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Old 08-19-2008, 11:51 AM   #1
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How long after death for funeral?

What length of time is customary to have a funeral after someone dies? Someone I work with died this weekend and her husband is planning the funeral for three weeks from now. That seems like a long time out to me.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:54 AM   #2
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I think it really varies. My neighbor's father died in late July and the funeral was last weekend. I think it took a lot of time to get everyone together (some were from overseas).

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Old 08-19-2008, 11:54 AM   #3
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It depends. Around here some people have a funeral before the notice is even in the paper while others can be a week to 10 days. It is normally longer depending on if family has to travel in from other areas.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:56 AM   #4
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It totally depends. Three weeks after however is not usual but there must be reasons. If the body is being moved or family is out of country or state and sometimes autopsy could all delay the funeral.

Last edited by JessicaR; 08-19-2008 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:02 PM   #5
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I think with so many people not living close to their relatives anymore, it's actually better to wait and plan. However, traditionally it's within a few days. Depending on culture, etc. it may even be the next day.

My friends and family are all over the country. If something happened to me, I'd hope they'd put off my funeral for at least 3 weeks. I wouldn't want them all paying last minute airfares just to see me plotted in the ground. Rather they save some money and all be able to celebrate my life together without the added financial pressure. It certainly wouldn't bother me to be in a cooler or urn for a few weeks at that point.
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:06 PM   #6
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Alot depends on open casket or not too. I have a friend who is a mortician, and she said alot of times African Americans can wait out longer because their skin doesn't turn the grey color a caucasians skin does as soon.
I think....for the 'closure' for a family it should be done no longer than 5 days tops... 3 is good. But..I do understand wanting to get family together too... I guess it just depends on the type of 'ceremony' you have...
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:17 PM   #7
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Did the deceased donate their body to science or something? I don't know how long a facility uses a body for before returning the ashes to the family. Perhaps they are waiting on that.
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Did the deceased donate their body to science or something? I don't know how long a facility uses a body for before returning the ashes to the family. Perhaps they are waiting on that.

For me the ashes were returned with in 45 days after they took him for science. It might vary from donor people to donor people... not sure. Maybe the family is waiting on insurance money? I've seen some people on here mention that funeral homes wont do it with out being paid up front now
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:43 PM   #9
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Unless the person has been cremated, the usual time period that I have experienced is 3-5 days.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:06 PM   #10
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Is it an actual funeral where the deceased's body in the casket is going to be present or is it a memorial service?

If it's a memorial service, it can pretty much be whenever you want. If you want to be able to view the body, 3 weeks seems like a bit long of a time to wait.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:06 PM   #11
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White people's funerals are typically 3 days after death, unless that 3rd day would be on a Sunday, then they'd move it to Sat/Mon instead.

Black families usually have more time - 5-7 days or more, I guess because of the reasons listed above, and maybe it's cultural.

The big thing here is to have a viewing from, say 5-7 pm, then the "funeral" immediately after viewing hours are done, then the burial the next day. I've always seen viewing/calling hours at the funeral home one day, then the funeral the next, with the burial immediately following the funeral. It saves the funeral home staff hours - one day of lots of guests opposed to two. Quite a few funerals here are also at the chapel of the funeral home, as opposed to being at the church the deceased belonged to.

Last edited by tinatark; 08-19-2008 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:15 PM   #12
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Now this is a question I can answer! (sort of) I conduct funerals, memorial services and commitals on a regular basis. There is no standard for when there is a funeral.

There is no right or wrong way to celebrate a life. Memorial services will sometimes be months after the death. The same can be true for a funeral but it's not a frequent occurance because it costs more to store a body.

It has absolutely nothing to do with what race you are, as a PP suggested. Factors that play into these decisions include cultural, familial and religious traditions as well as the direct wishes of the deceased. It also can be an issue of logistics, if family needs time to get everywhere there or extra time to prepare the liturgy itself.

So, in short, no it is not unusual that a funeral or memorial service would be three weeks after the fact.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinatark View Post
White people's funerals are typically 3 days after death, unless that 3rd day would be on a Sunday, then they'd move it to Sat/Mon instead.
Black families usually have more time - 5-7 days or more, I guess because of the reasons listed above.

The big thing here is to have a viewing from, say 5-7 pm, then the "funeral" immediately after viewing hours are done, then the burial the next day. I've always seen viewing/calling hours at the funeral home one day, then the funeral the next, with the burial immediately following the funeral. It saves the funeral home staff hours - one day of lots of guests opposed to two. Quite a few funerals here are also at the chapel of the funeral home, as opposed to being at the church the deceased belonged to.
Well, I have been to three funerals for white people recently, and none of them were within three days of their deaths.

One was the widow of a 3-star general who is buried at West Point. It was about 3 - 4 weeks between her death and the funeral. She had been living in Virginia at the time of her death. This was closed casket.

The second was a week and a half between death and funeral. Both death and funeral were in MD. And yes, this was open casket.

The third was 1.5 - 2 weeks between death and funeral. The body had to be transported from FL to MD. This was also open casket.


I don't think there really is a hard and fast rule unless there is a relgigious rule or reason for a fast turnaround between death and burial.
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:07 PM   #14
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Wow! Open caskets almost 2 weeks after death!!!! Did the bodies look OK? I remember back in the day when there used to be 2 days wakes and by the end of day 2, the body was looking a little...mushy or something. And these people who had been embalmed.
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He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.
You are his life, his love, his leader.
He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Wow! Open caskets almost 2 weeks after death!!!! Did the bodies look OK? I remember back in the day when there used to be 2 days wakes and by the end of day 2, the body was looking a little...mushy or something. And these people who had been embalmed.
They have made a lot of strides in preservation. It is not the norm to wait that long to have an open casket funeral but it does happen. Most funerals I conduct are close casket, as that has been the custom of our denomination.
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