No Photos Please!

A friend of mine was posting in a group on Facebook and apparently “Funeral Selfies” is a thing now.

Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like, taking photos of oneself at a wake or funeral and then posting it to social media for the world can see. Really. And I hate to think this, but in this land of you know you want to know what’s happening with me right this minute! instant information, it so feels so much like something some in the “millennial” generation would do and I don’t understand it. I don’t understand how anyone could be so incredibly narcissistic, at a funeral nonetheless, and think it is okay.

At the wake for my late-husband, Del, a cousin I had not seen in nearly a decade at that point, showed up in bright pink rollers and a scarf that was a joke of an attempt at covering them, so she was already pissing me off. I mean, who shows up at a wake in rollers? As I’m speaking with Reese, my late-husband’s cousin and best friend, I hear the familiar click of a camera behind me. I spin around and call out “No.” waving my index finger. It is Del taking a picture of a couple of friends/family near of the back of the room.

“It’s okay, he’s not in the picture”. She explained at my reaction. “He” being my late husband, aka the deceased that was laying at the front of the same room, and the reason why we were all there at that moment. I continued shaking my head and waving my finger in the negative, but Del lifted the camera preparing to take another picture. I remember thinking “Oh, you’re going to argue with me, the widow at her own husband’s wake?” instead what came out of my mouth was “NO!” at a volume that stopped everyone in the room. I had not even realized that I had taken the physical steps to beat her with her camera until I felt Reese restrain me. Whatever was on my face, Del and those she wanted pictures of were quickly going outside. Luckily, selfies as we know and use them now did not exist then. Because I know if she were truly taking a picture of herself at the moment Reese could not have held me back.

I find even taking photos outside of a funeral parlor or at a church where it’s obviously a funeral is gauche. A wake/funeral is not about you. If you yourself are not in deep mourning, you are there for the deceased and/o for those who are in mourning. That’s why it’s called paying your last respects. How are taking photos of yourself showing that respect? At the very least have the manners to wait until the repast for such.

If you don’t have pictures of friends/family members at happier events whose fault is that? Show up at a party, a BBQ, a wedding or family reunion. Or better yet host one to have people over so you can happy photos.

I think taking pictures at a wake/funeral/interment of the living or dead is so disrespectful enough. Turning around and then posting such on social media is a level of gracelessness I simply cannot comprehend.

“You look lovely, that dress is so cute! Where was this?”

“Oh thanks! I got it at the boutique. That was at Nana’s funeral last month.”

My immediate family knows “NO PHOTOS”. God help anyone taking pictures at my funeral. Just for spite, I am showing up in every photo as the creepy shadowy figure that doesn’t go away no matter how they try to crop or Photoshop me out.


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10 thoughts on “No Photos Please!

  1. As you say, I can’t quite figure how someone would even think of bringing a camera or taking photos at a time like that. I appreciate you sharing how it felt as the widow. I can feel your anger and pain when you describe “What came out of my mouth was “NO!” at a volume that stopped everyone in the room cold. I had not even realized that I had physically taken the steps to beat her with her camera until I felt Reese restrain me”. So sad that she couldn’t learn from you at that moment.

  2. It seems that it is an “all about me” attitude with so many these days. The sad part is that people don’t think what they are doing is wrong or inappropriate. How sad.

  3. Definitely not a time for picture taking. Before I read on, I thought you were going to say that someone was actually photographing the deceased! That would be even worse, but it would not surprise me. During the 80’s, TV sitcoms showed men videotaping their wives giving birth! I hope that was only on TV, but it wouldn’t surprise me either.

    • Bob’s analogy is an apt comparison. It seems like social etiquette takes decades to catch up with the evolution of technology. I also feel like manners in general are going out of style. How do so many people stand by and just watch?

  4. You really kept your composure. I think that would have necessitated another funeral. Decorum is obviously gone in this digital age!

  5. You better post a note at the entrance . “No pictures allowed.”
    I have an uncle that has a funeral album. It’s apparently a Caribbean thing. I’m used to people taking a pic of the deceased, but not of people taking selfies with duck faces or peace signs.
    Sadly, has much as technology advances more more do people lose their mind or what was simply common sense.

  6. This is a really good post! It shows the problem with this phenomenon of self absorbed people. “It’s alright, he’s not in it!” as if that makes it OK. My uncle posted a short video on FB of a burial for another family member. I couldn’t believe it! I even wrote to him: ” Uncle! Who takes videos of the burial?!” and the daughter of the deceased wrote back to say that people who care take videos at a funeral. So, to her it felt like a sign of love. Go figure. I’m with you though. The world can go for 5 minutes without seeing a new picture of everyone on social media! I teach with a woman who literally posts a new “selfie” every single day. MAKE HER STOP!!! 😉

  7. So sorry for your loss. There are no words for your cousin’s behavior. Especially after you told her NO. We took family pictures at my dad’s memorial and my sister-in-law took a picture of my siblings and me at my mom’s memorial but not for public viewing. For us it was one of those “We’re all that’s left.” kind of things. But just for us. Your cousin was disrespectful and you handled it well.

  8. I have found that in the aftermath of a funeral, where the we have dealt with the past, after we’ve had dinner and we talk about the future could sometimes be an opportunity to take a picture or two… But that’s up to the family to decide. Selfies are nothing I would think about normally.. So definitely less at a funeral.

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