Family funeral trauma, and mama drama. When tragedy strikes home.

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My little sister called Sunday Night, saying, "My daughter is dead." She and her husband had just been out in California for 10 days to visit. The evening they left, her daughter went for a ride on her motorcycle, which ended her life, tragically. She was only 21, leaving behind a 21 year old husband, and 2 year old boy. Needless to say, family is devasted.

Problem is, she lived in CA, and her family is in Illinois, where she and her husband is from. There will be a memorial service both places. Grandma, (our mother) lives in Michigan. This requires travel for all of us. My sister knows of the difficulties with my Mom (physical and mental health issues), and both expect me to drive Mom 8 hours to the funeral in Illinois next week.

Mom expects is, even though she threatens constantly to "take me to court" for [non-existent] "abuse." And my sister expects me to drive Mom there, even though she "doesn't want Mom in her house," because she "just can't deal with her." That puts the entire burden of transport, housing, care, etc. on me, as Mom's legal "Guardian," and responsible party.

Due to Mom's Personality Disorder, our Dad's Alzheimer's Disease, family dynamics, and several others factors, the whole situation is grievous. Needless to say, my husband and I are struggling, as well. (Not just over the loss of my niece, but by the whole dysfunctional system.)

The worst is my Mom. She has torn up her dance card with all of us, but everyone demands she be included in the funeral, and that I must facilitate that. Not only that, but everyone "hates" everyone else, with clashing values, and unreasonable expectations. What a mess!

Prayer appreciated, as well as constructive suggestions. Please be gentle, as we don't need judgements and criticism at this time. Thank you.


I am so sorry by your news I can not imagine what you are going through but since your sister does not want your Mom in her house I would not make the trip it sounds like it will be a nightmare for all of you and a trip for 8 hrs will be hard on your Mom as well as you and your husband and very expensive= would you be able to have your own Memorial Service with you and your husband and Mom at your church with your friends many people are not having traditional funerals any more and are having Memorial Services which we did this summer for my husband with his friends and mine from my childhood and had refreshments after so people could get together and in was very moving and a celebtation of his life- I am sure your and your Moms friends would be there and would not be able to travel all that distance esp. now with everyone having to be careful with their spending.
Thank you, Austin.
Just got this post and I am so sorry for your loss. You have so much to deal with and having your mother attend just seems like an impossible situation. Since you are in charge, take charge. Just say that it is too difficult on you and her. Get someone to stay with her and go be with your sister. She needs you; your mom will be fine for the few days that it takes.
Thank you, lovingdaughter.
Thank you for your thoughtful comments, ladies. After pondering them, and some advice from a trusted counselor, we are probably going to pass on the whole thing. We are on opposite sides of the fence from my sister and her family, and there was a rift long before now. We will send a card of condolence, and hope the drama ceases some day. It's definitely not going away during this critical time, and we cannot participate. My sister is surrounded with admirers and like minded individuals. She'll not miss my support, and we won't miss the partying. It's not a celebration, but the end of a sad, rebellious lifestyle. For missed opportunities, we grieve. We will pray for the family as they mourn her passing.
God Bless You. You are so wise to take this road. We are all praying for you and your family.
you dont have to observe other peoples traditions / expectations .
man, a few months ago i saw a news clip of a city recieving a piece of steel beam from the wtc with which to build a memorial . as the steel beam arrived several soldiers were standing and saluting the piece of steel . i nearly drowned blowing coffee out my nose . what next , a 21 gun salute to the cutting torches ? the delivery truck pistons ?
sorry for your loss and family discord -- people are nuts ..
MomsGirl12, do what you want to do to honor your mother and your own needs. Having a service also provides a traditional opportunity for others to meet their needs. It is good you know what your parents want.
Don't go. Get a note from Mom's MD advising against the trip and advising she cannot be left alone. Mail a copy to sis, along with a note of regret.
Not your circus, not your monkeys (old Polish proverb)
Pam, the original question is from 2009. I hope that circus has long since folded its tent. :)

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