Funeral Directors And Undertakers Describe The Craziest Things They've Seen At Funerals

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Vote up the stories that are so wild they could wake the dead.

The walk through the valley of the shadow of death takes a bit of help, and thankfully funeral directors exist to provide just that. But for all the effort funeral workers put into their job, death really monkey-wrenches things for people, leading to some outrageous funeral director stories. Stories from funeral directors, from unruly families to the tricks they use to make dead bodies look alive, show that while death gives peace to some, it brings chaos and confusion to others. Few things take on such a range of tones as funeral workers recalling the worst funerals. Naturally, the sadness and heightened emotions surrounding death leads to a number of sad stories from funeral directors. But on the opposite end, many funeral directors recount funeral services where the only tears flowing are ones of (inappropriate) laughter. And of course, if someone dies at a funeral, it only adds to a funeral worker's workload.

Crazy funeral director stories, as seen on Reddit, emphasize how the story of your life truly never ends even after your body enters the ground. In fact, sometimes your story gets the most interesting right before you go into the ground. It's a shame you won't be there to see your own funeral.

  • 1
    6,570 VOTES

    Covered With The Babies

    From user Fire_Medic:

    "My best man is a funeral director.

    A 'grieving' nephew walks up to my friend and says 'Hey, um, I'm gonna be bringing a cooler tomorrow. Is it cool if I put something in with Uncle Mark?' Now this is fairly common. Assuming they want to send Uncle Mark to the afterlife with his favorite frosty beverage, my friend says sure.

    Next day nephew shows up and pulls a couple of unlabeled jars from the cooler and goes to put them in the casket. My friend walks over and asks what the hell is in the jars. Apparently, nephew's girlfriend has had a couple miscarriages and since they are 'devout Christians,' they believe these babies deserve a proper burial. They just weren't willing to pay for it. So to hear my friend tell it, the nephew says 'Well it's real expensive and so we've just kinda been hanging on to them in the fridge until my mom goes. But it's kinda freaking my (living) kids out so we figured we'd just inter them now. It's cool, right?'"

  • 2
    5,347 VOTES

    When Plenty Of Fish Aren't Enough

    From user shefartsinbeauty:

    "One of the more bizarre things to have happened as a director. This is a favorite amongst close friends of mine.

    I had to cancel a date because I had to be on call for several evenings/nights in a row. I would just keep my schedule clear as opposed to cancel at the last second, unless it was a friend who understood what a pain in the ass my job was. I had several poor experiences with new dates and this.

    We were talking on Plenty of Fish and that site is bizarro town to say the least. So I just messaged him we'd do something 'super rad' as soon as schedules allowed. Whatever.

    I almost felt guilty, especially since I didn't hear from him. Guys would get pissed or just not believe my job and think it was a joke. I almost relented and risked coffee but then I got a call to go in and embalm; my boss had been awesome and had his other assistant do the removal.

    Went in, did my thing, didn't pay much attention until I was done and went upstairs at the funeral home; this was a time before super fancy smart phones and 4G at our fingertips...

    Guy I embalmed was the guy from Plenty of Fish I was supposed to go on the date with."

  • 3
    4,226 VOTES

    When Grief Goes Too Far

    From a deleted user:

    "Separated parents are mourning the loss of their toddler at the visitation before the funeral. Mom is grieving unlike any mother I've seen grieve over the loss of a child, almost fake. She proceeds to pick up the child and 'hide' him in her coat and walks out the door while no one is looking. Other funeral director is like... 'holy sh*t, why is there an empty lil casket?' The other funeral director finds the mom running to her car where he stops her and grabs kid.

    Separated parents have huge blow out at the visitation.

    We find out two months later that the mother and her new boyfriend had physically abused the kid, causing its death. Biological father had no idea."

  • 4
    4,523 VOTES

    Once Mausoleums Are Sealed, They Are Sealed For Life

    From user Spits-fire:

    "Mortician here. Had a service in a mausoleum a few years ago. The wife of the decedent had been adamant that her husband not get buried. She was insistent that he be above ground in a tomb. She was really mourning his death and chose a double-depth space where both the husband's casket, and then ultimately the wife's, can be entombed end-to-end like train cars.

    So there we were, final words were said, the minister blessed the space and the cemetery workers hefted the casket from the roller device it was on, sliding it into the concrete space over all the bb's they spread in there to make it slide easier. They pushed the casket way back in there, and the cemetery workers started getting their tools together to seal up the opening and put the marble faceplate in place. As they were preparing, the wife took this moment to tell all the people there how glad she was to have chosen this space because, unlike below-ground burial, she will be able to come back and visit her husband any time she wants... that the cemetery will open up the tomb and pull out the casket and open it up for her so that she can visit with him. 

    We stared at her blankly for a moment and then one of the guys from our funeral home said, 'But, Ma'am, once this is sealed up... it's sealed up... they don't open it again until you pass away...' Well, she suddenly went ape and started screaming and thrashing about. Before we could stop her, she crawled into the tomb and started clawing at the casket, still screaming and crying. Two feet were all you could see flapping about. 50 people gasped and stood there horrified. We had to reach in and grab her feet and pull her back out while she clawed at the sides of the enclosure. When we got her out her dress had come way up exposing her undergarments and she was covered with dust/filth and absolutely crazy screaming and rolling about the floor. Her family dragged her away to one side while they gave the order to seal the tomb."

  • 5
    2,777 VOTES

    You Don't Need To Be Early To A Funeral

    From user satansfloorbuffer:

    "My dad and stepmother were sextons for a cemetery in Baltimore for about six years when I was a teenager. We usually only got about one burial year and a couple of cremations, it wasn't often that we had to deal with anything; we mostly just lived on the property, answered the phone, and fed the dogs.

    Anyway, we had an actual burial late one January that went stupidly wrong. The groundskeeper had dug the grave a few days before, but since then it had rained and the temperature had dropped the ground had frozen solid. The vault arrives first, we set up the pulleys and go to lower it down, and it won't go in. A minute later, we realize that the ground had swollen during the rain and then frozen in place. Nothing was going into the ground until we made the grave bigger.

    "We get shovels and quickly bend the blades on the rock-hard sides. We scrounge up a couple of axes and those work, so we crawl in and start chipping away. The funeral director shows up with the hearse to set up, but there's not much he can do while we're in the way, so unloads the casket into the driveway, sets up some chairs and asks if we mind watching the body while he runs down to the bodega for a soda. We say why not - the service isn't for another hour and we're nowhere near done.

    Well, about ten minutes later we hear a car pull up and look up to see a pair of horrified people staring at us from behind the wheel. Uh-oh. Looks like some people arrived early! Casket laying in the driveway! A pile of muddy people crawling around in a grave with a thousand-pound cement vault dangling over their heads! Aaaaand the newly returned funeral director drinking a beer!"

  • 6
    2,794 VOTES

    A Family Feud Ruined A Funeral

    From user Mortician-for-hire:

    "Funeral service person here, have to say that the saddest funeral I worked was the death of a 30-year-old woman who was very attractive and successful and had recently gotten married. Children and those in their prime are more bothersome, sure. But her family. Jesus.

    Her husband had very little to do with the arrangements. I do not know why. So her father and stepmother were in control of the ceremony. The father seemed more unemotional than people I usually work with. Even people who don't seem stereotypically sad, have a level of anxiety or just a numbness of someone who hasn't full accepted it. I can't read minds or know someone's heart so I can't say for sure, but he did not seem to care what we did.

    The stepmom was strange. I caught her snooping through areas of the funeral home not open to the public, like opening doors to storage closets, and she even made it into our casks loading area almost to the morgue proper before I caught her roaming. 30 minutes before the funeral she was worried about having time to go get something to eat. She got in to an altercation with I'm assuming the ex-wife in our foyer; that side of the family stormed out. She did not seem remotely concerned or interested in her deceased stepdaughter.

    The deceased sister was handicapped and made noises she couldn't control when upset. (They also hadn't bothered to tell her that her sister was dead until the day of.) The family kicked her out of the service because she was interrupting. More visitors left because of this. This only left a few meager funeral attendees.

    This made me particularly sad, because I think everyone deserves a decent funeral. The girl seemed sweet, caring, and full of life but instead of trying to celebrate her memory they just seemed apathetic. You see all kinds of emotions running through people working funerals, but I have never seen anyone act that disinterested and self-absorbed."