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I was the primary caregiver for an elderly couple for six years. The husband passed away Aug 2018. The family is getting together this June or July to remember him. When he passed away the son just had him cremated and the ashes have been with him since.


This long delay is very different for me. I’m used to being able to cry for my loved one at funerals and I’ve unintentionally been holding back, so I am afraid a year isn’t going to help me not to cry at this get together. The Family prides itself on not being emotional.


I really wanna go but another cog in the wheel is that his brother was my boyfriend for 10 years and I thought we were going to be together and it turned out I was a fool. I don’t want to see him but I really want to be there for the father. Any suggestions? I’m pretty sure I’m going to be told to put on my big girl panties LOL. Thank you.

Grief is very personal and expressed different ways by different people. I think it's important to be true to yourself and not concern yourself with what others think.

When we had a small service for my mom my sister said loudly to me afterwards, "I didn't see you crying" as if that mean't something. I had cried so many tears at that point that I was numb plus I do most of my crying by myself.

No one should judge how another grieves.
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Reply to Gershun
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As far as the rituals go, just about anything goes these days. Some families have created their own unique traditions. Some have more than one ceremony. The nice thing about memorials is that there is no time constraint and it’s nice to have as many loved ones present as possible.

It’s important for you to go — you asked the question because going is meaningful to you.

Be true to yourself — grieve and express your emotions as you feel them. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.

Have conversations with whomever you wish/feel comfortable talking to.

You were invited and you are welcome to be there.
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Reply to ACaringDaughter
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So to start I understand what you are saying about the delay, my experience had always been that whatever the service it followed a persons passing within a week or two at most but I've since learned that doesn't always have to be the case for a memorial or graveside service to provide the closure they are really about. Because of logistics it took several months maybe close to a year even I don't really recall, for us to celebrate my grandmothers passing. She passed in FL but lived most of her life and still 1/2 the year right up until her death in CT so when we could all get together in CT we had a private celebration to spread some of her ashes and then had the rest buried in the place she had prearranged next to her 2nd husband and it was a special and emotional a way to say good by, celebrate her life and gain some closure as any service I have ever attended and a perfect reflection of her. We all cried and we all laughed, the timing only mattered because it allowed us to do exactly what we needed to do all together.

Memorials are special because they are both a way to celebrate together with the people that loved the person who passed as well as grieve individually for the loss of that person in our own life. Your concern about his son, your ex's comfort is very generous but if he invited you and has said it's ok with him I don't think your previous relationship should stop you from attending and letting your emotions flow, whatever they might be that's what this is for. Sounds like you remained very close to the family and obviously to the husband.wife-father/mother as their full time caregiver so this service is as much for you as anyone related to him or in his life. It it means something to you to be there and no one is objecting go. Your situation is a bit different from other ex situations in that you provided care for the family even after the split and wouldn't be going as an "outsider". May I ask what the status is with the deceased's wife? You said you were the caregiver for both of them and didn't mention that she passed as well. The other thing I wasn't clear about was how long ago this relationship between the you and the son broke off, I was thinking long before dad's passing but it occurs to me that maybe it's fresher than that and that's why you feel it might be so uncomfortable. As far as other friends and relatives not visiting as often as you or I might think they should, that's their cross to bear, they are the ones who missed out on time with a loved one and may or may not be the only ones who know why but it isn't for others to judge now, now is the time for everyone to celebrate a life together and grieve their private loss the way they choose. There are 2 reasons to go to funeral service, to honor someone you cared about and or to support people left behind who are grieving, later memorial services are probably smaller and attended more by people who have their own personal relationship to mourn and you fall into that category so you should do what feels right to you and not worry at all about how much emotion you might show.
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Reply to Lymie61
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Lizhappens May 7, 2019
Thank you. Yes his wife is still alive and I visit her in a facility. The son moved them from their home for financial reasons into a facility and then his father passed away a month later.

As far as the ex, yes it’s very fresh. I kept doing things for him long past the time that I shouldn’t have. I can’t say a lot or I’ll get into the drama of the details but it was just this past March.

Thank you I really appreciate your kind words.💕
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Just wanted to say. It is not unusual with a cremation to have a memorial service later. My MIL passed the end of Feb in Fla. Her remains were sent to NJ and in May we celebrated her wedding anniversary and had her laid to rest with my FIL. There was a small military service and then a luncheon at one of her friends.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Ewwww, sticky situation. How is ur relationship to the X?

I think its nice the brother has invited you. For that reason, I would go. And don't feel embarrassed to cry or tear up. It means you cared. I have a friend who carries her tissue box with her. If after a while, you feel uncomfortable, then say your goodbyes and leave.
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I just barely had a very similar situation--an old fiancé's mother passed. She was such a lovely woman, and honestly, the best thing about HIM was his mom.

At first I thought I could attend the funeral, but I haven't spoken to this guy for 40 years. I didn't want it to be weird for him, so in the end, I simply sent him a card of condolence and let it go.

Out of deference to his wife, I felt my presence would have been unsettling in a time when his focus should have been on family.

He knows where I live. If he wanted to acknowledge my presence or the card, he certainly could have.
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NeedHelpWithMom May 7, 2019
I get that. My MIL was an angel. I miss her. She was the loveliest woman I ever knew. I thanked her a million times for the way she raised her son!
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I would think that the care you gave this man during life was more honor then his unemotional family ever did or will pay him.

So, if you want to go, go. How they deal with grief is how they deal with grief, not your problem. Tears wash away sadness and help us grow past situations, but they also express great joy, how sad they repress this wonderful gift.

I think you dodged a bullet with this guy, who wants an unemotional cold fish as a spouse. I would be grateful if I was you.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Lizhappens May 7, 2019
Thank you. Your words are very appreciated. 🥰
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Because of the time of the death and the family's work or home or personal situations, sometimes a funeral just is not feasible at the time of death. 

I had a friend who died from cancer at age 63 while living in Florida.  Most of her family and friends lived in Iowa (she had lived and worked in Iowa most of her life).  My friend was cremated and a Memorial Service was held in a church in Iowa 6+ months later-- during the summer-- when all of the family members and many of her friends and former co-workers could attend.  So this type of "mourning ritual" does happen.

I agree with lablover that it is okay for you to go to the funeral service or the graveside service, but stay in the background and talk with the family members very, very briefly...if at all.   If you feel that you are getting "too emotional", then you can leave gracefully and unnoticed.

So sorry for the loss of someone that you cared for and loved.  It is okay to cry when you are alone or with someone who understands and accepts your need to cry.  {{HUGS}}
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Lizhappens May 7, 2019
Thank you for Your support.🥰
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If it were me, I'd go and just stay on the periphery of the group - in the back of the church or cemetery and not try to engage others in conversation. Then simply leave quietly after paying my respects.
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Reply to lablover64
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Lizhappens May 7, 2019
Thank you. The strange thing is they don’t plan on having any memorial service whatsoever. It is only a get together at the non-bf son’s house. He wants me there because he said I knew him best in his last days. So what am I supposed to say to the people who live within 5 miles yet only visited them twice in six years? If that? People handle grief in their own way, we’re all different, and all of that is OK, I just have a lot of mixed feelings. Thank you again for your support 🥰
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