My sisters organized a "memorial" lunch for what would have been my father's 85th birthday next week at a pub in trendy little town near by. This is not my mother's idea and drinking will take place. Am I wrong to want to opt out?

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Help! My very large family has decided to hold a "memorial" lunch at a pub in a trendy little town nearby. This translate into a large group of very different people who do not blend well together. This is not my mother's idea although she will go along with it. It was organized by my sister and younger sister-in-law because my sister flew in for what would have been my father's 85th birthday next week. He passed away in July with none of them present except me. Neither of my brothers will be there. One is deployed in a war zone and the other is a doctor and probably won't show up. I am not ready for this mass pandemonium and the drinking that will take place. I don't think I can do this yet. I haven't seen most of this group since the funeral and we are not all on good terms. I am my mother's primary caretaker and was at the hospital most of the time with my father. I am still grieving in a very different way from most of my family except my brother who is a doctor. Am I wrong to want to opt out of this? I woke up crying this morning.

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So glad you posted to let us know how it went, RLP. AND glad to hear that you do have some good memories from the lunch. Peace.
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Hi RLP, my father died three years ago and one thing I learned was funerals, etc. are for the living.. I would ask and do what the most important person wants, your Mom. What she doesn't probably want is fighting. If she is totally against the party or the timing is bad, you sister will just have to accept that. I also live far away from my Mom and would never do this unless she approved first. And if she approves then smile and think about making her happy for a few hours.
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RLP you sound very much like me... I have always been my family's caregiver! My grandparents, nephew , my Dad and now my Mother. When my Dad had his heart attack he was restless in his bed. I went and got a nice warm wash cloth and gently wiped his face. It comforted him and calmed him. MY Mother was amazed and asked how did you know to do that?
I am glad you could go to the party and enjoy yourself... take care, God bless
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I would reconsider the "opting" out! Sometimes we just have to agree to disagree and take the higher road. You may never understand the way she thinks, but keep the event about honoring your father for his special day. If you are uncomfortable with thte dirnking, show up early and leave after making an honorable appearance. In all my years of nursing, I have rarely found a "functional" family! : ) I would ask myself....am I going to feel better about who I am by not going if it is to make a point, or better about going and honoring my father. Good luck and God bless! Pamela
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No, you are definitely not wrong to honor your own feelings. A simple, "I'm not ready for such a gathering" should be honored and respected. We each grieve in our own fashion.
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Thanks RLP for letting us know what you did and how you fared. I am glad you have been able to move passed the anger you have felt for family members who did not "man up" during the time your father was ill. I know what you mean about still loving members of your family but not really respecting them. It takes a lot to kill love for family members but not so much to kill respect for them. I hope things go well for you in caring for your mom. I am sure that all that experience of being a special needs teacher will serve you as well in caring for your mom and it did caring for your dad. Our sick parents often require even more care than special needs children do. At least that's what I found when caring for my mom until she recently died.
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Im so glad that this was a good experience- and it sounds like
this experience helped u realize great deal, accept and see
with more clarity and compassion.
it certainly was a wonderful discussion- stirred up many emotions-
you are a wise and wonderful daughter-
im glad you shared something so personal with us.
I thank you and am very glad u dont feel like u are standing by yourself- because u definately are not -
K
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I appreciate everyone's concern and advice. I attended the memorial lunch and it created a few good memories and also made me realize that taking care of my father during the previous year had made me stronger. As several of you mentioned, being the caretaker has always been my role with my parents, nieces/nephews, and younger siblings.My mother was ill for several years when I was a teenager. I do not have a problem with respectful drinking but knew that some of my siblings would allow it to get out of hand.

.I think some of your questions made me realize what was the most difficult part about the situation (although there are other issues):
My father suffered a great deal simply because family members enabled each other with not facing the truth and his wishes. I was finally asked to make decisions for Dad by the hospital at which my older brother has practiced medicine for over 30 years because he could not let my Dad go even though that's what Dad wanted. I did not tell some of my siblings even after my father died out of respect for the struggles my brother went through due to my family wanting him to make all of the decisions. It was something he had asked my parents not to do to him. He did attend the lunch which made it easier for me. We have a good relationship. Our family became divided during Dad's extended illness because no one wanted to "man up" and face or speak the truth. Since I am a very quiet and gentle person, everyone was shocked that I was also tough enough to do what had to be done.{ They haven't ever taught children. :)} My mother and sisters did not like to deal with the "icky" part of my Dad's long term needs. I am a special needs teacher and it is a daily part of my life, so I was not upset by bodily fluids, etc. At each hospital, hospice, etc, I became close to the nurses and therapists simply because I was there and helped when I could. My mother also asked me to arrange the funeral because no one came home quickly enough to help.Some of you asked about issues with anger. I think I have moved past anger and hurt feelings to a certain degree to the point that I know I don't like or respect some of my family members although I truly love them.I watched them treat most of the year my Dad was ill as an opportunity to party and then discuss it loudly in the waiting rooms of the numerous places Dad stayed. My father would not have been happy about that ,and I did not want this lunch to repeat those times. I have always been a peacemaker but realize I have to maintain my sense of respect, also. My mother changes when the "crew" comes to see her, and becomes verbally combative. I will just have to wait for her to calm down after everything settles down soon. Your concern and suggestions have made me feel more at peace about the situation. It seems that many of you have also experienced similar issues. Thank you for your help! I no longer feel like I am standing on an island by myself.
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If Mom wants to go, see if one of the family is willing to be responsible for picking her up, caring for her during the event, and dropping her home. or you could hire a proffessional caregiver to escort her for the day, and have yourself a few hours off to hold your own memorial for dad.

But no, you certainly do NOT have to go if you don't want to. Going when you don't want to, for whatever reasons, would be a bad thing for all involved, including your father's memory.
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My Mom and Dad's generation was more interested in the big funerals and cermonies. Every Memorial Day we (meaning all the women in the family) would hall flowers down to the cemetary. It was their way of coping with family who had gone before.
I suppose I am more practical. In my teens and 20s I did not attend funerals...instead, I spent quality time with my loved ones before they passed. There were grumblings from a few family members, but I felt I owed them nothing....of course, these were the people who never showed up at the hospital or nursing home because it was "too painful" to see their loved one in "that condition."
I do not think doing anything in order to "keep the peace" is a good idea. It usually means that someone ends up being forced into doing something that they do not believe in. And, like RLP, I
would not participate in any "dog and pony show" cooked up by family members who need to express their love publically (there's a touch on NPD in that).
RLP: To each his own...if you want to opt out and honor your father in another way, on another day, then do so. IMHO I would not worry about fulfilling the wishes of your guests...I'm sure your father wouldn't have wanted you to either. Not everyone believes in the same rituals.
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