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Grieving Redditor Balks After Cousin Asks To Do An Interpretive Dance At Their Father’s Funeral

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The last thing a family in mourning needs is to be saddled with drama that is dividing them.

Redditor Da_Rooster913 was designated as executor of his late father’s estate and thus was making the funeral arrangements.

But amidst his grief, he upset his aunt by denying her very specific request for the services that if done–as the Redditor put it—the “priest would have a stroke.”

The Redditor visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for telling my cousin he can’t do an interpretive dance at my dad’s funeral?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I get this might be a no brainer to some but hear me out.”

“My dad passed a couple days ago. It was a longtime coming and only made worse by COVID. I’m handling the funeral arrangements as I was named executor of his estate.”

“I included my aunts and uncle in the planning process out of respect. While we were discussing, my aunt said my cousin, who is diagnosed with [autism], wants to perform an interpretive dance at the church infront of the casket to ‘bid your (my) father farewell.'”

“I said no, absolutely not. For one this is all happening in a church. The priest would have a stroke.”

“Next, my cousin is not a good dancer. It’s his hobby and I’m happy he found something he loves, but I don’t feel my dad’s funeral is the right venue to showcase his moves to ‘Candle in the Wind’.”

“My aunt is having a fit and my cousin is also extremely upset and has accused me of not letting him say goodbye to him in his own way.”

“I told him that he’s more than welcome to have a dance at the grave whenever he wants but the funeral isn’t that time (another cousin told me he was planning to record it for a YouTube video which, hard ‘nox).”

“I don’t think it’s respectful at all and I know my dad would’ve hated the thing turning into a spectacle.”

“AITA?”

Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

Many Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole here.

“NTA. A cousin did EXACTLY this at our great grandmother’s funeral. It was the most awkward f’king thing I’ve ever witnessed. I looked towards my siblings and my brother had his hand over his mouth trying not to laugh.”

“I like to think my ggma would have liked that but all her kids looked sincerely appalled and she pushed right on through with that literal song and dance. I will never forget that sh*t for the rest of my life.” – Dont-ask-me-sht

“NTA of course. This may be the best title of an AITA post we’ll see all year.” – cjack68

“The Aunt is being a complete idiot. People with Autism neurodivergencies often have a very hard time understanding the concepts of what is and isn’t socially acceptable and tend to rely on those around them for gentle course corrections when they overstep.”

“The Aunt is doing this kid no favors by encouraging him to smash through the bounds of good taste, and for his youtube channel no less. She’s going to raise a complete prick of a person.” – Wind_Yer_Neck_In

“I’m not going to lie, there is an evil part of me who wants this to happen b/c I can’t imagine anything that is more 1994 sit-com than an unwanted interpretive dance at a funeral. However, I am a complete stranger who has coal for a heart.”

“NTA. I’m so sorry for your loss & I’m hoping your aunt & cousin have received the message & will now let it drop.” – Corpuscular_Ocelot

“Wow, just wow. I would suggest having someone at the funereal to keep an eye on them and to make sure your auntie doesn’t smuggle in a boom box because your Dad’s funeral is Cousin Johnny’s time to shine…” – DutyValuable

“Funeral homes who handle transport to and from churches, funeral parlors and cemeteries have often seen all the drama. They also often (but not always) have people on staff who can guard the door or at least alert you that shits about to go down. Worth having the conversation.”

“‘Sorry if this is odd but could you assist me in preventing my cousin from doing & filming a casket side interpretive dance? He’s been told absolutely not but we are concerned’. Every funeral parlor I’ve had to deal with has been fantastic at subtly preventing family drama.” – Skye_Reading

“Funeral directors are really not phased by any sort of personal or familial drama and know how to handle anything that may pop up discretely. We had to ask the funeral director at my dad’s wake to make sure his mistress didn’t sneak in and upset my mom.”

“The funeral director was so adamant that he would absolutely not allow that to happen and we had total faith in him to handle it so we didn’t have to worry. We also learned that’s something they’re asked to do quite frequently so they’re used to it.” – NervousOperation318

“I’m sorry about your loss. I know I shouldn’t laugh but hearing a interpretative dance to candle in the wind, made me laugh so loud. I am a mother of a son on the spectrum, he LOVES to dance, but he can’t dance well lol so I just got the visual of my boy doing it.”

“You handled this well, a funeral isn’t the place for this. Edited to add NTA.” – Firesunwatermoon

“NTA. I can believe it’s real, because at the funeral of a cousin of mine, a relative performed a 10-minute long abstract jazz trombone solo.”

“One older lady kept saying, in a loud voice, ‘What is this song? I don’t recognize it!'”

“So the request to do an interpretive dance sounds perfectly real to me.” – Aromatic-Speed5090

“NTA. Make sure you alert church officials and other family that agrees with you and have a plan to cut this off/escort cousin out.” – disney_nerd_mom

“NTA!!!! OMG!!!! Does decorum at funerals no longer exist???”

“Interpretive dance taped for YouTube likes??? WTF?!?! I’m so very sorry your having to deal with this on top of dealing with your loss.”

“Deepest condolences. I hope everything works out for you.” – DarkObserver0457

“NTA, I can’t even… I’m in shock they would even ask, much less have a fit that you don’t want a funeral and a show.”

“My sympathies for the death of your father.” – llpss

“NTA. That is such a bizarre request and totally out of line! Autism accomodations are like, quiet hours in stores or allowing your cousin to wear noise cancelling headphones to an occasion, not a free pass at someone creating a scene at an event that has nothing to do with them.”

“This person is just using their neurodivergence to be the center of attention and is super inappropriate.”

[“I’m] an autistic adult.” – HannahCatsMeow

“Oh gosh, NTA. How awkward!! People seem to think they are free to do whatever they want and everyone should be free to have their chance. But that’s not the case.”

“Stand your ground. Don’t allow it (even if the priest DID say it was ok). Maybe cousin can do it at wherever you are celebrating his life afterwards.” – Ok_Bumblebee_2869

“NTA. I literally just joined Reddit to comment here.”

“When my paternal grandfather died, his funeral became a literal talent show.”

“I have fourteen cousins on that side, and nearly every one of them felt they had to sing, play an instrument, and, yes, even dance for the occasion.”

“It was insane.”

“Briefly, the weirdest, cringiest parts:”

“My grandmother was still alive and in attendance. She was suffering from the early to mid stages of dementia, however, so she seemed mostly unaware of what was happening. This was a blessing, I feel, because;”

“One cousin read a ten minute long poem she had written, with frequent references to my grandparents as ‘lovers’ and her ideas concerning what must have been the joy and beauty of their ‘lovemaking’.”

“Two songs by one cousin on his guitar. Was he good at guitar? He was not. Did this stop him from getting up there in front of the coffin and plucking away, frequently going out of tune or messing up and repeating entire sections? It did not.”

“For his second song, my cousin joined him for the song, adding the first of TWO interpretive dance numbers. She’s a highly trained ballerina, and it was STILL horrible and agonizing.”

“The whole debacle ended when ballerina cousin was joined by her sister (also a ballerina) for the final interpretive dance duet. It was… madness.”

“All of these people were grown adults at the time, 21 and over. I have no idea who allowed this to happen, but the whole thing was capped off by my grandfather’s 21 gun salute. Yes, this man was a hardass WWII vet.”

“My condolences to you; hopefully you got a laugh from my, er, ‘eccentric’ family.” – Invisigoth2113

Overall, Redditors thought the OP was right for refusing to let his cousin have his moment to convey his grief through interpretive dance.

Hopefully, the aunt will accept the OP’s compromise of taking the performance art to the gravesite instead of at the funeral.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1