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Family Funerals: How to Keep Out Unwanted Guests

Updated on March 12, 2014
Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Momis a keen observer of life. She hubs to share her personal experiences and opinions in helpful, and often amusing ways.

Are funerals public or private?

Public event or private event. Shouldn't that be the planner's decision? Let's say the event is a wedding. It's easy to ban unwanted family members. Simply don't invite them. The bride and groom or bride and bride or groom and groom (and possibly their parents) get to choose who does -- and doesn't -- share the special day. No invitation, no entry.

But what about funerals? Although they are also highly personal occasions, they typically are wide open. Anyone/everyone who knew the deceased may come and pay their respects.

If you are in the position of planning a funeral/memorial service for a loved one, you have a lot to do, usually in a short amount of time. If there have been estrangements, feuds or tensions within the family, you've got those to contend with, as well.

For your consideration, here are some questions to ask yourself:

Can you restrict attendance?

Should you restrict attendance?

What if the person you don't want at the funeral is an immediate family member? How would you achieve that restriction, anyway?

Should you restrict funeral attendance?

Only you can answer that question. There are a few scenarios that suggest putting limitations on the final leave-taking event:

1. Your loved one has stipulated his/her wishes in advance.

Both of my parents were very explicit in their instructions. Well, technically, Mom was explicit. Dad simply said, "I want all the same readings and songs that your mother had." Easy, peasy.

Neither of them put any caveats on who could or could not come to their funerals. That would not have been their way.

2. Budget constraints.

Let's face it. If your loved one was so popular that 350 people show up to bid him/her adieu, it may not be financially feasible to invite them all out to eat afterwards. Of course, not everyone who comes to the ceremony will have the time/inclination to go to lunch.

Socially acceptable ways around this "problem" include:

a) Having the reception at the church or house of worship. Adjourn to an anteroom and have coffee, cookies and fellowship. You'll probably capture more of the audience this way, as they don't have to get in their cars and drive somewhere.

b) Have the interment directly following the funeral. You will lose some (or all*) churchgoers to attrition. You will then lose some of the cemetery-goers, especially if the drive to the ceremony is long and the interment service is drawn out. In short, you will end up with a smaller group for the after-party.

*Remember, you can make the interrent private, thus cutting your ultimate number down to a couple dozen -- or fewer.

3. Geographical undesirability.

This probably goes under "can you restrict" rather than "should you restrict," but I'm leaving it here, as it calls for some value judgments.

Let's say a patriarch lives for 40 years in Smithtown, RI. But when he becomes elderly, he moves in with a daughter in Flagstaff, AZ. He dies in Arizona, but his roots are in Rhode Island. For argument's sake, let's say that the matriarch predeceases him and is buried in Rhode Island. Where should the daughter have her dad's funeral?

You see where I'm going with this....

If she chooses Arizona, because Dad has made some friends out there, the funeral is limited in one way. If she chooses to bring Dad back to lie in eternity next to his wife, it's limited in another way (including financially, considering the cost to get herself, her family, and the corpse across the country).

Is there a right answer? Is there a wrong answer?

Yes. And no.

Can you restrict funeral attendance?

The answer to this one is "yes."

There are five different levels of restriction (and, I daresay, variations within each):

1. Make the funeral itself (typically a religious ceremony) open,but make the interment (burial) for family only.

2. Make the funeral ceremony open, but the after-party by invitation only, and dissassociate the interment (if applicable) from the day's activities.

3. Announce the death with a notation that the funeral is private.

4. Announce the death after-the-fact. (Well of course you will be announcing the DEATH after the fact! I mean place the obituary after the funeral/interment have already occurred.)

5. Don't have a funeral at all. Have a memorial service scheduled some distance in the future. Don't promote it. Make people call you to find out your plans. Then you can decide on a case-by-case basis who you want to invite.

Each of these has pros and cons. Especially #5, as the last thing you will feel like doing while trying to grieve your loved one is try to remember who you did or didn't speak to, and who you did or didn't tell about the memorial service. Oy! Too much work!!!

Your Funeral Experience

Have you ever banned someone from a funeral or related event?

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Can you ban a family member from a funeral?

I've hubbed extensively on family betrayal and estrangement. Many of you know this subject is quite near and dear to my heart. But having received more comments than I ever, ever expected on my related hubs, I see I'm not alone. Not hardly!

So what about those black sheep* of the family? Can you prevent them from coming to pay their last respects? (Which, given their prior behavior, would be something of an oxymoron, as "respect" is seemingly not in their vocabulary).

*The feud may not be with a family member. I could be with a business parter or ex-business partner. For the sake of brevity, I'm using family member as my example. Extrapolate as needed...

I am genuinely curious to hear how others have handled this or plan to handle this when the time comes. Here are some of my thoughts/ideas on the subject (based, of course, on an all-too-real situation in my own family):

1. You can hope that the person in question "honors" their previous estrangement and stays away of their own accord. This is risky, however. You can't count on estranged family members to behave in a predictable or rational manner. There's a reason the word "strange" is embedded in estrangement!

They may either:

a) Not recognize their estrangement from the deceased. Even though they haven't seen or spoken with their mother/father/sister/brother/child for 17 years, in their mind they are fully entitled to sit in that front row and bawl like a baby. Denial is a powerful tool.

b) See the funeral as an opportunity to either vindicate themselves or atone for their past behavior. They may feel this is their last chance to make peace with the deceased -- either offering forgiveness or seeking it.

c) Attend to spite the other family members to whom they are also estranged.

d) Show up so that no one can later accuse them of not being there. This typically is financially motivated (read: inheritance) and has nothing whatsoever to do with their feelings (or lack thereof) for the deceased.

There are probably many other motives. Not being an estranged family member myself, it's difficult for me to think like a black sheep who would crash someone's funeral.

Nontraditional but functional

Oh, dough (oops, I mean woe) is me...
Oh, dough (oops, I mean woe) is me...

Ways to handle the black sheep of the family

So let's say your resident black sheep has the audacity to show up. For whatever reason, you choose not to exclude him/her from your loved one's funeral. Now what?

1. Forgiveness is king. Let's get the Christian solution out of the way first. There is no disputing that this is the best for all concerned. If the prodigal son or daughter chooses his/her parent's funeral to reappear into the fold, take it as a good sign. Assume he/she is there with good intentions. Realize how difficult the estrangement must have been on him/her all this time. Understand that he/she is a broken, damaged soul in need of forgiveness. And treat him/her like any other guest.

2. On the other hand... if you happen to know that the deceased would roll over in their grave knowing the black sheep relative was dared to show up, that's a different story entirely. In our case, the mother has made it patently clear she does not want anything to do with her daughter. She chose not to attend her daughter's recent wedding. She has not seen her daughter in going on one year. She freaks out when the daughter's name is mentioned. I think it's safe to say that if she were alive, she would NOT want to see her daughter at her funeral.

But of course, by the time we're planning her funeral, my MIL will only be with us in spirit. So we will be interpreting her wishes (adding a healthy -- or unhealthy -- dose of our own injured feelings). Nowhere is it written that the daughter is not to attend. So the call will be ours.

Needless to say, in two+ long, intense years of family feuding, I've had plenty of time to think about this. Here are some of my plans to mitigate this situation:

1. As the family eulogist, I could offer my services. Having honed my not-quite-personal but nonetheless biting insult skills right here in the Hub Pages forums, I'm confident I could manage to make a few pointed jabs without invoking a slander suit. It would be a challenge -- but nothing like the challenge my "dear" sister-in-law has put us through already!

2. We had my father-in-law's after-party here at our house. That is now tradition, and we see no reason to break with it. Accordingly, it is a safe assumption that wayward daughter wouldn't dare show her face at my door. If she does, I would take great pleasure in slamming it in her face. She is not welcome in my home under any circumstances.

No wait. I take that back. In the unlikely event that she offers to make amends and is genuinely repentive of her sins against her mother and brother, I would definitely want to hear her out.

3. We have also tossed around the idea of forgoing a church service entirely. Since the family church no longer exists (literally -- it was sold) and my mother-in-law has no affiliation with any other church, we'd have to shop for a place to hold her funeral. That seems a little odd to me. Our hope is that we can invite the family pastor (assuming he's still with us when the time comes, as he's in his 90s) to our house for a memorial service.

You may call this plan diabolical. I call it practical and efficient.

And in the end....

Note to self: "It's not about you."

The important thing is to make the event a fitting tribute to the deceased. That's what really matters.

Whether you invite the universe or keep things private, spend lavishly or go the simple route, whether you include or exclude certain people, if you do what's in your heart, you will do the right thing.

It is probably premature, but I am sorry for your loss. I am doubly sorry that in your time of sorrow you're having to think about such a crazy idea as banning your own family member from the funeral! Regardless, I'm glad we both have Hub Pages to air our concerns. I hope my musings have given you some comfort.

All the best to you and your loved ones. Mighty Mom

Hey ho, let's go ... but not YOU


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    • Jeff Berndt profile image

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      It's good of you to write this, as funerals are not something people generally plan for (even though everyone is going to die). It's good to arrange things ahead of time as much as possible. This will be one less thing to worry about for your surviving (and grieving) loved ones.

    • Tammy L profile image

      Tammy L 5 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

      A tactful way to eliminate the attendance of a lone individual would be to hold the funeral and subsequent interment on a day that is inconvenient for the person in question to attend. :)

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 5 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      I recently had to arrange my sister in law's funeral and there was someone she did not even wanted us to inform of her death. Afterwards it resulted in some hurt feelings, but what could I do? It is difficult when the person does not realize that he/she is not welcome in that person's life, even after death. I have to ad, my sister in law had every right not to want that person at her funeral!

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 5 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      First off well done. You are so funny! Who would think to write about how to keep unwanted guest out.

      Second, that is so sad a mother would not or does not speak to her own daughter and would not or does not want her at her funeral. I know it happens. My mom and I are not close. (Not by my choice.) I think it would be like the last blow if it were said I could not even say good bye to her.

      I think this would be with someone the rest of their life. So sad


    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is a really great hub. Unfortunately, there are people no one wants to see at a funeral. If someone never liked a person when they were alive, why do they feel the need to show up at a funeral? They are really there to socialize and nothing more.

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 5 years ago from Citra Florida

      Hi Mom!

      My family has a solution that many will find Barbaric. We don't have funerals, we do a private cremation and some time later we arrange a memorial mass. Personally I think the entire death industry in the US is appalling with funeral directors using your emotions against you to get you to spend more.

      Up and Useful

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

      Hi, MM...what a GREAT hub! You know, my father had a step daughter from one of the four marriages prior to my mother who came to his funeral. She did nothing strange or out of the ordinary and said nothing out of turn - to me. But she said some things to my sister about my father that were really terrible. She also (literally) stalked me by phone and email for six months until I finally called her back (we barely knew each other, and it was always inconvenient for me to get back to her). She called to make terrible accusations about my father.

      All I could think was that it would have been wiser to never let her know that he had passed, and then she'd have never dredged up the past the way she did. Her accusations were untrue, and she did nothing really except to upset her other brothers and sisters and me. It was ridiculous.

      These are very good tips! And, incredibly practical.

      Well done!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      This is really a a practical hub to make plans before you are experiencing the grief of your loss. I think you have several good ideas. We also opt for cremation and a Memorial Service at a date of our choosing in my family. This seems to be more a celebration of their life and you could easily not tell the person you don't want to attend.

      Excellent article.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Jeff-- Good point. I wrote a hub about funeral planning as well. Thanks for the reminder to link it. Thanks!

      Tammy -- Brilliant idea. Or wait till you know they are out of town for a month. Yes. I like it! Thx.

      Hendrika -- Good for you for honoring your sister-in-law's wishes. That must feel good.

      Granny's House -- My mother-in-law has a very good reason not to talk to her daughter. Her daughter tried to steal her money and put her in a home. Amazing.

      I do hope you and your mom can reconcile before it's too late. My prayers are with you.

      Jeannieinabottle -- Death brings out some very odd emotions in some people. In general, I think it should be left up to the person to know s/he was not liked in life and would not be welcome in death. But then, there are other reasons to attend a funeral. I've been to a few where I didn't know the deceased. I went to support a friend.

      chefsref -- That doesn't sound barbaric to me at all. Cremation is an increasingly popular choice. I like your family's tradition!

      Motown2Chitown -- That story is exactly what I'm talking about. Some peripheral person with a grudge coming and runining other people's time/memories. She sounds unstable to me. But thanks for reading. Glad you enjoyed!


    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA


      Your family's approach is (IMHO) the best. I like doing the memorial service after the initial grief/shock has worn off. And a celebration of life is such a positive thing. No wonder they are catching on!

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 5 years ago

      Think each funeral/memorial/family situation is so totally different there is no one way to answer this question, but I really appreciate the hub, as it hit home too hard from a totally different perspective, and I've been reminded by many for too many years to "let it go." Some things are extremely difficult to "let go." When my daughter's father died years ago, she needed her grandmother to come to his funeral. He was an only child, and although his mother had remarried many years before and reared three other children, she and he had remained very close, and I loved her dearly (as I had her son even after we divorced). Unfortunately, her husband had created severe rifts in the family, beginning w/my ex when he married his mother; but they/we had all 'coped'. None of us wanted him around for the funeral particularly, but would not have excluded him out of deference to his mother. Money came into play. He was loaded--money wasn't an issue, but he made it one so my daughter (18, in college and working) and I went in together to get her grandmother a round-trip plane ticket to attended her only son's funeral. The person (refuse to call him human--God didn't create us to be that way) to whom she was married refused to let her come. His son-in-law (married to his favorite daughter) was a good man and tried to reason w/him; he said he would take her to the airport (another city) and be responsible, etc. (he also brought up age--she was in her late 60's!). "I need her here to look after me. I had knee surgery a month ago, and I still need help." The son-in-law said they would take care of his needs (minimal by then), but he refused to let her come. My daughter has never forgotten it, and neither have I. Personally, I don't belief in an immortal soul, but believe death is a finality until a later resurrection. That's a personal belief, and it's kept me from thinking my daughter's father knew what happened. Unfortunately, his mother lived much longer, and when her heart gave out, her husband refused to tell my daughter which hospital she was in--we finally tracked her down but were "not on the list to get information" and when my daughter decided to fly up I was going w/her and the same son-in-law called the night before our flight to tell us she had died. Hate? I've tried not to. Forgive? I've tried. I call myself a Christian, but some people cause so much grief to others they don't deserve the honor of being present at one's funeral. It's an honor to celebrate one's life and mourn one's death; one whose life is that of selfishness and unbelievable hurt toward others does not, in my opinion, deserve that honor. Good hub. Sorry I got carried away--I have to agree w/Pamela99 and also w/chefsref--and, no, ref, I don't think it's barbaric!

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 5 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      I like chefsref comment. I too think the industry is using people's emotions to make money

      I saw a program on TV. where they even said this

      Back in the day the deceased was kept at home and the family took care of them. Each family member would even take turns sitting with the deceased all night so they would not ever be alone.

      My mom doesn't even know her great grandchildren. She doesn't care to. She knows her neighbors grandkids better then she knows her own. I have asked her to birthday parties and she turns me down every time.I have invited her to Christmas and Thanksgiving and at the last minute when I call to let her know I am on my way she will say she is not coming. This Mother's Day I call and asked her if she would like to go out for Mother's Day, she said yes. That morning I called and called to let her know I was on my way, she did not answer the phone. So I called my sister(her favorite) and told her mom will not answer the phone. She called her and guess what? Mom answered right away. She told my sister she was sick and was not going. Yet she would not answer the phone when I called? Sounds fishy to me

      Oh well. It will not happen again. I will not set myself up to be hurt again. I am DONE!

      I have a great relationship with my kids. It hurts them to see how my mom hurts me. I will not do that to them anymore.

      Sorry for the rant.


      Thank you. Through your Hub and comments we can see it is alright the way we feel if we do not want someone with us at this time.

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 5 years ago from USA or America

      Hey Mighty Mom, that's one nicely laid out hub. I have limited experience with funerals, but have had enough people in my family who have died. I was not in charge of any of the funerals I have attended, so I wouldn't know much about unwanted guests. However, as an example, my mother, who is still presently alive, has chosen to make sure that only specific people are allowed to attend her funeral. She has already bought and paid for the services, sometime back(like 7 or 10 years ago).

      The only people who will be attending her funeral services are the people in the know of her death. It will not be displayed in the newspaper so other people can know about her death or attend any sort of services. There will not be a reception afterward, so that is not a problem. There will be only specific people in attendance during her short ceremony. She isn't being buried in a cemetery, because she is being cremated. Great Hub! Very helpful to others, as always. :) Thumbs up! :)

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello hubber friends. I have been off HP for a few days (will explain in another hub or forum post). I am actually delighted to return and see that my hub has invited ranting. That's the idea, IMO. Many of us have unspeakable hurts in our families.

      We can't make sense of them and forgiveness is a giant stretch, even pulling out every Christian (or other) stop in our toolbox.

      Teylina -- Your story breaks my heart. Adults behaving badly in front of children. You can see this man is sick and controlling. He deserves what he gets. You did your best. I'm so sorry!

      Granny's House -- My heart goes out to you and everyone in your family. Whatever is causing your mother to act in such a childish, petty way? From where I sit, the best (only) way to deal with it is what you are doing. Back away. Sometimes that causes a vacuum and the other person comes toward you. But not always.

      Meantime, you have to protect yourself. And your kids, who are innocent bystanders, as are their children. That's a lot of wreckage from one vindictive woman!!

      I have a term for going back to family members for emotional support (or even normal behavior) in spite of repeated rebuffs. It's called "going back to the well." I swore to myself many, many times I would not. But my nature never allowed me to give up hope.

      With my sister-in-law there is no hope. She is not worth any effort and our lives are calmer without her interference.

      I hope you will be ok with your decision. If you feel like it, hub about it! I bet you will get a lot of empathizers!!

      Cags -- It is good that you know what your mother's wishes are. Too often we don't. And we are left to guess and interpret without any real grasp of what our loved one would have wanted. Your mom's wishes are very specific. She obviously has her own reasons for wanting the information and acknowledgment of her death held closely. That is her choice and knowing you, I know you will respect it.

      Thanks for the thumbs up, friend.

      P.S. I think I will write soon about cremation as the modern alternative to burial. Lots and lots of advantages...

      Thanks again, all. Come back anytime with updates! MM

    • MrTrustStore profile image

      Randall Kaiden 5 years ago from Oxnard & Santa Clarita, CA

      Wow, your hubs are so fun to read! You should write a book about your family experiences, etc. I'd definitely buy it! :)

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Wow MrTrustStore,

      I appreciate the compliment. But can I really TRUST you? How do I know you don't work for my evil sister-in-law? LOL! Seriously. Thanks. MM

    • SueShepard profile image

      SueShepard 5 years ago from USA

      Interesting topic. I am actually considered the black sheep by a family member, so I am sure this will be a problem in the future. Hmmm.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      s-i-g-h- - -

      A most interesting and informative hub. One never knows. sigh.

    • profile image

      34th Bomb Group 5 years ago

      I had an elderly male friend who passed away about 2 years ago. He told me, more than once, that he did NOT want a certain local politian to see him lying in his casket. A mutual friend now living in Alabama called to ensure I was up to the matter at hand.

      This person did not appear at the wake - a full day's worth of wake. He DID appear - LATE - for the service which was held at the funeral parlor.

      I thought I was off the hook! Nope - this cretin arrived about 5 minutes late after we had all been seated. I crawled over about 5 people and got him as just he and his buddy were entering the parlor proper.

      Kind of went like this: Me: "Out! Now!" (in appropriate tone with finger pointing out the door. Yes, I know pointing is rude. Him: "No-this is a public place." Me: "You are not welcome here. Leave NOW!" Funeral Home Guy: "It's okay," Me: "NO IT ISN'T! Leave here NOW!"

      Bozo Town Supervisor tried to wheedle his way through Funeral Home Guy 'cause Bozo was SO important. "Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah...

      Bozo DID NOT come any farther - he left. My dear Wes had his final wish of me granted. In spades. People STILL talk about it!

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

      GOOD FOR YOU, 34th BOMB GROUP. Way to honor your friend.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      SueShepard -- I was the black sheep for years. Then my son took over the dubious honor. But in our family no one is that ostracized that they wouldn't be welcome at a funeral. If you have any problems, give me a holler and I'll come over there and support you!

      Nellieanna -- Not sure what your cryptic comment means, but thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I hope it doesn't bring up unpleasant thoughts for you!

      34th Bomb Group -- I'm with M2C (usually am -- we think alike!). You are DA BOMB! That is the perfect story of honoring the deceased's wishes. You were great!

      Where can I reach you? When the time comes I may need reinforcement to keep my evil sister-in-law OUT, NOW!!!

      Ha! This makes me happy that other people have actually experienced this! MM

    • DayLeeWriter profile image

      Debra Cornelius 5 years ago from Georgia

      My grandmother died this past weekend and was cremated, I voluntarily chose to stay away from the plundering of her belongings before the service had even been planned. Did not attend the service will instead pay my respects privately ...

      My opinion that my dysfunctional family put the dysfunction in that description and the older I get the less I can handle the family insanity!

      When my time comes to go I'm making arrangements to do so privately and not inform the rest of the clan until after all is said and done...

      Great hub...timely topic!

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 5 years ago

      Been keeping up w/this hub of MM's because it's one kinda 'close to my heart.' 34thbomb: way to go, man! Quite the friend one really appreciates. Better to make a small scene than feel you've let your friend down for the rest of your life! and DayLeeWriter, I am sorry about your grandmother, and I definitely understand your being less able to handle the dysfunction that all-too-often rears its ugly head! This has been such a thought-provoking and fascinating hub, it needs some special attention--not sure what. Any ideas, anybody? Mine are all sorta macabre

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

      Teylina, I totally agree with your take on 34th BOMB GROUP's actions. DayLeeWriter, I also want to offer my condolences on your Grandmother's passing. Will send some positive and healing thoughts your way today. :-)

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 5 years ago

      Thanks for writing this hub. I'm only middleaged, but going through death of parents, and death of friends parents, I want to set things up better. I didn't want to plan my own funeral, because i thought it would be self aggrandizing, and funerals are for the living people not the deceased anyway, but i am realizing planning your own funeral is a great gift to the living. They can focus on greiving instead of practical decisions while they are in the initial shock phase.

      I also really like the idea of cremation. I have one question for those who know: what are the choices for what to do with the ashes? I've heard of scattering. Does that mean there is then no "marker"? Is that psychologically hard for the family (Not having a place or object to associate with the deceased)? If you don't scatter, then I think there is some type of container. I just wouldn't want a container to be a burden to one of my kids. These days people move alot, and i don't want to leave them with an object they need to cart around. Sorry if i sound too practical. I feel like I'd rather leave a letter or a picture as something to remember me by. What I'd really like to be remembered by of course is how much I cared about them. OK, I feel like I'm rambling, but maybe someone could tell me what worked out best for them as a child in dealing with a parents remains.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      MM - Thanks for the reply. Sorry about being too cryptic. Now that I think about it, I can understand!

      Sighing was merely a gut response to personal memories of loss, as well as sort of disgust with a general commercialism of funerals which also creeps into weddings.

      But they are important ceremonies and should represent the participants' comfort by being arranged as the deceased would have preferred and the survivors can best treasure.

      My most recent experience was almost 3 years ago with the death of my beloved husband and soul-mate. It's ever fresh on my mind so this didn't exacerbate it. If anything, it reminded me that the actual ceremony was lovely and memorable and the guests were pleasant and caring. I've lost my parents, all of my siblings (one with her entire family of 3 children & husband), plus several life-long friends. Death is a natural thing, however much we might wish otherwise. For survivors, it's a greater challenge, perhaps.

      The impact of death varies with circumstances but it is an intensely personal one when it involved loved ones. The actual formalities of it serve to help one accept it and resume living, so how it's experienced should be for the benefit of those who must do so. The spirit of the deceased is in another sphere unaffected by the proceedings, with the body being left behind to "return to earth". Memory of the person is a kind of immortality.

      Unwanted guests would be most disturbing, no doubt. Any bad motives for attending seem bizarre to me! I've never experienced or even considered that occurring. I didn't realize it was an actual likely problem area, but I suppose it's only realistic that it could be. That's what my comment "one never knows" meant.

      Your hub is very valuable!

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

      Hi there, grace (MM, hope you mind me busting in here). My mother was cremated...eleven years ago it cost just under $1500. As to options after. They offered us an urn. We declined, because one of my mother's friends gave her a plot in the local cemetery (my mother lived in a very small town). So her cremains were returned in a very sturdy black, plastic box, and we buried them. This is something I know that you don't have to worry about, but if your family member/friend is Catholic, then the scattering of ashes is not an option. They may be kept in an urn, or buried, but not scattered. I don't know if there are other options or not, but those are a couple that I'm aware of.


    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Soooo great to see the discussion going on here.

      This hub seems to have attracted the smart, articulate, sane and wonderful women of Hub Pages. Wonder why that is.

      DayLeeWriter, I add my condolences on the loss of your grandmother. Good for you for handling the family dysfunction with such maturity. I'm sure Grandma will appreciate your private memorial to her.

      Teylina -- Welcome to the Mighty Mom Macabre Club:-).

      But as pointed out by Nellianna, death IS part of life. And funerals are really a ceremony on par with marriages. They're the last chance to officially, publicly (or semi-privately) honor the deceased. Their 15 minutes of fame, if you will.

      So I don't think it's dark at all to talk about the possibilities!!

      Re: Cremation. My mom opted for cremation and as a result my dad, who had planned to be buried in a military cemetary, chose the same. They have side-by-side markers in a lovely Catholic cemetary. To me, it is important to have a place to go and speak to them.

      My sister-in-law (I never met her) was cremated and her ashes scattered at the beach. We visit the spot often (actually, hubby and I got married right above it on the bluff!). Her spirit is DEFINITELY there!

      We have the box with my father-in-law's ashes, waiting for my mother-in-law to join him in death. Then we will scatter their ashes together...

      You can pre-pay your cremation with the Nautilus or Neptune Society. They handle the whole thing -- come and remove the body from the house (or wherever) and are very professional.

      One thing you do NOT need to do with a cremation is pay for a casket! At least, that makes no sense to me.

      Unless, I guess, you want to have a wake and viewing of the body before cremation. But to me, that's a huge expense that serves no useful purpose.

      Anyway, ladies. I have to go back to work. Please do carry on in your discussions of families and funerals.

      Thanks for visiting ALL! MM

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      There are so many issues people just don't think about and when the time comes, they are forced to make decisions when they should be grieving.

      I experienced a similar thing. My Aunt wanted to be cremated even though we are Jewish. I knew some of her friends may not understand or appreciate her desires and I was wondering if they should even be told about the wake we were planning. My Aunt left clear instructions that she wanted her friends to be able to come to say goodbye. So we did it. Little to my expectation, a couple who I thought were her good friends never showed up.

      Goes to show that one never knows what's right. But one thing remains clear... do what the diseased had requested if they did leave instructions.

      Your Hub is very inspiring and useful. Thanks for writing it.

    • profile image

      34th Bomb Group 5 years ago

      Thank you for all the positive comments... It was quite the scene.(I never liked the guy so it was kinda fun.)

      My parents were cremated. My arsehole of a brother showed up after Daddy died.He'd been sent to the crematory by the funeral home-another stupid rule which costs you more money.

      Brother arrived in the middle of the night-Daddy was dead.Too late! He had the hospital "shock" a corpse! (He's a M.D. & throws his weight around.)

      He then had his wife and 3 kids come down.THEY DIDN'T KNOW MY PARENTS!!!They, thankfully, went to a motel on the beach.My mother hadn't seen them in a couple years and I spent the next few days playing taxi.Then his in-laws showed up! WTF??????

      THEN he played a few games like taking Daddy's ring & a few other things.Fortunately, I'd UPS'd the art work, my lawyer.He came back about a month later-we were taking too much time.Really...That's when he talked my mother out of the car, and other things my Dad said I would get 'cause Sonny didn't bother with them.He took my Mom for two days.Wow...Then I went to leave and, of course, went to get Daddy out of the closet-he was gone. Little pr13k had TAKEN HIM!!

      I was livid!! I knew where to put him.He left very detailed instructions with me-orally. So my Mother died 2 1/2 years later. As my son and I were leaving the nursing home, my Aunt told me that Sonny had sprinkled Daddy where SONNY wanted him.Excuse me?

      Last Summer I went through my Mother's files and discovered that this Aunt had taken about $4,500 from my Mom's bank account. I didn't even know she had this!! I arranged for the State Police to pay her a visit.(I can do this.I'm a prosecutor-White Collar Crime)I haven't spoken to any relative of my mothers since then.I'm not missing anything.

      I also turned the Memorial Service ONLY for my Mom into one for both of them.Boy were those relatives pissed. Too bad.Sonny didn't know what to say so I sent him a draft of what I was gonna say about a week before. Imagine my surprise when Sonny started telling them MY eulogy! So-it was then my turn, and having Sonny telling them MY ideas I started telling stories.I'd see a friend of theirs and tell a story-I did this for about 15 mins. and had the place roaring with laughter.

      No matter what you do-someone will be offended. Do what YOU want. Ask your parents NOW-they have their ideas. And never let your brother go into the closet.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 5 years ago from Minnesota

      You did a fantastic job of making a difficult topic interesting and so helpful too. It's too bad that we have to think of things like this but it is what it is. You have a great sense of humor which I enjoyed. Loved the Ramones too.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Glenn Stok, Thank you for your comment. I know the Jewish faith is very strict about burial and within a certain timeframe, too.

      In the end, it was your Aunt's decision! I'm glad she got her wishes honored, even if some so-called "friends" didn't appreciate them.

      Good story!

      34th Bomb Group -- You are a pistol! I have officially met my match in the crazy family stories department. Seriously, you should expand these stories into HUBS!!

      You are a total crack-up.

      I reiterate my offer. When my mother-in-law dies I seriously want you here to help me deal with my sister-in-law (she is like your brother....). I'd like to LOCK her in a closet!! Tee hee...

      Thanks for the additional yucks. I guess I shouldn't be laughing. Death is a serious business. But what the heck. Can't help myself!!

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

      MM, death may be a serious business, but we have to realize that there is so much surrounding it. Sometimes, we MUST laugh or we'll wind up in grief, pain, and despair ALL the time, and that's not right. :-) I'm proud to be a member of the MM Macabre Club, frankly! And, man oh man, there are definitely some hubs brewing out of these comments, for sure!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hubs a brewin' -- go for it, girlfriend!! You've got such a wonderful take on life! I'm so glad you're here and part of HP!! MM

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

      Wow, MM, thanks a bunch! That is very high praise from such a wonderful hubber, and I appreciate it a great deal. You're not so bad yourself, you know! ;-)

    • chrisand profile image

      chrisand 5 years ago

      Good hub on a touchy subject Mighty Mom. When my brother-in-law passed away, he specifically requested that my sister (his ex-wife) not attend his funeral (they had a messy breakup and no love was lost between them!). If you know when you are going to pass away, as was his case, you can make these kind of requests, however it gets very dicey if you pass suddenly and don't make your requests known to others. No one likes to bring it up, but it may be worth letting your loved ones know who you do and don't want at your funeral now, even if you live another 30 or 40 years. At least that way if you do die suddenly, your requests (hopefully) will be honoured.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

      Mom, you know I'm just a touch morbid right? I laughed out loud in several places. A fine hub it is! To wake the dogs and renew chest pain with such laughter as the stitches and staples are just healing, but Option number 666, just call me at BR549 and have a few holes dug to accommodate the intruders and provide pictures and I'll do the rest, I figure two to the hole is good. Not responsible for twins and look alikes LOL, 50

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      chrisand -- I hope the ex-wife honored his wishes without having to call in the family enforcers. Sorry to hear of your loss.

      I think you can make requests at any time.

      My dad had everything written in a book. We didn't "like" to review it with him (sort of morbid) but in the end were very glad it was all spelled out!

      50! Great to see you, you wild man! I hope you are recovering nicely and that the stitches and staples did not suffer too much of a setback for you.

      I like your style and think this could be a second career for you, dude!

      When the time comes I'm definitely calling you at BR549 666. Got my shovel right here!


    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Hi MM-I thank God that most of my family passed long ago, hence I'll probably not face banning those family nightmares! Funny though, my remaining family is so very polite that they'd never consider vocalizing their distaste regarding a family member. They simply seethe-silently! ;)

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

      Ooooooo, silent seething - the worst kind. lorlie. But, at least come funeral time, they'll either not show or seethe silently. :-)

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Silent seething -- what a visual! I hope you don't have any funerals to go to for a long, long time, Ms. Lorlie! I still remember what happened when you went to your uncle's. I know lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place, but still. If you have to put yourself anywhere near any silent seething, please make sure you bring lots of hubber support with you:-)! Good to see you!!

      M2C -- my sentiments exactly. Although I must admit, until Lorlie wrote it and you reiterated it, I didn't know I HAD any sentiments on silent seething:-)!!! MM

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

      Hey, sadly, there are so many silent seethers out there...I think we all have some sentiments on them. We just haven't tapped them yet. Usually don't, MM, until we're in a face to face encounter. :-)

    • profile image

      Mico 5 years ago

      My condolences on the loss of yr Grandmother. May she RIP.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

      A perfect idea for a Hub and something I've never seen or read before. This is something that funny but still can be very useful to someone who may not have experience in organizing a funeral/memorial and who wants to stir as little trouble as possible to ensure the event goes okay. Thanks for the Hub!

    • profile image

      Lady_Tenaz 5 years ago

      hey chica! I have missed you!!! I am back on here to write again, I go through my spells of writers block and disinterest in reading at times, then it comes back. Its almost seasonal. lol. This was great advice. HUGS

    • Ddraigcoch profile image

      Emma 5 years ago from UK

      There is only one type of person that should ever be banned from a funeral, and that is the Westboro' church clan.

      I really do not care who comes to my funeral, I just hope I can't hear any of them.

      My husband and his parents were less than sympathetic when I lost my father at age 20. So I have said I will go out and have a good time when his dad dies. Although I won't do it in front of the family out of respect,lol.

    • Stephanie Wideman profile image

      Stephanie Wideman 5 years ago from Stafford, VA

      The only time I wished to keep anyone out of funeral was at my mom's. After the funeral, while we were waiting to go to the cemetary, I slipped back in the church to use the restroom. On my way out, I'm stopped by a woman who tells me she's so sorry. Later, I realize who she is: someone who I stopped talking to after she made several remarks on how my mom was a bad Christian for daring to allow my sister to live with her (now ex) boyfriend. If I had thought she'd dare show up, I would have banned her. I had the hinky feeling she only showed up to feel superior, like she felt that God struck my mother down for not being as righteous as she. It still angers me when I think of her sitting at the funeral (which was all she showed up to. She skipped out of everything else, which was smart on her part).

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Good discussion of a difficult topic. Thanks MM for the hub.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA


      I'm sorry for the loss of your dad and your family's non-support. I really hope that you will have many, many years of happy life experience before your father-in-law dies. You may well mellow in your feelings (age and experience does that -- I'm proof!). But going out and partying (discreetly) also sounds like a good plan!

      Thanks for visiting.


      Those holier-than-thou Christians give Christians a bad name, don't they? This woman obviously felt a twinge of something -- guilt? Remorse for her harsh judgment? Regardless, I'm glad that she didn't intrude further on your memorial. At least she had the sense not to force herself into the grave site or post-funeral gathering.

      tirelesstraveler. Thanks.

      I had NO idea that anyone besides me had these "moral" dilemmas! Ha! Thanks so much. MM

    • wellspoken profile image

      Crystal Marie Antoinette 5 years ago from Missouri

      I enjoyed your hub and I agree with you totally. Funerals are too wide open and I have always thought that they should be on an invitation only basis just like a wedding or something because it just gets too loud and crazy and then in the instance of a murder or something the killer can be sitting there on the front row like nothing happened and no one would know it....privacy is much needed in these situations unless like you said there are wishes that they deceased wants to be carried out

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Now there's a cheery thought. The killer sitting in the front row (how bold). I bet that happens more than we think!

      Odd to think of it that way, tho.

      (And of course now I won't be able to get the idea out of my head!)

      Thanks for sharing, MM

    • RichardCMckeown profile image

      RichardCMckeown 5 years ago

      Informative article about Family Funerals. Thanks for sharing.

    • kimberly Crocker profile image

      kimberly Crocker 5 years ago from Southern New Hampshire

      when i lost my grandparents, there was much speculation about who should be invited and who should not. They were key players in a small town, and with that comes friends and foes. in the end the people who were not welcome didn't show up out of respect, they chose to make the right decision and let us grieve in peace. but before there was a lot of stress about who they would or would not want there. This was a very insightful hub! It's nice to see it spelled out for people who are grieving . I can see it as comfort to them! good Job!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thank you, Kimberly Crocker

      I'm happy to read that your grandparents' funeral went smoothly. Good that the unwelcome folks were smart enough to stay away.

      Glad you liked my hub!

      Not sure how our "test" funeral will go. But it will be interesting to see what worms may come out of the woodwork...

      Thanks, MM

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      In my immediate family we keep things very private. After all the point of a funeral is to ease the passage of someone's death for the living...not the dead. I figure that it is much better to shower a person with kind words, flowers, cards, etc. while they are alive. But each person has to make up their own mind on how to handle it. Those who have pre-planned funerals or at least have told their family members how they want it handled, make it so much easier for the living, money considerations aside. Of course that also plays a part.

      You have given people much to consider! Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      It's very true. Funerals are for the living left behind. And when you're in shock and beginning stages of grief, it's not the time to be second-guessing what your deceased loved one would have wanted. OR worrying about who else feels the need to pay their final respects...

      Thanks for your comment and vote, Peggy!


    • profile image

      Longhunter 5 years ago

      Excellent hub, MM. It helped me answer a couple of questions I had about what to do with my daughter when making my wishes known. I appreciate that. Voted up and useful.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Well cool. Glad I could be of help. Hope you won't be leaving us anytime soon, tho! Cheers. MM

    • Xenonlit profile image

      Xenonlit 5 years ago

      Thank you for such a wise and compassionate discussion of the complex mess that families and people make of things.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Xenonlit, you are way too gracious and kind.

      I never thought about the politics of funerals before it hit my family.

      And the worst (but thankfully last) is yet to come:).

      Thanks for commenting, friend. MM

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Some people will always be clueless and ignore normal social cues to their own advantage. Sounds like the ex was like that. On the plus side, hopefully this is the last funeral she will "crash" in the name of her former family ties.

      Love the bouncers idea,tho! I'm picturing mafioso (somewhat inspired by your "pretenda lastnamedas" -- very cute!

      Thanks for commenting. MM

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 5 years ago from Southern California

      Hi Mighty Mom, this is one interesting hub. Not only the hub, but the comments it elicited. I've been on this hub for over an hour, just reading it, and the comments. Very good, both, (hub and comments), something I never do, but this was really good. Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. Hope you got my email.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi friend!

      I have been working on a hub and not on emails so will go check. I hope you are not writing with sad family news.

      All the best to you and thanks for reading and commenting. I never in a million years thought this hub would catch the comments it has! MM

    • profile image

      Black sheep too 5 years ago

      I have been shunned from my family after recovering memories and then for exposing that my mother slit my wrist when I was ten and that I was raped while under my fathers care as a teenager. Sounds awful right! My family made it clear that if I beieved these things that I was not part of the family. I am 46 years old now and have long anguished over the denials, pain, betrayal, rejection and isolation I have endured. And, I have made some strides in recreating a family on my own terms. my father had a heart attack the day after I was married last October. I had not invited him to my wedding. The family blamed me for his heart attack. He recovered. Last week he had a stroke. The family is protecting him from me. I'm anticipating that I will be notified of his passing after the fact. As that is one of the ways families deal with their embarrassments and to save face during their time of grief. Your article is insensitive. "Black Sheep" are usually the family scape goats. You make them sound like the problem. So, if a "black sheep" needs to come to a funeral it is just as likely he/she is greiving and needs closure just like everyone else. Funerals are not for the deceased but for the grieving.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      SO you are saying Black Sheep are people too and need to be included because they're grieving like everyone else?

      How about if imposing their grief on the other grievers causes the rest of the family grief?

      In my experience the "black sheep" are not the scapegoats but rather the true black hearted evil betrayers who don't fit in because of their own actions. In short, yes, they are the PROBLEM.

      If I were you I would try to go around the family and get directly to your dad before it's too late and make things right with him. Then you won't have to worry about whether they hold the funeral without you, because you and dad are cool. The rest of them can do whatever they're going to do.

      Good luck to you!

    • profile image

      Black sheep too 5 years ago

      Wow! That's cold. I have no desire to "go around the family." there is no way to "make things right" with people who are in denial. The family who has a black sheep does not want to face something. Here is one definition:

      In psychology, a black sheep is the member of a rigidly triangulated family who holds the rest tightly together by being identified as the bad/sick/deviant one who causes all the family problems. In this situation, the rule enforcer in the family is charged with the job of controlling the black sheep from revealing the family secrets. The black sheep is seen as an outsider, but only because he is a teller of truth.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Black sheep too,

      You are not hearing what I'm trying to say. I certainly do not mean to be cold to your situation. What happened to you is terrible.

      This hub is actually written from the perspective of people planning funerals and the pain and awkwardness of what to do when a family member who the DECEASED would not want at the funeral.

      It is written from the perspective (my own personal situation) in which the potential "black sheep" IS deviant and she is NOT the teller of any truth and she is truly a BAD SEED.

      Your situation goes well beyond a funeral.

      I offered what I thought was a reasonable suggestion: Go talk directly with your father so that whatever happens to HIM (e.g., he doesn't make it after his illnesses) you and he have had a chance to talk and clear the air between you. That is all.

      I am not suggesting trying to make anything right with the rest of your family.

      I will state this, which I suspect you will find equally cold. You are holding an incredible amount of pain and anger inside you. The secrets are hurting you more than they are hurting them. It's not fair or right, but that is how it is.

      As you point out, the family doesn't want to face your truth. You have no control over their actions or reactions.

      The only one you have control over is yourself.

      The one and only way I have been taught to rid myself of RESENTMENT (which is toxic and potentially lethal) is to get the sickness out of me and learn to FORGIVE. Because the other people in your scenario are sick. Sicker than you.

      I truly hope you are getting some support (therapy or informal survivors' support groups) around your abuse.


    • profile image

      disgusted 5 years ago

      I stumbled upon this site looking for an alternative way to say goodbye because i am the black sheep. The pain i feel is so intense, she was my mother. I cant believe you are promoting this. How about this, God is the judge, not the family. Why should anyone be excluded, just because they do not fit in. This was enlightening and cruel to read

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello, disgusted. I'm very sorry for the loss of your mother. And I'm sorry for the pain you feel.You don't say why you are considered the black sheep in your family so I have no context. Certainly you deserve to pay your respects to your mother. And it sounds like you feel like you don't fit in, so the public channel of your family's memorial may not give you that release.

      It is certainly true that God is the ultimate judge.

      Are you comfortable telling your family that?

      As for my family and the extremely black (read: EVIL) sheep this is written about, I sure hope she finds an alternative way to say good-bye to her mother. Because for the amount of pain she has put her brother and her mother through, she can take whatever guilt or remorse she may feel (if she feels anything at all -- that's debatable) and do her own funeral.

      Note: Feel free to write an alternative hub from the perspective of the black sheep. I'd be happy to link to it to show the other side.

      Good luck to you.

    • profile image

      s.a.w. 5 years ago

      I have been hurt by my parents over and over again for a number of years. My husband asked me how many times I need to be hurt before I walk away when they call for a favor.

      I am of the opinion that an abused child/adult owes the deceased parent nothing, and that's exactly what they're going to get!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      There are no hard and fast rules on who hosts the funeral. You certainly are within your rights to say no to hosting the party. Good for you.

      Up to you if you even want to attend funeral parties hosted by others. You will attract some heat. But maybe that's okGood Luck. MM

    • profile image

      Hey Mighty Mom 5 years ago

      You don't know how glad I am to have found your hub. In our family, we have one of the black sheep's, the kind that has of her own poor choices gone down the wrong road via drugs, which of course always spilled over into the rest of the family. At some point she became so bad by stealing money from my sister and dad, (deceased for 10 years).

      Of course she's always been estranged. She's never come with any remorse. Also, her grandmother and other family members have always taken a very lax policy about this person, never wanting any of us who were willing to tell her like it is, this would be my sister and me. She has a history of being estranged. But every now and then, she reappears, especially in the past when her grandmother and mom's sister used to give her money anytime she'd show up at the family home. The day we buried my dad, she asked if she could talk to me. I was of course in the throes of grief, so my defenses were really down. She wanted to know why I didn't speak to her. Now she didn't do this in a humble fashion. So I told her the laundry list of offenses she'd committed over a long time. She didn't like hearing this at all. I also told her that some of us in the family, weren't like grandma and her aunt who allowed her to take advantage of them. Anyway, she decided to make the real smart move of trying to bring up things about my past, she said she'd heard about, now she is my neice. At hearing this, I became so angry. So I told her this dicussion was now over. Well recently this niece mysteriously appeared at the family home where mom lives. Mom's sister was going through a Hospice situation. My sister was/is in charged over there. My sister says that she visited w/my aunt for an hour. When she left, my sister followed her outside, the neice says something like, "I'll be back on Saturday." Well, sister let her have it, telling her not to bother, and asking her why she's showing up at this late stage in the game."

      This aunt died last week, funeral is this weekend. So of course, we expect this niece w/show up, as my brother (her uncle), seems to keep in touch w/her. My sister & me w/be seated w/mom, and I cringe at the thought of this relative coming to try to give hugs to me and my sis. The only thing she comes to do is cause drama. I haven't seen her in ten years, yes at dad's funeral. Also, do you have an inheritance blog? Of course, there are lots of issues connected to this. Wonderful hub, thank you! Margeaux

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Margeaux,

      You must be my twin sister. The story you are telling about addicts/fair weather relatives. Well, I've been living it for years.

      Thank you for sharing your experience here. As you can see, it is not that uncommon a problem.

      The trick I have found (for this second -- subject to change based on the next assault) is not to let the turkeys get you down. You can't control them, you can't even talk to them. They believe they are right and thus everyone else is wrong.

      Yes, I have SEVERAL hubs about inheritance issues.

      You might want to read them to get the full flavor of what sick people with drug problems can do to a family and its finances.

      Good luck to you, my dear.

      All the best and I am praying for you.


    • wonderingwoolley profile image

      wonderingwoolley 5 years ago from Madison, WI

      In both funerals that I have been involved in the planning of, there was family dis-function and all kinds of family snares. My sister is usually the one who is overcome with the guilt of her indifference to our family and becomes a complete mess, unable to help in anyway. Also, in dealing with my grandfather's memorial service, we had to deal with his second wife (not my biological grandmother) and her capricious children. Generally though, we tried to take the high road, because we had no regrets about our relationships and did what the deceased would have wanted. That seems to be our family's death motto- we do it if they would have wanted it, and we do it as they would have done it. In the end, the point of all the ceremony is to honor that person and what better way than to honor them with our actions?

    • profile image

      catsrule1962 5 years ago

      Mighty Mom,

      Interesting hub and I certainly enjoy your humor. Based on a few other posts by "black sheep" and being the wife of a sweet, terrific "black sheep", could I just suggest that you put a "caveat" at the beginning of your post? Maybe something to the effect of...

      There are always two sides to every story, but this hub is from the perspective of a person who is related to another person considered to be unhealthy and unsafe. Please note that there are cases where the "black sheep" is not really a black sheep, but this hub does not consider that situation.

      Thanks, in advance, for consideration of those on "the other side" and who are very glad to not have to deal with those from the REAL dark side!!!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      LOL, catsrule1962. I have certainly had some backlash from black sheep, that's for sure.

      As the resident black sheep of MY family, I am glad none of my siblings saw fit to write such a hub and/or plot to keep me away from my mom or dad's funerals:-).

      I guess the larger issue here is who is the real "black" (hearted) sheep of the family and who gets to decide that?

      Perhaps that is the subject for another hub.

      Yes, I think that may be a good idea! Thanks for suggesting it (unless you want to write it yourself -- it is, after all, your idea).

      Thanks for commenting and pointing out that of course there are always two sides to every story.



    • profile image

      catsrule1962 5 years ago

      Mighty Mom,

      I agree with your larger issue question...great point!

      Some day, I may certainly write my own hub because I have some passions for helping people develop healthy, loving families...but, only those people who really want to have one! :)

      Just so you know, I ended up on your hub while looking for some input on the black sheep member attending the funeral of his mother, who passed away last night. We are leaning toward not attending the funeral, but my husband is such a precious guy and feels like it is wrong to not attend, as it may reflect poorly on his mother in the eyes of the people who do not know all of the issues with the family.

      I do not want my husband to be hurt by his siblings in any way, though, as they have hurt him enough for a lifetime. Based on these things, I just wanted to make sure we were both as "informed" as we could possibly be in order to make the best decision and/or handle this in the best possible way.

      In our case, I actually wanted to hear both sides of the situation, so that we could be prepared for the worst case matter what decision we make. As you have either stated or implied in another post, we are only responsible for ourselves and our own behavior. We cannot control anything that the siblings do, but we can attempt to prepare ourselves emotionally for any shocking or hurtful things that may come our way.

      Thank you for your commitment and dedication to your hubs! I commend you for trying to take a difficult situation from your life to create something helpful for others.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      My sincere condolences on the loss of your mother-in-law. Thank you, too, for taking the time to shed so much light on the sensitivity of this issue. My hub, of course, is somewhat tongue-in-cheek and clearly assumes the black sheep (BS) is the evil one and her presence would be hypocritical and disruptive.

      I'm so sorry for your husband. Obviously I don't know the particulars of his family situation.

      In the end, it comes down to what is in his heart?

      It sounds like he is in a "damned if he does/damned if he doesn't" situation with his siblings. My gut tells me he will be more damned if he doesn't go. If he wants to go to pay his last respects to their mother -- which he has every right, as her son, to do -- then he should go. If he stays away out of fear of what his siblings will say, they will only say whatever they were going to say anyway. And he will no doubt regret staying away for the rest of his life.

      As cynical as you probably think me, hope does spring eternal in my heart. I wish for you and he family the peace you all so deserve. May you possibly find common ground and healing all around.

      My sympathies again.

      Good luck in the decision and execution of the decision.


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      Lou 5 years ago

      My granddad recently passed away, on my biological farthers. Due to my parent spliy when i was 13 i only stayed in touch with a few family members on his side, ive seen my granddad twice mainly as i got older, and wad banned from visiting him in hospital.. Now i have also been banned from the crem because i told a family member i stayed ib touch with about his death, tjey also banned from visiting. Can they do this, my real father and uncle.. Can they ban me from saying good bye?

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Lou,

      I'm very sorry about the loss of your granddad.

      Legally, no. No one can "ban" you from attending your grandfather's service.

      But someone has obviously given you the impression that you are not welcome.

      It's not clear from your post what exactly has your family so polarized. From an objective perspective, your story seems like maybe there is bad blood between the family, perhaps based (in part) on your parents' split. An "us" vs. "them" mentality and you are on the wrong side?

      I'm just guessing here.

      Unless there is something you yourself have done that has caused you to be ostracized by that side of the family...

      Realistically, if you know where your granddad's service is going to be and when, you have the option of attending. It may (or will) make some people uncomfortable. It may (or will) be uncomfortable for you to be treated poorly by some who are there.

      But can they ban you from saying good-bye?


      As a practical matter, I would suggest not going somewhere I know I am not welcome. I would quietly go to my grandpa's gravesite or cemetary (if his cremains are going to be put somewhere public) and say good-bye on my own terms with no one giving me the evil eye.

      Good luck to you.

      Know that no one can ever take your memories of your granddad from you and if you have faith and believe in an afterlife, you can continue to have a relationship with him from the other side.

      All the best, MM

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      Disgraced 5 years ago

      I just found out tonight that I am not welcome at my ex-mother n laws funeral. She specifically wished for myself not to attend. I guess I am feeling hurt and bewildered. Probaly help if I give a little background.

      Myself and my ex are still very close and I like to think good friends. We had been together quite a few years. I didn't have any real concerns with my mother n law in actual fact always bent over backwards to make sure she had plenty of contact with her grandchildren (as live quite far from her)it has been very expensive over the years but what's money to family time.

      Not so far back my partner and myself split up this was due to a few concerns at the time my partner wanted to move to be closer to his mother, as his mother was not well, at the time I was the only person working and I didn't believe I had enough security meaning savings or a job to go to in order to do the move and support my children.

      There was other factors as well in our break up myself working all the time neglecting the relationship and so on. But not once did I betray him or was unfaithful to him.

      We did look like reconciling for a while there but his mother was still unwell and I felt we were still on two different paths. So I told him it was best for him to care for his mother so that she wasn't alone.

      Time has gone on and we are still really good friends and speak regularly. Since this time I have taken the children to see her as she was in hospital and stayed with her for a few hours nearly every day I have reassured her, listened to her - I have sent her flowers and spoken with her on the phone when she was well enough.

      She passed over just a few days ago and my ex told me not to take the children and for myself not to go as I am currently in a new job. I said I will respect his wishes.

      However, my mum has offered to care for the children so that I can attend the funeral and support my ex (whom I still love dearly)so I organised tickets and messaged him - he kept saying not to go and I asked why and in the end he said mum wanted me not to attend. I asked if she hated me and he said no just was hurt because I didn't move down to her and I guess reflecting on it she probably saw her son hurting as well at that time.

      I guess I still don't know whether I have made the right or wrong decisions but I have made those decisions based on whether I can meet the needs of my family at the time. But since this time I have travelled to see her and taken the children spent time with her.

      I'm sorry I just feel completely bewildered, I don't normally do posts but I guess I am trying to make logic of it all.

      Currently I have been advised I am not welcome at the funeral even though my ex is apologising to me. As said earlier this is the request of the now deceased and the reasoning given to me was because I didn't move down there. I feel completely outcasted from the family.

      I don't think I am a bad person I try to do the right thing within my means. And now I also feel completely betrayed by my ex whom I have and will do anything for. In that why didn't he say 'mum thats not right' I don't understand. I just wanted to support him and pay my respects to her.

      I have been to a few funerals within my extended family but have never known this to happen. I feel like she wanted to hurt me and has succeeded. And I don't know whether my ex and I will ever be able to move past this because I feel he hasn't tried to defend me to his mum or advise his mum that shunting someone because of that was inappropriate or of exteme in comparison.

      Could you move past this?

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      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Disgraced,

      I'm sorry for the loss of your ex mother-in-law. I'm sorry that issues that should have been put on the table years ago got swept under the rug while you did what you thought was best to COMPROMISE on the situation.

      It sounds to me like your exMIL has held a grudge against you for a long time and this is her vindication. You see, you may have done what YOU thought was best for your family, but you didn't do what SHE thought was best for your family.

      There is no right or wrong here. Divorce sucks no matter what. Had you moved close to her it still would not repair the damage of divorcing her son. Pure and simple.

      Who knows how long your ex has really known about Mom's final wishes? And not told you.

      Well, regardless. Your ex has chosen to uphold his mother's final wishes and has told you repeatedly not to attend. He apparently is less in need of your support than you think he is.

      If you go you will be putting him in an awkward position. If you feel outcast from the family now is NOT the time to test that out.

      Wait till the dust has settled and there is a happier occasion to see the family, including your ex.

      Motives can get confused when emotion gets involved.

      Who is a funeral really for? Is it for the deceased, who isn't there? Or is it for everyone else? I believe the latter. But at the same time, it's important to respect any stated wishes of the deceased. My parents, for example, were explicit in what they wanted done at their funerals. It would not have occurred to us NOT to do everything that they had spelled out.

      I'm really sorry that your exMIL is so spiteful. Your ex has really no choice but to uphold her wishes on this.

      You've paid a steep price for your independence, it seems.

      But at least you can save the $ you would have spent going to the funeral.

      In time, I hope you and your ex can resume your close relationship. Give it time. All around.

      My two cents. Worth exactly that, or probably less:-).

      Good luck to you.


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      Sue Wright 5 years ago

      My mother just passed and I had to deal with a sister who came into her house and took many things that did not belong to her. We have been estranged for years (after my fathers death) and had a huge fight the day after mom died. I regret letting them know she was passing and now I am not sure if I will invite them to her grave site service. Realize that I should but to put up with them after what they have done is too much for me.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Sue Wright,

      I'm very sorry to hear of both your mom's passing and your situation with your sister. It sounds very much like our situation.

      What's done is done. There is a reason you did let your sister in for your mom's passing. That was the right thing to do because that is what you did. Maybe your mom needed to see her to finish some unfinished business so she could pass in peace (?)

      I can relate to your anger toward her. I can relate to wanting to exclude her from the grave site service.

      I can tell just from reading what you wrote how difficult and annoying your sister is. Entitled, right? That's how she feels. Yup. I get it.

      If the service you are planning includes other people, I think the practical thing is to suck it up and allow her to come. If you don't, she will make your life hell and others may question why she's not there. The last thing you need is to give her an excuse to pound on you any further or create drama or negativity or lobby other people against you.

      If you take the high road, even if it makes you cringe, you will be better off in the long run. And after that, you don't have to deal with her anymore.

      Revenge sounds like a really good idea when we are emotionally hurt and upset.

      Only you know what's the right thing in your situation.

      The right thing is what will enable you to grieve your mom's passing, get through the service and live with your heart free and clear for the rest of your life with no regrets about YOUR behavior.

      Hope this helps.

      All the best to you.


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      mikeydcarroll67 4 years ago

      There are a few individuals that I would never never invite to my funeral. I guess I have a ways before I go there but definitely will be doing that.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 4 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hopefully you're right and you have a long time till you have to be thinking about it. But you know, accidents do happen. Might want to have that guest list written in a binder for your family to find so they know what you do/don't want. Never too early...

      But i have a feelign these dudes aren't the type to pay last RESPECTS anyway...

    • profile image

      mikeydcarroll67 4 years ago

      Yep. One can never be too careful these days.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 4 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      LOL mikeydcarroll.

      One never can be too careful. No doubt!

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      sal 4 years ago

      presently in grief and it should be said re: this article...

      bingobingo-petty jingo...who gives an ef. Reads like the black sheep is a brainiac by distancing from insipid mindset (of the author?) and I must question what's dead-is-dead-propriety.

      O=the insignificance of drama when one has departed. Dead indeed.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 4 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello sal,

      Sorry for your loss.

      I'm presently in grief as well, although this was written months before the death of my mother-in-law.

      I sincerely wish you a stress and strife-free grief process.

      Ours, and I'm discovering, through the comments on my many hubs on the subjects of siblings and estates and family feuds, etc., is anything but.

      The dead are the lucky ones. They have done their time and are going somewhere better. They've extricated themselves from the drama.

      Too often, instead of pulling together in our common grief, those who are left get to figure out exactly how f'd up our families really are.

      When it comes to grief, brains have nothing to do with it. It's all hearts bruised and broken for things that we wish had been different or better. Now we're faced with the grim reality. Minus the central figure, the centerpiece that once held things together.

      It's like ripping the scab off a festering wound.

      It will be a little while yet till our family can focus on the real issue here. Those who are dead.

      Sounds like you're way ahead on that, so glad to hear that for you and your family.



    • profile image

      hiit 4 years ago

      I am glad that I spoted this hub, exactly what I was searching for.

      Ron from Fitness Tips

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      stepchild 4 years ago

      My step dad recently passed, his funeral is next week. Mom passed away last year. Step dad bought a plot where when he passed he would be buried with her. He paid for his funeral services and not for his burial. His children have decided to bury him in another cemetery convenient for their travel. Mom is in a cemetery 20 minutes away. Mom and step dad were married for 30 years, no children together. Step dad's wishes aren't being honored... What can I do? I'm so heartbroken.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 4 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello stepchild. I'm so sorry for the loss of your stepfather. Sounds like he and your mom had a great life together and every intention of spending the hereafter together as well.

      The strongest argument here seems to be the plot is already paid for. Your dad paid for he plot to hold your mom and then him. That's done.

      As to the children and convenient for their travel ... 20 minutes? Really?

      It's not about them. It's about their dad.

      I hope your stepdad had his wishes written down so you can present them to these children rationally and explain this was what BOTH parents wanted and that's what should be honored.

      But not kknowing the players involved and if there is any animosity toward your mom, etc, I can't predict how these children will react.

      Once again, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you are able to make them see reason. Good luck. MM

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Hi MM,

      I just noticed that you wrote all these hubs about loss and funerals. Both my husband and I have "problem" relatives, and we are both the "responsible" ones who end up planning/coping with everything. You gave very good advice here, because I believe all families are dysfunctional in their way. My bi-polar drug addict brother had not seen our Mom for a year when she passed on. Surprisingly, they got along and had a really nice last visit. I had trouble finding him when she was dying, so she was already gone when we got in touch. Since it's always been his style to run, and he didn't see her at her worst and sickest, I decided it would be best if he didn't come. I gently suggested that maybe he would prefer to remember her as she was at their last visit. I could feel his relief over the phone (he is 10 yrs. younger than me, though as we get older it's no excuse for not taking responsibility in the family). Some relatives were tough on him for not being there, but I took the blame, and still feel it was the right thing to do. This is the brother that I thought was dead a few months ago. After his crazy GF insisted someone found his body, there was none to be found, though it took about 6 weeks of Hell before he turned up alive. I was at the point where I thought I'd never know. These belated Celebrations of Life after the family is feeling better seem the way to go for me. My husband wants that. Since we have a small family and I don't want our son to be stuck with it all, I told him I don't want any service or party, have me cremated and remember the good times we had as a family. Even the Celebtations of Life at funeral homes are really depressing.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 4 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Jean,

      The thing about funerals is there's the public face and the private face. Think how crazy it is for some relatives to judge others for either showing up or not showing up -- whichever is the opposite of what they feel should be done.

      I like your approach. Very practical. I don't talk about my death with my son -- yet. He's only 20 and lost his dad 3 years ago. The time will come, however to have that talk.

      I'm really glad your brother got a good visit with your mom. That is definitely the memory he would prefer. And on some level, he probably knows that he can't trust himself to behave in a socially acceptable way at the funeral.

      Also glad you found him and he's not dead. That's great news.

      We can talk offline (or on) about why some siblings are responsible and others are not. It's complicated. And sometimes very frustrating and SAD!

      Thanks for visiting. MM

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 4 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      As with any writing, people can and read into it what they will. Having been a black sheep in my own family for decades, I can empathize with the outcast.

      Having had the tables completely turned in adulthood to see that roles within dysfunctional families are fluid. Once the outcast does not mean always the outcast. Shockingly, sometimes it's the seemingly together, good daughter who, when mom or dad gets sick and dies, turns into the bully.

      I really have no set viewpoint on who is "good" and who is "bad," or who is "truthful" and who is "sick, twisted, manipulating and evil" within a family. Appearances can be very deceiving.

      I have no way to ascertain either the identity or the motives of those who comment on my hubs If they register with Hub Pages I can follow up with them privately and have done so on many occasions.

      As to confusion about the intent or delivery of my hubs, usually those who miss the point make it clear in their comments. When that happens, it is often another commenter, and not me, who sets the record straight.

      I suppose I could pepper my satire hubs with smiley faces so that there is no mistaking the fact that they are humor.

      Alas, even that is no guarantee that every reader has a sense of humor.

      Might I suggest that you register with Hub Pages and write a hub (or several) in opposition? You seem to know a lot about family dynamics and bullying, etc. Clearly, there are people out there who could benefit from these insights.

      As for me, I am simply sharing my own life experiences. Trust me, I wish I did NOT have the experience through to come up with a premise like this for a hub. Or for the vast majority of my hubs . Humor is a way -- my way -- of making some semblance of sense of the bullying, elder abuse and fraud within my family. In truth, it continues to amaze me when other siblings and sons and daughters and grandchildren out there share that they, too, are suffering through similar issues.


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      Tammy 4 years ago

      We have a huge family n it seems there is always someone new that could be considered the black sheep depending on the person that past. But that leads to my point sometimes it was the relationship between the deceased n the person that made them be away n we don't know the other side only say if it was our mom n it was their brother say. But the brother always hoped his sister would forgive him for whatever, ( u get what I'm saying) n now she's gone! N doesn't he have every right to grieve n be there. I know your probably talking about that cousin that sends black flowers or is drunk before the service. Heck that would make 50 of my 120 cousins not beable to attend but sometimes what a family considers a black sheep isn't that at all, it's one relationship went south n that person just had more influence on the family then the person that got outcast! I believe all people have the right to grieve in there own way n as much as I get it if u only knew. But I guess I see some times things are not always what we are told they are n we believe.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 4 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Tammy,

      You are exactly right. There are two sides to every story.

      You are also right that people have the right to grieve in their own way. People even have the right to send black flowers or be drunk at the funeral. For some, that is the best they can do. I get it. Believe me.

      Of course, there are many variables involved here and no one solution or decision is going to fit everyone's situation. It's entirely a judgment call. And one you will have to live with after the fact, so choose wisely.

      Here's my take -- and it's based on concrete personal experience in a situation I never in a million years could have dreamed up (sure wish I could, as I'd be a famous and rich author!).

      The deceased is gone. If they left explicit instructions, those must be followed, of course.

      If not, what is your obligation to them, to the family, to others who may want to pay their respects?

      And what is your obligation to YOURSELF? (Again, not something one normally associates with funeral planning, but maybe should be taken into consideration.)

      If it's up to you to plan a memorial service -- and also start (or continue) your own grieving, what should you do?

      Why would you do all the hard (and emotionally taxing) work of planning and hosting a memorial that will only add to your own anger/resentment/pain?

      Is sitting across a church aisle from an estranged sibling shooting daggers at you a proper way to honor your parent?

      I don't think so.

      Is it smart to knowingly provide a public platform for said sibling to lie to others about what s/he actually did and what you actually did vis a vis the deceased?

      That's pretty dumb, if you ask me.

      Would your deceased parent want everyone's final memory of them to be "the children were fighting and it was awful"?

      Do you care what other people say? Because they're going to have judgments any way you do it (we're human, after all).

      Will you feel like you've martyred yourself? Or will you feel like you did the right thing.

      Only you can answer that question.

      Going back to your original comment. Everyone has the right to grieve in their own way. And that includes you!

      If other family members really want to honor their deceased parent (as opposed to only pretending to honor their deceased parent) they are free (and encouraged) to plan their own memorial service. No one is stopping them.

      And they don't have to invite you -- not that you would go anyway. And that's perfectly ok.


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      Roslyn 4 years ago

      I chose not to go to my aunt's funeral, because she and my uncle revealed, to my surprise, she did not like or approve of me and never had, so I never spoke to her or uncle again, and considered the nice aunt I'd known as dead. I suddenly found myself pressured to go, "for father." Truth is, I didn't trust him, he'd stirred up the trouble in the first place,( he does that to be centre of attention,) and I didn't want to be the focus / cause of problems at a funeral. So, I have to now live with a grumpy family who don't understand, and father is loving it. Sigh!

    • vibesites profile image

      vibesites 3 years ago from United States

      Maybe an ashes scattering at sea burial is a sound alternative. It also makes an intimate event with only the immediate family members and very close friends present.

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      NJ Rivka 3 years ago

      I just read your article about the sister in law stealing inheritance and went through something very similar. Two days before my mother's death I was in the hospital for a scheduled C-Section, which my mother knew about and was very excited about. It is almost as if they took the opportunity to hasten her death, as Mom sounded very good the week before when I talked to her on the phone (when they allowed it!). A few days later even though I was supposed to stay in bed and take it easy I flew to FL for the funeral and noticed the evil witch as I call her thought she was the queen of court. She certainly did not look bereaved and took all the attention for herself, as if it was her Prom or some dam thing. I really think if I hadn't shown up it would have been used against me, especially since she did use "undue pressure" on my mother! Your hub is a healing balm to those of us who in reality are NOT the bad guy! Trust them? NEVER. Even if they acted the part of reconciling, I agree with Roslyn, it would be for their own profit somehow.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 3 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello NJ Rivka,

      Sorry to take so long to respond. I haven't been on HP very often recently.


      Your description of the evil witch sounds oh so familiar. They play the victim and make the

      funeral all about them. It's disgusting.

      I know it was physically hard on you to travel so soon after your C-section. And emotionally

      hard to lose your mom under those conditions.

      But at least no one can hold it against you that you didn't attend.

      It wasn't for show. It was for your mom.

      I'm very sorry for your loss.

      It does get easier with time.

      I don't miss our evil witch at all...!

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      Twin Brother 3 years ago

      My twin brother passed away recently in another state and I am planning a memorial service/luncheon where he grew-up at for the family members and friends whom were unable to attend because of the distance etc....

      To my surprise my niece refuses to attend because I did not extend the invitation to his ex-wife her mother. I sadly had to explain to her "I'm respecting your father's wishes...he didn't want her there"...... I said "let's not open a can a worms ".What has me upset her mother and father had a nasty divorce and the last time they were together my niece was two years old ! ! so much for strong family ties. As much as I love my niece she should accept the fact her father hated her mother and I never will have the heart to tell her the man she knew as "her dad" isn't .Sadly her mother had an affair while attending college and she is someone else's child.What is worst my ex sister in law confessed to my brother years after their divorce my niece isn't /wasn't his child . Who knows if she was trying to be cruel or not but I know the alleged father and she my niece looks just like him.

      Setting the above aside,I swore on my brother's death bed I'd respect his wishes and not invite her which I didn't; however it hurt me that my niece doesn't know the entire story and I don't want to hurt her any more while she is mourning the loss of her "father"

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 3 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Twin Brother,

      I am very sorry for your loss. But commend you for everything you are doing.

      From respecint your brother's wishes -- the #1 most important thing -- to keeping the secret

      that would undoubtedly crush your niece if she knew. That is not your news to tell her.

      And you are showing maturity in not letting her reaction goad you into explaining your reasons.

      If her mother wants her to know the truth, she will tell her herself.

      Families certainly are fascinating and sometimes bewildering organisms.

      You ex sister-in-law sounds like she has a lot of demons.

      Hopefully this will end your need to ever, ever have to deal with or think of her again.

      Have a wonderful memorial service. Those who are meant to be there will be.


    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Very interesting hub. I like how you go through the various options. A black sheep in my husband's family (my brother-in-law) was permitted to attend his father's funeral out of empathy (not so much forgiveness) even though he had stolen several thousand dollars from the dying father and lying about it.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 3 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      We ended up not even having services for my mother-in-law. The damage was simply too much for us to bear. We refused to offer these lying, thieving relatives a stage for their hypocrisy.

    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 3 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      Love is the greatest commandment. We KNEW a very unwelcome person would be at our Mother's Funeral. We did nothing to stop him. We had empathy for him. However, we did not include him in any other activities for the family that day. And I never saw or heard from him again. He has passed and I did not go to his funeral. I am tacitly courteous to his kids though. The kids stood up for his heinousness behavior. I do no activities with them. I will say hello if need be though.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 3 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      NMLady, You are truly that, a lady. Your handling of the situation passes all the tests: 10 Commandments and Miss Manners!

      Thanks for sharing your example.

      I think a lot depends on the type and level of the heinousness and how close the funeral organizers are to it. If you're in total PTSD over what someone did to you, you may not be able to handle more trauma related to that person along with your grief.

      Sounds like you have your emotions well under mature control!


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      Surprised 3 years ago

      I find it interesting that a person can have such power even when dead. Last wishes and deathbed promises rigidly adhered to, for the sole purpose of hurting the living? Sounds like the dead person was a controlling narcissist. Who actually believes they are entitled to keep a family member from a funeral service? Sounds like the wishes of the living, using the dead as an excuse to be rude and stick it to someone of whom they don't approve. IF a scene is made, eject them. People attend funerals for all sorts of reasons and they are all valid. Drug addicts and attention seekers are often coping with mental health issues or an abusive past. You don't have to enable them or approve of their behaviour but empathy and compassion for the living should trump the desires of the deceased, who no longer have any.

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      Memorial Services 3 years ago

      It s a very nice concept to get more creative ideas. Can you publish the results too. For more details

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      GuitarFever73 3 years ago

      Yesterday my Aunt passed away from the results of battleing cancer, Now my Mom just lost her other sister to cancer about two years ago and now her to lose her only other sister, My Mom took care of her when her own daughter was too busy, My aunt's daughter was in trouble with the law and got fired from her sherrif's job, My aunt's daughter blames my mom for thinking My Mom told her other sister who passed on two years ago, and since then she has been a bitch, though Ive felt she has been like this her whole life, boy would I like to smake the crap out of her. Anyway the funeral and wake will be coming up but My aunt's daughter told my Mom's brother to let her know she is not welcome to attend at all. What a slap in the face after my Mom helped her mother when she was not there, Im sure this has happened in other families but I really feel bad for my Mom about this and I new my cousin would do a stupid mean thing like this. I told my Mom I don't see how she can stop you from attending the funeral or the wake, you are her sister. But she is hurt and thinks she can't attend. My Fat Lard cousin and her husband better hope I never see them cause I will tell them to their face what scum they truly are.

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      Susan Reid 3 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      I'm so sorry I didn't see your post earlier. I've been off HP for awhile and not checking regularly. The scenario you describe sounds so famliar. My first reaction is where does your Mom's brother stand? Does he stand with your loyal, caring mom? Or with the selfish, self-centered and self-pitying daughter?

      The daughter sounds like a piece of work.

      She blames your Mom for telling her mother (mom's sister) that she got fired from her job?

      How about looking at your own actions as to why you got fired?

      How about looking at why you allowed your aunt to take care of your sick mother?

      A lot of denial. A lot of guilt.

      Is there substance abuse involved with your cousin??

      When those emotions are so crippling, it's common to turn them outward.

      That was certainly our experience.

      We had a daughter whose only contribution to her parents' final years was to attempt to steal their money and put them away in a home. My husband and I were the caregivers.

      Guess who got the full rage of the daugher who absolutely knew what she'd done. But I don't think could face it.

      But back to you. Honestly, I agree no one can keep your mother out of the wake or the funeral. She should go with her head held high. Her history with the deceased goes back a lot longer than the daughter's. She also cared for her sister. She sounds like a stand-up woman who did the right thing.

      It will be up to the "Fat Lard cousin" and her husband to make a scene when they see your mom. Who will look stupid? Them!t

      Maybe, if you can control your temper, you should go with your mom.

      Final word of advice, GuitarFever73. Ok to TELL them to their face what scum they are. But please don't let your emotions take over. You don't want them to goad you into doing something and then pressing charges against you! They are not worth it.

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      CindyCross 3 years ago

      My sibling, spouse and their adult child want to attend my mother's funeral. My other sibling had been mom's 24/7 caretaker for many years.Prior to this, my other sibling, spouse and adult child never called, visited, or even sent a birthday card for almost 15 years. Now they want to come and attend seeing mom "being placed in her final resting place". Our mom was very angry and resentful that they never visited our dad when he was sick and dying. My other caretaker sibling tells me that they said that they told her that they would wait and spend the money on the airfare when he was dead for the funeral. I recall discussing the need to visit with absent sibling in the past and being stonewalled by the absent sibling in terms of being too busy, not a good idea, etc. My caretaker sibling is totally opposed to them showing up now. The caretaker sibling is very sad and upset and emotional about mom not being visited. Although I maintain a relationship with both siblings, I do agree with the caretaker sibling. Why show up for the funeral, when you had not visited or had any contact for 15 years. In the past, when I broached the subject with the absent sibling, the response was that Mom didn't want them around, past fights, resentments, didn't want to get involved in the usual family disagreements. Personally, I have had my issues with my family too and have undergone periods of being an outcast from the family. However, I made the effort to make up because I wanted to have some sort of relationship with my family, caretaker sibling and mom. I didn't want my mother to die without me having mended fences so to speak and not having a relationship. My siblings spouse appears now to be very angry about them not being welcome. I just don't think it's right for them to show up after all these years as if they really cared. They obviously didn't and it's like a sham. At dad's funeral, the absent sibling wailed loudly for about 2 minutes at the funeral home and then was fine. Then he and the family went sightseeing and made the event into a mini vacation.

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      Susan Reid 3 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA


      You've nailed it perfectly. I can sooo relate.

      The scenario we have lived is so common. Many families face this same problem.

      There's the dutiful caretaking sibling. And the "all show and no go" sibling.

      My sister-in-law conveniently missed BOTH her parents' deaths, when she could have been there for both.

      She is the one who has to live with that in her heart (if she even has one).

      It makes perfect sense really. The motives of these siblings are all about THEM. They want to give the APPEARANCE of being dutiful children. A public forum like a funeral lets them do just that.

      "Oh yes, it's been soooo hard." (Liar).

      And by waiting until the parent is dead, they don't have to be fettered by duty, do they? If you are visiting an ailing elderly parent, you kinda need to be around and spend time in the hospital or home with them. Hard to make that into a mini vacation. No such conflict when Mom or Dad is in their "final resting place."

      It hurts and it sucks. And it's normal to be angry and resentful. It's shocking to discover than your sister or brother who you never knew was so selfish and self-centered and uncaring toward your parents.

      But if your heart is pure and your conscience is clear, that's all that matters.

      BTW I am sorry for your loss of both parents.


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      Debbie 3 years ago

      I think this was very well written. If someone does not want anything to do with you while you're living, why would they concern themselves with going to your funeral. Life is too short to live with regrets. I don't have anything to do with some members of my family. I am not a greedy person like they are. Money is the root of all evil. I call them ambulance chasers. When my Grandmother died, they had her belonging sorted out before she was even dead, had her house sold and just left a big pile of whatever they didn't want in the middle of the floor. Now, as my Mother gets older, the vultures are hovering around. They can't wait to get what's 'theirs'. I believe in karma, and I know some people are going to be in for a rude awakening Money is the root of all evil. They have shown me who I don't want to be like.

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      Susan Reid 3 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Debbie,

      You and I are clearly kindred spirits on this one. I can tell you know what's really important. We can't get our parents or grandsparents back. But I'd much rather have a clear conscience than a pile of money that's not really mine anyway. Some people just see life differently. Well, they are raising a new generation of vultures. I wonder how they will feel when they're left out to dry while their sons/daughters pick through their things. Money IS the root of all evil. Greed is one of the 7 deadly sins, too.

      Thanks for commenting! MM

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      louba 3 years ago

      wrote on face book and called me at midnight Christmas Eve .She called me very bad names, she wrote on face book called me a few choice names and told me he was in the hospital.. in PA . she had me and my husband banned from seeing him at hospital I got sick had to be hospitalized in Pa.fter i was released we came on back to SC. He died 2 days after. she never let me know he had passed or when services were.. she had him cremated. I never got to tell him goodbye..She told her family we would be shown the door if we came..Only God knows why she acted like that Grand son also called me bad names.I was all ways very good to them and loved my son more then life and he loved me too!I want to know If any body has ever heard of family being so curel. Am so very sad.

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      Susan Reid 3 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello louba. I'm so sorry for your loss.

      You don't state outright, but from what you do say this is a daughter-in-law who banned you from seeing your son or attending his service (?) and the grandson is hers and your son's child(?).

      There is obviously something these people are holding against you and your family and it is extremely strong/bad in their minds. I don't know what it is. Sounds like you don't, either.

      Their actions indicate they were attempting to protect your son in some way (?) but mostly protecting themselves from some perceived wrong that you had done or intended to do. Quite likely they feel guilty about something and are hiding their own wrongs by putting them on to you. THAT is extremely common, believe it or not!

      The point is, yes. I have heard of family being so cruel. I think it depends on which side of the family feud you are on how you interpret the actions.

      In my and my husband's case, we were protecting my mother-in-law from my sister-in-law, who had enlisted our niece as well. They were fighting to get MIL into a nursing home. MIL did not want to go into a home. She wanted to stay in her home! There was no good reason to put her in a home. None. We were literally fighting them for MIL's life.

      Both SIL and niece had plenty of time to come say good-bye. MIL was in hospice for 4 months. Anyone who saw her would have seen the rapid deterioration. But to the end, their agenda was to get her out of the house. Even if she was in a coma, I guess they were going to move here.

      When MIL died, hubby did not notify his sister or the niece. We told an uncle who was serving as the POA for MIL only. He was to notify everyone else. We were so angry and disappointed in the family. And shocked that it had come to this point.

      Not surprisingly, family reactions when they got the news of MIL's passing were "It's all about me!! When can I come to a public place and put on a show that I'm such a caring, dutiful daughter/niece/grandchild? When are the services that YOU are supposed to be putting on so we can show up with our crocodile tears and declare, "Oh yes, it's been soooo hard...? Surely you won't let a little thing like a lawsuit stop YOU doing the right thing by our MOM now? You know she would want us all to have a nice funeral and get along."

      Yeah, right.

      F that s$%t. Hubby and I had been alone on the front lines with MIL since her husband died. No one lifted a finger to help us. In fact, they supported a horrible lawsuit against their own mother/grandmother.

      We were there when MIL died and were exhausted and broke from the lawsuit. They were nowhere to be found.

      Under those circumstances, can you see why we refused to even have a service? It's not that we would have held one and shown these hypocrites (and the other family members who knew but did nothing) the door.

      Our service had literally been in our service to MIL in life.

      If they wanted to host their own memorial, they were more than welcome to do so. I hope they did, but don't really care.

      I'm not implying that you are in any way like the people in my family. I cannot tell the motives for keeping you from the hospital/service or how your family justified those actions.

      But it doesn't stop you from having your own memorial in your own way. Which will not include the people who are calling you bad names.

      And if I can offer one last piece of advice: UNFRIEND these people IMMEDIATELY! You can't stop them from calling you bad names, but you can stop knowing about it. Do NOT engage. Shut them out. Not like they shut you out, but to protect YOURSELF.

      Only then can you begin to heal from their cruelty.

      All the best to you, louba.


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      Kept private 2 years ago from Northeast United States

      Thank you for writing this very thought out hub :) I really appreciate the fact you explained this controversial subject with so many variables and scenarios :). This is what good writing is all about. Voted up and interesting. My personal opinion is that no one should be denied that final goodbye, but I guess there are exceptions out there. Have a wonderful week.

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      Susan Reid 2 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thank you, carrie Lee Night,

      Your position is the most reasonable and humane.

      I kinda wish all funerals were organized by and conducted like police/firefighter/military funerals. So much decorum. Everyone focused on the same thing. No one could or would get out of emotional line.

      It simply wouldn't be "proper."

      In the "real world" of "real families" that's not the case.

      Honestly, I never, ever expected to be writing this hub (or many of the hubs I've written. I had no idea families had horrible rifts where people didn't speak to each other, let alone actively plot against each other. Except in movies or TV.

      It's now been five years since our nightmare began for real.

      Even now, I would not be able to suffer through a public display. She/they are entitled to their last good-bye. We had no obligation to provide that opportunity for them. If the good-bye was really that important, they could make their own memorial. Maybe they did. We were not informed. :-)


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      Mimi 2 years ago

      I see no issue with anyone coming that loved or respected the person who died. The only way I see that it would not be a good idea for someone to come, if they would cause a scene . Why too would someone who hated the person who died ever show up? It just doesn't happen like that. Most conflicts come and arise due to family members who have strife. I read a horrible account of a daughter being banned from her mother's funeral because her step father hated her and he manipulated her siblings to stand with him. A person goes to a funeral to honor the person who died and to celebrate that they lived. Personal feelings, strife needs to be put aside and honor the person who passed.

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      Susan Reid 2 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Mimi,

      Good words. Operative word being "should." Life rarely happens as it "should" I have found. People's motives are not always as pure as we would like them to be. When you have sick family members involved (your story of the stepfather and siblings is not isolated-- that happens all the time) the celebration becomes a battlefield.

      When you are already grieving, you don't need that on top of it.

      I have lived through a scenario where to have hosted any kind of memorial would have been personally and morally intolerable to me

      But those who, as you point out, had a perfect right to show up, were more than welcome to host their own funeral. Maybe they did.

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      Elleke 2 years ago

      I'm the scapegoat for my family. I fully expect to be banned from my son's funeral if he should pass away before I do. I am looking into legal ways to enjoin this from happening. My daughter in law has told lies on me for years and my son has been caught in the middle. I don't let her get away with her behavior and it increases her hostility toward me. She is determined not to have me in my son's or grandson's lives--don't know why she should be so cruel. Others have witnessed her behavior and don't know what to say.

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      Susan Reid 2 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA


      I'm so sorry to hear this story about you and your family.

      The relationship between mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws is notoriously contentious -- sometimes. It doesn't have to be.

      Your son does not escape blame in enabling your DIL to treat you this way. Or explaining to you what it's all about so that you can get it

      straightened out once and for all....

      I know this hub is about family funerals, but try to live in the present for now. Enjoy life as it is and try to make yourself the best person you can be.

      If the unthinkable happens and your son passes before you, consider hosting your own memorial service where you invite YOUR friends/supporters who want to be there to support you.

      Families can be so devastating. WE have to work to FORGIVE. It's not easy!

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      Let the dead bury the dead! 2 years ago

      Yes, a relative was banned at the actual day of funeral. The banned person had their own funeral by writing up an obituary with the persons current picture, that looked old and inserted the face as if it was an actual looking obituary.

      Since the dead person used an old portrait of a younger looking pretty face picture for their actual closing funeral. obituary. Some people are just so abusive and want to feel superior to others here on earth. My obituary with her current old face brought reality to me being able to feel like I am as special as she is.

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      Cont'd Let the dead bury the dead 2 years ago

      Then I took my obituary that I wrote with a very positive statement and with her old face on it and I put it into the local town paper that was in a very large range area so that everyone who lives in the area will see it. Yes, for one day! I could show it to everyone who knew this person exactly what she looks like as an old woman and it just brought me extreme satisfaction to honor her in public. It cost money but I feel extremely blessed as I know God loves me.

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      Swan 2 years ago

      My sister in law separated my brother from his family for twenty years. He recently died and she won't allow us to say anything at his funeral. She had banned us from attending the funeral until my mother called and begged for the family to attend. I do not know this woman, but to keep a mother from a sons funeral is appalling. There is no history of family abuse. This is an issue of a jealous wife. Her grief is no greater than my mothers and her need to mourn is no more powerful. I hope her children do this to her one day, then she will truly know the pain she has caused my mother

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      flossy 2 years ago

      Arranging my brothers funeral, I contacted 2 Aunts and 1 cousin to say they weren't welcome, as had not been close to him for over 30 years. Their reaction? A torrent of abuse (expected). They are poisonous people who have upset many family members and would use the funeral to vent their anger after a few too many drinks. If they had attended, many more would have been absent. It was a peaceful and respectful humanist service and passed without incident.

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      C may 2 years ago

      Our dear friend who is highly educated lost her huband suddenly, funeral was fine but when she planned to spread the ashes from a boat a month later.::she asked only heard husband's male friends not the wives and herself she excluded all ofbher female closet friends. We met after for lunch. I was quite concerned of her choice and have really felt differently about her since; she shunned the actual girls who were her life long friends she made no attempt to get Two boats so that her girl pals could be there to share and comfort her! My husband drove the boat and was very uncomfortable with the arrangement. I have accepted her choice but she got drunk on the cruise ceremony and was rude on her return for our lunch meeting. Just not sure I will ever feel the same about her.

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      Ann Field 2 years ago

      My mother died 2 days ago. She has 2 daughters, myself and my older sister. My mother had not spoken to us or we her for about 22yrs. She has 4 adult grandchildren and a great grandson who she has never seen. The only person my mother did not fall out with was my son. He was the only carer and constant in her life. She loved him dearly and he her. She had suffered a lot of illness over the last 18mths. I supported my son as best I could as I know it was hard for him being the only person who had contact with her. I would drive him to her house and sit in the car outside and wait while he visited with her. I would drive him to the hospital and sit in the car and wait while he visited her. I would buy things she needed e.g pyjamas and tell him to say they were from him so that she wouldn't reject them. I always kept my sister informed of any health issues regarding our mum so that she could make a choice on weather she wanted to try and be involved or supportive in some way. She chose not to which I fully understood. When our mum was dying in hospital I informed my sister immediately her response was "oh well". While my mum was unconscious I sat at her bedside with my son as he needed my support. He is an only child so has no siblings to support him. For the very short time my mum was consious I sat outside her ward as we have not spoken for so long I did not want to stress or upset her. She did not ask for me or anyone else. She only wanted my son there. My sister started phoning me every day about our mum but there was no concern there. She basically wanted to know if she had died and if she had any life insurance policy's because my sister is the eldest she didn't want to be the one to foot the bill for the funeral and didn't want me mentioning her name to the authorities in case they contacted her. I asked her not to keep phoning me and told her the moment there was any change in mums condition I would let her know. I told her my son had said there were no insurance policy's as our mum had nothing she lived on a very basic pension and did not own any property or anything of value, in fact she has rent, gas and electric arrears. I told her that I would be paying for the funeral so not to worry about it. She wasn't happy with this and wants me or my son to inform the authorities that our mum had no next of kin so that the state will bury her. I told her there is no way I am going to do that, my son would be devastated. She really isn't happy that I won't do as she says. My mum died and I informed my sister within minuets. Yesterday my son and myself went to start to clear my mums flat out. She hasn't got much. My son kept thanking me for being there and helping him as he said he couldn't of coped alone. I had never been in my mums flat and mentally told her I know you probably don't want me in here but I have to help him. Within seconds of entering the flat my sister rang me. I told her were I was and she started going on about insurance policy's. I assured her again that there are no policy's and no money. She asked why I was clearing the flat so soon. I told her there was a lot to do in a relatively short space of time and that my son just wanted to get on with things. She said she would of come and helped and I advised her that there was no need. I did not want to hurt her feelings by telling her my son did not want her in his nans flat as he knew his nan would not want her in there. I felt that her reasons for wanting to help were not the right ones and that she just wanted to nose and mooch and not offer support to the person who is grieving terribly which is my son. None of her children have ever bothered with our mum nor she with them. When our mums first great grandchild was born our mum made contact with my sisters son (the father) as she wanted to see the baby. There was a huge argument on the phone between him and his nan and he refused to let her see the baby. That was 4 years ago and no contact between them was made since. My sister informed me that he now wants to go to her funeral. I asked that given the past events and relationship why does he want to go. She said "because it's his grandmother". I said she has always been his grandmother however, there is no relationship there. She was screaming "well why are you there". I tried to explain that I am supporting my son. What am I suppose to do, watch him suffer in his grief and let him deal with things alone. How can I tell her that the only person our mother would want at her funeral is my son. Apart from my son the relationship our mum has had with the rest of her family has been totally non existent for at least the past 22 years. She would not want any of us there but I can't let him do it alone. My son is questioning the reasons for their involvement now. He said it's hard enough coping without people wanting to turn up just out of curiosity. Probably the only people going to the funeral is my son and myself but if he said he didn't need or want me there I wouldn't go. I lay no blame on anyone regarding our very disfunctional family. It is what it is. My sister says that I am being a martyre paying for the funeral. I can't understand why she is so bothered. I told her not to worry about it as no one is asking her for any money to which she screamed "you wouldn't get any. Not a penny". I told her good I don't want it so stop going on about it. She put the phone down on me and I really don't think I will hear from her or her children ever again. I am trying to help my son full fill his nans last wishes. Not my wishes or his wishes but his nans. Then he can try and move on knowing that he did his best for her in life and in death.

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      Susan Reid 2 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      The amount of forgiveness you show in your story is amazing to me. It is the sign of a truly good son/daughter that they put their parent's wishes first, as you did. You have raised your son to be a giving, caring man.

      You should be proud.

      I'm sorry the family tradition of falling out seems to be continuing with you and your sister. It's a common but dismaying trend.

      Anyway, I am sorry for the loss of your mother and really

      appreciate your sharing here. Your story adds a new dimension to the other perspectives here.



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      Ann Field 2 years ago

      Thank you for your reply MM. My mothers funeral is tomorrow morning and I haven't heard anything from my family. I got records of our mothers, grandmother and great grandmothers/grand fathers birth and marriage certificates photocopied to give to my family for reference purposes given the circumstances not for sentiment but to show their children so they know where they come from. I informed a nephew of this and he told me he wasn't interested in having any copies he just wants any photos of him as a child. I feel totally fed up to put it mildly and feel like I can't do right for doing wrong. Yet as far as I am aware he still wants to come to the funeral. I now have a horrible dread that he wants to attend for the wrong reasons and not the right ones. I think its for a nose and to vent or make hurtful remarks and to go back and tell other family members who my mum didn't speak to (she didn't speak to anyone but that was her choice) how awful her funeral was and they can have a good gossip or laugh about it. The strain is unbearable as I want it to be very dignified so as not to cause anymore hurt to my son. I have family members who have chosen not to keep in contact with me yet are very close to my sister. I am not bitter nor wish them any ill will. When they die it will be sad as the end of a life is sad however, I have no wish to and will not be attending there funeral as I have not seen or been in contact with them for years and have no relationship with them. I'm sorry I'm using this hub as a platform to vent my feelings.

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      Fedup 2 years ago

      Any suggestions on how to keep my ex-boyfriend away from my mothers gravesite and to restrict him from plastering memorials all over social media. My mother never liked him. He was and still is a liar to the utmost extreme! He showed my Mom no respect whatsoever while she was alive, now he talks like they were best friends. He only does this because he is a con and wants his "friends" to think is so honorable. He has removed my flowers at the cemetery and filled the entire plot with way overboard flowers candles, pictures etc!!!! Someone please help.

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      confused 2 years ago

      How about a situation where the family says the service will be private, as per the deceased's wishes, but the funeral home says it will be an open service? I don't think the family is deliberately spreading misinformation, as we are all on friendly terms. Could the

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      Susan Reid 2 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Ann Field, I'm sorry for getting back to you so late. It's all done now for your service. I hope things went well -- or as well as could be expected. What I get from your writing is that notwithstanding the circumstances you are honorable and trying to do the right thing. Now you can go back to your regularly scheduled life. And remember something I learned the hard way: We cannot control others, we can only control our reaction to them.

      FedUp: My facetious answer is how about a restraining order? Seriously, you could tell him it's a private service for family only and since he is not family it would be inappropriate for him to attend. I doubt that will stop him. Hopefully people you care about and care about you will know he is a con man and treat his actions accordingly. In other words, they will ignore him and let him make a fool of himself.

      Confused -- My interpretation is that possibly if there is a wake or visiting hours at the funeral home perhaps they are referring to that. The service itself can be interpreted to mean the memorial service or it could be the graveside portion of the service only. Do you think the family could mean that only family will go with the casket to the cemetary but that the actual memorial service is, per the funeral home's information, be open to anyone who wants to go?

      Just one person's viewpoint.

      Thanks, one and all for stopping by and venting. MM

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      wmschneider 24 months ago

      My girlfriend for 2 years passed away after a short but painful stay at a Chicago hospital. Although we had the most harmonic relationship her two children tried to keep me away from her. I was informed of her passing by her sister. Funeral arrangements are still pending. Her son threatened to kill me if he sees me again. But I'm determined to attend her funeral.

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      Annfield 24 months ago

      I'm so sorry for your loss wmschnider. Have you tried to ask them why they are so against you ? Do you have anybody who could act as an intermediary on your behalf ? If they are adamant that you don't attend you can always visit the grave or church or a place you both loved with your own family and friends and pay your respects in your own special way. I'm sorry I don't know what else to say except my heart goes out to you x

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      Susan Reid 24 months ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thank you for offering your kind words, Annfield. I add my condolences for your loss wmschneider.

      I think Annfield offers some excellent advice -- make your own ceremony where you will feel at peace honoring your girlfriend.

      While you have every right to be at the funeral, do you want to risk your life (who knows what a grieving son is capable of?).

      In the end, the think to do is what you think your girlfriend would want.

      It's about her, after all.

      Best of luck to you.


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      Daughter in law 23 months ago

      My father in law passed suddenly last week. He had been divorced from my mother in law for years, though they seemed to me to be at peace with each other. Now my husband and his brother are insistent that she not go to the service. They love their mom, but insist their dad would not have wanted her there. She is not listening to that and is insisting on going. The service will be five hours away, and she is still planning on going - despite her sons' request. I don't understand their insistence that she not be there, but they feel so very strongly about it. It's a very sad and frustrating situation.

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      Michael Siewert 22 months ago

      I came to this article to learn something on the matter. What I found was a person who has a BIG chip on their shoulder with a family member and played so many word games that they resolved NOTHING with their article. I learned more by reading the comments added by everyone else. I am thinking that maybe the author of the story could be the problem child in this family and likes to start trouble. They remind me of my evil sister who would say the exact things...blamimg everyone else and obviously liking to start trouble. I suggest to the author of the article to get some help to get over your hard feelings. Then maybe come back and try to explain the details you tried to convey.

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      Brienne 21 months ago

      What a great and timely hub, I know that this will be an issue for me before long as I have a similarly drug addled (probably sociopathic) sister who wreaked havoc on our family for years before estrangement kicked in. Cutting off was the only way to preserve the sanity and health of the rest of us and protect our loved ones from her plots and wrath. This was by no means done lightly, as I'm sure you totally understand. Such action only comes after years of sleepless nights due to unceasing harassment and invented drama. And though the pain is bearable now, it still leaves a great sadness, especially around holiday times and family celebrations.

      But at the moment I am dealing with the aftermath from a very different perspective. My neurotic cousin is arranging the funeral for her mother. She has always rather disliked my father (who calls a spade a spade and thought she was a spoilt brat as a child). My father is in his eighties now and the deceased is his much beloved sister. This cousin, in recent years, has been denigrating my parents and myself with harsh judgements about my evil sister. She rang my parents yesterday and told them they were not welcome at her mother's funeral. My father is terribly upset. The last lunch we had together with the deceased last year I heard my aunt say to my father: "oh my lovely brother it is so lovely to see you". So there was no beef with her.

      I had to convince my parents that it is indeed wiser not to attend the funeral, in sympathy to my cousin's request as she is grieving. But really it is quite pathetic of her to do this, I think. They are elderly and really she could just not have talked to them after the service. To get around it and try and mollify their hurt feelings I have arranged for a mass to be dedicated to my Aunt. My kids, grandchild, sibling, uncle, and a few cousins will attend (as they also found this ban awful) and we will all go for lunch together afterwards. I was thinking of getting some flowers so that we could throw them out onto the lake as a symbolic gesture. Those other relatives coming to support my family (who have been shocked by this level of hostility) will attend the proper funeral as well, but myself and my children and sibling will not attend as were we to do so it would be upsetting for my parents. I think you do have to comply with the family wishes as the dead person is gone, the service is really for the living. So my view is let her bury her mother as she wishes.

      I am so in dread for when something happens to my own dear parents, in regard to my sister. But for me she must be advised and it is up to her if she can bear show her face. It will be very hard for me if she does as I haven't seen her face to face in over ten years. I believe it is totally up to the closest family members to the deceased to decide in such matters, and their wishes must be respected. Those uninvited can always say their farewells themselves as we will do this weekend.


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      Jack Hagan 20 months ago from New York

      I wanted to do so but was not aware how to keep them away. However, having read your article, I think I am ready for the future challenges.

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      Shore Gal1950 18 months ago

      My sister has an undiagnosed mental illness which has kept her from working for 30 years, she has ungratefully lived off my mother's charity and estranged herself from the entire extended family, living far away and never visiting. At our father's funeral 20 years ago, state troopers were present, as she told them my brother planned to kill her. Now our 88 year old mother is failing, and my brother and I do not want to be anywhere near our sister at the funeral, as she will definitely create more paranoid drama, as everything has to be about her. Should we have a very small private family graveside service and invite her, with folks who know what she is like, or should we have 2 separate graveside services, one for my brother and me, and a second one just for her with the minister? Of course she won't come to any other functions, as she didn't participate in them years ago either.

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      oldersister 12 months ago

      Mighty Mom great topic. With all that I have been through with my sister and niece this topic has come up with my husband and children. I told my husband and children that I do not want my sister or niece at my funeral. If they were not around in my life then I do not want them in death.

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      stuart trevaskiss. 9 months ago

      I recently sadly lost my aunty olive in Malvern on the 1st of June.016.and my brother deliberately did not tell me that she died .only for me to find out on facebook when it was to late she died.also he didn't even tell me her funeral was on the 22nd of my sister false information is going to be the weekend .for which I wonted to attend the said funeral.having had my paid for collected wreath ready to take to funeral in Malvern.and paid for coach ticket booked and paid for.i feel very let down .upset that I wasn't at funeral of my aunty.and angry with my brother in warndon .worcester.who proports to be christian.all because my brother sided with former friend in bham .who was sending me and my girlfriend offensive childish mail and phone calls as sick joke.for which we were forced to involve the police.and this person admited to the police he was sending offensive mail to us in brother sides this freind of his and stops me seeing my mum.other family members.corrupting their minds maliciosly against me.including stopping me going to my auntys funeral.can I take legal action in courts against my brother over so distraught over matter.ive tried to resolve matters in appropriate amicable manner.but what my brother has done was unforgivable.

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      Anonymous 5 months ago

      If you know your deceased loved one did not want someone at funeral, let them know. The best solution is to let them know they can make arrangements with funeral home for paying their respects at a time when no one is there.

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      Tom Shelly Jr. 2 weeks ago

      I really wanted to attend Chris Scidmore's funeral. I know Carolyn and Mike and Angie. The problem is they may want it PRIVATE. Others want it PUBLIC. I know Chris from Special Olympics, Diversified Services, and Families for Change. How can I honor Chris even if I'm invited to the funeral.

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