Maggie Rants [and Raves]

Funeral Etiquette, Anyone?

by Maggie Franklin | October 6, 2010

One of my clients passed away a couple of weeks ago. It was quite unexpected. She was only 50 and she'd been in for her regular appointment just the week before.

I got the call from a mutual friend/client — the one who'd originally referred her to me.

This was the first active client that I've "lost." I had every expectation of attending the funeral — which wasn't really a funeral, but a memorial "celebration of life" service this last Saturday afternoon.

I eschewed other plans for Saturday and made the BF keep his schedule open so that we could attend the service ... and then I woke up on Saturday morning with what was either the mildest anxiety attack I've ever had (And yes, I get them. I've had an anxiety disorder since before anxiety disorders were cool.) or just a plain old-fashioned rethinking of my plan.

It occurred to me that I didn't really know her family. I'd never actually met her husband; even though, I'm sure you understand, I certainly felt like I did. I knew a couple of their close friends, but this isn't a social event. And her obituary referred to the service as "private."

So we didn't go.

I'm sure Debbie understands.

These things always leave one thinking though. I made sure to let the BF know that I expect everyone who has ever known my name to attend my own service; I view it as my last chance to be popular. So I hope everyone including the checkers at the local grocery store make it to whatever shindig my survivors throw.

I know it's not uncommon for hairstylists and nail techs to pay their respects by attending services for their departed clients. This is a personalized service; we hold their hands through their joys and sorrows, weddings, births, divorces, etc. We get attached to our clients and we don't feel like "just the nail-lady." It's a strange conundrum to find oneself wrestling with whether or not to attend a client's final ceremony on the planet. It seems like such the obvious thing to do — until you realize that funerals are for the living, and not every one who's left behind understands that the nail-lady doesn't think of herself as just the nail-lady.

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