral home :lol

That was your channeling your inner Claire Fisher.  :coolio :coolio

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2022, 10:15:13 AM »
I've seen the line at basically every wake I've been to, but they are usually short.  Like I've seen it where it's usually pretty casual, but with a short line for those who want to see the deceased, the family is often sitting in the front row so you can just go chat with them directly without being in line.  Although a lot of the times, if you are there right at the start, the family is probably at front too so the line is both to see the family and deceased.  I've never found it much of an issue, but these things are always so awkward for me. If I had to wait in an hour, I think that would be an issue.  For someone I'm not too close to, I probably wouldn't bother with the line in that case and just chill in the back and try to have a quick word with the family or something before leaving.

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2022, 10:19:44 AM »
I hate those lines, too. I understand waiting in line to see the person's body or other things like Nick mentioned, but to make the family stand in the same spot and wait for everybody to come talk makes little sense to me. But I do love a good funeral/memorial. Generally prefer the type RJ described to more structured and religious ones, though old churches can at least be cool to check out.

Fun fact that I'm sure I shared here a long time ago: I once met a cute DT fan at a wake and we briefly dated. Leave it to me to pick up a dude at a funeral home :lol

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2022, 01:21:37 PM »
Most of the visitations I have been to had a line. Two of them I think a line would have been an absolute necessity due to the volume of people. Sometimes the family seems to really want to see and talk to everyone, and in that case I guess a line is best for them to ensure they can be sure to see whoever they want to see. The last one I was at I did feel bad for the family. It took us a long time to get through the line, and I know that we didn't get there right at the start, so they were up there for a long time. I think what might be best in that situation is for the people going through the line to be a bit conscious of the situation and not spend too long talking to every single family member so things do keep moving.

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2022, 10:32:34 PM »
I hate those lines, too. I understand waiting in line to see the person's body or other things like Nick mentioned, but to make the family stand in the same spot and wait for everybody to come talk makes little sense to me. But I do love a good funeral/memorial. Generally prefer the type RJ described to more structured and religious ones, though old churches can at least be cool to check out.

Fun fact that I'm sure I shared here a long time ago: I once met a cute DT fan at a wake and we briefly dated. Leave it to me to pick up a dude at a funeral home :lol

That was your channeling your inner Claire Fisher.  :coolio :coolio

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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2022, 06:13:14 AM »
I hate those lines, too. I understand waiting in line to see the person's body or other things like Nick mentioned, but to make the family stand in the same spot and wait for everybody to come talk makes little sense to me. But I do love a good funeral/memorial. Generally prefer the type RJ described to more structured and religious ones, though old churches can at least be cool to check out.

Fun fact that I'm sure I shared here a long time ago: I once met a cute DT fan at a wake and we briefly dated. Leave it to me to pick up a dude at a funeral home :lol

That was your channeling your inner Claire Fisher.  :coolio :coolio

She occassionally channels her inner Claire Fisher to contrast her outer Nate Fisher.

Feeling a lot like David these days but I'll take it.

Which side of David?  This could go one of two ways. :P :P




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Re: Lines at wakes (funeral home chatter)
« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2023, 05:15:12 PM »
 :lol mostly the first unfortunately, but the second was definitely me last night.
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