Thursday, June 30, 2016

Types of people at funerals

Disclaimer: i understand that the topic may seem distasteful to some, but it is in no way intended to hurt or belittle anyone in any manner. I write this with anger and sadness having seen and experienced several such people myself.

We Mourn our loved ones during a funeral. We grieve, we take time to adjust ourselves to reality, we take in the emptiness and express our eternal love.
During this heart wrenching time, we find comfort and peace amongst some amazing family members and close friends.
BUT there are some individuals whose presence at such a solemn function i can never understand. Their behavior tends to disrupt, dishearten and cause intense despair to those in pain. I've segregated them into 8 misery inducing groups, read on:

1) The Storyteller

These are the kind of people who come riding into the house with a ton of stories about the deceased person and his/her relatives. It ranges from the lines of "I remember when i plucked a mango from that tree outside and gave it to him" and "oh she used to love playing in that tiny pond in the next field" and "He told me i was his favorite! I was his best friend! We did everything together" ok now you take a break and let me tell you a story, the relatives of your deceased friend would much appreciate your silent but hands on presence. Help out, comfort and most importantly, be quiet. Your stories not only disturb everyone around you, it evokes way too many memories that really doesn't help anyone at the time.

2) The Town crier

It really irks me when some distant relation (I'm talking brother's uncle's cousin's sister's father in laws sister's daughter) bursts into the funeral setting and starts wailing away to kingdom come. Beating her bosom, falling all over the grieving relatives, rolling all over the floor, throwing themselves at the body and just causing a right nonsensical scene while everyone just stares uncomfortably. In some cases, I've seen these people turn normal to greet someone and then go right back to the oscar performance. I don't even think they realize the mental agony they cause the close relatives of the deceased.
In such cases, the best thing to do is to escort the character to a room in the farthest corner and let them calm the heck down.

3) The Blackmailer

These are probably the worst kind of people alive. They are the ones who totally disfigure the memory of the deceased individual and use it to rake up a set of emotional blackmail sentences and throw it at the relatives (most often at the children). "It was your mother's dearest wish for you to give her a grandchild before she died", "your father wished for you to take over his business rather than follow your passion", "oh if only you had married the proposal i brought just like your mother wished" i mean what the! Don't these people with clay for brains even understand what they are saying? It's like the relay between brain and mouth that governs what to say when has shut down permanently; because if you can go to a funeral and make lives even more miserable, you certainly don't qualify to be called fully functional! In such cases, they should be taken to the same corner room and asked to zip it or leave.

4) The Chatterbox

And then there is that person who keeps chattering on the phone,  giving live updates about the funeral and everything that's happening around. "Yes the pandit just came in...he is sitting down...he has started the pooja...aunty so and so just walked in...she is wailing...yes she is wearing make up..." i mean seriously? You happen to be at a funeral person-with-cellphone not at a sports show, the least you can do is show some respect. And person-on-the-line, if you don't have the care or concern to attend the function, then steer clear of even asking about it. Walk up to this phone happy character and ask him/her to shut off the phone and behave with respect.

5) The Black hole 

This individual is a walking human black hole. It's amazing how they can suck even the smallest ray of hope and positivity into their dark, dank self and mutate it to form horrendous negative statements that cling onto the pysche for a long time to come!
"Oh my god...i don't know how you guys are going to survive", "such things happen when you're too happy about life", "has he left you any money to tide you over?", "i knew this would happen! I told him not to drink so much!"
Sometimes i feel like going up to such people and asking them if they have an itch they cannot reach. Why else would they do this at such a horrible time in someone's life? So here's a joke for you..."knock knock", "who's there", "shut up and keep your opinions to yourself"

6) The Socializer

I have seen this happen at so many funerals. I feel such pain for the relatives who have lost a precious part of their lives and amidst all the grief, there are those who treat it as an opportunity to have a reunion! "Ah hallo! Long time no see!" "How's your son? How's your daughter", "are they married? No? Don't worry i have the perfect boy for her! See that handsome young man sitting in the corner? What a catch!" Oh dear lord stop! There is a death in the family and you treat it like the theme for a high school renuion or a F.R.I.E.N.D.S season 11? Get out of that house and go sit in a cafe coffee day or something.

7) The Goody two shoes

This person is the exact opposite of the black hole. It is not bad to be nice but sweet to the point of not giving any personal space to grieve is suffocating! Your presence is welcome initially because you do all the right things. You offer strength and support, you lend a helping hand and you're always with those who need you. After a point however, you lose your sense of personal space and excessive sweetness does nothing but make the situation totally diabetic in nature. Those who grieve need time alone to get in touch with reality. These saccharine characters try to force feed the mourning happiness and that just does not work. Calling them out for dinners and get togethers ( after a few days) or lets say calling them non stop...after a point, becomes a pain. So back up a little. Be your sweet self but give a little room to heal as well.

8) The Complaint box

I end with the second worst people on the list; those who attend funerals to complain. "Just look at the tacky flowers he ordered", "such a second rate coffin", "honestly, she could have given him a better burial", "I'm so thirsty! They didn't bother keeping some water handy", "i can't even believe they booked that church". Excuse me? Who made you queen/ king of the world?
Instead of trying to console the grieving, they sit around and ridicule everything in sight and what's worse, they even say horrid things about the deceased! Oh wow! I have once overheard (not difficult at all since they had all the grace of two foghorns) two ladies next to me say "yeah he was never a good man...his wife hated him...seems he had an affair..." seriously? Seriously? Why don't you just head on back home, switch on some serials and get up to date with some drama and gossip there?

The next time you see someone that fits the above mentioned categories at a funeral, let them know that their behavior is not appreciated in the least. I have done it a couple of times and despite angry, unbelieving stares, the message gets across.