Follow
Share

I don’t see the point of going to an estranged parent’s funeral.


Sometimes people are not even notified of the death or arrangements.

My father was a very sick narcissist who never lost an opportunity to be nasty to his family. I don't know how my mother stood him but she was impressed by his learning and for that she endured violent daily arguments and divorce once he became a university professor - the pre-divorce battles cleverly timed to be in my finals year. He subsequently married and divorced five times. Despite his vocal advocacy of women's and children's rights, we were his private property to knock about as he saw fit (it could well have been attempted suicide by proxy). I was brought up by slaps in the face, the first when I was 3 and I was to conjugate 'to be' in German. Later he contrived 'discussions' where I eventually said things he could consider grounds for hitting me. Our last argument was when I went to Kansas University classes after a bath without a sweater on a day promising to be warm, when I was lectured on health costs in the USA. Sighs of relief after he was court ordered out of the house after the divorce. We heard about his death some forty years later, but my sister and I have never been to his grave.
(2)
Report

Where is Needhelpwithmom? I miss her. This is her post. She is the OP for this thread.
(2)
Report

I’ve found that funerals have in general been harder to cope with than death itself. Modern funerals usually seem to include people getting up and spouting off. It's very difficult to bear if you loved the deceased and you are well aware that the gushers were not on good terms with them. Hypocrisy rules! The get-together (wake?) is a bit like Christmas – combine a group of people who don’t like each other much, often had difficult experiences with the deceased, fill them up with alcohol, and hope it works out OK. Perhaps!

If you aren’t local, it’s expensive to get there and you always think it would have made more sense to go earlier when they were alive. If you don’t go, there’s always someone to criticise the decision. My DH’s parents both felt strongly ‘no funerals’ (FIL was a Japanese WWII POW and had seen a lot of deaths and mass graves), and most of the relations were very critical about that. Frankly, I think they missed the social aspects, nothing to do with the dead.

Do what you want, not what someone else thinks is ‘the right thing to do’.
(1)
Report

I did not attend my father's funeral, even though he and I were very close. Following his death, my stepmother berated my relationship with him, blasted me with one hurtful remark after another, and refused to allow me to assist with the planning of the funeral. I had to drag information out of her. My father married this woman long after I had left home and was earning my own living. I got the distinct feeling that I was going to be lucky to get a seat at the rear of the event, definitely not up front with she and her adult children. I agonised over not attending the funeral, because I adored my father, but, because of the way I was being treated, I wasn't certain that I could behave myself and refrain from a massive public "come apart" on my stepmother. My father would not have wanted that. I elected to honor him, at the time of his funeral, up by the big oak tree where he and I used to talk.
Do I regret not having been able to honor my father at his funeral? Yes. Do I regret not attending the event that my stepmother hosted? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
(2)
Report

Ann,

I get it. It’s hard to know what a person feels before they die.

My husband’s grandma was so hateful that she wrote hate letters to everyone in the family from her hospital bed. She died with hatred in her heart. Sad, huh?

She died alone because no one could stand being around her anymore. She had one daughter that she treated like crap. Her husband had died years before. None of the grandchildren were with her. Her siblings were all dead.
(0)
Report

Thanks, Piper

Eh, I guess I started reminiscing because the year is coming to an end. I got a little upset. Flashbacks, I suppose.

I realize after reading Golden’s posting that I identify with her and need to continue to protect myself by not being near my brothers.

I appreciate your kindness. Thank you so much.
(1)
Report

I didn’t go to my father’s funeral. I was distraught, and could never had gotten through it.
I’m quite certain that he would not have wanted or expected me there.
(2)
Report

Not related to my own parent, because I would be present no doubt as I have been raised in their belief system of it's what you do. ....But I have always made it a point to "go to the funeral" and read that people always appreciate that. I may be different. For instance I don't know at this point if I truly would appreciate my coworkers being present. In the past 6 weeks or so our secretary lost her mother. She did not even tell any of us, which is her business...I happened to see the notice in the paper. Eventually she did reveal it. I did not go to the visitation or funeral. Same for a sudden death of a younger parent of another staff person. I don't live in a bubble, but I don't take unnecessary chances during this season of flu/cold. A few years back I was very sick with a cold that slid into bronchitis and then a loss of appetite that left me extremely weak. I was out of work nearly 3 weeks. There was no one else around to help me, and no one to help look after my parents, although they functioned well enough to manage for the duration. I'm sorry/not sorry. It seems more about appearances and rituals then it is about sincerity sometimes. I know in this day and age many funeral homes have ways of setting up connections or making recordings if one still wants to be present in a way.
(1)
Report

Need, when your mom dies she will be dead so the reality is funerals are for the living. Do you feel like you need to go for your brothers? I certainly hope not! Who cares what they say?!

You KNOW in your heart what you sacrificed (A LOT and too much!) and the hurt you then experienced at their betrayal. Walk away from that dysfunctional mess! You MORE than paid "respects" you gave DECADES of your LIFE.

It's now ALL about you and hubby and your family together.

If I were in your shoes I wouldn't go. I don't know if I will go to my mom's or not, that remains to be seen.
(3)
Report

Golden,

Of course, my brothers will trash me for not being around when mom dies, saying that I didn’t pay any last respects. I was the caregiver to mom in my home for 15 years and as my husband says, I have done more than my share.

I never wanted the messy ending but when you keep trying to resolve issues and nothing changes then we reach a point that it’s time to call it quits.

Whatever they feel or say won’t be of interest to me. Now, I get a little upset about the wasted time and effort that I invested in trying to mend fences but oh well...

I suppose I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel yet. Life has a way of toughening us up.
(0)
Report

Margaret,

It’s really odd, isn’t it? It has been eating at me since mom left my home in September. I am glad I brought up this topic because hearing from others on this has helped me tremendously. Thanks so much.
(1)
Report

My comparable experience was my first husband’s funeral last year. Ours was a cousin marriage, so he was also my sisters’ cousin, as well as my daughters’ father. I chose not to go to his funeral, not because of him but because of the others who would be there, particularly the woman he left me for, with her numerous relations. I went to his mother’s funeral (my aunt’s and my much loved MIL), and it was full of Jane and her relations, all making little speeches with falsehoods about how much they had appreciated her. When I walked in, I thought I was in the wrong funeral until I saw someone I actually recognised. I just couldn’t bear to risk it again, even though I was finally on good terms with him and Jane had left him. I got a bit of bad mouthing about not attending, but it was the best decision for me. I am absolutely positive that it made no difference to him!
(3)
Report

You know, it’s funny how memories float to the surface sometimes. I’m going a ways back. Daddy died in 2002. Mom was still living at home. I took care of her but she was able to be home still. She couldn’t drive or anything so I did everything for her. Mom moved in my house in 2005.

Anyway, daddy died and our family went to the funeral home to plan his wake. I hate wakes! I had many nightmares as a child from being drug to wakes at a young age. My great aunts would tell me not to be afraid because the deceased person was ‘only sleeping.’ That actually terrified me as a child because I was afraid when I went to bed at night I would end up in a coffin and then dumped into a hole in the ground too.

Well, at the funeral home it came time to select the casket for my father with the funeral director. My brothers jumped up, ready to go look at the caskets with my mom. I declined going to look at the caskets and remained in the office. It just creeped me out to go pick out a casket for daddy.

Later on my mom and brothers made fun of me for not going to help select a casket for daddy. I felt the way I always had when they belittled me and I told them I simply had no desire to go look at a bunch of coffins. Selecting a casket wasn’t a priority for me. I was grieving for my father. It didn’t matter to me what kind of damn wood the casket was going to be.

Of course, my brothers acted like big shots and my mother loved all of the fake attention they were giving her.

Fast forward to 2013, my oldest brother dies. Who had to plan his cremation and burial? You guessed it. ME! Not easy for me but I managed. Was my mom there? Nope! Any of my big shot brothers? Hell no! My oldest daughter went with me. The younger one was in school still.

My brother wanted cremation. I arranged for a graveside service. He was buried in our family plot. I was the only one to bring flowers. I did everything. My brother got upset because I gave a donation to the clergy at his graveside service. I do not consider a donation to clergy for a service a ‘waste of money.’ As he put it! It was my money. He wasn’t spending any money. Oh, and he claims to be a Christian, yeah right. The only charitable contributions that my brothers make are to themselves.

It just dawned on me that will be the last burial I will attend for my family. I have ended the relationship with my brothers. So I won’t be going to mom’s or my brothers burials. It’s odd how we don’t anticipate how life may turn out. I really feel it clicked about protecting myself after reading golden’s post. I thank you again, golden for sharing your experience with me.

Thanks everyone for listening. I hope that I haven’t bored everyone to death. Sorry if I have.
(0)
Report

JoAnn,

You bring up good points. I think being around my hateful brothers would interfere with any closure that could occur. So I will have to find closure privately, perhaps visiting the cemetery afterwards. I thank you for asking this important question. It made me truly consider what I need most.
(0)
Report

Golden,

Thank you for sharing this. I went to daddy’s wake and burial. Things were different then. Mom and dad were living in their home. I cared for her but our relationship was on the upswing at that point.

I didn’t have as much difficulty with my brothers at that time. Not that we were ever the best of friends or anything like that but we managed to be civil and have decent communication with one another for the most part.

I was close to my dad and I was his caregiver. He was kind, gracious and humble. I wouldn’t hesitate to care for him again.

Fast forward and things are vastly different. My brothers and I do not have a relationship at all now. They are despicable people. Nor do I ever anticipate or even desire a relationship with them in the future. I have learned with the help of therapy that this is the best solution for me.

I don’t have a close relationship with my mom anymore either. Things really changed after she moved into our house. When I set boundaries and she started trouble instigating and allowing my brothers to interfere it became unbearable.

So, your experience truly helps me to validate that I don’t think it would be in my best interest to be near my brothers. So I will accept that I won’t be attending her burial. I was struggling with this. It has helped to talk it out with others that have experience in the same situation.

Thanks. I have always appreciated your posts.
(2)
Report

need - I did not go to either of my parent's funerals. My father died many, many years ago and my FOO dynamics are such that my mother and my sister were/are nasty to me and blame me for whatever. When my father died I felt my family was really no more. He was my nurturing parent. I saw him a few days before he died and we said our good byes, I simply could not face the nastiness I was already getting from my sis and mother as well as dealing with his death. Fast forward to this year when I organised my mother's very simple burial service on the other side of the country. My sis was going to be there so I decided I would not go for the same reason as I did not go to my father's funeral - basically self protection. I was tired from care giving and doing executor's duties and had already decided to go no contact with my sis (as her nastiness has continued) once the estate was pretty well finished. I have absolutely no regrets about either situation. It was much better for me. I wish you well in your very difficult family circumstances .
(3)
Report

Blackhole,

Thanks for sharing your story. It’s so interesting, isn’t it? How religion is viewed by some. My brother is like your mom. Geeeeez, if he was the only Christian on the face of the earth I would be first in line to be an atheist.

It’s a brainwashing of sorts in some churches. My brother used religion to beat people up with. I find that disgusting. He is the most arrogant person that I know. Uh, shouldn’t a Christian be humble? Not him! He made up his own twisted interpretation of the Bible.

Oh, and speaking of the excess of money spent in ridiculous ways regarding their religion, once he announced that God told him to buy a brand new truck! Yeah, right...

Meanwhile he owes a ton of bills and back taxes. Just crazy thinking if you ask me. Guess he chose not to hear what my father taught us which was not to spend money that we did not have. Neither of my parents were spendthrifts. All of my brothers became irresponsible with money. Just ridiculous!

Their foolishness is exhausting as you say. Well, you’re not alone. As you can see my family has it’s share of nuts too. It’s in every family. There is always going to be someone who is off kilter. No one has a perfect family.
(0)
Report

Hi NeedHelp: My reluctance to have a funeral for my mom was not due to extended hurt feelings or estrangement. It was just..... calling it like I see it. Or desperately wanting to.

During my lifetime, Mom had two religious “conversion experiences.” The first one was a 100% reaction to the hurts of her childhood and her awful marriage to my father. While Mom was very sincere in Faith #1, her embrace was alienating. Mom gave no thought (at times, no respect) to whomever around her felt unheard or confused — because Mom had God on her side.

Well into my adulthood, I realized - with sadness - that Mom’s faith was her loud-and-proud excuse to never develop proper coping skills.

As a result, I had to teach myself how to be a high-functioning adult with healthy boundaries. It was a long, clumsy journey.

I finally succeeded. But in Mom’s faith, this level of personal agency was not something to celebrate. It was cause for concern. 🙄

At the time of my mom’s death, she was deep into her 2nd “conversion experience.” A full embrace of a religion Mom formerly had nothing good to say about. In fact, she likened it to a cult.

This conversion was to “prove her worth” to her 2nd husband’s family. To her immediate family (her sister and me), Mom vacillated between downplaying the depth of her new faith.... and going to great pains to school us in her new faith.

Mom alienated her friends from Faith #1. Mom decided in advance that they would not accept her as a member of Faith #2.

For non-religious reasons, Mom grew to distrust the step-fam she married into. But remember, no real coping skills! So Mom would ritually embrace any and all Pomp And Circumstance - for the benefit of the stepfam.

The disconnect caused Mom to retreat into her own little world. After Mom’s late-life brain changes started, her “checking out” became even more profound.

When Mom was still 100% cogent, she told her sister and me (on the sly) that she wanted to be cremated and no viewing, no traditional funeral, bla bla.

Eventually, Mom’s death came. It was traumatic. And it was a direct result of mom’s self-neglect. Which was inextricably linked to Mom’s prime directive of “proving” to step-fam that she did not squander one penny of the nest-egg that step-dad (who died a few years prior) left behind. **Outsized religious donations notwithstanding**

Mom assigned someone in stepfam to be the executor of her estate. It was clear from the outset that there was plenty of $$ to pay for any ridiculous funeral and after-stuff. The stepfam immediately started in on what Their Faith requires.

I let them run with it.

I was outnumbered and exhausted. I planned and spearheaded the funeral because I lived much closer to Mom and her church than they did. I chose to smile and nod (and check out completely during the service) - rather than fight for a truth that Mom did not have the courage to express to them.

Important note: I never (in my life!) doubted for a minute how much my mom loved me. She always knew how much I loved her, too.

The takeaway = Sometimes love does not conquer all.

Despite the the length of my story, it’s as simple as that.
(2)
Report

I too do not want a funeral service. I definitely don't want to be viewed. I am still debating on burying or cremation. DH wants cremation. At 70/72 we still haven't looked into anything. I have told him if he is cremated, I will not have a service. He is a golfer so told him will have a luncheon for him at the club in his memory. His brothers live 12 and 18 hrs away. Neither have gone out of their way to visit just us. We r either a stop over on the way to see friends or like one brother they stay at SILs sister's and visit us for a hour while they are here. My DH is very aware so I don't need to say anything. So, if he passes first they will be notified but told there is no need for them to make the trip.

I believe that a funeral service is for family and close friends. Its a closure for them. Do you need closure? If so, sit in the back and leave as soon as the service is over. If not, then don't go. They are gone.
(3)
Report

I wonder how the very first people on earth handled burials. What was the first recording of all of this? How did we progress to funeral homes and cemeteries?

I will have to research the time line on our modern day culture regarding burials and cremation.
(1)
Report

Thanks, Jada

I have to say that in all honesty that I feel nothing for him. I am sad that things could not work out peacefully. I do not have any feelings for him though. Too much water under the bridge. Too much pain and heartache has occurred.

I have chosen to never speak to either of my brothers again. I don’t wish them harm. I just don’t want to have them in my life. They aren’t concerned about me either so we’re even. It’s sad but that’s how it goes.

I am sorry about your situation. Does not surprise me in the least that your brother has several failed relationships too. I’m not saying failures don’t happen to good people. I am only talking about people like our brothers who brought their failures upon themselves. Right? Lord, I don’t know what his former wives or current wife saw in him to begin with.

Oh wait, did I ever tell you that he claims to be a Christian? Hahaha! What a joke!

If he was my only example of Christianity I would be first in line to be an atheist.
(1)
Report

NeedHelpWithMom,
I completely understand what you’re saying.......I’m in the same situation. I’m sure brother will not notify me when Mom passes as he hasn’t let me see or speak to her for over 2 years now.

I spoke with a local police officer here & he even told me that brother will probably ban me from attending funeral. However, I’m torn just as you are. I know people will be there to offer condolences for me and my sons so how can I not be there. But yet I don’t want to see or deal with my brother.

I swear our brothers are so much alike. Mine too had 3 failed relationships due to him trying to control people. That’s why he’s alone now & the only one he can control is my mom with dementia. What a pathetic life he lives doing things out of spite, control & greed.

My thoughts & prayers are always with you because I know this is a daily struggle for you too. I hope someday we will both find peace. In the meantime just take it one day at a time. Hugs! ❤️
(1)
Report

Blackhole,

I planned my brother’s funeral because no one else would and my mom asked me to do it. My oldest daughter offered to go with me to the funeral home to have him cremated.

He may have been the ‘black sheep’ of the family but in many ways he had a bigger heart than my other brothers that I now have absolutely no contact with.

Yeah, it was a tough to go through. It was simply a graveside service. He was buried in our family plot. He died far too young, HepC. Was really hard growing up with a heroin addict.

Silver lining is that I have never or will never stick a needle in my arm. I saw him overdose. I saw him suffer through withdrawals. I saw him suffer with HepC. I saw him dying. I was the last one with him before he died. I did forgive him.

I choose mainly to remember the happy times before his addiction and there were some happy times later on as well. He just couldn’t stay clean.

At one point he was able to run a successful business. It’s so sad he could not overcome the demons in his life. I hope he is finally at peace now. I believe he is.

I don’t think I want to be buried in the family plot. I don’t think I would rest in peace there. Guess that sounds crazy to some people. I don’t know what I want.
(2)
Report

Cap,

I feel like you get it because you did not wish to be near your ex at your son’s funeral and you said goodbye in your own way. I can appreciate that.

I simply can’t be near my brothers. I can’t really view them as brothers. They are biological siblings. That’s it. So I will say goodbye in my own way as well. As always, I appreciate your honesty.
(2)
Report

Lealonnie,

You have always been a voice of reason for me. I don’t think I can ever be near my brothers again. Nor can my husband. So, I suppose I will not be at my mother’s burial even if my nephews do tell me. It’s just so hard at times.

You are absolutely correct. The person is deceased. The funeral, memorial or whatever a person has is for the family members. If I choose to I can go to the cemetery privately afterwards, when they are not around.

I tried forever to live in harmony with my brothers. Just not possible. Same with mom. I can say that I have some good memories with mom.

God knows that I tried to heal my relationship with my brother. His own sons don’t see eye to eye with him. They try to show some compassion for him because of his serious heart issues. He died on the operating table a few years back. He’s had numerous surgeries.

Forgive, sure that is wise and as you say, for me because I deserve to have peace. It isn’t about them. I appreciate the reminder of these things. Not just because of a response for me but for anyone else reading that might benefit from your wisdom. I can count on your sensible advice. That means a lot to me. Thanks so much.
(1)
Report

I'm sure someone in the family will let you know when your mother passes away. It likely will not be one of your brothers, but one of your nephews or nieces. It will then be up to YOU whether or not to attend the funeral, providing there is one to attend. I personally believe we attend a funeral for US, not for them..........so we can say a final 'goodbye' of sorts and to have closure. To hear some prayers said for the departed's soul, and to partake of a ceremony in their honor. Love and respect has less to do with the ceremony than the rite of the ceremony itself, if that makes any sense. Then there is no regret, no 'should have's' or 'would have's' or things of that nature, either.

If you're not notified of mother's passing, well then, the decision is removed from you anyway, so that's that. You'll have no decision to make.

I truly hope you can find peace with yourself about all of this before your mother passes away. Before your brothers pass away, too. Just a sense of forgiveness for all that's transpired so that YOU can move on with your life. Forgiveness isn't for the offending party(ies), it's for US, so that we can allow ourselves to move on with life.

Sending you a hug and a wish for a peaceful and happy 2020.
(1)
Report

Thanks for all of your responses. It helped to read the various responses. I appreciate your honesty.

I wrote this question with a very heavy heart. I’ve had so much heartache in my life that I am not even sure how I feel.

I don’t even know if I will have the opportunity to attend my mom’s funeral when she dies because as much as I gave and I truly gave more than anyone else in my family,

I became the one who was shunned because I stood up for myself. It’s baffling to me. I doubt if I will be notified of anything or if a notice will be placed in the newspaper.

I have no idea if anyone here understands. I don’t even know if I am looking for understanding. I suppose I am only trying to purge the deep hurt in my heart. I certainly don’t want anyone’s pity.

At this point in time I don’t know what I want. I suppose I want peace, it’s all I have ever wanted. I suppose I am reminiscing because we are approaching a new year and I am looking back at this one.

I have never had an issue with differences of opinions but I desire respect. I respect everyone as a human being but find it extremely difficult to give respect to those who have not given me equal respect which is why I felt I had to discontinue relationships with certain family members.

It’s not about holding grudges. If someone squares something away, I don’t hold a grudge in my heart. I hate grudges. But if a person holds a grudge against me then resolutions can’t happen. I finally accepted that.

I got tired of beating my head against a brick wall. I no longer wish to self abuse trying to please others and deny myself. Let’s face it. Some people can never be pleased. Toxic family members simply aren’t worth it.

I never want to feel ‘less than’ ever again. I am enjoying my husband and children again. They matter the most to me. I was lost and confused before. I was so used to the dysfunction that it started to feel normal. That’s sad.

It took a lot of therapy, the continual love of a good man, my sweet husband and the wonderful and wise people on this forum to help me see that a change was long overdue.

Thanks to all of you who prayed for me, never gave up on me and nudged me to move forward. I did not choose to burden my children or my friends. I held a lot of pain inside. It took quite awhile to even open up totally to my therapist. Thank God, he’s patient like my husband.

I don’t even feel that I can have a relationship with my mom because of the actions of my brothers. I spoke to her on the phone only a couple of times since she left my home to live with my brother.

I had to stop the insanity and ask her to leave my home and after all of their criticism if they feel they can do better, let them do it. Funny how mom’s doctors felt I did a wonderful job caring for her.

She wanted me to continue to be her ‘little girl’ that obeyed her every command and sacrifice everything for her. I tried that. My mental health was becoming fragile. My marriage took a hit. My kids missed me because I gave everything to mom and everyone else got the leftovers which wasn’t much!

My brother will absolutely try to control her thoughts and behavior just as he does with everyone else.

He had three wives leave him due to his controlling ways. The fourth wife isn’t going to leave and not collect his pension. His current wife is many years younger than he is.

My mom has no other place to go and she knows that after 15 years of living with me I am not going to allow her to live with me again. It nearly killed me.

So sorry this post is so long.
(5)
Report

monica ,
im cursing the ground you walk on right now -- its much more honest than making a show after youre dead .
(1)
Report

I will not attend my MIL's funeral---unless my heart does a 180 and I feel one ounce of compassion and sorrow by then. I'll go if DH feels he cannot handle it w/o me.

My BIL laughingly said she'd just told him he 'didn't get to speak at her funeral, she was writing him out of it'. He just laughed it off, and said he NEVER planned to do so, even when she asked, years ago.

My out of state kids already have asked if they have to come to Gma's funeral (we don't expect she will live out the year) and I told them no, they didn't need to come unless they really wanted to, nobody would 'talk'.

It will be short, poorly attended and mourned by few. That's a sad ending to 90 years on earth.
(2)
Report

No judgment. Love and support to all of you.

I truly and genuinely did not want to attend my mother’s funeral - and I planned and hosted the damm thing!
(4)
Report

Start a Discussion
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter