Father Struggles To Allow Son's Friends To Speak At Funeral, Eulogies About An Outspoken Man He Never Really Met
What do you do when your son dies and a whole new side of him gets revealed? This father feels like his son was a different person after he moved to a new city, and is torn about allowing his son's friends to talk about their social life at the funeral.
LostSonMissHim asked Reddit whether he should let his friends speak.
I recently lost my son in an accident. my entire family and I are upset beyond belief and miss him dearly. We will of course hold a proper funeral service for him and I'm sure that more than a few tears will be shed.
With regards to speakers, I have found myself in a strange dilemma. He moved away in his early twenties to another city. Before he left, he was always something of a loner, with no real friends. Now, after his passing, I'm hearing from many friends of his in the city he moved to.
They all describe him as being an incredibly open, outgoing, and incredibly sociable person. This is just not how anyone in the family has ever known him. He was always incredibly quiet and meek among other people for as long as we've known him.
A couple people have asked if they may say a few words during his funeral, and one person was so kind as to give a rough outline of the eulogy he intended to give. It was beautifully written, but in some ways, I can't help but feel that it's about a person I've never met.
I don't want to disrespect the friends my son has immediately before his death, but I'm also having trouble identifying speakers for his funeral, because on top of his death, I'm only suddenly finding out about another side to his personality.
I should mention, it's not possible that this is mistaken identity. Many of his friends have shared photos of him with me.
Now the funeral is approaching, and I don't know how to handle the speakers. I love my son, and the people who have offered their condolences are wonderful, but finding out about a social life I ever knew about just breaks my heart. In a way, I don't think I can handle hearing about it right now.
tl;dr: My son had a much more active social life just before he died than he did when he lived at home. Some of his friends have asked to deliver eulogies. I'm having trouble dealing with this second side of my son that I never knew about, and am worried that the eulogies might hurt me more than I already do.
EDIT**** The reason I'm asking for help is that I felt a sort of double grief, for the quiet son I knew and the outgoing son I never knew. I want his friends to have a chance to speak. After what they've said, and as kind as they have been, I can't imagine leaving them out of the funeral.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
The son clearly grew after moving - let his friends speak.Giphy
I'm so sorry for your loss.
It sounds like these friends had a chance to get to know a new side of your son that may only have blossomed once he moved and didn't have close family to rely on.
In my honest opinion, if I were in your shoes, I'd let them give their speeches. I'd want to hear of the great stories he's made with new friends. To be given an opportunity to learn about his adventures and experiences, even in the eyes of new acquaintances would make me so happy. You could find out exciting hobbies he took up, what he enjoyed most in his new city, and his overall well being.
In the end, I think you might regret the opportunity of not allowing his friends (regardless if new) to talk about the man your son turned into.
All those friends mean your son was awesome.Giphy
I lost a son myself. Remember, they knew him differently than you did. I would attempt to take solace in the fact that your son had such wonderful friends and a happy life though it was brief. And the eulogies...man, they're going to hurt. But it will be cathartic. You're going to cry, and hurt, and remember, and maybe hear some new stories. I am so sorry for your loss and your pain. Someday it will be easier.
Don't shut out the happiness he created.Giphy
I lost my older brother in an accident last year. He was a nonfunctioning alcoholic with severe depression and anxiety. His death was an accident, but his life had already been taken away from him by his multiple diseases.
The brother I knew was mean and angry and selfish. He stole money and lied and totaled cars and probably would have voted for trump. When he was sober, he was my favorite person in the world. He was beautiful and intelligent and kind. But unfortunately, I rarely saw that side of him.
At his memorial service my eulogy talked about the disparity between his two personalities, and how tragic his life was, and how we needed to honor both sides of him if we were going to do him justice.
Watching his church friends who lived with and knew him when he was sober get up and tell stories was very therapeutic for me. Heartbreaking, but therapeutic, because it meant that he had a sliver of happiness in his adult life. I can't imagine having left them out.
Please let them speak. If you like, PM me and I'll send over the eulogy I wrote for him. It may help you gain some clarity.
I am so sorry for your loss.
Be proud of him.
I am very sorry for your loss. 63-year-old mom here. My babies now 32 and 35. Both have blossomed in their twenties into very self-confident young adults. Can you possibly feel proud that he continued to grow and mature once he was out on his own?
Not a bad idea.Giphy
Just a suggestion OP, start with people who knew him before he moved away and then have his friends who knew him later speak. That way there's a beautiful picture painted of the man he was and the man he became.
This is a chance to get to know your son.Giphy
It sounds like your son grew when he left home, I would let them speak so that you may get to know that side of him.
It's natural for people to grow away from their family.Giphy
I don't think I hide my true self when I'm with my family, but there is definitely a sense that I'm being watched or judged even when it's not true. I think it's natural to feel a little more free and outgoing away from one's parents, even though the parent/child relationship may be very positive. I'm so sorry for your loss, but what I'm taking from this post is that your son had a chance to blossom and express himself as he matured during his time on earth. I hope it is eventually a comfort for you to hear his friends speak of him so well.
There's always more to someone than you know.Giphy
Unfortunately, I've had 5 relatives die in the last 5 years and this surprise at finding out about the other aspect/s of their personality has happened literally every time. Not just to me, but to family/friends who were closer to the deceased than I was. I've become somewhat convinced that you never really get to know anyone until they die and you hear from all the other people whose lives they've touched. People are complicated, there's always more to them than you expect. I think you'll find that hearing these stories will help more than it hurts. There will still be elements of the man you knew in the stories other people tell.
Get to know the friends.Giphy
I can't tell you what to do with this. But do make a list of all these friends, and then after the funeral, when things are settled down a bit, go and visit them and learn about the other side of your son. Or ask them to write, but better visit them, and visit the places they went with him if it's not too much trouble.
And maybe balance the old with the new.Giphy
Match speakers 1 to 1, for every 'old son' speaker let there be a 'new son' speaker. Gather them together, explain the situation, and have them read each other's outlines so they can prepare adequate transitions between the eulogies.
"It wasn't me!"
There's not much you can do when the righteous fist of the law comes down on you. Call it a mix-up, or call it a mistake, if someone's pegged you at the scene of a crime there's not much you can do but trust the justice system to prove you innocent. However, that's a gamble, and just because you've been given a "not guilty" doesn't mean the effects won't follow you for the rest of your life.
Reddit user, u/danbrownskin, wanted to hear about the times when it wasn't you, seriously, it was someone else, when they asked: