For many, funerals, visitations, wakes and burials are all important ways to remember - and celebrate - the life of a loved one. However, in some circumstances the life of the deceased may present a complex or complicated family tree. When arranging a funeral, it can be difficult for current spouses and relatives to plan around inviting and involving ex-spouses, stepchildren and others who may have been close to the deceased at some point.
Contention in the Family
If you are planning a funeral, it is important to remember that it is always best to arrange for what the departed would have wanted. While it may be a struggle, proper etiquette dictates setting aside any personal emotions you may have about other individuals who may have been close to the deceased - such as an ex-spouse. Ideally, it is important to make sure that all family members have an opportunity to gain closure through whatever funerary traditions are laid out.
In these situations, every arrangement may be made on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, exes will get along with current spouses and there will be little disagreement to be had at the ceremony and any other related events. In other situations, some from past marriages may feel that it is best to sit at the back during the funeral, so as to pay respect in a reserved fashion.
Stepchildren or children who may have come from other parents can also be difficult, especially when planning on how to involve them in the funeral. If the deceased played a strong parental role in the individual's life, it is recommended to welcome them into the ceremony and allow them closure if they so choose.
When Tension Cannot Be Mitigated
If family drama will not be able to be set aside during a funeral, it is highly recommended that all individuals pre-plan for these situations before they occur. Whether requesting a private funeral or detailing such desires in a will, individuals can ensure that certain past family members do not attend a funeral or event to avoid unwelcome tension.