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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.

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Funerals are for the living, not for the dead. I would never judge another for not going to a funeral, for whatever reason.
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There are many reasons people couldn’t attend parents funerals. Distance, financial or emotional reasons. I couldn’t go to my grandma’s funeral because of all 3 reasons. If I lived in the same country as my Grandma’s, I would have seen her before she passed away. We spoke on the phone before she passed away, she knew I loved her deeply. I was young and I believed part of me was so afraid of watching her die. Till these day, 14 years after, I still think of her. If you loved your parent and he/she knew you did, that’s all that matters.
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Funerals are for the living.

Do you want to see and be with the others of family and friends? Do you want to offer yourself as support to someone who may be there that you love who may be truly grieving the deceased? Those are reasons to go.

Do you want the sense of ending of this portion of *your* life and experience to be marked and noted, if only to you? If you cry, only you will know the reasons, whether it is mourning the loss of a loved one, or mourning the love and happiness that never was.

If you can’t find a good reason to go for those yet alive, including yourself, take some time that day to go sit quietly by a lake, or in a garden, to reflect, to pray, to mourn, or to remember fondly those things you can, or banish as gone and done those things which are painful.
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My Dad lived half way across the United States when he died from AZ in a veteran hospital. The weather was dreadful in his home state. Not sure what do do I called my sibling who lived across the street from our home. She recently had found his will which gave her $10 and all other siblings $10 and he left the rest to me. Knowing there are six children I had no intention of using the will and kept the original with me. However, she was livid. She said "If you couldn't come visit him when he was alive, don't come now that he has died."

I had a memorial service for my Dad at my church and my husband's family and our friends came. We know loved ones who have died during covid and we couldn't attend. It doesn't make us less in our mourning. We still found a way to send something special directly to the families.

I was not estranged from my Dad. His illness separated us but I did do all I could by calling and sending care packages. Each situation is different and unique. You can pay respect and honor by remembering any good memories you might still have. At the time of his memorial service I mourned the Dad I wish he had been. He was directly responsible for the death of my Mom. Sometimes you mourn for what never was. Try to right down pros and cons. It might bring closure, then it might not. Do what you know is right.
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Stilldealing, here is a thought I hope you will find helpful.

In Judaism there is a blessing which is said on learning of a death (any person's death, beloved or otherwise, known personally to you or not):

"Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, the judge of truth."

And it is perfectly acceptable just to leave it there!
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Vamsiv, everyone has regrets after a death, particularly one that you couldn’t anticipate. You think ‘I should have done this’ and ‘what if I had been able to do that’. It must be even harder when you haven’t seen your mother for 5 years. Your family members are going through the same things, and probably that is one reason why they are upset that you couldn’t be there - ‘you should have done that’ and ‘she would have wanted you to do this’. You and they know that it would have made no difference, but all this is a normal human feeling that we all go through.

Remember your mother in your own way, and just get through this very very difficult time. So many people have so many problems. Many many people on this site have been unable to see their parents who are going through very hard times isolated in their facilities, and so many people have had to cope with deaths that they think should never have happened.

The best that any of us can do is what seems the right thing to do at the time. Wait until the pain dies down, and remind yourself that you did what you thought was best. Your mother is now at peace, and you should be too.
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I'm so sorry for your loss, Vamsiv. It is clear from your post that you loved your mother very deeply and will always be grateful to her memory.

It seems to me that attending her funeral is a practical matter. It either is possible, or it isn't. And if it isn't possible, then you will just have to be patient with your family until they let you explain the reasons. But I'm pretty sure you'll still be heartbroken if you can't pay your mother your final respects.

So: who can advise you about this? When is the funeral, and is there in fact a way for you to get there and then return to the States? Sometimes there are different rules for people in exceptional circumstances, like yours, and it would be worth finding out.

Because of Covid and the special travel restrictions it may not be possible for you to get there, but don't guess about it. Ask the immigration authorities: I'd expect you to be able to find them online.

What I don't think you should do is sacrifice everything you've worked for to return to India for the funeral only to be unable to return to the States. After all the support she gave you and all your hard work, I can't believe your mother would want you to give up your future - not even for the sake of mourning her.
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Vamsiv, what's done is done. You can't change anything now.

Your sister said it was OK for you not to come, and now she and others don't talk to you because they expected you to go back to India, and you didn't. They probably think you value making money in the USA more than going back to do your duty as a son.

Did you talk to your sister and ask why she is now mad at you? She agreed that you didn't need to go back. Then why is she not talking to you now?

What about your dad? Did you talk to him and explain to him BEFORE the funeral? Maybe you didn't because he's now also not talking to you.

In any case, in your culture, the expectation is that you, as a son, have to attend your mother's funeral, but you didn't do that, so to your relatives, you neglected your duty. So now they are mad at you. Well, give your relatives time, eventually they will forgive you and talk to you again. Then you can explain to them why you couldn't come back. Right now, they are not ready to listen to you.
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i am continuing with my previous comment here

my mother wants me to get that visa since long time and also I promised her that I will continue my helping hand to the people until I alive . I also shared her the couple of donations I did for few I known people . I wanted to stay in Us for the next 7 years not only fullfill of my desires but with main purpose of saving money and donating money to people who really need it . I get 1450$ every week which won’t give me much happiness but I feel really good if I donate atleast 100-200$ from them . So I should get money to support these donations .

by considering all these I didn’t take risk to go to India and attend her funeral. I want to keep her alive in all my donations and stated donating money with her name .

people in India including my family thinking about me that I am not responsible son . So what you guys think about me after reading all the conversation? Am I bad guy? Am irresponsible son ?

none of my relatives are talking with me now
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I lost my mother yesterday due to COVID . It’s all of sudden so quick. I was having normal talk until the last week with her even she was suffering with COVID . She told me that she was fine and just the oxygen levels were dropping and that too in a normal . No need to worry I will be fine . Those only were her final words. On the same day my father admitted her in local hospital and the doctor started giving treatment with extra oxygen. Doctor scared with her oxygen levels and suggested to take her to a better hospital. My father did and they started doing treatment . Situation is kind of optimistic until the Tuesday . All of sudden other organs were getting worsed and they told us that it was something we didn’t handle this before and told us that either to take risk with their approach or admit into other hospital who handled this before . Immediately my family members took her into other hospital . When they admitted her and doctors put her ventilation, her heart beat stopped working and doctors tried with pumping for an hours but no use . Finally my mother expired on last Thursday at 6:30 pm in indian timing .

coming to my story , I am currently in us since last 5 years. I saw her directly in 2016 Jan since then calls and face time. In my entire life I only shared all my good bad things to my mother only . She is a government teacher . I studied in her school from first- 5th standard . She was the person who changed my accedemic levels from the position where I even don’t know the value of 1.50+1.50=3 until 5 th standard to doing PhD in untitled states of America. In my entire life I asked her so many dumbest and weirdest questions and keeps on telling her that I can sustain in the society, I don’t have proper communication skills , I can’t make friends even I am good at them , people always tease, criticize me even I am trying to good at them , I am not smart and not a quick learner too , I do t know how to drive a car or bike . These were my constant compliments to her . I hardly shared my good things to her saying that I want to help people and I wanted to adopt few children and wants to feed them and support them in their carrear. Except that , remaining conversation was filled up with negativity , negativity negativity . I kept on telling this every day since the last 15 years . But her answer was don’t worry I will be there for you , you can do it and don’t worry about others , god will help you out . I have been fighting since then but no use . Since I came to USA , I came to more of my weak points where I can’t even interact my colleagues properly in my work environment. Even I am doing my work , I am unable to communicate them properly . Again I started complaining this to my mother and the conversation repeats until my final call with her . Even I don’t have any proper skills to sustain this society, I earned almost 1cr($100k) indian ruppes and gifted a beautiful 2 bhk flat to my parents. They recently shifted to that place and started new life .

I hope you all guys understand my interaction with my mother. For every body , they could of atleast some social life or they are confident enough that they can sustain here but I am lacking of those things since the long time. I am still failed to explore my strengths but where I found out uncountable weak points . I am kind of fighter but that was happened just because of my mother’s replies to all my dumbest questions
so when I came to know about my mother’s death , my sister asked me that when I could come to India and do the funeral process. I said I have visa problems which I really have and told her that I can come but I am not sure if I return back . If you are okay , I will come permanently. She said it’s okay and told me that my father will do on behalf of me.
as a son it’s my primary responsibility to do that and also if you consider the interaction levels with my mother , I should be there at this time but I am not
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My 89 year old abusive, personality disordered mother is dying, end stage cancer. True to her life long nature, she is making her 'last stand' miserable for her elderly, adult children. I anticipate she will die within 4-6 weeks, and am trying my best to just cope with the dying drama on a daily basis, and keep decent communication and support going with my 4 siblings (all decent people, who I care about and have good relationships with). I have decided not to participate in any funeral/memorial discussions, thinking it best to leave that to those siblings who may have more affectionate feelings for my mother than I do. (I distanced myself from our mother many years ago, both physically and emotionally, due to her unrelenting emotional abuse and escalating demands/unstable behaviors.) I do not want to go to any funeral or service for her, since I don't think i can bear to listen to all the 'such a good mom' garbage that is going to be spewed by relatives who weren't privy to her abuse of her children. I don't want to be 'consoled' in 'my loss', and I am sick of pretending this woman is normal and sick of pretending I grieve her illness/death. I have nothing good to say about her. Accordingly, I feel it is just continuing the abuse to have to sit and pretend through a maudlin funeral service, and not be able to say what I feel. (eg. if others can say what they feel (loss, grief, whatever), why am i expected to keep my mouth shut about how i truly feel? Doesn't this just perpetuate the secrecy/silence of abuse? Anyway, I think its better I don't go to the funeral, and leave it to those who may find comfort there. However, siblings pressuring me to attend. I don't want to cause a final riff with siblings, but I don't want to be forced to once again pretend that everything in family was hunky dory. I am so sick of the dishonesty and denial. Thank you, all here in this forum, for just being here.
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Chloe,

I am so sorry that you are struggling with this.

What helps me is being able to separate the person from their faults.

It’s okay to miss your dad because he’s your dad. You can miss having a father in your life but not the grief that he caused your family.

Wishing you peace during this hardship.

Take care. Don’t hesitate to speak to a therapist. It does help. I went to a therapist to sort out my feelings.
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I didn’t go to my dad’s funeral, he got kicked out of my house in 2014 when I was 9 due to gambling, I went and saw him a couple of times, then he started gambling and drinking again. I then got scared to see him. He kept coming to the house and he broke in once and egged everything and smashed things. I stopped seeing him after that and we only spoke a couple of times about him. Then 3rd February 2019 when I was 13 we got told by his other son ( my half brother) he has been diagnosed with brain and liver cancer we went to see him at the hospital but he died on our way there. I went into the room that he died in and I saw his body laying there and I burst into tears. I then decided a couple of weeks after I didn’t want to go to his funeral because I was scared of what my mum would think of me aswell as his side of the family. I’m crying whilst writing this and I highly regret not going to his funeral and have to this day wondered what people thought about me not going. How do I tell my mum that I miss him I’m scared of what she will think of me?? Even though I didn’t spend his final days with him I want to know if he ever thought about me at all??
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My mother was cremated and my sister took her ashes and decided to throw them in the lake with her dead husbands ashes she had been hanging onto. I think half of why she did this is because she wanted to rent a sailboat and get to go out on the lake with her daughter lol. When I found out what she had done, I didn't care. For me, death is to be in spirit away from the body. We paid for the cremation. I really looked at it as something I didn't have to do.
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Interesting that someone can't go to a funeral because of Covid, yet now they will put a person back in their homes who had Covid, just to risk the lives of their spouse and/or families. It's all coming around and it's not good for those who have had Covid, but still at risk.
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Neverwanted--

Your post broke my heart.

You sound brave and tough. A good combination.

Had a conversation with my BIL on Sunday when he asked about my OB. I was shocked to find that my BIL didn't know my OB died about 10 years ago....he was kind of being jokey about it--don't know why, I guess not the most sensitive of guys. He said (laughingly) "wow, it seemed to really break your heart". I did NOT want to talk about it. I said "my brother is in 'Hell', without question. I don't mourn him. I didn't mourn him. I was so relieved when he died because he couldn't HURT PEOPLE anymore". And i refused to talk any more about him.

When someone dies, sometimes people tend to somehow glorify them, as if death erases all the garbage that they did, all the pain they brought upon others. My OB was a rotten, horrible person and maybe 5 people cared about him. He left a wake of pain, broken hearts and minds.

I know there's a special corner of the next world for people like this, people who knowingly and willfully just went about hurting and ruining people's lives. I don't apologize for how I feel. He ruined me in many ways, and at age 64 I am still working on feeling worthy to be alive.

We do not need people like that in our lives, for sure.
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neverwanted, I am so sorry you had such a traumatic childhood.It must have been horrible for you and your brother. I am glad your brother found some peace in his new faith. My heart breaks for you both. I am glad you broke away from your parents and have a peaceful life. No child should ever go through such horror. Hugs to you.
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neverwanted,

This is my post from a long time ago. Every now and then, it pops up.

I thank you for sharing your story.

Firstly, I want to say how terribly sorry I am that you went through so much misery and agony.

You labeled it correctly by calling your dad’s treatment of you abuse. Plain and simple, it was horrid abuse!

Secondly, you were justified in not wanting to attend your dad’s funeral.

I understand that you wanted answers when you grew up. It appears that your relationship with your mom was complicated too. It’s a terribly sad situation.

I’m so sorry that you had a strained relationship with your brother. Many of us can relate to crappy sibling relationships.

There are so many dysfunctional families in our world. You know this as much as anyone else who has suffered.

I had a troubled childhood too. There was sadness and confusion. There were happy memories mixed in and I and grateful for those.

I sincerely hope that you have had peace in your life since leaving home. I don’t blame you in the least for not looking back.

I don’t judge anyone who clearly closes a door for good reasons and doesn’t open it up again.

It may take awhile before a person can reach a point to walk away but it is fantastically liberating to be free from all of the pain, right?

There is no feeling better than the weight of the entire world off of our shoulders!

Wishing you all of the peace and joy that there is in life. You deserve it!

Take care, my friend.
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My father hated me his entire life. He used to tell me that I ruined his life and that I was nothing but trouble ever since I was born. It always left me wondering what I did. He treated me like dirt and beat me like I was an animal. My brother used to wet his pants and pass out when our father beat him. I thought he had beaten my brother to death. Our parents should have been reported to child protective services. In spite of the beatings, my brother always idolized him. When he was 18, my brother had a complete nervous breakdown where he shut off the world and paced in the house for 2 years. He later found God and religion and now lives in a safe religious bubble that he created for himself in an alternate reality. I had gotten a job at age 16 and my parents took my money. They never provided any type of support. I paid them to live in their house as well as paid for my own education, my crappy used car, the insurance for it and for my own telephone (I was not permitted to use theirs). I financed everything by working nights at a restaurant. My father was the cheapest person I have ever known. He used to bring home board games that he found and pieces were missing. He gave me a used baseball. I once asked him for 5 cents for a popsicle from the Good Humor truck and he told me no because since there were 2 of us (myself and my twin brother) and it would be too expensive. He worked in construction and my mother was a high school dropout who was estranged from her whole family. Its amazing what you learn as you get older. To me, he and my mother never seemed like a married couple. His friends seemed more important to him than his wife and children. We would have been better off in foster care. When I was 40 years old, I heard a few rumors and I sought out the truth and I learned the truth. I visited a relative living in the nursing home and I asked her if my parents marriage was a shotgun marriage. Reluctantly she told me that it was. She stated that she was my father's Godmother ( I never knew that) and that no one in the family wanted him to marry her. As a result of this shotgun marriage, my father was disinherited and basically shunned from his family. That's why he hated me and blamed me for his misery. I had not seen him or had any contact with him in 10 years and then he died shoveling snow on the sidewalk in front of the house. He spent the last week of his life snowed in the house fighting with his wife. He went out to shovel snow to get away from her and he dropped dead of a heart attack. My brother called me and told me what happened and I said "so what". I told him that I didn't care that Dad died and I had no interest in attending the funeral so I packed up and stayed with a relative who lives out of state. I learned that during the viewing and funeral, my brother trashed me to family members telling them that I always gave my parents nothing but trouble and that I was a drug addict. That's the punishment (and last kick in the a**) I got for not going to a viewing and funeral for a man who always hated me, treated me like dirt and beat me like I was an animal. The only thing that my father ever gave me was his name along with a big lump on my shin where he beat me with a pool cue because he didn't like the way that I mowed the lawn. I didn't speak to my brother for 8 years afterwards. My brother still has hang-ups, he goes to church every day! He is afraid to be around people or in public. As for our mother (the high school drop out) Dad left her close to 900 thousand dollars which she spent on herself and the casinos. I wanted nothing and I haven't seen her now going on 30 years and do not care if I ever see her again. I have no regrets not going to my fathers viewing or funeral. As far as I was concerned, he was already dead before he died. Same goes for my mother. I am much better off with them out of my life than in it and the past decades without them have been peaceful.
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I am likely wrong one to ask. My parents both wanted "no services" as did my bro, as do I. For us it was about living, and once gone, we are gone, with memories of all the love and happy times in the safekeeping of those we love.
I certainly would not attend the funeral of an estranged person. If it was over in LIFE, it is most CERTAINLY over in death. The only circumstances that might change that decision for me is the request of a surviving family member who requested my presence. Because basically, again, for me it is about the living.
This is quite an old post, but certainly an interesting subject.
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I just learned that my mom died last week. My brother knew and did not have the decency to tell me. So now I have no idea where she is or if she even had a funeral. What can I do? He cant do this?
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MsKatz,

I am Catholic as well. I love offering prayers and having a special Mass said. I have done that too. I also burn candles in church.

It’s horrible that you weren’t able to attend your father’s funeral. Your stepmom should never have been so selfish. I’m sorry.
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I was not “allowed” to go
to my father’s funeral, at 17, due to an ugly divorce and his controlling new wife who married him knowing he had two months to live. That hurt, however I was a minor. I’ve been unable to attend other family member’s funerals, later in life, due to my own chronic illnesses. Once, admitted to a hospital, recovering post op, half way across the country, I was physically unable to attend a funeral. Not one family member called or inquired to my absence. Unbelievable, they began a vicious rumor that I had a “substance abuse problem” thus the reason I didn’t show up. I’ve learned from a lifetime of dysfunction and toxic family members, I need to do what’s best for me. I’m always damned if I do or do not. I did have some feelings of guilt, but I honored the departed in my own way. I visit their grave alone, after their funeral, and planted flowers. As a Catholic, I had a Mass said for them, contributed to a cause in their memory, or planted a tree in their memory. It’s not about other’s knowledge of what you do; the truth ALWAYS rises to the top. As long as you’re happy with your choice, that’s all that matters.
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Sunny,

Your mom was grieving too. I am sure that she felt that you were too young. It’s a tough call to make.

I didn’t take my youngest daughter to my father’s funeral. She was very close to him. Like you, she was upset about it. She didn’t understand why her sister and cousins got to go and she didn’t.

My parents drug me to funerals when I was young and I had nightmares so I was reluctant to bring her. Parents have to make judgment calls. Your mom did what she felt was best at the time.

So sorry that you lost your dad when you were so young. It’s heartbreaking and confusing. Your dad’s death was a tragic accident. I can see how this haunts you. I can’t imagine going through that.

This happens to be an old post that I wrote. It’s a disturbing topic for many of us. I made peace with it now. I am no longer focused on it. I understand that we all have our own situations and it takes time to sort through our emotions. I went to a therapist for quite awhile to help me.
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I mean, I didn’t get to go to my father’s funeral. He died in a car crash when I was three, and I simply was never taken to the funeral. I assume his body was very burned from the fire (he was driving a truck transporting gasoline and was jackknifed), so my mom just didn’t take me. I wish she had though as I was left confused and without closure for years. Definitely regret not going and wish I was given the chance.
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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.
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Where is Needhelpwithmom? I miss her. This is her post. She is the OP for this thread.
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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’.
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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!
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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.
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