Funerals are supposed to be a place to mourn and celebrate the life of the recently departed, but some people don't always get the memo, or they just don't have enough respect to act like a decent human for a few hours. Whatever the case may be, some people just don't know how to act at funerals.
The people in the following stories know this all too well, as they recently shared in a Reddit thread asking people to share the most inappropriate thing that has ever happened at a funeral. And boy, some of these stories are so heartbreaking they are almost comedic. All posts have been edited for clarity.
"My mother went into the throws of hysterics when they called for everyone to pass by the casket one last time at her aunt's funeral.
These weren't 'OMG I miss her' hysterics, they were 'My 60 years with her were all a lie! How can I mourn someone who HATED me! How dare I be expected to even BE here after what she did to me!'
She had discovered in the days between the death and the funeral she was bequeathed only a ring and a few sentimental things. Not the 'millions of dollars' she had expected. It was my mom's father's sister, but she left all the money/assets to my dad (my parents had divorced a few years earlier), a man with no direct relation to my great-aunt. My dad took care of my great-aunt the last few years. He took my great-uncle to every doctor appointment he had until his death, slept on their couch every night for weeks after my great-uncle passed, bathed my great-aunt in the weeks between her finally deciding to go to assisted care, took her to all her appointments, everything.
My mother claimed my dad brainwashed her and the two of them plotted this whole thing all along to ruin her life. My mother's exact words were: 'I know she's laughing right know looking at me, knowing she built this up for decades. That was my money!'
My mom said she wasn't even going to go to the service, then she showed up...to cause a scene. I had tried to quietly calm her and explain money doesn't equal love and not giving you money doesn't mean she HATED you, but my mom just kept saying, 'Yes it does! She hates me!' I finally had to scold her like a toddler in a room full of genuinely mourning people and say, 'If you can't mourn for someone, get out of their funeral. Go home, love her or hate her, today isn't about you,' and return to my pall bearing duties.
She left....but then showed at the luncheon afterwards and got wasted. I tried to say, 'We didn't get a dime, do you think she hates us?' Well, that went south when we were met with, 'You guys don't care because you'll just get it when he dies!'
She went on in the coming days to tell my sister and I that she had cancer and needed the money for medical bills and that my great-aunt knew that and did this to stick it to her. So, you've allegedly had cancer for like a year, didn't tell your kids but DID tell your aunt? We weren't surprised when her 'follow up biopsy' appointments came back that there wasn't anything malignant left.
Money changes people. For the record, it wasn't millions. It wasn't even one million. It wasn't even half a million....it was basically their house that was paid off. A windfall for sure, but it wasn't a lottery pay day."
"It was my own son's funeral when he was 8 months old in 1983. He died in his sleep in his mother's arms from encephalitis.
My witch of a mother-in-law decided where the funeral was going to be and who was going to officiate it and I was just trying to hold my wife together. It was our first and only child. I was 21 and she was 19.
I really didn't want anything to do with the funeral having anything to do with religion as I am atheist and she was utterly agnostic, but you know, mothers-in-law. We were all sitting there and I was in the front row holding my wife with a little tiny casket up front. My wife was bawling on my shoulder and the jerk in the clerical collar, who had obviously thought long and hard about this for effect, started the ceremony with 'As I lay me down to sleep...'
I never wanted to punch somebody more in my life that I didn't actually punch and my wife and I sat there and listened to this fool say the child's prayer about 'if I die before I wake' knowing that it would mess me and my wife up and start the flood of tears. He died in her arms in bed asleep. Anybody that's not a completely self-absorbed, insensitive, sadistic psychopath would have chosen something else to say or at least asked us about it first.
I haven't been to a funeral since."
"My grandfather passed away a few months ago. He was a WWII veteran and a pastor, and therefore didn’t make a lot of money and died basically penniless. When he was in his 40s, he married a woman and helped her raise her four teenage children, and had my father around the same time. The four children were always awful people and cut off contact with him and my father 20+ years ago.
At his funeral, all four step-kids, their spouses, and ALL of their children showed up, walked up to my dad in one big group, and demanded he hand over their inheritance. They didn’t know that my grandfather died poor. Even though he lived a pretty simple life, he still took good care of them as kids and went on a few vacations during retirement. I guess they assumed there would be a life insurance policy or some sort of money.
My dad told me they were always really scummy and would occasionally try to buddy up and get 'a loan' if they heard he was doing well.
My dad said 'What inheritance?' Not only did grandpa die with $12 to his name, he also never formally adopted these children and hadn’t spoken to them in 20 years.
They then threatened to sue my dad and left the funeral before it officially began.
A few weeks ago, my dad was served with an official lawsuit from some billboard attorney they scraped up the funds for. Luckily, my fiancé is a much more successful attorney and is on his way to getting the case dismissed with prejudice and his attorney’s fees paid."
"I am a minister and occasionally preside at funerals.
The first funeral I ever presided at was for an openly gay man who had been murdered in a random mugging. The deceased had been estranged from his birth family due to being gay and his family's gang connections and substance abuse, but his husband (graciously, I think) invited them to attend the service.
The family had been belligerent and unruly to both me and the widower throughout the process of planning the service, but the service itself took this to another level. They showed up for the 9 am service all visibly wasted. As soon as she entered the church, the mother began to wail and scream and threw herself onto the casket, but when I went over to attempt to comfort her, I found her attempting to steal the valuables that were to buried with him.
The family literally heckled me throughout the service. Shouting and booing and accusing the widower of murdering the deceased (there was absolutely no basis for this). When I got to the part of the eulogy where I mentioned that he married his husband, the family just erupted. They rushed the stage and one person shoved me to the floor, took the mic and started shouting homophobic slurs. Another two people tried to pull the casket out of the sanctuary. At that point, we had them escorted out and did our best to continue with the service.
When we finished the service at the church and the pallbearers were carrying the casket to the hearse while everyone else left, the family basically rushed the crowd and physically attacked anyone who happened to be there. One person punched me in the face, splitting my lip and knocking out one of my teeth.
In the end, the police were called and had to break up the funeral. They ordered everyone present to leave. We didn't even bury him that day on police orders. (He was returned to the funeral home, and early the next morning we buried him with just me, the husband and a police officer present) And when the widower's friends and family went to leave, they discovered that the deceased's family had slashed the tires of all the cars in the parking lot while we concluded the service."
"This was inadvertently inappropriate and kind of a funny story that happened at my friend's dad's funeral. His dad had just died of cancer after fighting for a few years and me and another friend went to funeral to pay our respects and be there for the family.
We got there a little early and met up with my friend, his girlfriend and his brother/girlfriend in the church's entryway. There was a wedding finishing up in there so we had to wait and we just stood there waiting to set things up. The wedding finally lets out and we see the guests rolling out, followed by the wedding party. All of the bridesmaids and groomsmen were dressed in full Adidas tracksuits and sneakers.
Then the bride and groom make their appearance and she is wearing a pink wedding dress with a pair of Adidas shoes and a track jacket over the dress. The groom is wearing a white Adidas track suit with a matching hat. They both walk out hand in hand doing the c-walk dance and trying to hand us these party poppers, which we politely declined. I think they saw the memorial posters and realized that we were there for a funeral because they stopped dancing, straightened up, and hurried outside.
I looked at my friend and we couldn't help but laugh at the situation. Those people were doing their thing and having fun and it certainly lightened the mood of a very sad day, which is what his dad would have wanted."
"My narcissistic sociopath ex LOVED funerals and death. He was never happier when he had a big chunk of tragedy and grief he could exploit.
My beloved Grandad died after a fight with vascular dementia. My Gran and Dad were both in pieces, we all were. He was the first grandparent in our family to die, and he was known for his loving nature, fun and eccentric character quirks, and his love of life. My ex weaseled his way into coming to the funeral, then managed to get onto the FRONT ROW OF SEATS that were reserved FOR FAMILY ONLY. One of my uncles, who's a sweet and gentle soul, was shafted because of my ex, and couldn't sit with the rest of us, because my ex stole his seat so he could sit NEXT TO MY GRAN and look like the hero for comforting her.
She primly took her hand away from him when he attempted to hold it.
He had a huge grin on his face whenever he thought someone wasn't looking at him, but assumed this sickening, sanctimonious expression when he could tell that someone was looking at him. During the wake, he told both my grieving mum and my Gran that he was planning on working in America, and would be taking me with him. This just after we'd laid my wonderful Grandad to rest, and the whole family is openly grieving his loss.
My ex was a leech that enjoyed what other people dread. He fed off the pain of others and hurt so many people just to get the satisfaction of kicking people when they're down.
I'll never forgive him for this and multiple other incidents, but that one really hurt my Dad, my Gran, and my poor Uncle. They'd lost their husband and father, and this jerk was weaseling his way in and pretending to care."
"The deceased was not religious and wished for a non-religious burial. A member of the local evangelical church attended the funeral and tried to make it religious.
He was pretending to be a friend of the deceased and giving pamphlets to the family and talking about God and how the deceased was actually attending their church and wanted him to say a prayer and whatever. I knew the deceased and knew very well this was a lie. The grandson of the deceased is a very good friend of mine and asked me and others to respectfully remove this person from the funeral, without anyone noticing.
Not an easy task. I could just imagine the 'Christian' making a scene so I pretended to be an interested atheist and asked him to walk with me to talk about God. When we were alone, I tried telling him it was inappropriate but he started one of those incoherent religious 'speeches.' After a 30-minute discussion, I felt one of my other friends boiling with rage and feared he would make a scene. In the end, I just gave the 'Christian' all the money I had on me and he agreed to leave. He then came back to the ceremony of lowering the coffin down and started shaking people's hands... but left the family alone.
I swear I could have killed that person on the spot.
He was so deceiving and sleazy about it. It was so disturbing how someone would use a situation like that.
"I was at a funeral for a child who died unexpectedly. The lineup was insanely long with people from the community wanting to pay their respects. I was standing behind someone that I know and he was about as socially awkward as possible.
After about an hour of standing in a line, we were about half way through the lineup to see the parents. The parents had been there all day and, needless to say, they were exhausted both physically and mentally. A friend of the family came by the lineup and apologized to everyone but was asking if we would kindly leave as the viewing hours were over. Really, I think the parents just wanted to stop and go home and grieve. They'd had enough. Fair enough, but that didn’t sit well with the guy in front of me. He blew up!! Started yelling at the person that it was bull that the viewing hours were so short and that they should extend them, and blah blah. I’m pretty certain he mistook this person as an employee of the funeral home, but she wasn’t. Everyone was speechless to say the least, his wife was crying and then he stormed out of the building.
I’ve never had a meaningful conversation with him after that and his standing in our community is definitely marred.
This was three years ago and my wife and I still mention it from time to time. He’s dead in our eyes and nothing will ever change that now."
"A weird coworker's mother died. They were a family of old-school southern Pentecostals. To help you get the picture, my coworker was very obviously gay, as was his boyfriend, who he lived with for years. But he would never actually call the guy his boyfriend since 'all that nasty stuff is a sin.' His favorite joke was that he was the dumb one in the family since all his sisters had PhDs - Pentecostal Hair-Dos.
My boss and I drove out to the middle of nowhere for the visitation. My coworker greeted us and proudly pointed out that he had picked all the songs in the soundtrack currently playing. He had somehow found every country music song about death, heaven, dead loved ones, mothers, sons and the afterlife. It was impressive as it went on for at least two hours. Loudly. I realized afterwards the volume was probably cranked to 11 to compete with the following performance.
We sat in the back of the room and watched as a bizarre show took place. He had several sisters (complete with the big hair and prairie dresses). They and some other female relatives took turns having breakdowns. Each one went up to the coffin, softly crying which turned into howling and screaming. This was accompanied by exaggerated hyperventilating and ended with falling on the floor while thrashing. Still screaming the whole time. After a minute of 'floor time,' other family members would come up to comfort the woman, quiet her down, then lead her dramatically to a seat while fanning her and trying to get her to drink some water. Then a few minutes later, the next female relative would repeat the show. It was nice that they spaced it out to give each screaming mourner her own time to shine, but it made the day drag on since each episode lasted 10 to 15 minutes and we witnessed at least six women doing this. It was super odd."
"There was a brawl at my grandma's (mother's side) funeral. There was and still is a lot of animosity between everyone on my mom’s side of the family, mainly because of money and these are some of the trashiest people I’ve ever met.
It started with passive aggressive comments being intentionally said within earshot. After a while, one of my cousins who I chose to keep in contact with called out one of our uncles for sarcastically saying, 'That’s where family gets you,' or something along those lines. She turned around and said, 'Did you say something?' And my uncle looked away mumbling, 'No, nothing.'
Later that night, I was sitting another cousin I like and her daughter, while another cousin I don’t talk to gave a look and started yammering something I couldn't understand to my cousin. Good cousin went back at her until everyone started standing up, almost like they know what might happen. An awesome aunt of mine snuck up to me and said, 'Hey [cousin’s daughter’s] tablet is in the car, can you take her out to get it?'
Oh yeah, did I mention that there were children attending the funeral?
As I was walking out holding my cousin’s daughter’s hand, the room began to crowd and I turned to face the coffin just in time to see one of my uncles bump into it, almost knocking it over.
Everything went further south at that point.
I picked up my cousin’s daughter and walked to the door. Once we were outside, I started looking for the car and realized I didn’t have any keys. So then we’re just standing there, my cousin’s daughter is crying for her mom, and I saw several cop cars speeding to to funeral home. Like clockwork, all of the family members started pouring out of the building and everyone had their own story to tell the cops.
The funeral home director said that if we didn’t fight again they would let us come back the next day."
"My mom passed away shortly after my dad and she wanted the same Catholic funeral my dad had. I was booking with the church and they wouldn't allow us to have the wake there because just before the funeral, there would be a grade 9 retreat in the basement rooms and the kids would be leaving during the service. They 'wouldn't be able to clean in time' and the church turned down my offer of a team of volunteers to assist them cleaning during the service. They also couldn't possibly have the service at any other time. So it already was a non-ideal situation, but then I get a call from the priest.
He started the call saying they absolutely couldn't accommodate us for the service. Then followed it up with: 'So both your parents are dead? I guess that makes you an orphan . . . Yikes.'
I tried to explain that I had the support of my friends and family, but he sort of dismissed it. Then he went on to talk about the funeral, asking if anyone was going to say a few words. I replied that my mom's brother and best friend would want to. He then said, 'Do they really want to? If they have to then they need to keep it short because nobody wants to listen to all that.' I am not even joking. I was stunned. He followed with 'and they will need to keep it appropriate.' He ended the call stressing that they absolutely can't do the reception so make sure everyone knows to go somewhere else.
Needless to say, I cancelled with them and had the funeral and reception at the funeral home. I am still stunned that someone could be that insensitive, especially in that position! To top it all off, I eventually got a card in the mail that they donated to their own charity in my mother's name, I guess that was their form of apology."
"For the funeral of my husband's grandfather, my husband's father hired a team of professional photographers.
I know there are cultural backgrounds where you take photos with/of the deceased (I come from one, but no one in my family does it anymore), but it still was weird.
I didn't notice them during the service, only when the casket was carried to the grave. They ran in front of it, photographing the whole process. They wore black t-shirts with their company name in pink letters on it. Not really the right attire for a funeral in my opinion. I was weirded out by the whole thing, but didn't say anything and wouldn't have complained about it if it would have been only that.
At that point, I had only been together with my husband for two months, I only came for his emotional support. I never knew his grandfather and got to know his mother, stepfather and brother only the day before as we thought the funeral shouldn't be our first time. My husband had been close to his grandfather and was devastated, so he didn't notice as much of the weird stuff in the moment. When I told him afterwards, he was appalled.
After the casket was let down into the grave and everyone was coming up to say their last goodbyes, a woman went behind the grave (who was not one of the hired photographers) and took photos of everyone who came forward with her smartphone. She stood behind the grave the entire time, hunched over it and holding the phone away from her to get a better picture. What made it even worse was the fact I knew her. Not from the family, but from television. She was the wife of a former sports celebrity, who already appeared on reality tv shows. Made it even more surreal. At the reception I saw her again, telling my husband's stepmother that she 'documented everything.' They seemed to be best friends and the stepmother seemed grateful.
I don't know if that's normal elsewhere, but that wasn't the first funeral I've attended and I had never seen someone else do that before.
Later down the road I learnt that my husband's father and his wife are full-blown narcs and there's not much that surprises me anymore."