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Was it wrong to raise a glass at the graveside?

Tagged as: Family<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (19 December 2016) 14 Answers - (Newest, 23 December 2016)
A female United Kingdom age , *ittynora writes:

I am involved in a bit if an argument. A mutual family friend passed away aged 49 from breast cancer. On her 50th birthday some of the family (not her family) and friends took some champagne and celebrated her birthday around her grave. The took photos and put it on facebook. Too be honest I thought it was a lovely gesture (I wasn't present by the way). If it was me I would have been delighted that a crowd of people were popping champagne corks around my grave. I have just met a friend of the deceased lady and she told me that she was disgusted by what they did. I can see why people are offended. What are your thoughts on this because this lady is really upset by this? Thanks in advance.

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A female reader, Ciar Canada +, writes (23 December 2016):

Ciar agony auntI have to agree with the others. An intimate group quietly raising a glass is just that, but posting those pictures on Facebook or any other social media is, in my opinion, what made it trashy.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland +, writes (21 December 2016):

aunt honesty agony auntI personally think it was a lovely idea. However when you said they took photos and put them on facebook it made me wonder why? I wouldn't want that to be all over social media. It should be a time for celebrating her life. Sharing stories with her and raising a glass at her grave. Not taking photos and popping them on the internet for her family to see. That is disrespectful in my eyes. It should have been a get together without the need to plaster it on the internet.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (20 December 2016):

These people actually made an effort to celebrate her birthday despite her not being there - I think it's a lovely gesture.

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A female reader, celtic_tiger United Kingdom +, writes (20 December 2016):

celtic_tiger agony auntI'm a little confused by part of your post:

You say "On her 50th birthday some of the family (not her family) and friends took some champagne and celebrated her birthday around her grave."

Are you saying that it WASN'T the deceased ladies family?

If just a bunch of friends rocked up, without consent from the family, then I think that was a little disrespectful. IF the family, knew and were involved then that is different.

"The took photos and put it on facebook."

For me, the issue here is the plastering the photos all over Facebook. That is not ok in my book, and does not show any respect for the person who died. Some things in life should be kept private and not broadcast for everyone (including people who didn't know the deceased) to gawp at.

Not everyone likes to share every minute detail of their lives on facebook.

Celebration of life is important, but saying that, these memorials are mostly about the people who are still living, not about the person who has died.

Why post them on Facebook? To get "likes"?

I have lost a close family member to cancer this year and I would be very upset if a group of his friends did that without informing us.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (20 December 2016):

I think she felt left out and rather than admit that she took a negative approach.

Maybe she is a rumour monger and raising a glass becomes a full blown eerie seance with strange going ons and wild shinnanigans.

Most of the people i know on the other side would see it as a delightful guesture and wish to be present if spiritual commitments allowed .

The disapproving lady shouldnt be pandered to but you could ask her what sort of memorial would she like to conduct for her friend as a fitting guesture.

I assume she is a teetotaller so give her a bottle of non alcoholic champagne as a peace offering.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (20 December 2016):

N91 agony auntOffended by celebrating the life of someone they loved. How in any way, shape or form is that disgusting? I can't even see where she's coming from.

I think it's a great gesture personally.

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A female reader, Ivyblue Australia +, writes (20 December 2016):

Ivyblue agony auntEven in death, life should be celebrated. Jim Morrisons grave site is testament to it. People just seen things differently, each to their own I guess.

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A female reader, mystiquek United States + , writes (20 December 2016):

mystiquek agony auntI think it was a lovely gesture and I'm sure it made the people present feel better. Everyone grieves in their own time, in their own way so what bothers one will not bother another. My father passed away 3 years ago now and I still miss him desperately and I always tell funny stories of things he did whenever I speak of him..just because I like to remember him making me laugh. Some might be offended but I know my dad would much prefer that I laugh and make him out to be a clown rather than some serious man.

As other have said, you can be sympathetic to your friends feelings, but you don't have to agree.

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A female reader, Aunty BimBim Australia +, writes (20 December 2016):

Aunty BimBim agony auntI'm with you, come pop the corks, tell the stories, and have some fun when I'm gone ....

To be honest I cant see the offence. In my city there was a number of girls murdered a few years ago, on the 21st Birthday of one of those girls her family and friends, including parents and siblings, had champagne and toasts, I cried when I saw the photos in the local newspaper, but understood why it was done.

Empathise with your mutual friend, but you don't have to agree with her taking offence.

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A female reader, chigirl Norway +, writes (19 December 2016):

chigirl agony auntThank god its a free country where people are allow to do things even if one person would disagree... Thats all I can think!

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (19 December 2016):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntSadly, whatever you do in life, someone will feel they should be offended by it.

People view death in different ways. Some celebrate a person's life while others mourn their death. Some go to the grave to feel close to the deceased while others prefer to remember them as they were.

Each to their own. I am sure nobody intentionally set out to offend anyone.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (19 December 2016):

Honeypie agony auntYou know graves and funerals are NOT for the dead, but for the living left behind.

I think if ANYONE knew this recently departed it's her "family". And sharing a glass of bubbly at her grave is remembering HER in a way that helps THEM work through their grief.

As for the person being disgusted. She is entitled to her opinion and maybe she rather remember the person with tears where her family prefers a smile and a glass of champagne. However, I think she is out of line to chastise a FAMILY for remembering a dead family member in a way SHE doesn't approve of, because in the END... WHO cares what SHE thinks. Her opinion is NOT more important than that of her "family" BUT .... she is still ENTITLED to having an opinion.

I'm wondering if she is actually upset that she wasn't invited more than the gesture of these people.

When my grandmother passed she wanted her ashes scattered in the ocean near her childhood home (they lived practically on the beach). And my dad planned a day of celebrating HER and letting people say goodbye in a manner he KNEW she would approve off. Her family all went out on my brother's boat and they sailed down to the part of the shore where the childhood home stood, EVERYONE on board had a glass of champagne (she was a classy lady) to salute her, then HER favorite passage from the bible was read along with her favorite poem. Then her ashes were scattered over the side and everyone tossed in a white rose (her favorite). After that was said and done, everyone had dinner at HER favorite restaurant in HER honor.

Now some might think that is NOT how a "funeral" should be done. But she wasn't religious, she didn't want a grave or a stone. And she didn't want a priest or a stranger who never really knew her, to talk about her.

When going through her house my dad and uncle found a box with the ashes of her most beloved dog (they didn't know she had that prior to her "sending off") and they gathered everyone again the following year (on her birthday) and scattered those ashes where hers had been scattered. Now some probably think that is tacky or would be "disgusted" by this, but for those who knew her well and loved her dearly they KNEW it was something SHE would have approved off.

So there you have it. People deal with grief in different ways, hopefully, in time she will come to see that they AREN'T "cheering" her on BECAUSE she died, but as a celebrating OF her life.

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A female reader, Slippers  United Kingdom +, writes (19 December 2016):

Everyone mourns different. . As a rmn and someone who has faith the celebration meant no harm . However after my mother died I would have killed anyone trying to do that because I missed her so much .. I was grieving I wasn't ready .it wold have been like I was celebrating her loss . I would sit with this mutual friend and listen it isn't for you to justify their actions .. However maybe you could share a story maybe even mine that now I would see that as someone nice . But at the time I would have quaked at the thought .. she has every right to her feeling and her loss they are hers .. everyone deals differently

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A female reader, Slippers  United Kingdom +, writes (19 December 2016):

Everyone mourns different. . As a rmn and someone who has faith the celebration meant no harm . However after my mother died I would have killed anyone trying to do that because I missed her so much .. I was grieving I wasn't ready .it was I was celebrating her loss . I would sit with this mutual friend and listen it isn't for you to justify their actions

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