Funeral Traditions – Uncomfortable Death Rituals

When he looked in the casket, my husband felt awkward looking at his little brother as though he were sleeping and would awake at any moment. He wondered about the purpose of funeral traditions that would include making a person who is dead look alive.

When my husband was thirteen years old, his younger 7-year-old brother died of leukemia. At the time of his little brother’s death, my husband discovered he did not feel comfortable with some of the funeral traditions surrounding death.

Sleeping – Awkward funeral traditions

When he looked into the casket, my husband felt awkward looking at his little brother as though he were asleep and would wake at any moment. He wondered about the purpose of funeral traditions that would include making a person who is dead look alive.

Saying goodbye

Just before the funeral began, both immediate and extended family congregated into a large room to watch parents and siblings say good-bye to their son and brother.

My husband was brought up in a religious Mormon family of seven sons, twenty-some aunts, and uncles, and over fifty cousins so at least 75 people congregated to watch a second death ritual included in Mormon funeral traditions by saying goodbye to their deceased loved one as a large group of extended family members, most of whom were acquaintances rather than intimate relatives, watched the ritual.

As the family grieved over their loss, various types of crying ensued as the goodbyes unfolded. Sobbing and wailing were mainstream as the room full of relatives stared at my husband’s distraught family. My husband’s mother cried her heart out as her body trembled while putting her baby’s favorite teddy bear in the casket as she kissed her youngest son goodbye.

After the goodbyes were completed, the crying, wailing, and sobbing continued as the casket lid was closed.

Family procession line

To add to the trauma of saying goodbye, a third uncomfortable death ritual began as the family formed a procession line following the closed casket from the back of the chapel to the front past a congregation of hundreds of church members and friends observing the drama of continued crying, wailing and sobbing. My husband felt like he was on display and so longed for privacy.

Traumatic experience

It took my husband a long time to get over the trauma from participating in uncomfortable funeral traditions. At times, it still affects him. It is likely, most kids would not have the capacity to interpret these types of funeral traditions properly; therefore, scars of trauma would likely occur for children, youth, and possibly adults participating in uncomfortable death rituals.

Post Funeral Attendance

When my husband has attended funerals since the death of his brother, he noticed a couple more things he feels would improve the funeral experience.

  • It would be better if the family was allowed to preside at church funerals rather than a church leader that generally knows very little about the deceased person.
  • Funeral talks and remarks often make people sound angelic when in reality, everyone knows no one is “angelic” perfect. I have to agree with my husband, the truth* is always more powerful than lies and embellishment.

Spirit world’s thoughts about death rituals

Something else to consider about funeral traditions is the adverse impact they may have on your departed loved one. While reading a “life after death” book, the author (which received the following information from a colleague who died and then was given permission to return back to earth to share truths about the spirit world) explained what can happen to a departed loved one while transitioning to the world of spirits.

The soul newly arrived in spirit lands will feel the determined drag of the thoughts of those who are left behind, unless those thoughts are constructive thoughts for the present and future well being of the one who has gone.

Thoughts of the wrong kind will draw the soul back like a magnet and prevent it from making a steady and natural transition into its proper sphere.

From the moment of passing until the physical body is finally committed to the earth, and frequently for some time afterwards, the thoughts of the mourners are concentrated in sorrow upon the departed one. The various performances that comprise the “last rites” add force to this sorrow, enhance it, and give it greater directive power. Where this feeling of sorrow is genuine it will unfailingly reach the recently departed soul.

The spirit body may take some days of your time before it becomes completely separated from the earthly body, and it may be hindered very much by the combined thoughts of the sorrowers who are participants in dismal rites. Instead of departing from the earthly sphere, the discarnate one will be attracted to the scene of obsequial activities, and more than likely will be saddened himself by what he is witnessing and by the sorrow of those he has left behind. He will feel a heavy weight within him of separation that has come about, and perhaps being ignorant of what has befallen him, he will be doubly distressed, and even trebly distressed by the fact that he speaks to his friends but they cannot hear him.

pg. 331-333, The World Unseen, Anthony Borgia

This account of life after death makes it clear the transition from incarnate to discarnate, would be greatly improved if “funeral rites” were considerably modified or entirely abolished in their present form upon earth. Something to consider.

Conclusion – Breaking Funeral Traditions

Photo by Luca Upper

My husband and I have definitely decided we do not want a funeral when we die. We want to be cremated and have our ashes sprinkled into an active reservoir or river. We feel it is healthiest for our children and grandchildren to abandon funeral traditions without the following:

  • No embalming
  • No caskets
  • No burial plots
  • No headstones
  • No traditional flower displays
  • No formal funeral

For those family members and friends who desire to express their thoughts, we think an online forum/funeral would be nice for this purpose.

It would also please us if our immediate family got together in an outdoor setting (if possible) to reminisce, play upbeat music, and to release colorful balloons celebrating our graduation to the next step of progression as we believe after death, life progression continues.

Companion Blog

I wrote a companion blog, if you would like to read it also, “Opposition to Cemeteries – Cremation Preferred”.

*Importance of Truth

I wrote a previous blog, “Healing by Embracing Truth”, which explains that truth is light energy, generating power, a power that heals; therefore, it becomes more apparent why telling the truth is important.

Top Featured Photo by Rhodi Alers de Lopez


  1. I, like you, abhor the funeral process. It’s expected by many, but I see that that is changing. The only people that will feel “something” from the drawn out experience is the very closest of family. I don’t want to go to a traditional service. A memorial service is all right but don’t make it too long and don’t make it so sad with some of the old songs. Be upbeat, as best as you can, knowing the loved one is with God. I have mine planned and I assured my friends and family that they will leave laughing.

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