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Mom had dementia and was in the late stages when she fell and broke her hip last Saturday. Unfortunately due to a variety of health issues she succumbed on Tuesday. She was 96 (Dad is 91) and I'm very fortunate that I had just spent 12 days with them, returning home last Friday. Of course I got back into the car and drove back up to be with him ASAP.


They've been in a nursing home since last Sept and the staff has been beyond wonderful. The thing is we are not a religious family nor are we a large family (twin brothers, me, no extended family at all) and there has been so much friction within the family with my older brothers. As a result, as of yet there has not been one word from either household to me as I plan a service befitting Mom.


I'm sure there are many people that would say I should be the bigger person and make contact with them to give my condolences but here's the thing. One brother didn't get along with Mom, the other has just taken my parents car for himself from out of the nursing home parking lot (3 weeks ago) after he and I specifically discussed the car and how 'Dad shouldn't lose his car and his wife in the same month. Just sit tight for now' (he agreed on a Thurs and by Friday he and his twin had arrived at the nursing home for the first time in months and taken the car. I found this out when I arrived for a 12 day visit earlier in the month)


And so since Tuesday at noon, I've gotten the news, booked an AirBnB, driven 9 hours alone to be here for Dad without having a chance to grieve and after I saw him yesterday I realize that his approach will be 'stiff upper lip' and let's get everyone to drive here next weekend (2 1/2 - 3 hours for them) watch her ashes be interned without wanting any ceremony or any family friends then have lunch. What a mess.


Today I have to take Dad to the crematorium and cemetery. Already I'm frustrated that all he's concentrating on is whether we can all go out for steaks. (fyi my mom would have hated this)


Has anyone got a) any suggestions on how I can help Dad without having to bottle up my own feelings and b) how to recognize my mom when none of these men seem to care about what she would want??


Thanks in advance.

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I am so sorry for your loss. Grieving is a natural part of our lives. It's very painful and comes in waves. The big waves knock us down pretty hard.

My FIL took up with a woman before his wife of almost 50 years died! Said he just could not be alone. Forced this woman on us immediately after MIL's death. Was awful. Couldn't even grieve in peace. To make it worse, this woman was not a likable woman. She was extremely vain and wanted everyone to treat her like a queen! He removed all of our family photos, put up only her family photos. He would not allow us to say one word about MIL, not any good, happy memories, nothing at all. He wanted us all to act like she hadn't even existed. He asked the woman to marry him, she wasn't interested in marriage, said she did not want to mix up the money. She insisted on having her money from previous husband (deceased) all to herself. She insisted they live off of only his money. He moved her into his house 2 weeks after MIL died. Then they took off to a different state far away and he bought her a big house! He lost his mind. He had everyone fooled. He acted like he was so in love with MIL. Then this woman crawled out of the woodwork. She happened to work at the hospital that MIL died in. Wonder how many other men she targeted.

If he had met a woman at a more sensible time and fell in love again, we certainly would have been happy for him but he went a little nuts. Yep, he lined up this woman to be his new partner while MIL was dying. So sad.

The woman bragged how beautiful it was that she was there for him to cry on her shoulder the night his wife died. Made me sick! I was very close to my MIL. She was a lovely woman. She adored her husband, her children and grandchildren. I hope her spirit haunts them!
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Your dad is doing a good imitation of an ostrich & there are many men who are masters at it - do what you think would honour your mom the most - invite her friends/family etc to the meal to 'raise a toast to the dearly departed' - if the guys aren't on board then tough toenails .... this isn't about them it is about your mom - good luck
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Reply to moecam
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((Hugs)), so sorry you have lost your mother. Take good care of yourself.
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Reply to MaryKathleen
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The car is stolen property and should be reported to the police. Dad may not be thinking clearly (going out for a steak dinner - goodness!) I would abide by your mother's wishes and in the end, YOU should be the deciding factor. Many condolences are sent to you today from me.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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First, I offer you my sympathies, as someone who has been there.

When you're going through hard times, it's easy not to think.

I am estranged from my family of origin, for good reasons. My brother, although outwardly successful in life, is severely personality disordered (narcissistic personality disorder) and otherwise vice riddled. He is insanely jealous of me and treats me horribly. When my father died, I was who took the call from the hospice. I had the 'honor' of breaking the news to him as well as to everyone else on the list of people he wanted notified. Yes, my brother did come to the funeral and he behaved shamefully badly at it. Even though I could have predicted that he would behave badly, his father died and I thought that he should know and have the opportunity to be there, if he so choose.

If it is at all possible for you to bury the hatchet, do call your brothers. Let them know when the funeral / memorial is going to be. Don't do this via answering machine (other than, 'This is Bailey. I need to talk to you; it's very serious. My phone number is..." All you have to do is say, "I've got some very bad news. Mom died in the nursing home at.... Her memorial service is on .... at ...." Do what is reasonable so that they can go to the funeral / memorial ceremony if they choose. If they behave crappy at the funeral / memorial ceremony, bite your tongue.

People grieve in their own way. I shed a copious amount of tears when my governor / mentor died. He meant that much to me. I still mourn a little when I hear the song 'Our House' by Madness (it aptly described his digs...). On the other hand, I shed hardly a tear when my father died. There is no 'right' way to mourn. It's OK that, right now, he is holding it together as best as he can, being manly (as Western/Northern European cultures define it) and is showing the world a brave face.

My father said, 'Funerals / memorial ceremonies are for the living.' He did want one, because he cared about us. He wanted us to remember him, face the reality that he is no longer with us and grieve together. You clearly need the ceremony. Even though your father is being strong on the outside, I think a small, respectful, quiet ceremony would be helpful for him, as well. I'm sure there are people at the NH who would like to be there. Then, open up the wallet and have steaks!

Would your father mind if you helped him set-up, in a corner of his room, a nice picture of your mother, a simple LED 'candle', a bud vase and a single flower and maybe some things that bring up pleasant memories,? Let him choose what should be there--focus on the good times. It's helpful for those who live in the home, as well as those who care for him, to set up a small memorial. He can take it down when he doesn't need it anymore.

Be there for what happens next. There are many things that have to be done when someone dies (bills, Social Security, changing the title of various accounts, cars, real estate, etc). Yes, the NH probably has someone who will help him manage, but do offer to help. Once the funeral and the paperwork are done, that might be when it hits--when he's no longer busy, the weather is nice and now things are quiet.

The way you are writing makes me think you might be 'too well pshrunk'. This happens when people spend way too much time in long-term psychotherapy, where they (and the shrink) believe that you have to resolve all your 'issues' before you can leave. You sound like a 'bad' social worker--who believes that people should be all emotional, be visibly mourning and that not doing this means that there is something wrong.
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Reply to DofNarcissists
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Oh BailyP3, I really feel for you. What a tough month ! Yet you sound very wise, strong and capable, so I believe you will be ok. My main addition to the advice so far is that it's not your job to pull the family together !*** I agree that the funeral is mainly for your dad. If he wants simple, do simple. You can grieve independently from him, and with any supportive other family that exists. I'd tell the brothers what will occur (per dads choice). How they handle it is entirely on each of them. The car is a separate and legal issue. Your dad is lucky to have you. It's a tribute to your mom that you can handle this at all. Best wishes for some peace and comfort. Hugs to you.
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Reply to Nancymc
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Bailey, It sounds like you will make this a lovely day in remembrance of mom. Great job.

I am sorry that your husband can't be with you, but all things happen for a reason. I hope his dad does well with surgery.

You are an inspiration for all of us. Your strength in the face of all this, pretty awesome.

May God grant you clear skies, calm winds and warm temps next Saturday.

Hugs!
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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I'm so sorry for your loss.
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Reply to Teresa914
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Bailey, I’m sorry for your loss and for the family mess. My mother’s funeral was a behind the scenes chitshow due to my brother’s arguing. They’ve been oil and water since forever and it really came out the day of the funeral. I spent the time trying to keep my dad unaware of it and let the minister know he had to keep my brothers quiet. So, yay, like that wasn’t embarrassing, thanks guys! I was beyond relieved when the whole day was over. I spent many days in private mourning my mom, the day of the funeral wasn’t one of them. Anyway, my point in all that blather is I hope you can put aside the brothers mess, honor your mom, and be a comfort to your dad in this huge life change for him. Blessings and peace to you as you walk through this...
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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I think you are projecting your feelings onto two other people, when such feelings don’t exist. Do what is right for you and your Dad, invite them, and if they manage the long drive fine, if not, you do what you need to do for yourselves and they do the same. You can’t make anyone do anything and adding this level of stress to an already difficult situation isn’t helping anyone and you will most likely be disappointed anyway.
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Reply to LakeErie
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Thinking of you today, Bailey.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I'm very sorry for your loss, Bailey. Just this last Tuesday, and now here you are back to help your father get through.

There was a phrase I heard attributed to Winston Churchill: "when you're going through H*ll, keep going!"

It sounds as though your father wants this over and done with as little pain and formality as possible. He just wants to get through it.

You need something different; you want to mourn, and you want to celebrate your mother's life. You can do that, you know, independently of your menfolk.

This is aside but important: did your mother leave any instructions about her funeral?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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How do you want to grieve and honor your Mom, Bailey? Can you discuss what you want to do with your Dad and come up with a compromise?

Sometimes men "stuff their feelings," not because they don't have any or are ashamed of them, but because their feelings are so big and scary they don't know what to do with them. As women, we are allowed, even expected to bawl, wail, sob, nlubber, and collapse on the nearest strong male shoulder. But men don't get to do this. They swallow all that, and frankly, it makes them kind of sick and very uncomfortable.

So ... they want to do it in private, lest a tear, a sniffle or a moan escape and embarrass them. Dad would likely be mortified if you had a couple of your girlfriends show up without warning. He wants it to be a private, family affair because that's all he can handle.

A possible compromise? You and your girls show up early with the ashes . You tell them about your Mom. Remember, laugh and cry for half an hour. Lay flowers or whatever. Then have them leave as the men show up for a simple internment. Afterwards, have that steak donner, and then meet your girls again for a glass of wine or something.

Would that work?
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Reply to DesertGrl53
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DesertGrl53 Mar 23, 2019
Hey, maybe the girls could even join y'all for the steak "donner" (or dinner, lol). That might ease some tension. Anyway, I hope this gives you some ideas. I'm sorry about the loss of your Mom and hope this all works out in a way that honors her and brings you peace and comfort.
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What is it you think your mom would have wanted? I tend to agree do what your dad wants but if all you are looking for is a little more recognition somehow, saying something, inviting a few other family members or friends or flowers and a photo, something along those lines just tell dad you understand he doesn't need any more but it would mean a lot to you if we could just have some flowers, say some words, whatever the case might be when you say goodbye. As long as it doesn't mean a lot of effort or a much bigger deal to him which might just seem too overwhelming (or expensive) and you are doing those things he wants he might be more than happy to honor your needs too. Go out for steak afterwards the way he wants. You don't have to be the bigger person to simply let each brother and family know the date, time and place and even with the bad feelings that's what I would do for Dad right now. I wouldn't mix up the car with the interment and grieving of Mom and if they and their families (make sure any grandchildren and spouses know directly too) choose to not show up, so be it. When my GM (dad's mom) passed she was cremated and my dad brought her ashes up to CT where her family roots were and she maintained a house all of her life on the shore. My two brothers, father and I, just the four of us walked out to "The Point" (a significant place) together with half of her ashes sharing memories, telling stories about her over the years and then when we reached the end over looking the water we each took a hand full and each took a turn saying good by and letting the wind carry her ashes into the sea. We then hugged each other and talked about how perfect it all was on the walk back. The other half was placed in the cemetery of her choice next to her husband who had passed many years before. It was small and some would say unceremonious but it was more meaningful and special to me anyway then my Mom's mom's service which was also very nice but a bigger event, lot's of family and friends. So you can make it special and even ceremonious in its own way even if it's just you and your dad but sounds like he would like to include your spouse/kids (?) and sounds to me like that would be nice for you too so don't discourage it just because they will need to drive 3hrs each way for a 5-10 min ceremony and dinner, it might be very nice and well worth it for all. Let yourself grieve first and then be pissed at your brothers if you choose after you intern mom. Do this for yourself and maybe for Dad and or grandchildren not for your brothers.
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Reply to Lymie61
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BaileyP3 Mar 23, 2019
Hi Lymie,

So here's my biggest challenge and honestly it's all good as long as Dad's okay it's more a matter of attempting to use this last opportunity to draw our little family together. My brothers and I have not been in the same room at the same time for over 20 years. They have each only met my husband once in our 15 years of marriage. This isn't due to some long standing fights, more due to the strain one brother always put on Mom and her desire to not have the whole family visit at the same time. Each time hubby and I visited Mom and Dad preferred to have us 'to themselves' and I have many fond memories. I would say for the most part disinterest not anger has created this situation until it was necessary for me to take the lead and get Mom and Dad into LTC last fall. One brother was angry that I found a LTC in the same city that they had been living rather than staying with them and waiting for an LTC near him (3 year wait) From there the situation snowballed.

This funeral can be as small as it needs to be but I'm hoping that I can find some words that will shake these guys awake and not have any of us regretting how we memorialize Mom. Dad is already concerned that if I say a few words they may heckle me (seriously) and the concern is valid.

You're quite right the car situation must not be discussed when we are together, this is a day to remember kind lovely things about Mom and our time with her not the pettiness that has occurred in recent years. Thanks so much for responding.
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I'm so sorry for your loss. Your brothers should've known better than to take what didn't belong to them. I'd say let them know the date/time for Mom's services...then let them know under no uncertain terms that if they fail to return your Dad's car, they can explain why they took it to the cops.
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Reply to mmcmahon12000
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My daughter is going thru a divorce. When my other daughter talks about her soon to be exBIL, she says she can't understand why he is doing this or not do this. I keep telling her, men do not think like women. You have to also understand your Dad comes from an era where kids grew up fast and boys were told Men don't cry. He will, when everything is quiet and he is all alone. Right now this is so overwhelming. You should never expect him to feel like you do. The relationship between a man and his wife is so different than that of a father and child.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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I am so sorry for your loss.

I take that you are the only female, if that is not correct, forgive me. And what I say won't apply.

You will never have any reality with how males process their grief, their brains work differently than a female. Trying to get them to understand will just create frustration for you, they can't think like us either. Oh, we can get it but truly understand, nope.

Let the internment of mom and that day be for your dad, this is really about him and not your mom, she is beyond worrying about these things. Your 12 days was what momma wanted and you gave her that. Now for dad. Make the best of it, remember her with love and laughter, save your tears for a friend that will understand, not just get it or worse just tolerate it.

Your brothers are stinkers, but again, this is for dad. Give them the low down on date and time, location included. Then let it work out how it works out.

I would try to honor mom by reminiscing about the times you were all a happy family, not the present nonsense. Think of the crazy stuff you all did to make mom crazy, think of family times that made mom laugh, think of the sweet things dad did for mom and bring them up at the dinner.

Hugs, this is hard, but you will be okay.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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BaileyP3 Mar 23, 2019
Awe thanks isthisrealyreal. Believe me when I say virtually hugs mean a whole bunch right now.

Yup, they're stinkers but once upon a time we were a nice little family. Fortunately I thought to bring the old family pics with me from NY when I drove up so I'm carefully sifting thru them to create a funeral program of sorts. With luck I'll be able to create something that represents who we have been to each and it will give my brother's something to reflect upon after the service. She was a strong woman who did not suffer fools so I have a great role model and I'll get through this.
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I would do what Dad wants. Tell brothers what is going on, if they show OK if not OK. Let Dad grieve in his own way. Support him. Go to a really nice place to eat and let him have his steak. You can have what Mom would have enjoyed. He is 91, this is so overwhelming. He may be in shock. Be patient.

That car is your Dads. Its going to be hard to register without Dads signature on the title.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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BaileyP3 Mar 23, 2019
Hi JoAnn thanks for the response. Yup, gotta let Dad have what he needs I'm just trying to build a day for both them that he will be able to look back on and have no regrets. I have to admit, one of my bros will no doubt arrive in Dad's car and I've already had a word with Dad to say we need to let the day unfold without dealing with issues that are not about Mom. The car can wait, unfortunately he wants his insurance off of the vehicle and short of calling the police and reporting it stolen I'm not sure there's much that can be done. I had attempted to appeal to my brother's sense of decency and it got nowhere. At the end of the day it isn't about him taking the car so much as how it was done. Dad is so hurt by the lack of interest from his son's. So sad to watch and I attempt to pick up the pieces but I'm doing my best to keep it together as I go thru this. Again thanks
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So sorry about your mom. Your dad and brother's actions msy be their way of dealing. People grieve in different ways.

As for the car, if dad is not driving, NH may have pushed for it to be moved.
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Reply to shad250
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BaileyP3 Mar 23, 2019
Thanks shad250, completely agree that we all must grieve in our own way. Unfortunately we are not a family steeped in tradition nor religious connection so this service will be very free-range unless I can figure out a way to memorialize my mom. At this point the plan is to gather as a family at the cemetery and watch as Mom's ashes are interned in their wall niche. There is no direction, no template for what to say, no bible verses to be spoken just 10-ish people who don't communicate well standing in a cemetery in Canada in late March. I need to figure out a way to acknowledge Mom and bring this ragtag family together for Dad's sake.

And unfortunately the NH had no hand in the removal of the car so it only adds to the drama of the day. Ai yai yai..
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