A funeral is a very delicate event in which we want to pay our respects while being respectful of the situation at hand. The Sex and the City reboot, “And Just Like That,” sees a character pass away, during which multiple funeral etiquette mistakes occur.
Read on for what not to do at a funeral.
By now, I think it is safe to say most of us know what happens in the first episode of the “Sex and the City” reboot, “And Just Like That.” However, if you have managed to evade the myriad spoilers… Do not read ahead (and kindly tell me your secrets!)
Mistake 1: Being Overly Emotional Towards the Bereaved
During preparation for the service, as Carrie is making decisions regarding laying Big to rest, Charlotte becomes so hysterical that Carrie has to caretake her. She ends up sending her home in a cab so that she can manage arrangements on her own.
Crying during a loss is natural but when supporting a bereaved friend, the goal is to care for them, not the other way around.
Mistake 2: Comparing and Over-Identifying
Mitzy Von Muffling made her second appearance on “And Just Like That” when she attended Big’s funeral. Instead of politely paying her respects, she proceeded to compare the entire event to her husband’s death and lack of funeral due to Covid.
In doing so, she implies that what she experienced was worse than what Carrie is currently going through. She further alienates Carrie by continually saying “I know what it’s like, they don’t know but I know.” It is not proper bereavement or funeral etiquette to bring up your own experience.
Grief is different for everyone and when you begin to compare your experience, it can cause the bereaved to feel minimized rather than seen and heard. When speaking with someone who is newly in mourning, their loss is the only thing that matters.
Mistake 3: Making it About You
Another character decides to make the funeral about themself by bringing up a past indiscretion and telling Carrie that she “forgives her” now. She even goes so far as to say that Big dying can be Carrie’s “get out of jail free card.” The horror!
A funeral is not the time to discuss anything of this nature. It is a time to pay respects, offer condolences, and remember the deceased.
Mistake 4: Speaking Poorly of the Deceased
This should go without saying but under no circumstances should you speak poorly of the person being remembered. Whether you liked the person or not is irrelevant. As the old adage goes, “if you do not have anything nice to say, say nothing at all.”
Mistake 5: Commenting on a Person’s Mourning Process
People do not always grieve the same way. Multiple studies have found that the process varies widely from person to person. It is not appropriate to comment on the way in which a person is grieving, whether to that person directly or to others around them. That includes not commenting on their appearance.
Mistake 6: Trying to Apply Reason to the Person’s Passing
Steve spends a short scene speaking to Miranda about how Big died and attempting to apply reason to it, blaming the Peloton or his bad heart.
While thankfully he did not say any of this to Carrie but rather, in a private conversation, this one deserves a mention. Trying to make sense of someone’s passing is a natural response to death. However, it is something that should be kept to oneself. In trying to reason we are also trying to assign blame. Thus, it is not a topic we should be speaking about with the bereaved.
Additional Bereavement and Funeral Etiquette Tips
Dressing For a Funeral
While black is no longer required for funerals, it is best to choose conservative clothing in dark, solid colors. If however, you are instructed to wear a particular color or avoid somber shades, follow this guidance and respect the wishes communicated to you. For a Jewish funeral, men should wear Yarmulkes and women may wear black lace head coverings. Remember that long sleeves are required during a Jewish service.
Take care to arrive on time and enter quietly. Ushers should guide you to an appropriate seat but if there are none, remember that the seats in front are reserved for close family and loved ones. Your phone should be switched off or fully silent and tucked away for the entirety of the service.
Skip the Death and Mourning Clichés
Similar to the above, phrases such as, “they are in a better place,” and “time will heal,” are said so often we seem to believe them to be appropriate. But the truth is they offer little comfort to a person who has suffered a loss.
Avoid Faith-Specific Condolences
Unless you know the person’s religious beliefs, this is not the time to incorporate faith-based notions around God and the afterlife. Pushing your beliefs upon someone in mourning does not help to ease their pain and can make them uncomfortable.
I hope you found these bereavement and funeral etiquette tips helpful! If you are interested in incorporating etiquette education into your next event or team-building exercise, get in touch today! My etiquette offerings include in-person as well as virtual presentations and classes.