Conflicted about a eulogy for a dying Mom.

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I am dreading giving a eulogy at my ma's funeral. there are 5 kids and she wants each of us to speak. I was the oldest and she took all of her frustration out on me with daily beatings, including bloody noses, age inappropriate tasks, because she was an alcoholic and on and on. I protected the younger ones from her, but I still hate the way that she abused me. My younger sibs have a relationship with her, but I do not. I just show up for medical visits because I am a doctor. Basically I hate the values of this vain, selfish and superficial woman. All that I can say at her funeral is that she had great taste and considered herself a great beauty. The world never knew about her vicious child abuse. What do I do.?

8 Comments

Even though she may want all 5 to speak, not everyone may feel comfortable doing so, so you may not be alone in not wanting to speak. Perhaps one sibling could speak for all 5 of you.

Or you could just say something tactful such as that life will not the same without her, which is true and apparently for the better. Then just add that speaking is too emotional a subject for you and let it go at that. No one should question your sincerity - most people do get emotional and sometimes tongue tied at funerals.

Maybe you could offer to handle some other task, such as buying the flowers or making some of the funeral arrangements, which would be in lieu of speaking.

And being rather blunt but not intending to be callous, your mother will never really know whether you speak at her funeral or not.
What you do at her funeral is totally up to you. Speak briefly and superficially if that is easier than answering a million questions. Or don't speak at all. Your choice.

At my husband's funeral I offered all of our kids and grandkids the opportunity to speak. One daughter asked her sister to include her remarks, but then decided to speak for herself at the service. The son who was most involved in Dad's life was too broken up to speak. Several grandkids did speak, most did not. As far as I know, nobody asked those who didn't speak for an explanation.

This is a very personal decision for you. You are not obligated either way. Do as you think best.
This may sound a bit harsh, but I don't get the whole pre-arranged (by the deceased) funeral. It takes a real control freak to insist on having it their way, even after they are dead. Funerals are for the living, not for the dead. Do what makes you feel comfortable and let everyone else do the same.
You despised this woman, yet you are going to let her control you from beyond the grave?

Don't discuss it now, but at the last minute, tell your family you aren't going to speak at her funeral. "I'm too upset, guy, I can't speak." If they call on you anyway, simply say, "I'm too upset to speak. I'm sorry. I'll let my other family speak for me." Under the circumstances, I'd say that's the kindest eulogy you could perform.
If you can't say anything nice about a person, don't say anything at all. I hate that old chestnut but it sure seems to apply in your case. Btw, I can't tell from your post, is she dead, dying, or you're just planning ahead?
Traumadoc, sounds like finding yourself a good therapist to help you get through the next rough patch might be in order. When I'm in a depressed mood, I think everyone is questioning my motives, looking at me crooked, etc. They're not. It's me.
We have discussed what we could possibly say at our BPD fathers service. Healing and hope seem to be the only topics that make sense. Sorry for your anguish...tough topic.
As the only surviving child, my mother insisted I speak at my abusive father's funeral. I could not bring myself to do it. I did write out a story of my father's life emphasizing his military service and WWII days from what I have heard over the years. My adult son volunteered to read it at the service. So Mom was satisfied and I did not have to stand up before others praising this extremely abusive man. Maybe there is a similar solution for you. If that generation is gone, do not abuse yourself in praising someone who hurt you so much. You are worth more than that.

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