Family Matters
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Dad's Funeral

I haven't actually every posted on the nest, but I have been a on-again-off-again visitor of the knot. I didn't know where to post this though, but I wanted some advice, or maybe someone to explain to me why my mom is doing this. I know I am clouded by my anger, and that I should be able to step back and just let things go, but I feel as if her actions are preventing me from finding closure.

On April 23rd, the cops called my mom to inform her that they had found my dad. He had died of an accidental overdose in a hotel. My parents divorced about 6 months ago, and her actions since then have just...

I am so upset by the loss of my father, but I am also the oldest of four children. Me (22), my brothers (20 and 15), and a younger sister (17). I have had to be strong for them and not only that, but I have to sign all of the documents and call his work and do everything else that comes up because I am the next of kin. So, on top of dead week (the week before finals in college), I have to deal with the outfall of everything and studying for finals and arguing with my mom about the funeral.

Originally, my mom didn't want to make any decisions. She said she wanted a viewing, to which I am completely against. It is nothing against those who bevel in viewings, but our family has never done them and the last time I went to one I nearly passed out. They do not sit well with me and I just can't do this. My mom's response is that I am selfish and that I just want attention.

I finally agreed to the viewing and then the next thing I knew, she was planning a full church service afterward. My dad hated church. He hated to go, would grumble the entire way to church, and when we would leave he would knit pick everything that they would say. But, someone told my mom that since my dad did not leave a will, that she needed to plan this funeral as if it was her own. I told her that I did not agree with it, that it was not what dad would've wanted. I was so angry that she was disregarding who he was as a person, and so were my siblings.

Well, I finally told her to do what she needed to do. My dad wanted to be cremated (which we are doing) and then spread on the ocean. Those were his wishes. I finally had to tell my mom that I would not find closure until we completed my dad's wishes. She told me to stop being over-dramatic.

Then, on top of that she decided that we would have the viewing, transport my dad's body and casket to the church and have him placed at the front of the church because she wants "to get him as close to god as I can". My mom is not usually religious. She goes through bouts about once a year, getting preachy about how we all need to attend church as a family and become closer to god. I was so mad, and I called her to tell her how I felt. I told her that I felt as if she was pushing me away from my siblings because she knew how I felt about the casket with a body in it. I told her that I wished she would be more respectful of my dad and that I wanted to be there for my siblings. She got mad and hung up on me.

Finally, today I read the obituary. My mom wrote it without telling me or my siblings and she said "he is survived by his beloved wife and friend" I was actually hurt and angry when I read this. First, she never said anything to us or asked us our opinions. Secondly, she was his ex-wife, although recently. The fact that she has told people over and over again that she was his wife is something that makes me angry and frightens me. I told her that she needed to stop, that she would get in trouble because if someone does not know my dad was divorced and she receives information that she was not supposed to have access to then she could end up in trouble with the law, and we have already lost our dad.

I wish she would respect me. I wish she would respect my dad. The day after my dad died, she said that she wanted us all to work together because she and her siblings didn't talk for years after my grandparents died. She said that people needed to be respectful of each other and she is not doing that. After these past few weeks, the one thing that I continue to think is that I now understand why people refuse to speak with family for years sometimes.

Re: Dad's Funeral

  • Wait… they're divorced, right?
    psychbabe314
  • Yeah I reread it again.  They are divorced… her only role is to quietly attend the funeral and hope she doesn't get too many stares from those close to him who think she's the bitchy ex.  I mean WTF.  

    She is not his wife.  She has no right to call herself such and she has no right to be involved in the planning of his funeral or any type of arrangements at all.

    She needs to back the hell off.  I would flip out at her, but I dunno.

    They say funerals are for the living, not for the dead, but this is another story.  I don't have any advice- I wouldn't know what to do. 
    psychbabe314
  • kinda how I feel, but she wont let me pay. I could only afford a cremation without a service.

    I am trying to be sympathetic. The divorce was the one good thing that has happened for our family in the past few years and it was only finalized 4ish months ago.
  • edited May 2014
    If you have special wishes or requests or specifically want or do not want something when your time comes, it's suggested that you put it in writing and give that list to somebody you know who matters. It shuld contain all of the specifics, what you do want and what you do not want to have.

    I read that on the web a while back. It makes a lot of sense.

    I am with you 100% --- if the deceased was not one who worshipped or went to a house of worship, then have a secular service at the funeral home.  Maybe a half hour service where something nice could be read in honor of the person who's passed and somebody could give a eulogy or 2. 

    Or directly cremate and later on have a memorial service in honor of the person --- fill it with music and laughter and good memories of that person. It should be a celebration of that person's life.

    If the person wishes to be cremated, then that should happen.  Why have a viewing and a traditional funeral if the person would not want it?

    The cost of funerals is outrageous (it's also suggested you pay in advance while you're still alove).  The least expensive one now runs about 15K --- and cremation only still costs about 5 grand, I think. Lots of people don't even have funds for just the cremation.

    I have an aunt who specifically requested no funeral and just to directly cremate. I don't blame her.

    I think you rmother should have stood down and perhaps offered to help you with the planning. WOW -- why did she ask for a church service when she knew your father was not a church going person??  And she is not "his wife" --- that should have been omitted from the obit. They are divorced
    psychbabe314
  • So, where do I put my foot down? I've already been avoiding going to see her and my siblings because of her. I want to be with them but I am so mad at her and we would just end up yelling at each other.

    I made my FI promise that he would intervene at the funeral if my mom tried to make me go look at the body or be near the casket. The idea of it throws me into the beginning of a panic attack. My chest tightens, it is hard to breath, and I feel as if I'm going to throw up. I wonder sometimes... If I hadn't been forced as a child by my mom to go to a viewing and literally dragged up to the open casket, would I not be so afraid now?
  • Death makes people crazy sometimes. Maybe its because I don't know your mom but I think you are being a tiny bit harsh on her. Even though they got divorced it was only 6 months ago, I'm sure they were married longer than that. I think she is trying to find her way through the grieving phase. Maybe she is trying to cling to church for some guidance? I honestly don't know. But your father's wishes should be respected and he should be spread across the beach if thats what he wanted. I think both of you are very hurt angry and sad. These emotions may be influencing your conversations and communication is hitting a road block. Maybe both write each other a letter of calmly carefully written thoughts on your dad. That may help and I'm really sorry.
    psychbabe314
  • So, where do I put my foot down? I've already been avoiding going to see her and my siblings because of her. I want to be with them but I am so mad at her and we would just end up yelling at each other.

    I made my FI promise that he would intervene at the funeral if my mom tried to make me go look at the body or be near the casket. The idea of it throws me into the beginning of a panic attack. My chest tightens, it is hard to breath, and I feel as if I'm going to throw up. I wonder sometimes... If I hadn't been forced as a child by my mom to go to a viewing and literally dragged up to the open casket, would I not be so afraid now?
    I think it would be perfectly okay for you to sit int he back or stay by the door and greet the guests.

    psychbabe314
  • So, where do I put my foot down? I've already been avoiding going to see her and my siblings because of her. I want to be with them but I am so mad at her and we would just end up yelling at each other.

    I made my FI promise that he would intervene at the funeral if my mom tried to make me go look at the body or be near the casket. The idea of it throws me into the beginning of a panic attack. My chest tightens, it is hard to breath, and I feel as if I'm going to throw up. I wonder sometimes... If I hadn't been forced as a child by my mom to go to a viewing and literally dragged up to the open casket, would I not be so afraid now?
    Very long story, but at my dad's mother's wake and funeral, my mom and I stood at the back and after a HUGE debacle, my dad joined us.  Nobody thought it was strange to receive guests at the back of the room.

    At this point, just wait for it to be over.  This is awful- I'm so sorry.
    psychbabe314
  • The back of the room is where I plan to be

    @buttercup, I don't know if letters would work. Every time I try to talk to her, it goes in one ear and out the other. I mean, I called to let her know that I was upset and wanted to discuss it, her to acknowledge my side, and she says that I'm being selfish and that I just want attention. We ended up hanging up on each other and then she texts me later after I ignore a few of her text messages, because I was at work and I told her I was at work, and says "I feel as if you are angry with me. Please don't throw up a block between us"

    But, I do acknowledge that I may be being a bit tough on her. But, past history dictates my actions towards her. My FI has even expressed anger towards her for her treatment of me and my sister.
  • @psychbabe314 it sucks that your mom has treated you poorly and you don't have a good relationship with her.  I think everyone is in pain now so well thought out actions may not happen. I feel like your mom may be afraid of losing you too. Or at least thats what i get from the please don't throw up a block between us. Maybe she is just being a jerk. I don't know your mom, you do. Maybe she is saying you want attention out of anger and doesn't mean it. Just try and not stress out too much. People are who they are, you can't change them. Only you can change how you react to them.
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