Typically, funerals are reserved for one dead person. Mourners come together for wakes and funerals to pay their respects to the dead and to honor the loved one they’ve lost. There are tears shed, memories shared, speeches given, songs sung, and sometimes an overwhelming amount of homemade food. There’s a routine that people follow when they join together to celebrate the life of someone who has passed on, but sometimes life can throw you a curve ball just to spice things up. It’s expected that a dead body, or at least the cremated remains of one, will be at a funeral, but in these 15 stories, mourners got more than they bargained for.
Some of these stories, even though they contain people who dropped dead, are actually quite heartwarming. There’s something about a husband or wife who’s been married for decades and just dies within days of their partner. However, not all of these true life tales are going to leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, like a young man who was shot and killed by his cousin at their grandmother’s funeral, or the woman who jumped into the fire and committed suicide when her husband was being cremated. Whether it was right before, during, or soon after the funeral was over, the deaths of these people left their communities in shock.
15. Woman Wakes Up At Her Own Funeral And Then Dies
Friends and family of a Russian woman were shedding tears at their loved one’s funeral back in 2011. Before 49-year-old Fagilyu Mukhametzyanov was to be prepared for burial, her family held an open casket viewing for people to come by and pay their respects. However, as her family was walking by her coffin, they were stunned when Fagilyu sat upright and started screaming. It was obvious that doctors had wrongly declared her to be dead, and when she overheard people praying for her soul to be taken up to heaven, she freaked out in front of everyone. The shock of it all was too much for her to handle, and after showing that she wasn’t dead, she had a heart attack right there. She was rushed to the hospital but only lived for another 12 minutes before really dying.
14. Shot While Attending Grandma’s Funeral
Family members usually lean on one another during a time of tragedy, but a few members of this clan used it as an opportunity for murder. Jonathan Vazquez, 22, was attending his grandmother’s funeral in New Jersey just last year. He was just about to enter the May Funeral Home when a gunman crept out of the shadows and shot him dead in front of his family. Detectives determined that it was Jonathan’s cousin, 31-year-old Victor Rodriguez, who was behind the shooting. The pair, whose mothers are sisters, were known to have a long-running dispute that was tearing the family apart. Surveillance footage showed Rodriguez and the gunman arriving together after the accomplices had parked a truck almost a block away. Rodriguez got out to join his family while the shooter waited for the perfect moment to kill Jonathan.
13. Husband Dies After Watching Video Of Wife’s Funeral
There’s no feeling like having to bury the love of your life, let alone the person that you’ve shared most of your days on earth with. When 81-year-old Bill Cameron’s wife died, he wanted nothing more than to mourn her death with his loved ones, but he came down with a case of pneumonia. He was admitted to the hospital, and doctors told him he wouldn’t be able to attend his wife’s funeral for health reasons, so Bill’s daughter recorded the service for him. Later on that evening, Bill lay in the hospital watching the emotional recording and saying his final goodbye to the woman he loved so dearly. Bill didn’t want to live without her, and just a few hours after watching the video of the funeral, Bill died. The couple’s daughter said her parents were just weeks away from celebrating their 59th wedding anniversary, and she believed her father didn’t want to do that alone.
12. Health Clinic Refused To Send Ambulance For Sick Woman
Borroloola is a remote town in the Northern Territory of Australia. The indigenous community is typically left alone, but while many members were attending a funeral in early 2015, an elderly woman fell ill. A man named Jack Green was at the scene and called Borroloola’s Health Clinic to ask them to send an ambulance for help. However, Jack said that instead of obliging, the staff member told them they couldn’t send an emergency vehicle and didn’t give a reason why. Jack was told that someone would have to drive the ill woman to the clinic if she wanted help. Jack told them that the family was in the middle of a large funeral service and that wouldn’t be possible, but the staff member wouldn’t budge. Eventually, grieving family members drove the woman to the clinic, but she died on the way there.
11. Head-On Collision Returning From Sister’s Funeral
Tereasa Cutler was carrying a heavy heart as she was making her way home from her sister’s funeral. Her sibling had worked for an ambulance service but fell ill and died. After visiting with family and friends, Tereasa was driving her car with her children and a nephew, whom she had recently adopted as her own following her sister’s death, when she suddenly collided, head-on, with a BMW. The teenagers in her car were all taken to the hospital for their serious injuries to be treated, but sadly, Tereasa didn’t survive the crash. The 24-year-old driver of the BMW, Lewis Faulkner, was later sentenced to four years in jail after authorities found that he had ecstasy and marijuana in his system at the time of the crash.
10. Man Dies At His Wife’s Grave Site
Kathleen McCallister was being laid to rest at St. Mary’s Church in Northern Ireland. The woman, who was in her 70s, had a number of loved ones who came to pay their respects at her requiem mass. When it was over, her husband, James, stood at the door and shook hands with everyone who had taken the time out to say their final goodbyes to his beloved wife. Almost immediately, he began to feel under the weather but pushed forward anyway. People were speaking to one another about how respected the McCallister couple were in their parish as James went to visit his wife’s graveside. It was there where James collapsed and died right by her side, albeit above ground. As tragic as James’s death was for the family, there’s something precious about the elderly man letting go of life while standing next to his late wife.
9. Stray Bullet From Protest Kills Man At Funeral Procession
Two years ago, protests broke out in Istanbul, Turkey. People were up in arms, sometimes literally, about the mining disaster that had killed 301 people and a 15-year-old boy who was killed during anti-government protests. A small group of 15 students took to the streets with a sign, shouting their discontent with their government. At the same time, 34-year-old Ugur Kurt, a father of one, was nearby, attending a funeral. He was right in the middle of the procession when a stray bullet collided with his face, tearing through his cheek and jaw.
According to reports, police tried to disperse the crowd by using tear gas and water cannons. That sent the students running down the same street where Ugur was attending the funeral. An investigation revealed that the bullet that killed Ugur was fired from a police gun.
8. Woman Commits Suicide At Husband’s Funeral
The funeral of Charitra Yadav was being held in the village of Parminia after the man died from a long bout with cancer. In the afternoon, the 70-year-old’s children and relatives showed up to help prepare his body for the ceremonial cremation that was to take place near the village’s temple. By evening, the last rites were complete, and a group of people were bathing in a borewell while Charitra’s wife and daughter-in-law stayed at home until it was time for the cremation. However, when it came time to find Charitra’s wife, she had disappeared. Someone on the street told the family that they had last seen her walking towards the cremation location. Family members tried to run and catch her, but they showed up just in time to see her jump into the funeral pyre.
7. 69 People Died From Drinking Beer
The village of Chitima in Mozambique was mourning the death of one of their own in 2015. Hundreds of people attended the funeral in the morning, and then later on that day, they gathered together in a neighborhood to drink Pombe, a type of beer that’s made with sorghum, bran, corn, and sugar. It didn’t take long for the local hospital to become overrun with patients who were coming in complaining of diarrhea and muscle pain. Of the 196 people who were hospitalized, 177 were treated for poisoning, and 75 died. Of those who lost their lives, many were members of the family who were grieving from the original funeral. It’s believed that crocodile bile was put into the beer while it was fermenting. Experts say poor souls who ingest the poison can die within 24 hours.
6. Hit By A Car When Attending A Friend’s Funeral
When we have friends who lose someone close to them, we want to make sure that we’re a shoulder they can lean on in that time of need. Shop worker Tina Kenwrick, 56, was supporting her best friend after that friend’s daughter had died. The manager of the shop where Tina worked told the local news that after Tina had found out that her dearest friend’s child, who was in her 30s, had passed away, she’d been very upset at work. Tina attended the funeral, and while she was in the parking lot of the Rise Members Club, she was hit by a silver Range Rover. The impact killed her, and the driver of the vehicle stayed at the scene to cooperate with police. Her husband and son were left stunned at the news of Tina’s passing, and dozens of people paid tribute to her on social media in the days following her death.
5. Shot At His Uncle’s Funeral
A funeral procession isn’t where one would think that violence would break out, but in 2016, that’s exactly what happened in Denver, Colorado. Mourners had gathered to pay their respects to 61-year-old Abdul Rahim Muhammad, who was shot and killed while he was standing in his yard. The funeral procession had made its way to Denver Gospel Hall not far from where Abdul died when gunfire rang out. Witnesses told the police that they had heard at least a dozen shots. As people scrambled for cover, there was one fatality: Abdul’s nephew, Nolan Ware. The residents in the community did tell local news stations that there was a growing concern over the influx of violence in their area, but detectives didn’t believe that the shooting was gang-related because neither Abdul nor his nephew had any gang ties.
4. Heartbroken Husband Dies On The Way To Wife’s Funeral
In 2013, 94-year-old Norman Hendrickson’s 66-year marriage to his wife, 89-year-old Gwendoline, ended when she passed away. The pair had been inseparable since they first met during World War II. On the morning of her funeral, Norman got dressed and was ready to grieve his wife’s passing. He rode a limo to the funeral home, and once he arrived, the driver opened the door for him to get out of the vehicle. Instead, the driver found an unresponsive Norman. He was laid out on the sidewalk, and because he had do-not-resuscitate orders, the funeral director didn’t try to revive him. The couple’s children were devastated by the passing of their father, but they believed it was a fitting way for their parents to leave this earth. Norman’s body was placed in a casket that also had an urn that held Gwendoline’s ashes.
3. Shot At Home With Family As They Gathered For Sister-In-Law’s Funeral
She was just in town to attend her sister-in-law’s funeral, but little did 37-year-old Jacobia Lane know those days of mourning would be her last. Jacobia was at her brother’s house with almost 30 members of her family in Gastonia, South Carolina, sitting on the couch a little after midnight. Family members were up late sharing stories before getting a good night’s rest for the funeral the next morning. Suddenly, more than 12 rifle shots rang out outside sending the neighborhood into a panic. Jacobia was shot in the back of the head. A bullet also came close to taking the life of her husband who was sleeping in a nearby room. It missed his head by inches and instead hit his pillow. A teenage family member in the home was hit in the arm.
2. Dies In A Car Crash While Transporting Her Mother’s Ashes
A 48-year-old woman named Danielle Vale from Mesquite, Utah was on her way to Salt Lake City for her mother’s funeral. She was in the passenger seat of a vehicle when the driver encountered a wet and icy road. He lost control of the truck and crashed into the median of the highway before rolling over several times. Both Danielle and the other passenger, a 28-year-old woman, weren’t wearing their seatbelts. Danielle was thrown from the truck and was already dead by the time paramedics arrived at the scene. The two others survived the accident and were taken to local hospitals. Police believed that Danielle’s mother’s ashes were inside the car and attempted to recover the remains and take them to the family.
1. South Carolina’s Oldest EMT Died On Way To Brother’s Funeral
Ryan Still had recently retired. He had worked as an EMT in South Carolina for a number of years, and at 82 years old, he was ready for his new phase of life. As he was celebrating his retirement, Ryan’s brother, Rodney, passed away suddenly. Ryan, a friend, and his grandson were all on their way to Rodney’s funeral to grieve with their family when Ryan realized he had missed his exit on the highway. Instead of exiting to find his way back, he made a swift U-turn on the busy highway, and an oncoming van hit his vehicle. Everyone, including the driver of the other vehicle, was rushed to the hospital for their injuries. However, Ryan wouldn’t make it out alive. He died just a few days after his little brother.