Cremation services are a way to remember and celebrate the life of a deceased person who has been cremated because of the wishes they or their family had. Sometimes word gets around about a cremation service for someone whose service you're not sure you should attend. Sometimes open invitations are even extended to all, yet that doesn't mean you'd automatically be welcomed with open arms. Consider the following criteria when deciding whether you should attend one.
Offer Support If You Can
Whether or not you knew the person who is deceased, your presence at a cremation service can offer a great deal of comfort to those who are in mourning. If you know and care for the bereaved, it's a good idea to show up and express your caring and support. It's commonplace for people who love the bereaved to go to cremation services even if they don't know the person who passed away. Grief is one of the hardest things to handle, so offering support is a memorable way to show you truly care.
Travel Only If You Want To
Because people sometimes have some extreme or unusual requests for where they'd like their cremated remains spread, sometimes cremation services are held on mountaintops, on boats, or other far-off destinations. If going to the cremation service would require you to travel, only go if you can afford the time away and the expenses of travel. It's perfectly acceptable for even close loved ones to skip the service when it's held at a remote, far-away location. If you do have to skip it when you don't wish to do so, be sure to write a note to the bereaved and perhaps send flowers or a donation to the deceased's charity of choice.
Keep in Mind Practical Considerations
If the cremation service is held during a weekday when you have to work, it's probably not a good idea to attend if you aren't close to the deceased or the bereaved. Never go simply out of obligation or curiosity. Those who are far removed from the inner circle of the deceased or the bereaved should probably not attend the service unless it was specified that the person who passed away wished for a big crowd at the service.
Honor Those Who Were Closest to the Deceased
If you have any unresolved conflict or drama that is currently going on with the bereaved, it may be better to stay away from cremation services. It's not a bad idea to call the person to express your condolences and defer to them on the matter of whether you should attend.
Finally, whether you should attend a cremation service is an extremely personal decision. Weigh the above factors and make the best choice for yourself. Err on the side of the decision that will likely leave you with the fewest regrets.
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