Death in neighbour's family

42 posts in this topic

Haven't had anyone I know well, die here in Germany, but don't families ask for contribuitions to favorite charities instead of sending flowers?

 

This is quite common in the US and certainly a wonderful use of funds. Folks who die of cancer, usually want money donated to research, same with heart attacks, diabetes, etc. I know this is what I would rather have then a bunch of flowers that will be dead a couple of days. The prices on these arrangements are not low either.

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It is very common to request a donation in the deceased person's name, you see it all the time in the obituaries in the newspaper, and I think it's also common to give money to help with expenses since even the most basic of German funerals tends to be very dear what with the Friedhofszwang and all that goes along with it.

 

But if this was a neighbour you didn't know all that well, a condolence card with a handwritten message is an appropriate gesture.

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My grandmother passed away nearly a month ago now... she had been ill for many years and, as we were arranging her things, we found an envelope labelled "to be opened upon my death" in her handwriting. We carefully opened the envelope and found a letter dated back to 1991 - when I was just 6 years old. She outlined her wishes for her family and also for her funeral. She wrote "I do not want flowers - flowers are for the living". Instead she requested for the money to be donated to a charity. We would never have guessed... she <i>loved</i> flowers and always had flowers around the house. We also announced this in the newspaper - no flowers. Perhaps look to see if the death has been announced and if they have mentioned something there?

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As you wish. I just wanted to put it on my facebook wall, but alwyays like to check these things first before assuming one is fine with it, just in case one is not.

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first off, hi! have been living here close to 40 years so i am not saying i know what i am doing but i think i can give you a few tips...

 

it is also not a custom to cook or bake something and bring it by as you would in the USA.

 

i would differentiate how well you knew the deceased or their family. if you knew them on a friendly daily basis you can send a bouquet that should arrive by the day of the funeral because these flowers will be placed on the grave. at most burials there are huge piles of flowers from close friends and family, the reason some folks will put money in the envelopes so that the family can get flowers later on when the grave is cleared off and needs to be newly arranged. (YES this seems strange but is gladly accepted) here again though, only closer aquaintances would do it, judge for yourself how you feel.

 

in any case sending a card is the right thing to do. there are cards that express condolence, usually black and white, some have a bit of color and all usually have some short comment or phrase printed on. seems all these cards usually have an envelope that have a black stripe on the outside and this way can immediately be identified as a condolence card. as for what to write in the card just your name is accepted although if you feel you have to write something, than do it.

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It seems to be quite normal to send cards with money here in Germany, plenty of these were received when my Father-in-law and Mother-in-law died. My wife told me it was the usual practise to help out with (funeral) expenses. I suppose it depends on how well you know the person as to what amount to include (if any at all)

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My kid has a friend and his mother (who I am friendly with) lost her mother. I know she is Canadian. Will we bring over a cake or casserole? Or cause its Germany a card with money? Or is there any Canadian custom I am not aware of? Any advice regarding Canadian do's and dont's is appreciated. Thx.

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My Canadian experience...

 

Money:  may be donated in memory to the deceased's  favorite charity ( obituary would give detail details).

 

In trend these days: Go fund me sites for  familes who  need money for the funeral and expenses  ($10,000 CAN  on average)

 

Money to family ( like in Germany)  for the grave /flowers /upkeep is not at all common:  every graveyard I have  ever seen has headstones set in a lawn mowed and tended by graveyard staff.  Also:  gravesites of the deceased  are  for forever.  Where my family is buried, the gravestones are flat to the ground for easy maintenace.  (I had a pretty well off bachelor uncle who left his money to the upkeep of the village graveyard.  The extended family should be able to quietly rest in tidy surrounding for the next century...).

 

The custom  of visiting the graves is not as common in Canada, in my experience, but tends to also depend on your faith/heritage.

 

What to do?

If I was far from home, I would appreciate food  but even more  an offer to have my child looked after /entertained/fed...  while the  parents  spend hours on the telephone/computer with funeral/travel  long distance planning,

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When a German relative died, the close family got a few cards from other Germans, but not a single one with money in it (I handled the cards and would have noticed). It would actually have helped.
I've never heard of a German custom of giving money for a funeral!

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3 minutes ago, Metall said:

I've never heard of a German custom of giving money for a funeral!

 

Me neither - when you get older the number of funerals to which one is invited increase  senior.gif

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14 hours ago, Metall said:

I've never heard of a German custom of giving money for a funeral!

It used to be that way, but it is a dying custom.

 

Just like the funeral banquet: It was an act of courtesy to feed *anybody* who walked for miles to attend the funeral.

Nowadays, it's only the real close relatives who are invited.

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On 27.12.2019, 08:50:28, franklan said:

It used to be that way, but it is a dying custom.

 

Just like the funeral banquet: It was an act of courtesy to feed *anybody* who walked for miles to attend the funeral.

Nowadays, it's only the real close relatives who are invited.

 

Maybe in Aachen.

When the brother-in-law of my wife died last year -he worked for the community in his village- not only the church was full, but 200 or more came to the wake.

There was neither enough to eat for every one, nor enough chairs.

So from the inreasing number of funerals I had to attend in the last time, I would say, it is not a dead custom. ..and everbody is invited.

If only close relatives were present, may be nobody knew the person?

 

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1 hour ago, AnswerToLife42 said:

Maybe in Aachen.

When the brother-in-law of my wife died last year -he worked for the community in his village- not only the church was full, but 200 or more came to the wake.

There was neither enough to eat for every one, nor enough chairs.

So from the inreasing number of funerals I had to attend in the last time, I would say, it is not a dead custom. ..and everbody is invited.

If only close relatives were present, may be nobody knew the person?

 

I have never attended a funeral in Germany but back home, you can either have a public or a private funeral.  If you want it public, you advertise the time and date in the obituaries and everybody shows up who wants to and the pastor then reveals where the wake is held afterwards.  When my dad died, we had a few ppl show up that we didn't even know.  I asked some of them who they were and they said they'd worked with him at some point.  It's on the increase now to have private funerals where the obituary will not state when and where and they will just call whoever they want to invite, close family, friends etc.

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