In most cases, when a family member or close friend passes away, there's no question but that yes, you should attend the funeral. You want to offer condolences and help the bereaved through a difficult time, and your presence would likely be missed if you failed to attend. However, in some instances, when you are not close or when the services are listed as private, you may not know if you should attend. Below are some suggestions to help you decide.

Reasons to Attend a Funeral

If you were a close friend or family member of the deceased, you will likely be expected to attend the services. In fact, if you are unable to attend, you should notify someone in the family to explain why. You should also feel comfortable attending if you are a close friend or family member of the bereaved; you'll want to comfort your friend or loved one.

Funeral in Indianapolis, INYou may also attend if you knew the deceased—even if you were not close—and would like to show your support for the family. Thus, if you worked together or were members of the same organization or class, it is appropriate for you to attend. Finally, if the deceased was a public figure and the funeral is open to the public, you may attend to show you will miss the person.

Reasons Not to Attend

You should not attend the funeral if your presence will upset a bereaved member or distract from the ceremony. For instance, if you have a troubled history with one of the other attendees or if you are unable to honor the deceased person's religious traditions, consider mailing your condolences, instead.

Also, if the services are closed and you are not a close friend or family member, let the bereaved grieve in private, as they wish. Finally, it is permissible not to attend if the services are out of town, at an inconvenient time, or if you are ill or not physically able to make it. You may instead send a card to the family, flowers to the funeral home, or a donation to an appropriate charity.


To arrange a funeral for a loved one or to schedule funeral pre-planning for yourself, contact Shirley Brothers Mortuaries & Crematory, a venerable funeral home in Indianapolis, IN. They have served Marion County and the surrounding areas since 1898, so their ties to the community are exceptionally deep. They offer both burial and cremation services, along with cremation urns and funeral flowers. Visit their website for grief support resources or call (317) 897-9606 to arrange a consultation with a compassionate funeral director.