It’s hard to know how to act at a funeral. Everyone deals with grief differently, and it can be difficult to face your family and loved ones in such a vulnerable state. Most people try to be on their best behavior and just get through it. But these people? Did not get that memo. From attention-hogs to downright idiots, here’s the worst thing people have done at a funeral.
1. Can’t Take These Siblings Anywhere
I was attending a funeral of a family friend whose wife had passed. This gentleman had a large family, and all of his siblings got up and made it all about themselves, dredged up old family drama, and made it clear that they resented his wife the entire time they had been together. It was so painfully awkward, and he looked aggrieved and mortified.
2. This Kid Has a Lot to Cry About
A few years back, my mom’s uncle passed. At the funeral, my young eight-year-old cousin cried a lot at the service. It took some time, but eventually, he calmed down and his parents went for a little walk with him for some distraction. While on the walk, he noticed that his first name was written on one of the tombstones in the graveyard.
He mentions it loudly, and the response was utterly cruel. One of the bystanders just said, “Yeah, it’s already reserved for you.” He immediately started crying again.
3. Mixing Business and Mourning: Never a Good Thing
He handed out his business cards at his stepdaughter’s funeral. There was very nearly a fistfight over it.
4. The Ghost of Boyfriends Past
I was at the funeral of my good friend, who had passed quite young. For whatever reason, her ex-boyfriend showed up to the funeral. But that wasn’t even the worst part. He got up and made a speech where he proceeded to tell us about all the great things she did in bed and what a loss for mankind that is. Oh, did I mention her current boyfriend was there?
5. The Absolute Worst Time to Post a Photo
My mother-in-law took a photo of a wine glass during the lunch we had after the funeral, and then she posted it on Facebook. Guess what her caption was? “Life is Grand.” It was my mother’s funeral.
6. Fate Has a Twisted Sense of Humor
A colleague of my mom’s lost her husband to a heart problem, which is tragic enough. Then fate got even crueler. On the way to her husband’s funeral, the same colleague had a heart attack in the car and passed soon after. It was in the news because of how heartbreaking it was. I couldn’t imagine being their family.
7. This Is The Worst Grandma in the World
My grandma is a piece of work. For example, she called my dad last night, claiming that she and my grandpa had a baby in 1999 and the baby passed when it was five. We’re almost sure she’s lying just to weasel herself back into our lives. And what caused her to get exiled? Well, it all has to do with my grandpa’s funeral.
She told my dad at his own father’s funeral that her pain was much greater because she had lost a husband, while he had only lost his dad. As if grief is a competition. I’m so glad she’s out of our lives.
8. Every Family Has Its Secrets
My husband went to his great aunt’s funeral. While they did the little ceremony in the cemetery, a group of the young relatives were all hiding behind a tombstone, giggling and doing illicit substances. Real classy.
9. Way Too Soon, Buddy
My mom passed just two days before my first child was born. I didn’t get pregnant again until 11 years later, so I was five months pregnant with my second child when my father passed. I was obviously a complete wreck. But then it turned horrific. Someone came up to me at the funeral and said, “You should stop having kids, it’s bad luck for your family.”
10. Nothing Hurts Like Family
My dad passed from an overdose when I was 12. Honestly, it was horrible. I was a daddy’s girl, and I adored him. It was nearly Christmas, and I was the one who found him. Even though years have passed, my aunt still talks about him like “When MY brother passed” when she’s speaking about it to me. You know, his DAUGHTER.
When I tried to be like “Hey, he was my dad and I found him, can I have a hug or something?” She pretty much explained it like, “I had more time on earth with him, so I miss him more than you could.”
11. This Is the Speech That Never Ends
After the eulogist had droned on for an endless 45 minutes, the pastor went over to the lectern and politely asked him to conclude his eulogy. The guy boldly told the pastor, “I’ll stop when I’m darn good and ready!” He then proceeded to talk for about 20 more minutes. The total funeral church service lasted for almost three hours—it seemed interminable.
12. An Instant Tearjerker
I knew a little boy who climbed up into the casket with his grandfather. This one’s sweet and wholesome. He was around four years old. He wasn’t sure what was going on, and people weren’t giving him much attention. He asked someone what his grandfather was doing in a box at the front of the room and why no one was talking to him.
A relative, thinking they were explaining the situation in an age-appropriate way, told him that grandpa went to sleep, and wouldn’t wake up again. So he went up to the casket and climbed up. The room froze in shock. Then he said, “Good night, grandpa,” and he kissed him. Adults told him later you could hear a pin drop and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
13. Meet a Real American Psycho
This one gets…very dark. One day, my father told the family he was marrying his long-time girlfriend—my mom had passed 10 years previously—on the coming Sunday. By the next Friday he had passed on, and my sister became the executor of his estate shortly after. This is where it all started to unravel in the worst way.
Thing is—and no, we didn’t believe it at the time—my sister was the one who offed him. She had been daddy’s little girl her whole life, and she realized that now that he was re-marrying, his will would be changed and the clock was ticking. It took her five days to conceive of the plan and to carry it out, and she did it purely for financial gain. And just before we realized what’d she’d done, there was the funeral…
During the viewing, she was obviously so paranoid about anyone finding out that she dragged her little boy to the casket to put on a display of emotion. When he didn’t cry enough to suit her, she pinched him on the upper arm until he was sobbing, then took him around to everyone, saying he was really crying because he loved his Gramps so much. Just…chilling.
14. Neither the Time Nor the Place for That
When my granddad passed, we went to view his body at the crematorium. While we were there, my aunt started stealing from the facility the second the employee’s back was turned. Just shoving anything that wasn’t nailed down into her purse and pockets. Unbelievable. And yes, we called her out and made her put it all back.
15. Paying for the Sins of the Brother
My brother-in-law is a mortician. One time, a guy disguised himself as a nun, showed up at the funeral, pulled a piece from under his habit, and tried to shoot the deceased’s son. Luckily, the piece malfunctioned and didn’t fire. The son then decks the nun and knocks him out, kicks him in the head a few times, and is pulled off by other family members.
Authorities are called…turns out the deceased owed the “nun” quite a lot of money and the son had refused to honor the debt.
16. Not My Idea of a Memorial
My uncle was cremated. He lived across from a lake and we wanted his ashes spread on this little island on this lake. I was tasked with swimming with the urn from the boat to the island, holding it out of the water. I then stood at the edge of a small cliff with my nephews beside me and all the family watching in the boat. This is when disaster struck.
I opened the urn to dump his ashes over the cliff. We all say a few things, and as I go to dump the ashes, the wind picks up and blows the ashes all over my wet body. One of the worst things that has ever happened to me.
17. When “Be a Man” Goes Wrong
My uncle passed, and at his funeral, my cousin (his son) was crying. Some old-timer family member came up to him and said, “Stop crying, you’re a man and you’re embarrassing us.” I never wanted to slap someone at a funeral more than at that moment.
18. Some People Have No Shame
My cousin’s wife was kicking the back of my chair throughout the entirety of my granddad’s funeral. For some reason, she was also carrying on a complete conversation with my sister, who was supposedly really sad, the whole way through the service. For context, I was 14 and my cousin’s wife was in her mid- to late-30s. Just ridiculous.
19. It’s No Laughing Matter
I had a fit of unhinged laughter at my father’s funeral just about the time people started to gather at the mortuary. In my defense, my mother had a nervous breakdown, my father passed just four days after we found out he had lung cancer, and there were a lot of horrible things surrounding the funeral organization. My mom had just flipped, my siblings were 15 and lost, so I was left to handle it all at 23 years old. I kind of lost it.
20. That’s Not a Way to Go
The officiant moved the partner of the deceased back a couple of rows, apparently because they “weren’t family.” But her real reason was worse. The deceased and the partner were in a gay relationship, and the officiant had a big problem with that. I was furious. And then it got worse. The officiant decided to make the entire funeral about mental health, and how everyone should get help.
Nothing about the life of the loved one. No celebration of their accomplishments, of the beauty they brought to the world. Nothing. Yes, the deceased had died by suicide, but 80% of the congregation still believed it was because of physical health reasons. We would’ve coped with the knowledge, but telling us it was suicide only as a platform for the rest of us to “seek help” was heartbreaking. Only funeral I’ve ever complained about.
21. Pranks and Corpses Don’t Mix Well
Someone’s kid thought it would be funny to give the corpse a wet willy. The kid was like seven years old, and I’m almost positive he didn’t even know the deceased. After it happened, everyone just stared at him, aghast, and looked around for the parents. The whole family dragged their kids out of the door and they did not return.
22. Is This Better or Worse Than Grave Digging?
My minister was once waiting in a room off the sanctuary before a funeral when he heard scuffling noises. He went to investigate—and witnessed a horrific sight. The brother and sister of the deceased had pulled the body out of the casket and propped it between them. They explained that they didn’t have a recent photo of the three of them and were delighted when the minister showed up to take the picture.
23. The End of Rock and Roll
I took my ex-boyfriend to my grandma’s funeral even though he only met her once. I needed the moral support as it was very unexpected and I was super close to my grandma. Now, my ex likes to cosplay and dress up like rock stars. That being said, I told him to please tone it down. It’s not the time or the place to show up dressed as Alice Cooper or Nikki Sixx.
So, while he does tone it down SLIGHTLY, he still shows up dressed in a big theatrical black trench coat—in the middle of summer—with a red button-down that was left half unbuttoned. He also had a bunch of giant cross necklaces. Not to mention a little Nikki Sixx makeup to top it all off. I remember asking him if he’d please reconsider changing into something that wasn’t as intense. His response was ridiculous.
He got mad and accused me of being like his controlling mother. My grandma was a little, old, God-fearing lady, and she of course had a group of friends she went to church with. Not to mention all the people she went to school with, most of whom probably thought the Beatles were dressed too strange to be popular. So, he was being whispered about and glared at the entire time. Which he loved, because any attention was good attention in his eyes. He also signed her funeral book as “Alice Cooper.”
24. Funeral or Apocalypse?
This is a story my father told me from when he was a child. There was a church beside the farm where he grew up in rural South Carolina that had no electricity. There was a funeral there one evening, and the church was lit throughout with candles. The church building had existed since just after emancipation and was in really bad shape.
In particular, the flooring had been severely damaged by termites. Well, during the funeral, the floor gave way, making the casket tumble and the body fall out. Everyone ran out of the church in terror. Making matters worse, the candles that were on the casket fell to the floor and set the church on fire. The whole community watched outside as it burned to the ground.
25. A Stranger Speaks
We went to support my husband’s cousin when his dad passed. At first, everything was really normal. But at the end of the wake, before leaving, a woman waddles up to the front of the church. She is not his wife or the mother of said cousin. In fact, no one knows who she is. And then the deceased’s web of lies suddenly fell apart.
She is the mistress! He had been living with her for years, on the side. Mistress took the microphone and, I’m not making this up, told a story of how caring he was and went on about the time she fell through the floor in the kitchen and he comforted her until rescue came. It was like watching a movie.
26. The Ultimate Disrespect
The worst thing they did was have a funeral at all. For the past 20 years, both my grandparents would tell us that they didn’t want a funeral or anything special after they passed. They told us this regularly, at least once a year for 20+ years. Then my grandfather passes, and my mom and aunt have a weird little funeral for him.
It made me a little mad, but my grandmother seemed to be OK with it, so it didn’t bother me too much. A few years later, my grandmother passes…and they throw a full-on funeral at a funeral parlor with a fancy coffin and all that. They spent over $15K on stuff that my grandmother didn’t want, using my grandmother’s money. I was SO angry. People need to respect last wishes.
27. Money Is the Root of all Evil
At the end of my grandmother’s funeral, the priest pulled my grandfather aside and asked for more donations. My grandfather has donated thousands over the years to the church, so the fact that the priest asked at my grandfather’s wife’s funeral is disgusting. I didn’t know, however, until after we left, otherwise I would’ve probably punched him.
28. One Vindictive Widow
The family didn’t allow for his twin to speak. Straight up skipped over the allocated time for the living twin to get up and speak about his brother when the brother passed from cancer. The twin who was his last remaining immediate family. I don’t think I can ever forgive the wife for putting him through that. She treated him so horribly all throughout the sickness. And her reasoning was chilling.
She was awful to him from the start of the cancer diagnosis. We (my family) think it’s a weird resentment that the healthy twin who ran marathons and didn’t eat red meat got very sick, and the less healthy twin didn’t. It was just bad genetic luck despite them being identical. On top of which, she has ALWAYS been a control freak, so it got really bad when he got sick.
This woman controlled who could see him and when, controlled his phone, etc. Honestly my father, the twin, found out about the passing of his brother in line at a Starbucks. He was buying coffee for his brother and a friend walked in and told him then and there. An hour after his brother had passed. And then, yep, didn’t let him speak at the funeral.
29. No-Filter Grandma
My grandma’s sister passed recently, and they were holding a service at my aunt’s house before the burial. My gran, closing in on 90, deaf as a post and suffering from vascular dementia, lost patience with the celebrant as she was about halfway through the reading and loudly announced, “Oh, will she not just bloody shut up?!” at the top of her voice.
My poor mom was completely mortified, although the rest of the family was very understanding. Luckily, no one returned the “favor” at my gran’s service the following year.
30. She’s Going to Regret This Later
A local boy passed after being hit by a car while riding his bike. I think he was like 11 or 12 at the time. His sister, known to all to be very attention seeking, immediately was doing news interviews. This just seemed odd, considering he had only passed earlier that day, but whatever, people grieve differently I suppose. But it didn’t end there.
At his wake, she took a few photos of him in the casket and posted it to her public Instagram story. It was super bizarre and just bad taste.
31. A Un-Graceful Exit
A friend of the family with a notorious drinking problem showed up to the visitation and service extremely out of it. She is not a sad drinker; she is a happy, huggy drinker, so she went around sloppily hugging everyone—even people she didn’t know. She flubbed introductions and condolences to everyone for about an hour, then tripped over a settee in one of the sitting rooms of the funeral home and face-planted.
32. Kids Do the Darndest Things
My mom tells this story of what I did at my grandmother’s funeral every chance she gets. I was like five years old, and I was handing out the funeral home’s business cards to all the old people. You know, because they would need it soon. I was a consummate gentleman.
33. Some Very Cold Comfort
My uncle passed and the priest was new in town, young, and nervous as heck. He got stuck in a loop. You could tell he was trying to break out of it, but instead, he kept repeating the phrase in different and more horrible ways: “He may be in Heaven with the Lord, but his wife is still on earth with us. She is alone and needs our comfort.” Oh, but he wasn’t finished.
“When we go home tonight, we have friends and family, but she’ll be in an empty house, she’ll wake up to an empty house in an empty bed, she’ll be alone from now on and we need to remember to invite her to things because she’s alone.” At one point, one of my other aunts huffed loudly to get him to stop. It didn’t work.
He ran himself into the ground telling us how empty and alone she is now that her husband is gone. Yikes.
34. It Went off Without a Ditch
When my wife’s grandmother passed a few years back, we arrived at the cemetery with the funeral procession, and they hadn’t even dug the hole yet. They did the entire graveside ceremony thing with the casket sitting on a gurney in the grass. All the while, there’s a guy waiting in a backhoe just up the hill. It all seemed so strangely…I don’t know…unprofessional?
35. The Teacher Doesn’t Always Know Best
I once had a professor at my junior college who had a “funeral policy” that if you were going to miss his class because you were going to the funeral of someone, you literally had to take a selfie with the body or ashes to present to him the next day as proof. It was an actual, legit thing that he had written into the syllabus of his class. I had to contemplate my argument against it when my grandpa got extremely sick halfway through the semester.
36. Desecrating Final Wishes
My late great-grandfather left one of his stepdaughters in charge of the estate when he passed, a move that left the family stunned because she is a psycho and he of all people had the least patience for people like her. To this day, we have no idea why he did it. But one thing is for sure: It was an enormous, colossal mistake.
Pretty much before his corpse was cold, that woman started pilfering from my great-grandmother and robbed her blind. I don’t have an exact dollar amount, but it was well into the six figures and enough that she could live comfortably for the rest of her life. This woman took everything. Everything. But apparently that wasn’t good enough for her.
During the process, she and her daughter had my great-grandma move in with them and then refused to let the family see her. When their sins came to light, they were convicted and the judge only didn’t send them behind bars because my great-grandma begged him not to. So fast forward to m great-grandma’s funeral. They’re still around, and they’re still horrible.
While the pastor is talking, it quickly became apparent that the two psychos had lied to him and spun elaborate stories about how they were wonderful and were basically living angels. As the pastor went on, with what everybody in the room but him knew darn well was bull, my great aunt just completely snapped and stood up in front of everyone.
She apologized to the pastor for her upcoming outburst, and read the two of them the riot act in front of God and everybody. Unfortunately, there is no happy ending here as the perpetrators were not punished whatsoever and are still happily living with the assets, but at least they were finally publicly called out and are largely ostracized from the community.
37. When iPod Shuffle Does You Dirty
I was at my wife’s grandfather’s funeral and all was well. There was elevator-like music playing in the background, soothing stuff at the beginning. But once the song finished, this extreme grunge metal song came on. Everyone was crying and looking around like, what the heck is going on. The funeral director was standing in the back and didn’t even notice, I had to go ask him to change the song.
38. Hunger Strikes When You Least Expect
I was really young when my dad passed, around five or six years old I believe. There’s a video somewhere of this where I stood up in the middle of his funeral and yelled out, “I’m hungry! Does anyone else want any fried chicken?!” My aunt immediately rushed over and took me out of there to get food, like the saint she is.
39. A Truly Amazing Mistake
The funeral director put the flowers in my grandma’s hearse. They were lovely flowers, don’t get me wrong. But there was one embarrassing problem. They were in upside down, so as we rode behind the hearse, we quickly realized it did not say “Mom” but now simply said “Wow.”
40. Putting the “Evil” in “Evil Stepmom”
When my father passed, his awful second wife had compiled a playlist of all his favorite songs. Jimi Hendrix’s “National Anthem” rendition from Woodstock started playing, and my half-brother made a funny comment to help lighten the mood. My stepmom didn’t like the song, and my brother said, “Hey mom, it’s your favorite song.”
Instead of just letting it play, she snapped at my brother to turn it off. She also didn’t introduce me or my aunt and uncle to anyone at the funeral, and in fact barely acknowledged us at all. She was horrible to the very end, and she had the audacity to try and say she loved me in front of everyone. I just looked at her and left.
41. Sometimes, You’re the Person Who Ruins the Funeral
I didn’t know my dad’s family, but I was stuck with them when he passed. At the cemetery, they’re all off by themselves while we wait for the hearse with the ashes to show up. I walk over and say, “It’s now 1:05. My father is late for his own funeral.” No one said anything. They just moved slowly away. Well, I thought it was funny.
42. Every Child’s Worst Nightmare
My father’s phone rang during the middle of a eulogy. His ring tone is the music from Psycho. I was sitting right next to him doing the best I could to sink through the pew I was sitting in.
43. Imagine Leaving a Funeral and Seeing This…
My uncle was angry about something in my grandmother’s last will and testament. So during the funeral, he performed an act of brutally petty revenge. He went out to the parking lot and keyed everyone’s car. It should be noted, he has severe brain injury from a motorcycle accident that causes him to be constantly angry and paranoid. Still…
44. What NOT to Do at a Wake
My aunt passed. Her husband has Asperger’s and didn’t really know how to cope with social situations; that was always her job. She chose to be cremated and have her ashes incorporated into a reef ball, so at the funeral, I asked my uncle how long the reef ball would be around, and after a few conversational rabbit holes, we ended up talking about the percentage of my aunt that was in the atmosphere vs. the percentage that ended up in the reef ball because of the cremation process.
My uncle and I didn’t realize this was weird until my mom tapped me on the shoulder and we saw that the entire funeral party was looking on in horror. My uncle is chill though, and we still talk.
45. Black Comedy Will Get Us Through
My grandfather asked me if I would do the eulogy at his funeral. He’s not sick, just prepared, and I said of course. He said he didn’t want me to feel pressured to do it, and I replied “Not at all, I’m looking forward to it”—luckily, he has a sense of humor.
46. A Nasty Grandmother
My uncle passed. He was gay. My grandmother couldn’t handle that. My uncle left a letter to be read at his funeral. I don’t know if my grandmother planned it all alone or what, but she gets to the part that says, “And to my nieces and nephews, I want you to know…” And instead of reading what was there, she went on this huge, insane tangent with tons of swearing about how “None of us should be like him, commit his sins, etc. that he passed as a punishment.”
It was the most hateful few minutes I can ever remember hearing. It was so disrespectful to everyone and so terrible. She was an ugly person. I remember it going on and my dad sitting beside me and just cursing under his breath and whispering to me to stay calm. They already had a bad relationship before leading up to the funeral.
Then he told us all to come with him, and we walked out and left. She didn’t care, but that was really the last straw for my dad with her. Whole thing was a gong show. I wish he’d said something, but he loved his brother, the part he did say which was first was actually beautiful. Screw that woman.
47. Not Even Waiting Until the Body Was Cold
My student’s mother passed. I went to the funeral with the principal and the student’s integration aide. Honestly, I still can’t believe what I witnessed on that day. After the funeral, her father walked right up to his own daughter and her grandmother and said “I want her out of the house by tomorrow morning.” She was just 11 years old. It was heartbreaking.
48. The Runaway Priest
My great uncle had a very Catholic funeral. If you know Catholic funerals, it’s just a big Catholic mass with blip about the person who passed. Anyway, my great aunt is that person who is friends with everyone, so a lot of people were coming to the funeral. I went early to the church to make sure it was set up, check in with the priest, etc. I run into a complication.
One of her neighbors, a little old lady, came in with her 30-year-old granddaughter. She said she was Jewish and had never been to a Catholic ceremony before, and asked what would be or what wouldn’t be appropriate. One thing that came up was that if you’re not Catholic, you don’t go up and receive communion, you just stay in your seat.
So fast forward to the ceremony, which was beautiful and emotional. We as a family go up first to receive communion. As I’m walking to the side, I hear a slight commotion behind me. It turns out the granddaughter went up to receive communion, and instead of laying out your hands, she just plucked it out of the priest’s hands and started walking away with it held between her fingers and in front of her. I turned and saw the priest chase after her.
You would have thought she tried to set the church on fire, the way the other little old ladies were carrying on about it. I still kind of chuckle over it.
49. Taking “Till Death Do Us Part” Too Literally
I went to the funeral of a co-worker’s fiancée. Obviously a very tragic time, but it quickly turned darker. The girl’s ex-boyfriend showed up and as people were lined up to say goodbye, we all witnessed him lean into the coffin and kiss her on the lips. I will repeat myself: The ex-boyfriend of the deceased woman kissed her corpse at her funeral…In front of her fiancé. Her brothers quite literally threw him out.
50. The…Absolute Worst Thing That Could Happen
Six years ago at my grandmother’s funeral, myself and my cousins were asked to carry my dear Nana’s coffin through the chapel and place her down up front. I’m the shortest of the cousins, so I was at the back with my other vertically challenged relative. All was going well until we walked past our many teary family members.
I’m trying to keep my composure as I hear my mother sobbing. Start to lose it. Tears fall down my face. Then it happens. I stumble. Fall to my knees, knocking my cousin in front of me. Oh God. Before we know it, we’ve dropped dear old Nana’s coffin. Noooooo. Coffin falls to the floor. The lid comes off. Nana’s arm falls out. Pallbearers rush to help.
More sobbing. Screaming. Children wailing. I was mortified. When we were walking out, we found Nana’s false teeth on the floor. I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life. At the wake, people kept asking me if I was alright. I wasn’t. And I’m still not.