Funeral Planning and Unwanted Houseguests
When a death occurs, some people choose to surround themselves with family and friends as a way to cope. Being alone during this time can be difficult, especially if you are struggling with not only your grief, but day-to-day pressures like taking care of your kids, figuring out how financial matters stand, and self-care.
Once houseguests arrive, however, it can sometimes be difficult to ask them to leave—especially since their intentions are most likely one hundred percent honorable. Difficulties can also arise if you mourn in a different way, preferring solitude and space so that you can come to terms with your loss on your own.
If you find yourself with a house full of guests who linger after the funeral, here are a few ways to gently remind them you need space.
Create a To-Do List with an Ending Point
There are most likely a few tasks that need to be done after a funeral (settling bills, closing accounts, cleaning out rooms/houses, holding estate sales, etc.). Make these a reference point for a timeline of departure, and be firm about it. This way, your guests can feel helpful while also moving on in a timely fashion.
Example: “I’d love your help clearing out the garage, but I don’t want to burden you after that. As soon as we finish this job, I’ll be okay to handle the rest on my own.”
Use Your Grief as an Excuse
One fast and easy way to handle unwanted houseguests is to be perfectly honest and upfront about your situation. Express your thanks for their support, and also indicate that in moving forward, you prefer solitude.
Example: “It’s been such a great help to have you here for the funeral plans, but I feel like I need space to grieve now.”
Don’t Let Them In to Begin With
If you anticipate it being difficult to get rid of certain houseguests, make a plan of action in advance by not hosting anyone in your own home. You may have to foot part of the bill for a hotel (or find them another place to stay), but it can be worth it in the end.
Example: “I’d love to invite you to stay here, but it’s just not possible for me to have houseguests right now. Let’s see if we can find a place where you’ll have a more attentive host.”
Plan a Getaway
After a funeral is over, you may find it beneficial to get away for a few days to clear your head and come to terms with your loss. Planning a getaway (even if only for a weekend) will not only give you that space, but it will also give you an excuse to clear your guests.
Example: “It’s been lovely having you here, but I’ll be going out of town on Saturday to try and start coping with my loss.”
Make Future Plans
You can also arrange a time to visit in the future. Most houseguests are only trying to help and are also grieving, so create a plan of action that will allow you all to reconnect at a more convenient time.
Example: “I have to go back to work this week, but let’s make plans for a small memorial next month.”