Should I have a "traditional" funeral for mom when she passes?

My sister and my husband think I should have "Traditional" services for our mother when she passes so that family, friends and acquaintances can pay their last respects. I don't agree, but could be wrong in my thoughts and feelings.
My mother is 88 yrs old and has been in a nursing facility for 2 years. In the past 2 years she hasn't had many visitors. In the beginning she did but now hardly anyone comes to visit her or call. My sister lives in San Diego, works and comes when she can. Family members come rarely which makes my mother angry and sad. She cries frequently about it.
She has told me on more than one occasion and I am starting to agree with her that everyone will come to see her when she's dead but won't come to see her while she's alive.
For selfish reasons, I often wish she had more company to fill the gaps when I'm not there.
I want to have a private funeral with our immediate family and after announce in the Obituary that she passed and a private service was held. My sister and husband don't agree. They want me to put the Obituary in the paper and whoever wants to come can come. Then afterwards they want to have a gathering either at a restaurant or at our home. I agreed to it but the more I think about it the more I don't want to do it.

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I must have missed it… Where is the bit where it says what your mother would like the arrangements to be? Has anybody asked her?
i wont be going to aunt ednas funeral when she passes away . ill spend time with her now at nh . re; one sided conversations. we can communicate volumes with our smiles and skeptical grimaces . the little hand squeeze when i leave is enough conversation for us . a shared piece of pie, icewater, coffee . better than conversation ..
My cousin organized a large birthday party in the town community hall for her mother's 100th birthday. There were displays of Aunt's life milestone pictures, lots of memorabilia and photo albums out, simple food, and, of course, cake. It was very much like many funeral receptions I've attended, except the honored person was present and got to hear all the fine thoughts people had about her. When she died three months later, the immediate family held a private service. The community and relatives had already "paid their respects" and "taken their leave."

Her sister will be 100 this winter. Winter parties are hard to arrange up here in the frozen tundra, so her daughters held a large 99.5 party this summer. Relatives came from some distance. I don't know what my cousins are planning, but as far as I'm concerned it would be OK if they keep the funeral private.

When my gramma died, my dad honored her request for "no muss, no fuss" and simply had her cremated, with no service of any kind. I wish now that I had organized a simple memorial service. My dad had simply never heard of that way of giving family comfort. I was just too young and inexperienced to take it on myself. But I missed some acknowledgement that her life was over and we were sad.

Spoonfulasugar, are there religious conventions to consider in your family?

Could you hold some kind of celebration honoring her now, and encourage family to attend? Would your mother enjoy that?

I am glad that you aren't considering a total "no muss, no fuss" approach. You are trying to decide between something for the immediate family, or something more public. Those are both reasonable choices. I hope you and your sister can come to a mutually satisfying resolution.

My vote would be "public celebration while she is alive" and "private burial ceremony." But that isn't always to arrange.


Spoonfulasugar, I am glad you brought up this question, it makes me wonder what I would do for my either of my parents. My parents still live alone in their single family home, they are in their 90's, and no relatives or friends have visited in years.... so that can happen the same as a nursing home.

My parents remaining siblings are too old to fly out, and my cousins all have their own age related decline which makes travel difficult. Either my parents friends are deceased or too elderly to travel. I doubt my parents neighbors would come to a wake or Mass, as my parents don't socialize with them [they have nothing in common with families who have toddlers or teenage children].

Lately in my area, what seems to be the trend now is to have the love one cremated, then the next day have *visitors* at the funeral home for a couple of hours, have some friends and relatives get up to talk for a couple of minutes, then have a private family only burial. Later a reception.

For my parents, no obit in the newspaper. My parents said it's no body's business.
Whatever you decide to do, try not to have the disappointment over your mom's friends and relatives be your driving force. Ask her what she wants, then do it.
I agree with others that a celebration while she's alive is the best way to honor her. Don't wait for a birthday, make up an occasion if need be. Work the date around whenever the people she'd like to see are able to be there.
It's a lose/lose situation when we 'test' our friends' and family's devotion by whether or not they appear when we desire them to. It only leads to bitterness on your part and guilt on theirs.
I have mixed feelings on this Spoonfulasugar. On the one hand I totally understand where you are coming from, but I also understand how difficult it can be to visit at the nursing home, especially if there was any sort of cognitive decline. Some of us are just not very capable of carrying on one way conversations, and sadly, it's easier to just assume everyone else is stepping up.
Despite what your mother had said, funeral services are for the living, and the ritual of a traditional service may be comforting to your sister and husband and provide them with the type of closure they need.
When my brother died at age 69, his church had a big funeral, SRO and people outside. When his wife died at 90, there were only a few folks left, her sons and their family, and me. You don't have to make a major decision; short service at the church or funeral home chapel, potluck at the home, open invitation. A funeral is for comforting the family and getting folks a chance to get together. Keep it simple and open.
Our mom is donating her body to a medical school. No wake. There will be a memorial service in church. When one son objected, he wanted the whole shebang, I said fine. I also asked him if he had the $10,000 to pay for all that. All he said was "Uuhhhhhh..."
My parents didn't want any kind of service. They moved near me (200 miles away from anyone who knew them). When my dad died, we didn't have any kind of service. No obituary either. My brother didn't even come home when my dad died. When my mom goes, it will be the same. I'll notify her few remaining friends (she's the last remaining sibling) and let the relatives who have shown an interest in her (basically two nieces) know. Otherwise, there's no one around (particularly here) that knows my parents. It's sad but true. Our extended family is so spread out across the country, we're just not close. And I'm OK with that. My family was military, so we were always away from family.
When my MIL passed she was 93 and cremated. There was a Memorial service for her at the facility where she lives. And it was about 6 weeks after. Having the service later is done more often as families are widely scattered and makes attendance easier. And that it was at the place she lived it was very easy for her friends to attend. And it was a very nice service.

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