Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness some truly jaw-dropping funerals and absurd will-readings. From secret families to hilarious mishaps, tragic revelations to infuriating relatives, mic drop wills and unexpected inheritances, anything and everything can happen when someone's life ends and the family gathers to say goodbye. These outrageous stories prove that even though life comes to an end, drama is eternal.
1. Famous Last Words
When my father died after a long and painful battle with cancer, a pastor at my mom's church spoke at the funeral. The entire time that she was talking, I wanted to walk up there and punch her in the face. She had the audacity to stand in front of us and speak about how devastating cancer is. If she realized that I knew the chilling secret of her past life, she would never have had the guts to show her face.
That pastor used to attend a different church, but had to leave after she was caught for having faked cancer for two years. Her husband left her and her daughter disowned her after they found out. My mom was the secretary at that church. So she knew, and had already told me. My dad’s funeral was only like two years after that whole thing went down. I would have walked up to the podium and punched her right in the face were it not disrespectful to my parents.
2. Long Live the King!
My uncle, who is not well liked in the family, passes away. He was notoriously mean to his children through verbal and physical abuse, a loner, and a man who would generally look for any excuse to argue. Anyways, at his funeral, everything is going well, lots of real sad, lots of fake sad, until everything derails.
At the moment where everyone is quiet and remembering my uncle, BAM his son (my cousin) comes barging through the doors with a single first raised in the air. Everyone turns and looks at him as he triumphantly exclaims "Rejoice! The tyrant is dead!" Then he turns around and waltzes out of the room like nothing ever happened.
3. Cousin Scam
At a funeral for our grandpa, my dirtbag cousin brought his weird pyramid scheme juice products and tried to sell them to all our grieving relatives.
4. Can’t Borrow a Bod Like This
We had an open casket wake for my grandfather. The staff at the funeral home had put him in his nicest suit—he even had on his wedding band—but as soon as we got there, we knew something was terribly wrong. The man in the casket was not my grandfather. We were all completely furious, so we confronted the staff—but their unbelievable response only made us angrier. They put another guy in there because they had misplaced my grandpa's body. Unbelievable.
5. Some Things Are Worse Than Nothing
When my friend was 18, his dad wrote him out of the will before suddenly passing away. The strange thing was that they always got along. It seemed very suspicious. He was then kicked out of the house by his father’s evil wife without a penny to his name. On Christmas Eve, the client went back to get some photos he left there and saw something he shouldn’t have. It was then that he learned just how evil she really was.
He knew where she kept the spare key, so he let himself in. On the way to his room, he saw the step-mom’s phone sitting on a table and as he passed by she got a text message. It read something like, “I’m so happy we got away with it and we can finally be together. He didn’t deserve it anyway.” My friend was convinced that she forced his dad to take him out of the will, then somehow machined his dad's death with a secret lover. He's in law school now and is planning to go into estate law to help people get through problems like the one he had.
6. No Time Like Death to Start Living
My husband's relative died, and there was a gathering at her house after the wake. These two people walked in, and while they seemed odd, I didn’t think much of it—but they were about to ruin the entire day. I didn’t see them for a while, but then I went into the garage to get some drinks and found them leaning against a car and engaging in some pretty vigorous intimate relations. It was absolutely horrifying that they would be so disrespectful—and that I had to be the one to see it. I wish the story ended there, but things were about to take a dark turn.
Another family member who was standing in the kitchen saw what I saw, and I guess she told the widower. The next thing I know there is shouting from the garage and the widower is telling these two people in no uncertain terms that they needed to leave. Apparently, not only were they having sex in the garage, but they were doing lines of coke off the hood of the car. Only a few people who were at the gathering found out what happened, thank goodness.
7. A Post-Mortem Addition to the Family
I'm a lawyer who works in last wills and testaments. I was working with a nice old lady, when she drops the mic. She confessed that she had a secret daughter, and she wanted to leave the daughter some money and photographs without the rest of her family finding out. Even her husband does not know about the secret baby. That will be a fun conversation when she passes away.
8. Disfavor Ring
A woman passed away in bed in her nursing home, and the first of her adult children to arrive (none of which ever came to see her while she was alive) was sad. We felt bad, until we realized the awful truth. Instead of feeling upset because his own mother passed on, he was just frustrated that he couldn't get her diamond wedding ring off because her finger was swollen.
He kept asking the nursing home staff if they had any way to get it off even suggesting that they just cut it. It was very important that he get that ring before his siblings arrive obviously so he could pawn it and feed whatever addiction he had. He didn't seem the least bit moved that he was gazing upon his mother's fresh corpse; he just wanted that ring.
9. Thirst Can’t Wait
I heard someone trying to "quietly" open a can of beer while they were doing the closing prayer.
10. Cat’s Outta the Bag
My grandmother had been sick for a while and on her death bed she was concerned with what was going to happen to her cat. My cousins are the sweetest people and assured her that they would take the cat and look after her. Once she passed away, we all drove the 5 hours to her funeral and my cousin was telling one of my aunts that she was going to take the cat.
My aunt, not my grandmother's daughter, chastised her for not getting the cat put down in order to put her in the casket with my grandmother. I had to walk away. I was so disgusted. She went on and on about it. My grandmother would NOT have wanted that. I just thought it was absolutely ridiculous.
11. Way to Leave Us Hanging
When I was young, my mom's best friend died. She wouldn't tell me how, only that it was sudden. When I asked why we weren't going to the funeral, she told me that there wasn’t one. But just months ago, I was scrolling through her phone to find the number for a pizza place, and as I’m looking I come across the phone number of the long-dead best friend. I was floored, and very suspicious. The next day I called the number from a pay phone—and that’s when the situation went from suspicious to disturbing.
A woman picked up and I instantly recognized the voice and accent. She's not dead. Turns out, my mom had been lying all these years about her BEST FRIEND BEING DEAD. It was beyond messed up.
12. Jumping In
At the short graveside service for my mother (we had a regular funeral earlier), the intent was that kids, grandkids, etc. would each place a rose on her casket, then the casket would be lowered into the ground. The rose part went as planned but the casket got stuck partway down. This is when the funeral went off the rails. Pretty soon there's one guy with a large board, cranking away at the end of the casket, while another fellow was jumping up and down on the top of it, with the family members cheering them on.
My wife yelled, "She just wanted one more guy to jump on her before she went!" When they finally got it down into the hole, we gave the gravediggers a standing ovation. It was like something from a Mel Brooks movie. My mom had a good sense of humor and would have found this abandonment of social standards quite amusing.
13. Bad Timing
As my grandfather was being lowered into the ground, my aunt and cousin started arguing about who would get his plasma TV and couch. Everyone could hear them clear as day and the pastor nearly lost his cool.
14. Death Is a Top-Heavy Subject Matter
My Grandmother had her boobs done when she was in her 60s. Nothing really wrong with that, but when she died, she took things to another level. She wanted an open casket with her boobs on display. Really Nanna? She passed away at 80 and got exactly what she asked for. Grandad ended up sticking two strategically-placed daisies on her boobs. So, she got what she wanted and so did Grandad. RIP Granny, you silly cow, I love you.
15. Foiled By the Oils Again
The lady who convinced my mother to ditch chemo and use essential oils handed out her business cards at her funeral.
16. Was That Really Appropriate?
I got a call that my grandma had just days to live so I flew out to see her before she died. I stayed to attend her funeral, and missed my girlfriend’s birthday. When she picked me up from the airport when I got home, I could feel a chill, but I ignored my instincts. She acted like everything was fine for two weeks, until my birthday. That day, what she did...I still can’t believe it.
I show up at our favorite dinner place and wait 45 minutes at the bar for her to arrive. She texted me a picture of her and her girlfriends out at a concert asking how I liked being ditched on my birthday. Tears streaming down my cheeks on the car ride home, I calmly packed up her stuff, let myself into her place with my key, left her belongings on the floor, and locked the door behind me on the way out. Blocked her number on my phone and social media. And changed the locks the next day at my place.
The next weekend I am watching TV and it’s late. She tries the door and I hear her key trying to work the lock. She’s sobbing outside my place, I just poured a stiff bourbon and turned up the volume on the TV until she left. What a waste of a year. Looking back, I can’t imagine how I put up with her selfish antics that long, life is too short to deal with people like that.
17. Making Your Bed
I used to work at a store that sold funeral things, like headstones, flowers, caskets, etc. A couple came into the showroom and wanted to look around. Everything was going fine, until I realized that these people were not normal. They found a casket they liked. They wanted to know if it could be wired for a tv and radio. They wanted to know if we could repaint parts of it.
They also wanted to know if we could make it bigger as they didn't think they both could fit in the standard size. I had no idea but offered to go find out. They said never mind and that this one would probably fit the both of them. Then they asked if they could get inside to try it out. I politely told them no and excused myself to get a manager who promptly removed them from the store.
18. Till Death Do Us Part… Or Not
When my best friend died, he wanted to have an alternative funeral. We were just trying to honor his memory, but in an instant, it all went so horribly wrong. We figured that he would have liked a "sky burial" of sorts. So at the height of the funeral party, we released his ashes into heavens with a giant balloon. After a few meters of flight, the string snapped and his remains rained down and covered the mourning crowd.
Everyone made their best efforts to get very drunk as soon as possible. No one there will ever speak of this again.
19. Tit for Tact
A good girlfriend of mine passed away by suicide. She was cremated hours after her death at her husband's request. There was a short memorial service for her where she lived and one the following day for her family and friends where she is from (this is the one I attended). Her husband was there and his behaviour was utterly chilling.
He was smiling huge, laughing the whole entire time. He was loud and obnoxious, even wresting another man in the lobby of the funeral. I remember thinking how disrespectful he was and he was avoiding a lot of her family and friends. He got engaged to another woman two weeks after her funeral on what would have been their 3-year wedding anniversary. I really do think she may not have committed suicide after all.
20. Better Safe Than Leaving Your Kids in Security
My mom put in her will that if she dies under suspicious circumstances that my sister and I won’t be left anything. She watches a lot of true crime.
21. Every Cat Has a Guardian Angel
I read a lot of estate documents as part of my job. There is so much shade in them that they can be pretty entertaining. One super wealthy lady had a will that quickly laid out how her kids had to share her fortune, then had a HUGE section about the care and well being of her pets, with primary and successor caretakers, guaranteeing crazy money (like 3000 per month) to whoever took care of the cats.
Made my day seeing the family's faces when they learned how little time she spent on them versus how many pages were about the freaking cats.
22. All Sliced Up About It
This is going to sound weird, and unbelievable, but I have to recount this tale. The family wanted a private moment with the deceased. We allowed it, and all our staff cleared out, alongside the pastor. Within about five minutes, we hear retching, and dry heaving, and we knock, and ask if everything's okay. But the retching doesn't stop.
So, the staff enters the room, and by God, I'll never forget what I saw. They were eating slices of the body – embalmed slices. God knows how toxic it was. The adults were arrested for desecration of a corpse. The children went into foster care. These were some sick people.
23. Better Taxidermy Than Estate Tax, Am I Right?
In my trusts & estates class in law school, we read a case about a man who left everything to his wife, but only if she got his body stuffed and left it on the living room couch forever. Luckily for her, the court invalidated that part of the husband's will. If I recall correctly, part of the reasoning was that it would make it impossible for her to date/remarry if she had her husband's creepy dead body glaring at anyone who came to see her.
24. An Avocado a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
A lady wanted to create a trust fund of £100,000 for her pet fish. When I asked if it was a special kind of fish, she confirmed it was just a normal goldfish, but she wanted it to be fed fresh avocado every day and be looked after by a local dog walker after she died. She was absolutely serious.
25. Can She Get an Amen?
My grandmother, who was 96 years old at the time and having a bit of dementia, said out loud “Oh you shut your mouth” when the priest started his prayers. It actually lightened up a grim room.
26. Salt of the Earth
Lawyer here. I once amended a will for a doctor in which he disinherited his son by removing everything he had intended to bequeath and replacing it with a "manure spreader.” I didn't ask any questions because changing a will is an easy thing to do. But one day, that doctor will die, and his son will have essentially be told to "eat excrement."
27. Surprises Comes in Twos
My estate planning professor told us about a guy who had two families, neither of which knew about the other until it was time to read the will. This wasn't like a love child/mistress type scenario, both were nuclear multi-kid families. Both families showed up for what had to be one of the most awkward will readings in history. I don't really know how he pulled it off, other than that he was away on "business" frequently.
28. Grandpa’s Coffin Isn’t the Only Fun Box
When my grandfather passed away, his will asked that I clean out his shed, and I alone. When I went in, I learned about what he'd been hiding. I found, um, certain illicit substances, an old reel style adult film, which was hilarious, and a bunch of other, shall we say, spicy paraphernalia. Grandpa was a bad boy to the end. I miss him.
29. In it for the Cash
My grandfather passed away a few months ago. He was a WWII veteran and a pastor, so, 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...or so we thought. 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.
My dad said, “What inheritance??” (Not only did grandpa die with 12 dollars 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.
30. Head Over Heels in Grief
I have a very short uncle. He went to kiss his friend on the cheek and fell into the casket. The lid closed on him and all you can see was his legs dangling from the closed casket. I don't think he ever got over that.
31. Lost the War, But Won the Last Laugh
My great uncle's official will gave the contents of his outhouse to the City Council of a nearby town after they'd tried to take his land twice to build a new water treatment plant. He spent quite a few years fighting eminent domain claims and just wanted to give them something in return. As a joke, his kids boxed up all the books and magazines in the outhouse and dropped them off at City Hall.
32. Not Done With Those Nine Lives?
An aging woman my family knew left her house (large, and in a very affluent neighborhood) and estate to family friends for so long as her cats were alive and taken care of in said house. After they died, the house was to be sold and the remaining estate donated. The weird thing is, it's been like 20 years and the cats are still alive. Also, they've changed color.
33. A Lot of Gall From That Pallbearer
One of my best friends died in September. There were some...questionable circumstances surrounding his death, in that we were all pretty sure it was drug related. Anyways, the guy that got him into the stuff and who specifically gave him illicit substances on the night that he passed away, had the nerve to show up to the funeral while high. I could’ve killed him.
34. One’s Man's Grieving Friends Are Another Man’s Recruitment Pool
My best friend died last year from random heart failure at 25. The pastor at the funeral went up to the podium and looked normal enough, until he starting talking and we realized he was a complete nutcase. He went on for about ten minutes about how we had all killed him because we were sinners and that we should join his church to make amends. He didn't know any of us. It was very uncomfortable.
35. Bad Parenting
I’m a funeral director. We had a service for a young man who died from a reaction to a medication. Parents come in, and they aren't typical grief-stricken adults who lost a child. Rather, they think that this is a perfect time to argue. And fight with each other. Loudly. The director handling arrangements is quickly overwhelmed. Instructs them to calm down. They refuse. They start screaming. She threatens to stab him. He says he'll shoot her. Director runs away and calls the police.
Police show up. Remind these two that they aren't allowed within several hundred feet of each other - court ordered separation. They argue with the officer. End up arrested, and off they go. And they don't come back.
We're stuck now. We have remains and nothing we can do about it. We call a lawyer and a private investigator to track down the next closest thing this kid has to a relative. Finally get a grandparent and once the body has passed into legally being abandoned, we contact them. They apologize to us for the situation, authorize a simple burial, and we do all the funeral disposition portions at no charge just to get away from our predicament. The grandparents own cemetery property, so they allow him on the family plot...but the crazy stuff is just getting started.
Months go by. Almost a year. Apparently, the parents of this child get out. We don't see them but the grandparents warn us. It is important to note that our funeral home also runs a couple cemeteries. At night, the phone lines for the cemeteries get forwarded to the director on call. It's 2:30 am. I get a call from a sheriff’s deputy.
The parents were fighting in the cemetery. The sheriff is pretty sure the mom grabbed a shepherd’s hook (iron post meant to hold a flower basket) and stabbed the dad. "He's covered in blood but it's not serious and he won't talk to us." The deputy says. "I'm going to cite them for trespass and dump them downtown, but I need you to sign."
I go to the cemetery where their kid is buried. Nobody is there. I call him back thinking maybe he'd already left. But the sheriff says, "He's at XYZ Gardens." I insist that "Their son is buried at ABC Gardens." The line goes silent. The cop slowly says, "You're telling me these two stupid people don't even know where their kid is buried?"
They'd apparently gone to a cemetery, found a grave with a headstone with a relatively similar name to their son’s, and proceeded to trash the site and fight. Never noticing the grave there was for a 90-plus year old. Not their junior high school aged kid.
36. Mom’s “Get Along” Clause
My sister’s mother in-law is leaving her house to her three sons. If one wants to sell out his third of the house, he has to sell it to the other two brothers for $1.
37. Nothing Is Cuter Than Cash
I once read a will that was almost entirely concerned with a collection of Furbys. This was in 2011.
38. Forgive but Never Forget (or Enrich)
In her will, my vindictive grandmother left my aunt $20 as a reminder of the $20 my aunt stole from her once.
39. First (and Last) Time for Everything
My grandma died before my grandpa. Since my grandpa was a Navy veteran (WWII and Pearl Harbor survivor), he got a free plot in a military cemetery. At this cemetery, they stack married couples one on top of the other. So, we are at the cemetery, and they are lowering my grandma down, and my grandpa asks, "So, if I had died first, they would have put me in first and put her on top of me?" The cemetery worker said, "Yep. My grandpa responded, "Huh. We never tried it that way before."
40. When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go
My dad is a minister. Since he and my mum had divorced, he would often bring me along for work that happened outside of school hours, so he didn't have to pay a babysitter. He would bring me to funerals and weddings he was officiating. I would usually just hang out in the back and play. One day, he brought me to a funeral parlor I wasn't familiar with. At some point during the service, I had to pee. I didn't know it at the time, but that was the moment when the service went off the rails.
There wasn't anyone around to ask so I just kind of wandered out into the service and asked my dad where the bathroom was because I had to pee "real bad." In addition to disrupting a funeral service, I also asked my question right into the microphone on his jacket so the whole congregation heard. Didn't really understand what I had done for another few years.
41. No Parting Gift Like One Last Miff
Lawyer here. I thought I'd seen it all, but this vicious will proved me wrong: "To my wife I leave her lover and the knowledge that I was never the fool she thought me. To my son I leave the pleasure of working for a living—for 25 years, he thought the pleasure was all mine." Best diss ever.
42. Father Knows Best
I have two sisters and our mom died more than 20 years ago. A few years back, my father was going into the hospital for high-risk surgery. The night before he went in for surgery, he told my oldest sister the family's big secret: that he was not really her dad. It turns out that, before they had gotten married to one another, my mom and dad had actually broken up briefly. During this time, my mom had hooked up with some random other guy, getting pregnant in the process.
She told my father about it and the two of them ended up eloping. For whatever reason, they never told my sister and my father promised to keep the secret before my mom passed away. After telling my sister, my father asked her to not tell anyone else. However, she has since talked to her husband, to myself, and to my other sister about it.
My dad has no idea that we all know now. He also has no idea how much I respect him for raising another man's child without any animosity or resentment, and for always loving her like the daughter that she was.
43. Tears of Sympathy
I once saw someone poor a little water on the corpse’s face saying, "so he's crying with us."
44. Fake Friends
An acquaintance of mine made up a fake friend a few weeks ago, and it only got worse. All fake names. I didn't notice this at first, since I don't keep track of the new people I see in my Facebook feed, but a person I'm friends with because I knew her in high school (let's call her "Jane") was making a lot of posts of, with, and/or involving this friend of hers (let's call him "Dave").
It only became notable to me because I'd never met Dave or heard of him before this slew of posts happened, and for a while I was good friends with Jane and felt it weird that I'd never heard of him. But I wasn't suspicious then—but then a tragedy struck and changed everything. Very recently, a group of popular guys in our hometown had a motor vehicle accident and all died. It was a very sad event (I knew one of them personally).
On the day of the death, though, Jane made a post declaring that her best friend Dave had been struck and killed in a similar motor vehicle accident when he was on his way to meet up with her. And yes, she confirmed, they were secretly in love. Now, remembering how he seemed to pop out of nowhere a few weeks earlier, I began to get suspicious.
You see, Jane has a bit of a bad habit. Over the past few years, she's created several fake Twitter and Facebook accounts of several of her favorite singers (none so famous that it would be blatantly unbelievable) and faked friendships and entire conversations with them to get admiration from her more gullible friends.
It's kind of an open secret that she does this, and nobody really pays it much mind. She's a very dramatic person (the main reason I don't really talk to her anymore) and I can only assume everyone else doesn't want to deal with the drama that'll happen if she gets put on blast for it. So, I did some digging. "Dave" had only ever posted one profile picture. Weird.
Turns out, the account was created a few days before their first post together (there was a brief bug on Facebook where you were able to see someone's date of account creation by looking at the date the "[year]: [x] was born" post was added to their timeline). What a coincidence. Seeing his only one profile picture, I looked up some "emo boys often used for catfishing" and, would you look at that, his profile picture was right in there.
Yep, fake account for her best friend. More attention-seeking behavior. Or so I thought. The story's not over. A couple of days ago, Jane posted a long rant on her timeline. It began with the phrase "to everyone accusing me of stealing their clothes" and did not let up there. It went on a long somewhat rambled rant about how "Dave’s” mother had started sending her his clothes after his untimely "death" and ended saying that everyone accusing her could go screw themselves because they were in LOVE and she was still so very, very sad about him dying.
And that's the end of the story so far. A few people other than me have started to figure it out. Waiting with bated breath to see where it goes.
45. Brothers Brawling
The younger brother had done a lot to help his dad with medical issues in his last few months while the older one had apparently barely contacted his father to see how he was doing. The dad asked his wife to give the younger brother some of his inheritance right away, while the older brother had to wait for his stepmom to pass away.
Obviously, the older brother wasn't happy, despite the stepmom explaining that it was their way of repaying the brother for putting so much time into being his dad's caretaker. In the end, the argument got absolutely out of control. Dude and his brother got in a fistfight over their inheritance...at their dad's funeral.
46. 100 Pennies in the Wind
My great-grandmother left her daughter "just one dollar and not a single penny more, so help me God." This was before I was born, but my grandmother (not the daughter with the dollar) said that when they all read the will, her sister had a full-blown temper tantrum, and no one has heard from her since. I guess she had it coming.
47. Brokeback Mountain Vibes, or Just Me?
My grandfather hated his neighbor. They lived next to each other for 20+ years. I remember my grandfather raging at every opportunity about this guy. We never saw them speak to each other. In Grandpa's will, he left the guy $10k, a car, and golf clubs. We were dumbstruck. Turns out they were good buddies from the Army. When they coincidently bought homes next to each other, they decided to play a long scam with both their families. They actually played golf together 2-3x per week and had a monthly poker game for years.
48. Dealing with Denial
My dad is a funeral director. Our family owns a funeral home. He is the kindest, most professional man ever. Old ladies adore him. He looks a little bit like Tom Selleck circa Magnum PI. So, seeing a huge burly sobbing man who had just lost his son to a tragic automobile accident ATTACK my father screaming "he isn't dead, he's asleep!" was a bit upsetting.
This man cleared three rows of chairs and launched himself at my father. Luckily Dad is also a retired body builder, so he was able to hold his own without hurting the mourning attacker and still remain understanding and professional. He had done such an amazing job with the embalming that the father of the deceased man snapped and was convinced and insulted that my father put his sleeping son in a casket. Grief manifests in the craziest ways sometimes.
49. Wrong Order
My dad told me that some visiting priest (pretty sure he was not a real one) from a Latin American country pulled my distant relative out of her casket by the arm. But it got so much worse. This nut then claimed that he could raise her from the dead. No one asked him to try. Her organs were harvested and blood drained. Even if he could, what kind of vessel would he bring her back to?
They had to fight him to release the corpse.
50. Clap Your Hands!
My 4-year-old daughter stood up at my grandpa’s funeral to try and sing a hymn, but didn’t know the words—so she started singing ”If You’re Happy and You Know It.” Funny thing is, my grandpa would have been the first to laugh at that.
51. You Can’t Cook up a Clause Like This
My grandmother specified which of the children and grandchildren should get which of the family recipes, and somehow felt the need to include commentary about why certain decisions were made. One recipe was this Prohibition-era recipe for beer that I knew my uncle, also a home-brewer, wanted, but she left it to me, with the comment that, "I know you wanted it, Teddy, but she has the second-best penmanship of the girls and will make you a copy."
And then like eight pages later, in among the specific descriptions of her vast collection of romance novels (really), we found a line that made our jaws drop: "And [specific Jude Devereaux title] to Spidey, who will please subtract about half the hops before she copies the beer recipe for her Uncle Teddy so that any of us can drink it. Our Jon had his IPA last summer and just about died."
Uncle Jon just about burst into tears laughing, and Uncle Teddy had long since left the room because he has no darns whatsoever to give about romance novels. And no, I have no idea how she got this will done. My guess is she wrote it herself and the law students who come to her independent-living building signed off on it. It was...elaborate, that's for sure. Total value of the estate was well under eight thousand dollars, so it was mostly a funny last letter from Grandma.
52. Inherited a Song and Dance
My sister's elderly father-in-law found out he had cancer and shot himself in the head. He wasn't one bit religious, but her husband (his son) had joined the Mormon Church and decided on his own that the funeral services should be held there. The Mormon minister, who had never met the deceased, proceeded to hold everyone but me and my spouse captive for well over an hour while he described in minute detail why we should all join his church and become Mormons. We left the sales pitch after twenty minutes.
53. Early Vulture Doesn’t Get the Worm
After my father's funeral service, my mother, brother, and sister headed back to our family home. A bunch of my father’s siblings and their family were also staying at the house with us. We got home a few minutes before everyone else. I was sitting at a table in the living room when I could see their cars come down the driveway. They all got out and were hugging and seemingly congratulating each other. The reception after the service was beautifully put together and was actually a fun time. A fitting send-off for my father. So, I assumed they were still just having fun from that, until they came inside and revealed their true motives.
They all came in together very quickly, and quietly. They came up to me and my older brother sitting at the table, and kind of crowded around like a bunch of kids, about to see if they could have a cookie before dinner. My aunt Barbara smugly stood at the front and asked, “So, when are we going to be doing the reading of the will to see what was left to us all?”
My brother and I just looked at each other for a few moments before we turned to them to say, “Are you kidding? Reading of the will? Like a soap opera? There is no reading of the will. Everything that belonged to my father now just belongs to my mother!” The look of defeat, but not shame, was disgustingly transparent. They were supposed to stay another few nights. They packed up and left that afternoon.
54. The Prodigal Son Returns (and Hoards Your Stuff)
Wills and estates lawyer here. My client's maternal grandpa was wealthy. He divorced their maternal grandma, remarried, and promptly dropped dead of a heart attack. He was only 48 and had no will, so everything went to his new wife. She was actually really nice and was planning on making sure that everything was "fair"...until she died in a car accident 6 months later. That was the beginning of the nightmare.
She was a widow herself prior to marrying her husband, and had a now-orphaned 15-year-old son from the previous marriage who got everything. The client's mom and her siblings had to go to the auction at their childhood home and buy back as much of their heirlooms and memories as they could afford (and, truthfully, stole some of what they couldn’t).
55. Revenge Skips a Generation
"To my daughter Anne, who created my beautiful granddaughter Jane, and her dear fourth husband John, who laid hands on My Jane: I leave one dollar, you money grubbing jerks. To Jane, I leave all of my monetary assets, save $5,000, and my best gun which I leave to my son Bill, on the condition that he beats John bloody during the time between my funeral and my burial. Jane, bail your uncle out of jail, please."
Other than names, this is the exact wording of a great-uncle's will. At age nine, Jane told her mother that John had assaulted her, and her mother told her she deserved it. So, Great-Uncle took Jane in and raised her, and his two kids got exactly what it says. His son also got a truck and technically a house, although he only kept it until Jane was a legal adult and could afford the tax on it.
Bill got full custody of Jane when his father died, and he put every penny of her money into a trust fund to mature when she was 25 because he felt like his sister would try to get the money. He was right. And in case anyone wondered, yes Bill got his five grand. He didn't get arrested, though, because John had a warrant on him, so they didn't dare call the cops. Bill did kindly inform the police of his whereabouts a few weeks later.
56. Compassion After Death
When I was a lot younger (around 10) my great aunt died and I went to her funeral. As somber as funerals are, after a while kids will be kids and my cousins and I started wandering around the funeral home bored out of our skulls. We happened across a body in a different room in an open casket, but there was no one in there. No signs, no flowers, I'm surprised the lights were even on. It was freaky and one of the saddest things I've ever seen and it sobered us up at once.
My older cousin asked the director what was happening since it looked like that room was storing her like she was a prop or something. We found out that she died and some distant relative had paid for the wake out of a sense of obligation since she had no other surviving family. My cousin cried when she realized the truth: Not one person went in to her wake besides us. That's when we decided to take some of my great aunt's flowers and bring them to the other room so it looked less barren.
57. Gone with the Wind
A lonely but rich client of my lawyer friend wanted to have his ashes sprinkled over the local harbour. The lawyer had spent months trying to get official permission without success. One Friday night - half drunk after office drinks - a few of them decided to catch the ferry, say a few solemn words, and tip the contents of the urn (that had been sitting in their office for months) into the harbor.
The wind caught the ashes and blew them all over the passengers on the top deck.
58. Tooth and Nail
My dad died in a motorcycle accident. My aunt (his sister) showed up high with a tooth. She had gone to the crash site and dug around for two hours and found one of my dad's teeth. Then she proceeded to show it to many people at his funeral.
59. I’m Taking Mew With Me
I worked with a client who wanted language that her cats would be euthanized and buried with her. We had to explain why legally we couldn’t do that. The moral part just went over her head. One of the few clients who ever got under my skin.
60. Is It Hot in Here, or Is It You?
I had a client who had a pretty toxic relationship with his uncle. So when his uncle passed, he was surprised to find he was in the will. We got together for the will reading, where I gave him a devastating handwritten note from his deceased relative. It read, “I’m leaving you 15k BUT you have to come get it from me. I’ll see you in hell!” My client laughed.
61. Man’s Best Friend
I do pet cremations and sometimes we do witnessed cremations where the family can be present for everything or sit in a conference room and watch TV while we take care of their pet. It becomes a memorial for their pet and it's usually very sad but very sweet as they say goodbye. But, um, sometimes owners do some weird stuff.
One dog's owners ordered pizza and placed it into the casket because their dog always liked to eat pizza. I also had a guy take off his shirt and put it in the casket because his dog liked to sleep on his clothes. The guy left half-naked. But this one broke my heart: A family brought their two still-living dogs in. They picked them up to smell their deceased brother so that the dogs could say goodbye.
62. Biker Code
This is the story of how we discovered my uncle's secret double life...at his funeral. My uncle was a defense attorney in south Texas. His funeral was a small service with mostly family and a few friends. However, as everyone was leaving, a large group of bikers were waiting in the parking lot. It turns out he had been a part of the group for some time in his younger years and they had come to pay their respects.
They shook his wife's hand, gave their condolences, and drove off as a group. He was a pretty laid back/goofy guy, great with kids, so it was mostly crazy to just find out about that part of his life. I also was always impressed that they came to show support, but without interrupting a very personal ceremony – showed a lot of character.
63. No Puppies Allowed
I went to the funeral for my friend’s four-year-old son. He died by strangulation on a faulty break away mini blind cord. After the funeral, her trashy friend came by and surprised her with a "gift." I've never been so horrified in my life. She got her a puppy...to replace her deceased child. Needless to say, she didn't want the dog. I ended up with a puppy that day.
64. Thank You for Your Service
I had a friend that was notorious for one-night Craigslist hookups with soldiers from the local army base. When he died, a handful of men in the military that none of us knew came to the service. His parents had no idea that their son was even gay.
65. Rest in Peace...Or Else
My great-grandad had a clause in his will that stated something along the lines of, “If any of the beneficiaries decide to dispute the contents of the decedent’s estate, their share becomes $1 and nothing else.” Seemed like a pretty good way to maintain harmony among his survivors.
66. Between a Rock and a Hard Place
My grandfather saved his kidney stone so that he could leave it to my cousin. They never really got along.
67. Life’s a Runway
When my grandmother was buried, her plot was on a steep mountainside. As we went to bury her, we had to climb up this mountain for about fifteen minutes. My stepmother showed up in bedazzled five-inch heels, a gold mink coat, and a white crocodile hand bag looking like she's about to ‘steal yo man’ instead of attend a funeral in rural China.
68. Aunty Illusional
At my great aunt's funeral, my grandmother (her sister in law) kept trying to light cigarettes inside, danced around with no shoes on "because it was so boring," and, worst of all, commented on how my great aunt wouldn't be dead if she wasn't so fat. Here's the kicker: They were best friends. Woo hoo for dementia.
69. Pain Relief
The father of a relative that married into my family passed. My father attended the funeral out of respect for our relative because the man who passed away was an absolute awful person. He abused his wife and controlled his children. He crippled the people in his family - seriously stunted their development. And he was a business owner known to be shady. He died estranged from his family.
At the funeral, many more people were there than my dad would have expected. The eulogy was very brief, factual. Then the pastor got up to speak, and his words made everyone's jaws hit the floor. He spoke about how the end of things sometimes could be healing. He told a story about how he'd had an unpleasant business deal with the man, how the church had been hurt, and how it had left him bitter for a long time, and that he'd had to pray for forgiveness when he felt relieved when the man had died.
As much love as they'd shown for the man, he knew there was pain there, too. He told them all it was ok to feel their feelings and release their hurt. My dad said that finally people began to cry and they were getting up and hugging each other while music played. There was no viewing line even though there was an open casket. People just sort of left, looking relieved. My dad thought it was a fitting send-off.
70. Parking Violation
My uncle is a funeral director and he asked if I could help out for a day. The church that the funeral was at only had on street parking. Halfway through reading the eulogy, a parking enforcement officer walks in and walked up to the stage. They took the mic as the speaker was finishing and told everyone they had to move their vehicles or they would be ticketed and towed.
71. Dirty Memory
A very loving, gentle man had passed away after a short battle with Alzheimer's and his rather large family are all in attendance at the burial. It was a simple funeral. And the burial was similarly quiet and dignified. As the casket was being lowered into the ground, there was a dull thudding sound echoing across the cemetery.
The man's obnoxious grandson who at seven years old should have known better was throwing clods of dirt onto the coffin as it went down. I still remember this clear as day after more than 15 years. Partly because it was such a disrespectful thing to do, but mostly because that grandson was me. To this day I have no idea why I did it, and the shame I feel about it is immense.
72. Swooping In
I was working a funeral / burial service in Vermont and the next of kin decided to have doves released at the burial site (yes that's a thing that some people do). When they were released, a hawk flew out of nowhere and absolutely DESTROYED one of the doves. My co-worker and I had to usher ourselves to the hearse because we were laughing so hard.
73. All I Can Say is Wow
I accidentally passed gas very loudly at my grandmother's funeral in the middle of her sister’s eulogy speech. I was 17. Everyone heard it, yet no one has ever acknowledged that it happened.
74. Weedy Burial
Everyone was late for my gran's funeral. There was a meet up at a pub beforehand and because nobody had seen each other in years we all lost track of time. When I tell this story, people are always shocked but it is what she would have wanted. She lived to make people happy. She was buried with a bag of weed and everyone had to agree they wouldn't dig her up to get to the weed if they were desperate. Again, in my family circle this is very normal and funny but to others, maybe not.
Afterwards, everyone came back to my mum's house. One of my gran's lifelong friends (and village nutcase) got too drunk and started threatening people who didn't cry at the funeral with a smashed bottle. My mum told him to leave, then he just gave everyone at the house a hug, arranged to have drinks with people, said God bless and left. I was 8 years old and this was the norm. I love my family.
75. Shot at Death
My coworker’s aunt passed away and he chose me out of everyone in the office to attend the funeral. Everyone went around just kind of stating facts - how tall she was, how many acres of beet farm she had. It was weird. But it got worse. After his brother showed up late and parked his car halfway into the grave site, my coworker grabbed a shotgun, flung open the casket, and fired two rounds into it. I booked it out of there.
76. Every Precious Moment
I watched the funeral director stare at his watch at the side of the stage while the family of the 20-year-old decedent gave a tearful send off. At exactly the 30-minute mark, the funeral director cut off the deceased's brother in mid-sentence at the podium, and said, "You're out of time, it's time for you to go." And he switched off the microphone and hustled everyone (about 100 people) out of the mortuary. If anyone wants to know where they can have a memorial service this cold and scummy, have it done in Centralia, WA, the epicenter of all things cheap and scummy.
77. Deathly Allergy
My neighbor worked at a funeral home. Part of her job was selling the coffins. One of her customers had inquired about the cushioning inside and she informed her of the material. The customer was concerned about this. When my neighbor asked why, she said that she was allergic to it. Oh honey. Have I got news for you.
78. Hold My Teeth
When I was a kid, one of my aunts passed due to a pretty gruesome accident. At the wake, one of her sisters started a fight with the other sister, which included a full-on fist fight with hair pulling. But that's not even the worst part. The sisters were firmly in their 80s so we only knew it was on when my one aunt took her dentures out. The poor funeral director just stood there in complete and utter shock while these old, petty ladies duked it out.
79. Bad Influencer
Former funeral director here: Girl that said she was an "Instagram model" kept taking a ton of pictures of every single thing and kept taking pictures of herself by the casket making pouty faces. A little boy at the funeral completely broke down when we were about to lower the casket and she wanted to stop and take a bunch of pictures with the kid. She was one of the grandchildren but I really wanted to kick her out. She was acting like it was a photoshoot.
80. Child Terror
At my aunt's visitation service her childhood friend, also the preacher chosen for her service, showed up to mingle. He brought his father and his youngest son with him. Cool, right? Wrong! His kid openly mocked us, the mourners, while running around the room like a feral child. Then he starts picking at the flowers people had sent destroying a few pink roses in the process. Then when his grandfather was near, he kept begging him for money! And the old bat gave it to him!
81. Inconsolable Blips
At my dad's funeral, my mom broke down and punched out my uncle who was trying to console her.
82. Beggars Belief
When my grandmother died, my cousin showed up drunk and/or high to the funeral. She was wearing a see-through black top with a pink lace bra underneath and a very short black skirt. She spent the entire time before the service begging people for money ("Oh hi Aunt Ruth. Haven't seen you since I was a kid. Listen, I'm real short this month and could use a few hundred dollars. Grandma woulda wanted you to help me"). People tried to ignore her and a few suggested that she leave, but she refused.
During the service as the priest was talking, she was loudly talking at the back of the room trying to get money off of people. Eventually, my Uncle Jack walked over and dropped the mic. He said "You are an embarrassment," took her by the back of the neck and arm, and force-marched her out of the funeral home. A few years later, I heard the rest of the story.
Once outside, my cousin accused everyone who had gone outside with her of assaulting her and claimed that she was calling the police. They said go ahead so she called and about 10 minutes later a cruiser showed up. She had warrants in Montreal and Vancouver so she was arrested and taken away. I've never seen her since and I don't even know if she's alive.
83. Scandalous Circus Funeral Service
I had a friend in high school who, unfortunately, died an awful death. She was eight months pregnant and out with a bad crowd. Someone was driving while drunk and they crashed into a lake. Everyone was so messed up that they ran out...and proceeded to leave my friend in the car. She never made it out and her body wasn't recovered for three days.
All to say, her funeral was obviously closed casket but for some reason, the unborn baby was taken out of her and then her family gave it an open casket service right next to my friend's closed casket. It was very strange and it honestly looked like a piece of mangled dried wood. I don't know why the family would want that, but I guess everyone grieves differently.
But what truly annoyed me was everyone's morbid curiosity about the fetus. So many people paid their respects to the fetus and completely forgot to pay their respects to our friend because her casket was closed. There was also the subject of her whole extended family (like 15 cousins) just talking and laughing nonstop during the service, some of her friends making out in the seats and feeling each other up, and notoriously the baby daddy arguing on the phone.
The funeral service was a complete circus due to being comprised of mainly 14-17-year-olds. I felt terribly bad for the adult family.
84. Took You Long (and Loud) Enough
My cousin was 27 years old and killed in a single-car crash after he hit a slippery patch on the road and smashed into a concrete wall. At his funeral, all of his brothers, sisters, and parents sat on the front row at his graveside service. Then, lo and behold, my cousin's ex-girlfriend of over a year shows up and immediately inserts herself into the front row next to his sisters.
She then proceeded to scream cry, scream wail, and throw herself on the ground periodically throughout the service. All of the family just gave her awkward stares, with no one wanted to address her inappropriate behavior. I had never seen that type of attention-demanding drama queen antics before...or since...
85. Procession of Errors
My time to shine. Former mortuary industry worker. The worst funeral is hard to call because I’ve seen a lot. Some honorable mentions: A rando walking in off the street and proceeding to help herself to coffee and ODing in our bathroom. A couple fooling around in the urn/casket showroom during the viewing. A grief-stricken mother tipping her son’s casket and trying to climb inside.
I caught a junkie relative digging deep into the pockets of the deceased looking for what we assumed was money. Also saw a woman pulling down her child’s pants and letting it defecate in a potted plant. And then there was the time the funeral home owner’s horrible dog sashayed up to the front and took a giant liquid poop in front of the casket and horrified guests in the middle of the service.
86. A Sis Who Won’t Be Missed
Picture if you will, two elderly women in a funeral squaring up as people are still crying from the ceremony. At the lunch after my grandpa’s funeral, Dee, his daughter from a previous marriage showed up...and with her came complete chaos. Dee had been writing bad checks all the way to the state prison and definitely had some unresolved beef with my family when she got out.
The last time my mom saw her was when was she was 11 and Dee left her infant daughter for my mom to babysit and never came back. Fast forward to the funeral, Dee is acting like it’s a family reunion, but no one is having it since she’s screwed everyone in the room in one way or another. My grandpa’s last girlfriend, a legally blind woman, tried to physically fight her until others stepped in.
After the funeral, Dee tried to steal the car willed to grandpa’s blind girlfriend. My family thought ahead, and a couple of my uncles waited around the house until Dee came for the car. They came outside and apparently, she was scared off. Blind girl got the car in the end and wrecked it immediately. I can’t make this stuff up.
87. Leave a Beautiful Corpse
My boyfriend, who is very awkward when it comes to feelings, used one of his classics at one of our friends' funeral. She died unexpectedly at 27. Her best male friend (who is a very close friend of ours ), who is in tears and all broken up, says," Ain't she pretty though? My boyfriend replies softly "I'd still do her..." Cue the awkward silence. And then the best friend bursts into tears and laughter. "You idiot! I needed that, thanks."
88. Save the Preaching for Later
My Grandmother spent the last decade and a half of her life in a nursing home with severe Alzheimer's and depression after being kicked out of two other places previously for trying to kill herself. Her last years were of weary terror: not remembering her children that would visit when they could, and she would ask only where her Mother was and breaking down in tears when she inevitably realized what was going on, as little as she could. She lived mostly as a result of modern pharmacology and medical science with little to no quality of life.
Before she passed, she'd agreed to have a Priest from the church she grew up come in and say a few words. Keep in mind this arrangement was made nearly 15 years before she passed. On the day of her funeral, the big news story was the court battle over Terry Schaivo and the right of family to keep her on life support versus her husband’s wishes desires to remove her from it. For those that don't remember the church got involved and made a major thing about how taking her off life support was akin to murder.
Feeling the need to opine, the Priest, who had never met her and knew nothing about her, took the cue and spent ten minutes talking about how life support is part of God's plan and removing people from it is murder and that the concept of euthanasia was legalizing genocide. He didn't keep it at that though, he went hard. talked about how the Nazi extermination of the Jews was like what was going on in Florida and how if God saw fit to grant us life then it's our obligation to accept it as a gift, no matter the circumstances.
The room was a level of deafening silence as no one could believe what words had just been spoken, what concepts had been advocated, what disconnect from the situation had been demonstrated. A man of the cloth was supposed to be there to comfort us in a time of distress and had, instead, insisted that the decades of pain and suffering of this poor woman were righteous and God's will, and how dare anyone should question whether mercy should have been granted to her.
Never have I had to restrain myself more from getting up and physically removing someone from a room. When he was done, I stood up ready to go after him and felt my Father's hand on my shoulder. "Let me handle this" was all he said and walked up to the Priest and lead him out. All I remember is hearing the Priest say something to the effect of "Is there a problem? There's still more I'm supposed to do" as he was being almost lifted off the floor by his arm and escorted out a door as my Mom wept.
The only thing I could think of was that she was denied the ability to have any dignity in her death and was now being deprived it even after her passing. A short while later her casket was lowered into the ground next to her husband who had passed 30 years before her. It was done without incident and without the Priest.
89. Six Feet Deep in Denial
My grandmother (52 at the time) died due to a botched surgery where they cut a major artery by accident and she bled out. Her mother was in her late 70s and could not believe she lost her daughter. She was showing early signs of dementia before this, and her death didn’t help. During the eulogy, my great-grandmother jumped up and said, “She blinked! I saw it! She’s not dead!” And attempted to run up and pull her from the coffin.
90. Final Requests
I've been an embalmer/funeral director for a decade. People ask and say some weird stuff, like a husband asking if I could make his dead wife's breasts look "perkier" and a few people who wanted to watch the embalming. When people request songs to play at the service, they want everything from "Staying Alive" (why?) to "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore.
But the story that always sticks with me is this one. When I was talking about burial options, a person said the cruelest words I've ever heard: "She's dead, I don't care, get rid of her the cheapest way possible."
91. A Twist in the Funeral Plot
The mother of the deceased came to the funeral out-of-her-mind intoxicated. She put on an over-the-top show of crying and screaming about how much she loved her daughter—but soon after, the dark truth came out. It wasn’t long after that terrible day that she was convicted of her daughter’s murder. Her performance didn’t fool anybody, and I hope she rots in jail for the rest of her life.
92. No Fun in Funeral
I witnessed my best friend drown in a terrible accident. Alcohol was involved. My best friend’s parents asked me not to go to the funeral services but wanted to hear the story a mere two days following the funeral. I have yet to share my story with them—I don’t see the value at this point. It brings me anger almost every day because they asked me not to go to my best friend’s service, like I was the bad guy...
93. Sensitivity Problems
I’m a wedding planner. We had an unexpected death in the family. Our 6-month-old nephew had passed away in his sleep. I knew the funeral was going to be the day of my client’s upcoming wedding, so I gave her a call to explain the situation. She’s clearly not paying attention to the call or the words I’m speaking, because I can hear her laughing with friends in the background. I get irritated and tell her I’ll call her back later.
I call back that night and again tell her what has happened and that I’d be sending an assistant to cover for me so I can attend the funeral. She tells me that I need to send my assistant to the funeral and that I had better be at the wedding. It took me a few seconds, but I calmly stated that I’d be sending her money back and that no one would be covering for me. That was the nicest way I’ve ever told someone to screw off.
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