How far would you travel for a funeral?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Rick Lee, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    A former co-worker just went to Laos (from Phoenix) for a funeral. I think she was gone a total of five days. But then she told me her boss is so fed up with his job that he stopped counting days off against people's vacation allowances.

    I am one month into a new job and my dearest elderly friend in Germany is 89, in the hospital and it's not looking good. I'm to call her daughter's cell phone in 20 min. when she's visiting her mom in the hospital. I'm really torn on what to do here. I've made a five day trip there before for a wedding, but that stuff gets announced six months in advance. Not sure how to go about this. Since she's not a relative, I doubt there will be a bereavement fare. Whatever happens is probably going to be very short notice and not easy to get away from work.
     
  2. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    When my uncle was dying in Florida, I didn't go down to see him. We were very close. My mother (his sister) didn't go down either. He was dying from a recurring cancer, but didn't tell anyone until he had about a week or two left to live.

    It's just as well since by the time I could have gotten there, he would have already slipped into coma and there would have been no point. We also didn't head down for the funeral. It was just a small service. Try to remember that most of this stuff is for the living, not the dead. On the one hand, it felt like I should really go to the funeral, but it would have been an enormous disruption for a number of reasons, and for what? I didn't feel like I had anything to prove. If we hadn't been close, I may have felt more compelled to go.

    Just do what feels right, man. Why don't you guys Skype? We do that all the time with my mother-in-law in Finland so she can see and play with the kids.
     
  3. jordane93

    jordane93 Member

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    If it's family I'd go anywhere
     
  4. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    This woman has never touched a computer. She doesn't have a cell phone. So after calling her home # several times for the last two weekends, I finally called her daughter yesterday, who gave me the low-down. She did not want a phone in her hospital room either. I've been to visit several times on her b-day and the phone rings off the hook. She keeps a ledger of who calls on her b-day and I remember it being over 80 calls one day. So maybe she'll get some peace and quiet in the hospital. As a consolation, her childhood best friend, whom I also know well, happens to be in the same hospital at the moment.
     
  5. DYNA BILL

    DYNA BILL Member

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    The farthest I've ever had to go for a funeral was my Dad's when I flew from SF to KC. Distance wouldn't have mattered, though.
    As far as other relatives or friends, I would have to consider how much they meant to me and how much time we spent together before they passed.
     
  6. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    This woman is very important to me and not in a Harold and Maude sort of way. I got to know her when I was an exchange student in W. Germany in 1988. She was from E. Germany and, as a retiree, was allowed to travel to the west then. I was able to go stay in their village the following summer, after a lot of BS paperwork and headaches from their gov't. and it was such an amazing experience. I got to know the whole family and have been back over 20x since. I have a special affinity for the WWII generation (even in Germany) and feel like each one lost is a big deal. Her husband was like a grandfather to me and I was pretty crushed that they didn't tell me he had passed until I happened to call a few weeks after the fact. But I had just moved and switched all my phone numbers at that time.
     
  7. claudel

    claudel Member

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    For me, it would depend on the person who passed.

    I value my long term friendships over pretty much everything else in my life and
    I've flown cross country a couple of times on short notice to the detriment of both my
    clients and bank account to attend funerals that occurred way too soon for my liking.

    I wouldn't necessarily do that for all my acquaintances...
     
  8. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    Just got off the phone with her. It was noisy, since her daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter (an infant) were all there. She sounded fine on the phone, said it was relatively comfortable in the hospital and she was in good spirits. Her daughter got back on the phone and told me to call her this weekend for an update. I just don't know what to make of it or how seriously to take it. This is one of those relationships where we talk on the phone a few times a year, but I visit on every trip to Germany. Now I feel like I need to keep calling every weekend until she's in the clear. And if not, then I will have almost no time to hem and haw about getting a flight a going.
     
  9. Bobby Wasabi

    Bobby Wasabi Member

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    You need notice nowadays to attend a funeral??? We have to plan ahead for death? I figured time off to attend a funeral was still a given. If it is a "dear elderly friend", I'd go. It's just a job and if they can't respect this request what other areas are you going to find out they don't respect?
     
  10. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    Oh, I have no problem telling the boss. It's finding a flight that doesn't cost an arm and a leg on short notice. I'm assuming I'll have less than a week. And Berlin is the closest major airport, which means a very long two travel days to get there and back, at least 18-20 hrs. on each end.
     
  11. Bobby Wasabi

    Bobby Wasabi Member

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    Right, I never thought of that. I thought the focus was on the new job and not getting time off. Your thread title makes more sense to me now. That is a predicament.
     
  12. mark norwine

    mark norwine Member

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    Here's another angle...

    My cousin was dying, in Seattle. He had maybe a month to go, and wasn't doing well.

    My mom asked me if I intended to go to the funeral, and that's when it hit me: fly out to the funeral? To see a body in a box? F-that!......fly out NOW and spend some quality time with him & the family.

    So that's just what I did, and it was awesome & I'm VERY glad I did.

    He passed 3 weeks later.

    If you can swing it, go now....
     
  13. MVrider

    MVrider Member

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    Absolutely. What's with all the fuss and the kind words after someone is dead? Man, if a person doesn't have time for some of that while the "loved one" is still alive...
     
  14. jerryfan6

    jerryfan6 Silver Supporting Member

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    Only you can answer this, but for me, Germany would be a long way to go for a funeral...unless it was a close relative.
     
  15. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    Sounds like a two episode of Seinfeld smash-up!
     
  16. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    I called the granddaughter today and she said her GM will be released from the hospital tomorrow, but only because she refuses all tests and treatment now and has lost all will to live. She said it's quite a contrast from where she was a week ago. I don't know what to do. Go there now and just assume it will be the last time I see her and even assume my visit may not do her any good? Or wait for her to pass and then go to the funeral?
     
  17. Rimbaud

    Rimbaud Tarnished Silver Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Rick,
    I have read your posts about your time spent in the Fatherland, pics you have posted of your travels there and understand and share your affinity for the WWII generation both here and in Germany...

    I have relatives in the former East Prussia area that I have recently been in touch with after many years.

    It's a tough call on your part and I can see you are weighing all the options...
    Whatever you decide is of course your choice...but even considering going shows a remarkable loyalty on your part.

    Whatever you decide, mojo sent and Godspeed.
     
  18. Tune-O-Matic

    Tune-O-Matic Member

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    To answer the OP's question, it depends on who died.
     
  19. Dotneck

    Dotneck Member

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    I had the same situation with my cousin but couldn't get it together to go visit in time. He passed away in January. Went to his memorial service in California a couple weeks ago.

    I felt bad for not getting there before he died but it felt good to visit with his family again after he was gone.

    You just have to do what feels right...
     
  20. DGTCrazy

    DGTCrazy Moderator de Emporio Staff Member

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    Tough question to answer....but for my most immediate family and closest friends, (the people involved in my everyday life), I'd go anywhere at any time. For others, it would be within practical driving distance. Otherwise flowers and a card will have to suffice.
     

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