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    Cruisinjlb's Avatar
    Cruisinjlb Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Nov 15, 2012, 10:20 PM
    Funeral Seating Etiquette 11/10/12
    My father-in-law's funeral was just held & my husband's sister told us where we were to be seated. My FIL has a surviving spouse, so of course I expected all the siblings w/spouses & children to sit in first row. Instead, I was told I had to sit in 2nd row, as did all other sons/daughters-in-law & their children. When I asked my sis-in-law if I, along with our daughter could sit by my spouse, (we've been married 20 yrs), she stormed out before services began, sobbing. She told me the day was "not about me", & it was "their" day, then she corrected her wording to "my Dad's day. I apologized, but all I wanted to do was comfort my hubby/daughter and show solidarity for the whole family's loss. I lost my dad 16 yrs ago, and every funeral I've been to, all the immediate fam sits in front row. It really hurt my feelings, because I wanted my spouse to have comfort from me. Instead, I had to look at the back of his head, and he was several seats from the left of where I was told to sit. Any suggestions to assist me on feeling like such an outsider? We have always gotten along very well.
    Thank you
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #2

    Nov 15, 2012, 10:38 PM
    Did the other spouses sit with their husbands/wives?

    It's not always easy to seat everyone in the immediate family together. The way it's always been done for the funerals I've been to, is that immediate family (sons, daughters, wife, husband, Aunt's, Uncles, sisters, brothers) sit in the front row. Those married into the family can sit with their SO if there's room to accommodate them and the immediate family. If not, they're moved to the second row.

    If your husband was uncomfortable with this arrangement he could have chosen to give up his front row seat and join you in the second row, but no one should have been moved to accommodate you.

    I'm sorry for your loss, and I do understand loss, I buried both my parents 6 months apart. But, I have to agree with your SIL, this day was not about you and what you wanted, it was about paying respects to your husbands father.

    If you've always gotten along very well then try to remember that your SIL also lost her father, and instead of accepting the seating arrangement, you complained about it on a day that was likely very difficult for her. I'm not surprised that she ended up running to the bathroom to cry. Put yourself in her place. It's impossible to please everyone, and instead of offering her comfort, you complained because you didn't like where you were sitting. That's pretty petty, and not very sympathetic.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,272, Reputation: 7690
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    #3

    Nov 16, 2012, 12:20 AM
    I would have sat where I wanted, even after they "suggested" where to sit.

    Next what was your husband doing or saying about this, why did he not just tell you to come sit by him and HE tell her that you were sitting next to him?
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #4

    Nov 16, 2012, 12:25 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Fr_Chuck View Post
    I would have sat where I wanted, even after they "suggested" where to sit.

    Next what was your husband doing or saying about this, why did he not just tell you to come sit by him and HE tell her that you were sitting next to him?
    Exactly! Sounds like the only one that cared about where the OP sat, was the OP. If hubby wanted her support, he would have insisted on having her sit beside him, or moved to the second row to be with her. Doesn't sound like he cared where she sat.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,272, Reputation: 7690
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    #5

    Nov 16, 2012, 12:32 AM
    At most funeral homes ( actually everyone I was ever at in three countries) the director of the home or an employee sits people, family members just sit and greet people who come in.

    Sounds like this other person was doing more than she should have and honestly who cares where someone "sits

    Also it is over, if your hubby did not say something, and you did not have enough nerve to sit where you wanted, please complaining now wanting to be proven right has no use or value
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #6

    Nov 16, 2012, 12:50 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Fr_Chuck View Post
    At most funeral homes ( actually everyone i was ever at in three countries) the director of the home or an employee sits people, family members just sit and greet people who come in.

    Sounds like this other person was doing more than she should have and honestly who cares where someone "sits

    Also it is over, if your hubby did not say something, and you did not have enough nerve to sit where you wanted, please complaining now wanting to be proven right has no use or value
    I agree.

    The fact is, instead of going to her husbands sister, she should have spoken to her husband about this, he had the right to say that his wife should sit with him during his fathers funeral, if that's what he wanted.

    The SIL was obviously put in charge of the funeral, and did the best she could. One person wasn't happy, the OP, and instead of taking the feelings of the SIL into consideration, she complained to the SIL, someone that had just lost her father, and did the best she could to accommodate all those that shared in her loss.

    Bad taste, and bad etiquette. Not on the SIL's part, but on the OP's part.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #7

    Nov 16, 2012, 02:37 AM
    The minister, priest, or funeral director arranges the seating.
    All my family funerals had no spouses in the first row, or even grandchildren.
    I understand that you have had a different experience, but you should not have even brought it up. It was poor etiquette. The fact that she left sobbing suggests that you badgered her. Regardless of how you asked, she deserves a huge apology.
    dontknownuthin's Avatar
    dontknownuthin Posts: 2,910, Reputation: 751
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    #8

    Dec 2, 2012, 08:37 AM
    I agree with parts of every post.
    - The funeral director should have handled it.
    - Nobody meant to offend anyone. In grief, some people need something to control. Wide bearth should be given grieving people and if we can just let them do what makes them feel better, even being annoyingly controlling in a weird way, we should just let it go.
    - The deceased's surviving spouse and children each had a right to sit where and with whom the wished. The OPs husband, as the son of the deceased, might have said to his sister "I'm going to sit right behind you with my wife and kids. By the way, thanks for all you've done to plan such a lovely tribute to mom".
    - It IS weird to separate spouses to confer some greater "honor" on the children of the deceased based on whether they are in row one, two or three. Silly.
    - The importance of the relationship with a person, hopefully, is determined before death. It makes no sense, when a woman spends her life trying to treat all her family equally, and treat sons and daughters in law as her own, to unravel all those good intentions at her funeral.

    In any event, I'd let it go and just say, "Sue, the funeral for your mother was lovely" and leave it at that. When Dad passes away, and arrangements are being made, your husband can let her know of his intentions to sit with his wife and children at church, or can ask the funeral director to handle the bristly, controlling sister. They are good at this stuff, "Yes, Ma'am, I understand you visualize yourself and your siblings sitting together in the front row but your siblings wish to sit with their spouse's and children. We'll reserve several rows for family and then you can sit where you wish within those rows as you enter the church". Since the row clearly has some significance, sit sister "Sue" in the front row for sure.

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