Visitation or Funeral?

Updated on April 03, 2011
J.J. asks from Milwaukee, WI
16 answers

My daughters friends father passed away. She knew his dad. I was wondering if we should go to the visitation or the funeral. It is all today and I will be taking her out of school. It is a boy down the street that she isn't good friends with anymore but they were and don't hang out anymore but see each other at school. She feels really bad for him. He used to come down here and hang out all the time until they got a little older so we know him well. I treat all the kids in my neighborhood pretty good. How much should I write a check for too for a neighbor? I really have no idea. We may stay for the funeral too that will be a little later. My daughter has been to funerals before. She is very caring and we told the boy that he is welcome here anytime and for dinner as well. I also asked the principal if they were going to collect funds for the family and he told me the staff will. That is very nice.

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So What Happened?

So we went to the visitation and asked her friend if he minded if we would like us to stay for the funeral and he said yes right away. We were happy. I watch out for the kids in the neighborhood and talk to them quite a bit so they all have a piece of my heart. I was glad to see that two of his good buddies from the neighborhood were there also and then my daughter and another friend from school. The two kids seemed fine except for when anyone came in the door and hugged them and asked how they were doing they got teary eyed(which is to be expected). We did write a check and wrote memorial on the bottom. We felt that was the right thing to do. We were glad to see a lot of teachers from the elementary school and middle school were there. It means the most when you know your teachers and staff and boss and co workers are thinking of you at such a horrible time as well as family & friends. We went through this not too long ago with a family member and when my husbands boss showed up we were floored. That's why it's so important to be good to others so they are there for you when you need them as well.

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answers from New York on

If she feels comfortable do both. It would make it easier for her friend to know that she is there for her. But let her decide if she wants to stay or not.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

She's definitely old enough to attend the funeral and the visitation. If she's not been to one before this is a good opportunity for her to experience that and might open up a lot of good communication for you both. Being that you go to the funeral for the living, the visitation would probably be the best opportunity to speak with the family and she could talk with her friend and show support that way.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Colorado Springs on

Your daughter is being a kind friend to stand by this boy. Maybe it's a good idea for her to go to both. As someone has already said, let her decide how long she stays. You both will have a lot to talk about, maybe, on the way home.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Go in support of the friend. Since both are on the same day at the same time it would be good to just stay for the entire thing. Write the check out for what ever dollar amount in your heart feels good and right. I probably would write the check our for $50 - $100 because my financial position allows me to be than generous.

Many will be there for the wake and funeral but how many will be there three weeks from now? It is also important to continue to remember him and be there for him when everyone else has gone away but his pain is still there. Showing you care is important and you are a wonderful example and your daughter's reaction is evidence that you are an awesome caring mom.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If she's comfortable with it - do both. I don't know her age....but I would do both.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My father passed away when I was a teenager as well and it meant so much to me to have friends there, however distant. I think you can underscore to times like this and that she can really reach out to him to help him by being a friend and showing her support, checking in with him, etc.

I think an appropriate amount is 50-100 depending on your financial situation.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I find Funerals to be healing and visitations to be very uncomfortable. So, if you are skipping one, skip the uncomfortable one and go to the healing one.

If it were me, I would take her to the visitation so she could talk to the boy, but not necessarily encourage her to view the body. Just to show up and be a friend to him for a few minutes, maybe distract him a bit. Then go to the funeral. The funeral will be lots of kind words and Pastors have this way of making it all make sense and you end up leaving a little more hopeful and with a sense of closure. But skip the burial. That's really to help the survivors be able to let go. I don't encourage kids go to burials

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My husband died when my daughters were 9, 10 & 14 and it was very helpful for them to see the support of close friends, neighbors, classmates and others they were not so close to at the visitation and funeral which were also on the same day. They were very touched by the hand written cards from classmates and neighbors and they still have the teddy bears they were given by another classmate who lost her Dad the year before. I don't really think it matters what you attend or how long you stay but that you go.

As for the check it is a very nice gift to the family to help with the many unexpected expenses that accompany a death and funeral. My husband died unexpectedly and his paycheck stopped immediately and it took more than a month to get his life insurance. Thank God for the generosity of friends & neighbors because they want funeral expenses paid the day of the funeral and coming up with $15,000 to pay for that on less than a weeks notice plus your normal bills. Let's just say I really appreciated the monetary gifts but I also appreciated the neighbors who volunteered to mow my yard, brought meals, gave my daughters rides to softball etc without my having to reciprocate, and called to see how we were doing. People were always saying if there is anything I can do which is nice but realistically when you are in the midst of it it's hard to know what to ask for. The people I appreciated the most were those who called and said I am going to the store can I get you bread & milk, or I'm taking the kids to the mall would yours like to join us, or do you have any household chores, (things to be fixed or painted or moved or mowed or trimmed) that we can do, or do you need any help with all the paperwork that needs to be done or can I make any phone calls for you? The more specific the better.
The worst part is a week later when everyone else's lives are back to normal and yours will never be normal again. The neighbors are giving you looks because mowing the grass and getting the trash cans in are the last thing on your mind or they are avoiding making eye contact because they don't know what to say or it's almost like if they don't think about what happened to you then they don't have to think about becoming a widow at 36 themselves.
Sorry, didn't mean to rant but after 15 years some of the unthinking comments and actions of my friends and neighbors still sting. I think the best thing to remember is to treat them like you would like to be treated if it were you and thanks for being a good neighbor!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I would do the visitation. Never heard of giving a check at a funeral. I would not do this unless it is a local custom.



answers from Oklahoma City on

At 13 she is old enough to tell you what she wants to do.



answers from Chicago on

At least go to the visitation to pay your respects. That is a must. As far as the funeral play it by ear. If there are donations being taken for a charity and you feel a desire to make a contribution...$25 is very nice.



answers from Rapid City on

I would skip the visitation for her unless he was someone very close to her. Take her to the funeral and answer any questions she has. It will be nice for his son to have her there. If she is asking to go to the visitation then take her but if not, it would be ok not to.

As for the check, give whatever you can afford to. When my son died last summer we had anywhere between $5 and $500 dollars in the cards. The cards were mailed to us, left at the viewing and given to us at the funeral home. Our funeral director collected the cards from the people as they came in. The union rep came up to me at the dinner and gave me a nice bible and a envelope with money they had collected from everyone. He said he didn't want to hand it to anyone but me since it was quite a lot. I hope this helps you some. My prayers go out to the family


answers from Dover on

I would take her to the viewing but not necessarily to the funeral service itself unless she is a teen.



answers from New York on

You don't say how old your kid is. I would suggest the wake - often times at a wake there's a small memorial service that's separate from the funeral. That's sufficient to show that you care. I think in this situation since they are kids, he might be uncomfortable being in such grief around his neighborhood friends. It's very hard to kids to cry in front of other kids. We jsut went through something like this regarding my sister's step kids whose grandmother died. We all knew the grandmother well - but I think it was really, really tough for my nephew to cry in front of his cousins and school friends. He's in HS and I could see that it was really uncomfortable.

As for writing a check - that's kind of foreign to me in this part of the country. The only time I've seen that done was for a lady in our office whose husband passed away with not one penny of savings or life insurance and it was really to help her pay for the funeral expenses. But we were a close office and we all gave alot. In this situation, I'd give as much as I would have spent on a floral arrangement. If you know that the family is going to be destitute, or doesn't have way to pay for the funeral then I'd be generous.

Good luck - these are all life lessons that we teach our kids as we go through them.



answers from Cumberland on

Do both-to show your support-and start with $100 for the neighbor. Remember-this is a process so both may be helpful.



answers from Washington DC on

I think it is great that you take her to either or both. Really depends on whether the funeral will be only close family or not.

I have never heard of giving money to the family at a funeral. I have made anonymous donations to charities or funds in the name of the deceased ($20-50) but never handed them a check. That seems inappropriate and more like what you would do at a party, not such a sad event.

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