Not going to the funeral, is it disrespectful to not attend?

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Hi, all. Thank goodness for this forum, it has helped me through a lot. This is the first time I'm asking a question. Two years ago, my Mom, now 88, had a devastating stroke. I've been by her side, from the moment she had the stroke, through attempts at therapy, and finally here to hospice. I have considered it my joy to honor my mother, to be with her to keep our spirits up through thick and thin. and escort her out of this world. I've been told, no less than 3 times since the stroke that she only has a week to live, and now without notice from a medical personal, I sense that she is letting me know that it's time. She has stopped eating, long stares, and circulation is bad. I will be with Mother every moment until she passes to make sure she knows I'm with her. Having said all that, and having been the main caregiver, I dread going to the funeral. There will be relatives there that made my journey as a caregiver living hell at times. I also believe that once the soul leaves the body that the person is truly gone (or all around us.) Is it disrespectful to not attend the funeral? I will, no doubt, be inconsolable when Mom dies, but the thought of being around the very relatives that offered more bullying than advice or help during the difficult times is something I don't think I can put myself through. Thoughts? Thanks.

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My thought is that it's entirely up to you. Some people find going to a funeral helpful as a way to get closure, but that's some people, not everybody. You should do what you think will be most helpful to you.
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What wonderful folks, you all are. Oddly, this forum feels like the first real support I've had! My sister, the out of town instigator, is having the funeral, and her minions will be with her. Cousins, that my mother didn't care for. (They took advantage of her financially.) I like the idea of arranging with the funeral home to maybe have my last moment, if I feel the need at the time, alone. Thank you all, so much. I wish you all peace and joy.
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ATX, remember that you have no obligation to have a funeral procession, or even to have a funeral that's open to the complainers and meddlers. Funerals aren't necessarily for the individual who's passed, but rather for those who are still living. If those people weren't or aren't supportive, you have no obligation to either invite them or hold a funeral for their benefit.

You don't have to have an obituary in a paper or online. Don't give them any notice - they don't have a right to continue their poor treatment of you now, and unless they're heirs, probably don't even need to know.

You've done well by your mother; you don't need to extend that courtesy to uncooperative and/or critical relatives.

There is one person who's been a thorn in the side of one side of the family. I cut off relations with her years ago, sent a cease and desist e-mail notice to her and have no intention whatsoever of informing her when my father dies. And I feel good about it b/c she would only disrupt what should be a respectful event.
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Wow....your post hit a nerve with me. After being the lone ranger, and doing the funeral arrangements, some of my family disparaged that my Mother's funeral was "too secular". It was in a church, presided by a minister, prayers said, scripture read, hymns sung.....but the fact that one song was "The Red River Valley" and a non religious poem was printed on the back of the program.....judgement came down on me.

If we were sitting having coffee....my advice to you would be....have a private viewing with your Mom before the funeral, sign the book, tell the funeral director to tell your holier than thou siblings you were there......Take yourself out to a nice lunch, go sit under a tree....go home and take a nap.

You are serving your Mother well now. Well done.
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Do you have to have a funeral? Maybe a small private remembrance just for you, and whoever you think would be supportive?

We had a big funeral for my Dad, and then a small celebration of life for people we were close to at the house afterwards. Maybe you could do that, and just be there for the smaller gathering. Or you could walk into the funeral JUST before it starts and leave immediately afterwards, so you don't have to talk to those problematic people. The pastor, or funeral director, should be able to guide you on how to do that.

In fact you might want to meet soon, before your mother dies, with whoever you think would have the funeral and do some pre-planning. I bet they've run into this type of problem before and might have ideas. If you do the pre-planning there will be many fewer decisions after your Mom dies, and you might find having a plan will decrease your over-all stress.

Or just don't have a funeral. They are not required. Or don't go at all, as dogperson said.

I am sorry to hear about your Mom. She is lucky to have had such a caring child up to the end.
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I'm sorry about your mom--and your pre-grieving, too.

Funerals can be just awful---and you do not have to have one.

If you have one, and go, you'll be chewed out by "family" right?
If you have one and DON'T go, you'll be chewed out by family, right?
If you don't have one, you'll get chewed out by family, right?

Kind of a no-win. You'll have to search your soul for the answer that is right. Of course you want your mother's life "marked".

Funerals are for the living. The dead don't care. It's a tradition that we have made into an obligation. I agree with Katie--do what makes YOU feel best.

I am not having a funeral for me. My kids are asked to put in a granite bench with my favorite poem inscribed in it near the crematory niches. It's in a beautiful hillside cemetery in a small town where my hubby's ancestors all are.

I believe in an afterlife--and that the ones we love are still among us.

{{Hugs}}
Liz
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Is it disrespectful not to attend the funeral, you ask.

Disrespectful, to whom?

To your mother, no, not at all. The time you spend with her while she is alive is infinitely more meaningful. Honouring her memory you will do for the rest of your life. Funerals are for the living, not the dead.

To the general public, mmmm, yes and no. There are social conventions. Among them is that a person's children would normally attend her funeral, and if they're not there it says something about the family. *What* it says, exactly, is a different question. But, yes, you will be raising questions in the public mind. Do you care? Are there people outside the family you wouldn't wish to puzzle or unsettle?

To the rest of your family, yes. So? What about them do you feel respect for?

I'm writing as someone who no longer has any contact with my three siblings. I did go to my mother's funeral, though. I spoke to friends and other, more distant family members, I refrained from telling anyone what I thought of them, and I left - I had a legitimate excuse - immediately after the service.

But take it from me. If you don't want to go to your mother's funeral, don't go. It is FINE not to go, and nobody else's dam' business.
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ATX - I didn't go to my father's funeral for the reasons you mention. I was not his caregiver -I lived at a distance - but I was there for him in every way I could be. and he knew it. I visited him not long before he died. He told mother he knew he was dying but he would not die before he had seen me again .She conveyed that to me. Si I went ti see him. Then, after he died, the family dysfunction escalated (my mother and my sister), and I knew I could not bear the abuse they would heap on me, as well as dealing with the loss of my father, who was my nurturing parent. So I didnt go. What did people think. Haven't a clue, but aunts and uncles and friends from my hometown knew my mother and the difficulties she caused. Whatever.

Do what is good for you. As others have said - You have been there for her all along and that is what is important. (((((((hugs))))))
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I'm sorry you are losing your mom.. and thank god she has you by her side at this time.

I agree with the others.... funerals are to comfort the living. It sounds like you should do whatever is going to comfort YOU the most during that difficult time. I for one could not stomach a funeral for my parents as my entire family has turned their back on them while living... so I would not want to see them carrying on and crying when they are gone.

Who is putting the funeral on?
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Nothing can honor your mother more than the work you have done thus far. If people gossip that you did not attend the funeral, so what? You did what counts.
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