We have a helpful and insightful conversation about death positivity with Sarah Wambold, a hip funeral director who's been working with dead folks for 10 years. Why are we so reluctant to talk about death, and what good might come out of addressing it? Plus Making a Murderer (Sarah's from Wisconsin and has an insider's scoop), classic morgue stories, necrophilia, Six Feet Under, natural burials and natural cemeteries, the importance of rituals, funeral playlists, and the worst band in the world: Blue October. Regina plans her funeral. Valerie remembers an encounter at the medical examiner's office.
Not sure what the "best" way to be is at a funeral? Here are Sarah's funeral etiquette tips, that differ, depending on who you are in relationship to the deceased:
- The Dead Body: can look and act however they want!
- Family/Close friends: can act however they want but must follow wishes of The Dead Body.
- Friends/Coworkers: pay respects to #1, there to support #2, don’t overt exert their self-importance.
- Acquaintances/Followers/Fans: go to funeral if able to, pay attention to decisions made and think about/talk about your plans with other loved ones.
General Funeral Etiquette Guidelines
- Go to the funeral! If you are worried about the visual of death, go in support of being a visual of life-of the full life of the dead. Otherwise it will just be a dead body in a room.
- No rules on the "right" type of funeral, touching the body, showing emotions.
- If unsure of your emotions, offer support to someone clearly struggling.
- If no "funeral" occurs, there is a mourning period, which is sort of a funeral. Mark the calendar to reach out after a week, monthly, yearly.
- Follow instructions on parking and funeral processions if that is what is set up.
- Try to respect timelines. It will give everyone more time and peace to memorialize.
- You can wait outside the funeral home/service space until you are ready.