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I had a close call earlier this year when Mom, her caregiver, and I went on vacation and she suffered a terrible fall that left her in the ICU 1000+ miles from home. A planned one week away from home turned into more then 3 weeks. It was so awful, stressful, and unbearable. It is hard enough to have her in the hospital when I am at home and have my car, my house, my pets, etc. to have as a base. There was a moment in the 3 week ordeal where I thought she wasn't going to make it and my thoughts went crazy about the 2 brothers I haven't spoken to for over 5 years. I had ZERO interest in contacting them. They have brought her such pain in the last 5 years. They have destroyed me at different times with their lies about me. The worst is that they are both 100% sure that I am to blame for our family's dysfunction. Over the years I have let most of their crap go, but if Mom is having a bad day and going on and on about how they acted years ago it is hard to separate her problems with them and mine. My therapist and one of my brother's therapist has told us NO CONTACT. What are others on here thinking they will do about a parent's death, about them at services or not, about everything that goes on when a loved one dies?
PS About 10 years ago, when there was still communication, I yelled at one brother who hadn't visited, phoned, etc. for months........"JUST DON"T THINK YOU CAN SHOW UP AT HER FUNERAL, IF YOU AREN'T EVER GOING TO SEE HER BEFORE THEN!!!"
Little did I know what was going to happen with this family 10 years later.

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When a loved one dies and I am in charge of funeral arrangements I attempt to contact every family member that I have contact information handy for at least one time and then I let it go. That means a whole lot of family members won't get notified and I'm ok with that. It's my personal level of comfort with what I consider to be "good manners". They kept in touch and so I will notify, or they didn't keep in touch and I won't make an effort to find them after a death. I'm too old and too tired to make a lot of effort for people who are not in our inner circle.
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Reply to faeriefiles
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Are you not meeting trouble halfway?

It sounds as if the two therapists were wise to shout "break!" and recommend that you keep away from each other.

I expect your therapist might also suggest ways for you to avoid ruminating, if you were to bring this topic up in a session. Perhaps also, ways to divert your mother onto less painful preoccupations?

For the immediate issue of How To Notify Estranged Siblings - that is really easy, honestly. You draft a third person notification, similar to what a newspaper notice might say, and put it in the mail. There is no need whatever for you to add any personal touch to what is only a formal courtesy.

It is not up to you to decide whether or not your brothers attend your mother's funeral. On the day, frankly, you should have more important things to think about than their presence or absence. Your mother may occasionally express rejection now by saying that they mustn't come, but when the actual time comes she won't have a say and won't care. Best not to tell them what to do but let them decide for themselves. If you do not voice an opinion it cannot later be held against you.

And just in case they do turn up... If I could get through my mother's funeral without punching my brother or throttling his wife, then so can you. After that, you need never see your brothers again.
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NeedHelpWithMom May 20, 2019
CM,

You are a sensible and wise woman.

A notification by letter works if addresses are known.
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When my mother died I was in much the same situation, I really felt my one sister in law had no right to go to services and I really did not want to tell my brothers anyway. In the end though, I would be the one holding the bag of “what should I have done”. I made phone calls to my sil as I didn’t have one brothers number and left message stating she had died and they could call funeral home about services. The other sil who did visit every so often I called and politely told her the same . The funeral home asked me when and if the brothers call would I like him to offer for them to come an hr early so we didn’t have to see each other. He did this and my brother and sil who I didn’t want there took advantage of it as did my niece from other brother. The other brother and sil who like I said did occasionally visit came to services and sat in back. I offered to my sil that they sit in front as he was her son, he didn’t want to but she convinced him. I don’t know if they want to cemetery or not but it gave me some closure and over time I can move forward. I feel for you, it is an awful tragedy when families go dysfunctional and don’t speak.
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Funeral services are for the living. Your profile says your mother lives in your home. My goodness why are you fretting about brothers who your mother calls rats? If you can't make it through the funeral with your brothers or their ilk there, then don't invite them! When the time comes, the funeral is your goodbye; it's for you to gain closure.
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foxxmolder May 22, 2019
Thank you for such a direct comment. I appreciate it.
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I would contact them. Be the better person. Just make a call and make it quick. Don't bring up the past.
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I was just thinking the other day what will happen when my husband passes. That’s assuming he will go before I do, which on some days, I’m not certain it will go that way. Anyway, how will I notify his sibs who have had no contact with us for years. Nada. Zip. Zero. A Christmas card from one and that’s it.

My son is in constant contact with his cousin, older sis’s daughter. I suppose when it becomes necessary, I’ll tell my son to tell his cousin to notify the family. I will make no calls and I don’t want any from them. Do you have that option? Someone who can notify them for you? Is there an attorney who could send them a letter?
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foxxmolder May 21, 2019
Yes. My mom does have an attorney. He was involved when all our problems hit a time that my mom thought it was necessary to get herself a lawyer since neither son listened to her wishes. So he would be one to do the calling.
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My estranged sister was told, through a relative with contact with her, NOT to attend my dad's funeral, at my mom's request. She has caused them such pain and for her to come and PRETEND she was upset about his death would have made us all CRAZY.

When my mom passes, I intend to repeat the process. She will not be welcome and obviously I'm OK with that.

But, it is up to each of us to decide what to do and how to deal with the horrible family members that we are no longer in contact with.
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foxxmolder May 22, 2019
THANK YOU for letting me know that when there is such pain dealt out over the years, that end of life services doesn't mean they get an automatic pass on their behaviors, words and actions over the years. Mom wants me to write a book before she dies so she can see all the lawyers notes, therapists notes, etc. in one place. So many emails, recorded phone calls, and mentioned earlier notes is all over my house. I feel like I want to put it all together for her, but I don't have the energy, even though all I do all day is help her with toileting, making meals, bathing, activities she likes indoors, etc.
Once again, thank you again for letting me know that others have not invited some family members to be at parent services. Once again, I have no idea what I am REALLY going to do when the time arrives, but it absolutely kills me to think they could show up and act all wonderful to people there to pay their respects like they never did anything wrong to her these past 6 years. I find your case was easier to say "no" to the sibling since your Mom didn't want her there.
It is such a hard decision, but since they blame me 100% already, I couldn't get any further in shi* with them by things I do from this day forward. After this much time and hearing them say....."we wouldn't do anything different"..... it makes me just say F**K 'em. Of course I apologize for my french on this site.
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I do feel it is common courtesy in most cases to contact others in case of a death. My dad lived in another state from his brother but they got along, no squabbling or anything. They stayed in contact by phone and notes. No Facebook back then. Anyway, when his brother became sick his wife did not even notify my dad. When he died she didn’t tell my dad. When my dad called to speak to him, his wife coldly told him that he was dead. It was awful for my dad. He was in shock, didn’t even know that he became ill or what he died of. What an awful thing to do to her husband and my father. I never forgot that.

In a case where relationships have gone sour, that is different. My dear grandma used to say, “Give me flowers while I am living.” Wise woman who did not like or respect hypocrisy.

Simply place a death notice in your local newspaper if you don’t want to make phone calls or delegate someone else to make calls.
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foxxmolder May 21, 2019
Delegated someone else to make the calls is a great idea. I think that is the way I will go when that awful time is upon me.
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No contact is a good rule, behind closed doors is the mother/brother relationship different than it appears in public? It's possible that the mother is the source of the estrangement and that you are the golden child, which equates to two completely different relationship scenarios between you and your mom vs. your mother and the others. A triangulation always exists when an covert- narcissist is truly controlling the realm behind the scenes. Look up narcissistic abuse, to learn more about what might be happening. I have been on the receiving end of being scapegoated, blamed for every family problem, etc, accused of whatever b.s. is fabricated. In hindsight I was always accused of what they were doing, and thus, these abusive behaviors towards me continued through out my life, I was blocked from my dad, not told that he was sick, barely told that he had a heart attack and mocked for having a mini-stroke TIA whilst I was driving to see him. I never made it to see him when he was dying, and was screamed at for obtaining his hospital information. So my perspective and two counseling degrees = never assume there aren't other things happening behind private doors. I'm still being told "it's none of your business" about legal affairs. So it never ends. In 2k19, email or old fashioned USPS services exist, to communicate;perhaps utilize those routes if needed?
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foxxmolder May 21, 2019
You are right that she says one thing to me years ago about them and then when she had a chance to say things to them in person, she either acted like nothing was wrong and said happy, normal things to them, or she told me, "That will show them, I gave them the silent treatment." Too funny, considering she never talks to anyone so "the silent treatment" is exactly how she has acted toward them her whole life. All of this has come to a head that I turned Mom against them and I am the one who "brainwashed, coerced, and manipulated her", like a person could do that with a mother toward her kids. What rats! (as my mom says;)
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Foxx, you'd better learn your mother's words: "I don't want to talk to those rats!"

Then if they don't have the tact to stay away, you can silently repeat that to yourself and maintain your dignity.

If they talk to you, it'd be trickier. My SIL approached me but wisely changed her mind and backed off. My brothers and sister didn't speak a word to me. Perhaps they were as angry with me as I was with them, but I'm not sure how they could have been.

I don't really want to think about it. Feel better!
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