How to Keep Out Unwanted Guests at Family Funerals

Updated on August 10, 2017
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Mighty Mom is a keen observer of life. She shares her personal experiences and opinions in helpful and often amusing ways.

Are Funerals Public or Private?

When planning a wedding, it's easy to ban unwanted family members — simply don't invite them. The bride and groom, 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 and everyone who knew the deceased could come and pay their respects.

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

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?

5 Ways to Restrict Funeral Attendance

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

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

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

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

4. Publish the obituary after the funeral and 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 suggestions has its pros and cons — especially number five because the last thing you will feel like doing while trying to grieve your loved one is to 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!

Should You Restrict Funeral Attendance?

Only you can answer that question. The following are a few scenarios in which limiting the guest list should be considered:

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 might 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:

  1. Having the reception at the church or house of worship. Have everyone adjourn to an anteroom to 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.
  2. Have the interment directly following the funeral. This way, 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 interment 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? Do you see where I'm going with this?

If she chooses Arizona because Dad has made some friends out there, the funeral will have very few guests. If she chooses to bring Dad back to lie in eternity next to his wife, it will be financially limiting (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 Ban a Family Member From a Funeral?

I've written extensively on family betrayal and estrangement. Many of you know that this subject is quite near and dear to my heart, and, after receiving more comments than I ever expected on my related articles, I see that 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? (Given their prior behavior, this would be something of an oxymoron as "respect" is seemingly not in their vocabulary).

*The feud may not be with a family member. It 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 and ideas on the subject based, of course, on an all-too-real situation in my own family. You can hope that the person in question "honors" their previous estrangement and stays away of their own accord, but this is risky. 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!

What Your Unwanted Guest May Do

  1. They may 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.
  2. They may see the funeral as an opportunity to either vindicate themselves or atone for their past behavior. They may feel like this is their last chance to make peace with the deceased by either offering forgiveness or seeking it.
  3. They attend to spite the other family members to whom they are also estranged.
  4. They 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.

Ways to Handle the Black Sheep of the Family

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. Forgive

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 that 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. Ban Them

If you happen to know that the deceased would roll over in their grave if they knew that the black sheep relative dared to show up, that's a different story entirely. We have a similar situation in my family. My mother-in-law has made it patently clear that 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 over a 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 mother-in-law will only be with us in spirit. So we will be interpreting her wishes and 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 over two long, intense years of family feuding, I've had plenty of time to think about this.

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 HubPages forums, I'm confident that I could make a few pointed jabs without invoking a slander suit. It would be a challenge, but it's nothing like the challenge my "dear" sister-in-law has put us through already!

2. We had my father-in-law's after-party at our house. That is now tradition, and we see no reason to break with it. Accordingly, it is a safe assumption that the 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 repentant 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 (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) to our house for a memorial service.

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


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; include or exclude certain people, do it from your heart. If you follow your heart, you will end up doing the right thing.

It is probably premature, but I would like to say that I am sorry for your loss. I am doubly sorry that in your time of sorrow you have to think about such a crazy idea as banning your own family member from the funeral! I hope my musings have given you some comfort.

All the best to you and your loved ones.

Your Funeral Experience

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

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    • profile image

      Joann Redmond 5 weeks ago

      I'm very interested in this topic. I'm wondering if I am able to ban people from my own funeral. I'm not dying. But everyone does eventually. Any my husband and I have to update our wills (currently, all 4 of our children will be sent to my brother in law and now they're all in their thirties! What a surprise that would be, right?). So, I've got about 6 people in my family (cousins and sister) who have not given me the time of day in over twenty years. But, since I live in the south, and all but my sister lives in the south, it is the tradition that you "pay respects" even if you didn't like the person. Because now they're dead. And that's just sad. Ugh. So, if I list the names in my will that they are not to be allowed at my funeral, is it not the responsibility of my family or someone else like the funeral home to honor my wishes? My husband laughed at me. He said since I'd be dead, how will I know if the wishes were honored? Of course, I didn't like any of that sentiment. I feel very strongly about this. Hopefully you have a great answer! :)

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      Anonymous 6 weeks ago

      For autists by autists. Either follow social convention or admit that what you're doing is antisocial. That bloody simple.

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      Debra Owen 7 weeks ago

      If people are so concerned about being able - or NOT - to attend a private funeral... 1. why not show your concern for the decedent, immediate family and caregiver(s) - BEFORE someone dies? If people are kind and show that they care for their family before a death happens - there won't be a need for a private funeral or to exclude anyone. Some caregivers need help - respite - and the sick relative - needs to know that they are loved before they die. Stop the greed, drama, threats, arguing, - and behave like intelligent human beings. Private funerals are also planned for safety reasons, to minimize drama, greed, and negativity. If you aren't included to attend a private funeral - there's usually good reasons behind it - so just be kind - and respectful to the grieving family - and leave it alone.

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      Andrew millar 2 months ago

      Can i just have stranger's at my near future funeral? I've 5 children witch are to young to attend, my extended family don't want to no me especially my own fucking cunt of a so called mother, i would like reggae music playing no woman no cry and I would receive a much love goodbye from strangers

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      agendab 2 months ago

      My Grandmother passed recently. Her Son's wife has been estranged from her and the family for many years. My Grandmother was in the hospital prior to her death and said in la, sat in the car while her husband visited his Mother. Then she had the nerve to show up at the wake and the funeral and sit on front row with her husband. Mind you she wouldn't even let my Grandmother visit their home; and when my Grandmother fell ill, her son had to go to his Mother's house to help his siblings take care of her w/o any help from his wife. The siblings and other family members are very unhappy with this as she even came those two nights and spent the night, not only in my Geandmother's home but ACTUALLY slept in her bed. To make matters worse, the Son is buying the old home place and having it moved to another property for them. She is visiting the home with him, while the siblings will not voice a word against it, trying "to keep down a family argument, and not to hurt the brother". If I had my way, (Granchild) I would tell him he is wrong and his wife is not welcome there until his Mother's belongings have been removed and the sale of the house is final and he owns it. His siblings will only talk seceretively about it, but won't breathe a word to him or publicly about it. In my opinion, the brother isn't worrying about hurting them. They are still living in the perfect little glass house where nothing is wrong, yet EVERYTHING is wrong really! .. but don't let outsiders know!

      Seems I'm not in a position to make waves, as I sit here n steam, makes me feel like washing my hands of the whole damn family. The in law even texted me today(don't think I have EVER had a text/ phone call in years from her) and said "this is my #, if you want to send me some pics of the funeral." I think she has SOME NERVE! I think she is mentally touched, evil and disrespectful, but mostly being downright SPITEFUL! what do you think?

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      annonymous 3 months ago

      My sister past recently. Like the family politics go I was not included in the service. I have never done a thing to be treated as I am. The "family" sees me as the problem due to the slander of one. Brain washed and hateful is the way I view them. Mean spirited and cruel!The more years go by the more I don't expect inclusion.

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      At peace for once 3 months ago

      So sad but they made their choice and you done all you could do. Blood is not in your hands. I am too a black sheep but I’m POA. I have 5 brothers/sisters and only talk to 2. I will have a memorial graveside service to honor my mom (Who is in hospice care). I will notify who I want to attend and make sure my dad is brought there by a true friend of his. I will not go into reasons why. Too long and God knows. My moms sister is alive along with 1 brother and I will give her sister option to have something after the service or not( out of respect to her). Moms brother is 88 so he can’t travel and is 6/7 hours away. If my moms sister chooses not to do this it is perfectly fine with me and we will let it go at that. I will place obituary in paper the day after the funeral. Any donations/flowers, cards, etc. can be sent to ??? We will decide on that later. It’s horrible to lose a loved one but it would be disaterous to have them there ( past exp. ) probe that. God bless you all.

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      Madeline Dinmont 4 months ago

      I found this site because I do not want to attend the funeral of a family member (my sister’s husband). My family are toxic, negative people who spend their time tearing everyone down. I am the family scape goat - and I am sure they will figure out a way to blame me for the death. No matter what I do it will be wrong so I gave up trying, put up a wall and refuse to interact with any of them. So I would be relieved if they notified me that I am banned from the funeral. I would do a back flip with joy. Instead I am going to send flowers, a note and tell them I came down with the flu to avoid the whole thing. Since he died from that illness it seems a sure fire way to avoid them all.

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      HaeshuKasiiki 4 months ago

      As a child who, at age 47, estranged his parents I would like to point out that the forgiveness option is only available when apologies are offered (on both sides, if necessary). There is no point in offering forgiveness and trying to make amends if the actions of your family members would be ongoing and negatively impacting you after reconciling.

      For me, the short story is, the state got a multi-million dollar judgement against my sister's husband for fraud. He then took a bunch of money from my parents under the guise of 'just being bad at business' to hire a lawyer to defend against this judgement. I did some digging to find out exactly who my sister's husband was because his story sounded like BS to me, and was shocked at what I had found.

      I revealed to my father that my sister's husband wasn't a college grad as he had told us but was actually a high school dropout multiple time felon with a rap sheet as long as my arm and that he shouldn't be giving him any more money. He also used my father's name as 'business partner' in order to secure a deal to buy a business, which her husband never paid for (which created a separate lawsuit). My father had no idea about any of this. My Mom was pissed I found this out but my Dad was grateful for the information. He told my sister what I had learned about her husband and my sister got so upset and went nuts for so long railing against me that over the next 18 months it put both of my parents in the hospital at death's doorstep.

      After their near death experiences, my parents now view as me ruining my sister's life and the life of her two small children she had with him and destroying our once happy family. Turns out my sister knew all of this about her husband and hid it from the rest of the family, which I believe was so she and her husband could steal money from my parents, which they had been doing for years under various schemes (my parents don't view it this way though they paid my sister and her husband tens of thousands of dollars over the years). My wife and I went through 18 months of hell trying to get my parents to seek family therapy with us to sort everything out. It got to the point where my mother was texting my minor children (and their girlfriends) about how evil my wife and I are which is when I cut off communication for good blocking them on phones, social media, etc (but left open the option of reconciliation with a professional therapist). They don't want to talk about it with anyone, even if it means no longer talking to their grandchildren.

      It has been a full year of estrangement at this point. My sister is still married to him and he still comes over their house for holidays. With me gone, my sister is no longer raising hell with them and they have been hospital free all year according to my cousin.

      I certainly would not want my parents at my funeral. I wouldn't even want them to know I had passed away.

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      Charlie 4 months ago

      I never had to deal with this but this what I can say as my personal opinion on this: Have the person who will die (if he/she is sick with a terminally ill sickness) make a video recording of what they want to have at his/her funereal. From the kind of funereal (religious or non religious), the theme, music, and who he/she wants to be at the funereal (IE certain friends and family alike) and make sure its fully respected to the very end. I always felt a dying persons final will and testament should be considered final and no court should/could overturn it.

      I've stated to my mother many times that if I die, I want zero religious funereal, my mothers brother (my uncle) and his family are not welcomed, my father is not welcomed. The only 'family' I want is my brother and mother and my friends.

      Also, I think all funereal should be private, even going far to block other unwanted people from going in places that the unwanted person can say "this is a public place I have a right", and other such stupidity. If weddings can be private and have the soon-to-be married couple pick and choose who they want at wedding without any drama, then the same thing should be given to funereal.

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      Stephanie judd 4 months ago

      I've been uninvited from my daughter's Father's funeral He was creamated by his new wife of one year, in Indiana And he's from here in Florida He his sister and I all more or less grew up together .Our daughter is 28 yrs old and in prison and very devestated by it all . I'm very heartbroken that anyone would have the nerve to uninvited his first child's mother for no particular reason.Just to be hateful is the only reason I can see .But I feel that I shouldn't go out of respect for the wife but this is not about her rite? And what about my feelings I'm really crushed

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      La Texangirl 4 months ago

      It all started when, one of my sister was taking care of Mom for 6 yrs.... she lived in Fl. and I lived in Texas, when I found out my Mom was dying in the hospital, I headed to Fl. to see mom. And there, I heard from another sister mom had been neglected & abuse by her, no wonder she wouldn't let us talk to mom, only when she felt like mom was place through hospice and was told she only had 6 months or less to live, so I waited for my mom to get a little strength so I could bring her back home to Texas, when I place her in a nursing home, even thou it was a struggle, bcuz those people wouldn't do their job, Mom still lived almost 2 years. I would go mostly every day to check on mom, Mom still having 9 of us near her, there was always urging & complaints with my brothers and sisters not wanting to make some time to help check on Mom or go see her..they were too busy. Now my mom recently pass away... and Mom always would say, that for her kids to see her in live and not when she had already pass... At the funeral only five family members were allow to see her and when the time came the ones that were supposed to show up only one did and brought the abuser with her, I had said she wasn't welcome their, but the funeral lie to me and change the arrangements I had already sign and said many things that could happen if I wouldn't let this people come in... as my mind was cloudy at that hurtful moment, I just think, they had no right to do this at the very last moment, because this were my mom's wishes not mine or my sister and I think they disrespected my moms rights and dignity, so what matters more the desease wishes or family feuds wishes, I feel that I fail my mom because I was her POA and her voice and wasn't able to keep those people away. Am I been selfish or that was the right thing to do, to give that sister the chance to ask mom for forgiveness... One thing I do know that it won't be for long they will be laughing at this at a later time that she still got her way, bcuz that's the kind of family I got... I ask (God) to forgive me if I let mom down...... STILL Grieving for my MOTHER.... Thank you for making the time to read this (GOD) BLESS!!!

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      Susanace 4 months ago

      YES, I actually BANNED ALL of my mother's relatives from her funeral. They GATECRASHED my younger sister's funeral and my father's funeral. On both occasions the family ENJOYED themselves at the graveside LAUGHING, JOKING and making NASTY COMMENTS. I was MOCKED, RIDICULED and MADE A LAUGHING STOCK OF. I did NOT feel like being RIDICULED a third time. I was also THREATENED by them that they would FORCE their presence at my mother's funeral. I remained silent regarding funeral arrangements. My situation is UNUSUAL, because all 3 members of my immediate family died within 15 weeks of each other. A MOST HEARTBREAKING TRAGEDY, and then to be RIDICULED at the cemetery TWICE, I was deeply offended by their APPALLING BEHAVIOUR.

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      Grave site service for MOM 5 months ago

      My mother had Alzheimer's for 25 years - her only sister lives less than 10 miles away -and rarely acknowledged her existence until her husband (my Dad) died. The sister had the nerve to ask if ME she could buy my parents' house within 3 hours of my Dad's funeral - and acted as if my Mom wasn't even in the room. (NO, I sold the house later to someone else - so MOM could make a better profit). Fast forward 7 years - the sister has not called or visited my Mom during the time she was living with us - during the time my Mom lived at senior dementia care facility nearby - or later in a skilled nursing home down the street. Two of Mom's adult grandchildren never called or visited either. So after being the only caregiver for my Mom - and now the Executor, I chose to have a very sweet private gravesite service for the 7 folks who have been supportive of me and my husband during the last 8 years. I published the obituary a day after the service. I have never been so relieved in my life. After my Dad passed away and I (POA)was trying to help my MOM deal with his death, their house, get the legal aspects resolved, - I could NOT BELIEVE the amount of GREED and disrespect shown to my Mom - or my Dad's memory. It amazes me that my Mom's sister is a preachers wife - and claims to be a CHRISTIAN - even though she wanted to get my parents home for a BARGAIN price... (take advantage of her only sister?) . Christian is - as Christian does. I felt at total peace with having only a small - intimate, sweet gravesite service for my MOM, and if I had to do it all over again, I would do it exactly the same way.

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      JJ 5 months ago

      Having just read the article about ‘banning’ family. I found this totally distressing.

      My father has died (dementia), my stepmother once she gained Power of Attorney, blocked all his immediate family, telling him we didn’t want to see him!! How is this right?

      I very much wish to attend my fathers funeral, I guess she will make that impossible. Just to say goodbye, not as a prodigal daughter or a fortune hunter (I hope the fortune makes SM very happy).... sometimes the truth behind the cover being sold isn’t what we see.

      No immediate family should be banned from attending, children are a gift we receive for life, good, bad or indifferent... but they aren’t something our parents new partners should disregard as waste and flotsam.... are they?

      I was taught somewhere between the two stories in any conflict lies the truth.... and we should never make any decision until we hear both.

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      An upset grieving granddaughter 6 months ago

      My family and I lost my grandfather and found out online that a full military service was done this past Veterans Day. I don’t understand how someone can get away with not including ANY family members. I would think there would be a legality issue. I along with my family loved him dearly and how my Aunt decided to something absolutely deceitful. Regardless of how she felt towards certain individuals, when dealing with a death in the family all should be put aside for the sake of my grandfather. I hope she comes across this post and finally comes to reality. I don’t know how she looks at herself in the mirror everyday.

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      Annette 7 months ago

      My family is currently dealing exclusion from a funeral. The deceased's wife decided not to provide her husband's siblings with the knowledge that their brother had died, leaving them to learn about his passing weeks later on social media.

      Denying an entire family the ability to grieve the loss of a family member is heartless. In this instance, if there was any animosity, it was unexpressed and one sided. People are being punished for something they had no way of knowing existed, if it ever did. The brother is gone, taking any familial issues with it. Grief can make normally rational people do horrible things, but this is unforgivable.

      I can understand not wanting someone at an event. If the person or people in question are so horrible, tell them so, that a private ceremony is scheduled, and that he or she or they are not welcomed. If they show up to a public event, then deal with it like an adult. Don't let pettiness endup being your loved one's legacy.

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      Lisa 7 months ago

      The presumption that the uninvited guest is "strange" or showed bad behavior, or would be problematic is ludicrous. I was uninvited to a family funeral because I had the audacity to set up a gofundme page for the cost of the funeral. Which they felt was exploitive. (but they took the money) No good deed goes unpunished.

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      Eric Ebacher 7 months ago

      It can be hard to decide whether or not to exclude a family member or friend from a funeral or memorial service, regardless of circumstances; when my stepmother passed in October of 2013, she had no real bad blood with anybody (at least not that I could really think of) and therefore, wanted everyone in our family that was able and/or willing or both to make the memorial (and later graveside) services. At that time, I, personally didn't really want to be there (again, no bad blood towards anybody), but at that time, my reasoning for not being at the service was that I really couldn't afford to be going much of anywhere, if anywhere at all, outside of work, but within a week of Jeanne's (my recently deceased stepmother) passing, and with only about a week to go before the memorial service, I finally made my decision to go. It was probably one of the better decisions I could have made regarding whether or not I should attend any funeral or memorial service that I had to decide whether or not I should even be there. To my knowledge, my stepmom really had no enemies to speak of, and therefore, as mentioned up front, there was really no one that she didn't want at the service, at least not that I could think of.

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      Eric Ebacher 7 months ago

      The only time I would ever even consider banning anyone from a family member's funeral with whom someone had any strife is if he/she made absolutely zero effort to try to reconcile their differences with the deceased person before his or her (the decedent's) passing.

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      Jeannette 7 months ago

      Black sheep brings up a host of stereotypes like alcoholic, drug addict, whoremonger, ex-con. Many are estranged from family for a good reason without a label. Reconciliation always comes in a false pretense, especially in families with a history of violence, disorders and the silent killer-narcissism. Whomever is in charge of the will, funeral planning, etc should be strong enough amd perceptive to know who can help them with that but should never get it in their head that they're in charge of eliminating guests unless of course you have reason to believe you'll be planning another funeral..With that in mind, familial issues go deep and beyond cruel when you're even considering attendee disinvites. If Aunt Mary has a superiority complex and annoyed her brother John Doe, noone wants to be around her and she might not feel the same about her brother, death or the like....but nonetheless let's not discredit her humanity for showing up.

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      bettybb 8 months ago

      My brother died five days ago. I was estranged from my family for nearly 20 years so I guess I'm the black sheep you mention.

      As a child, I'd suffered physical and mental abuse from my mother and older brother, both of whom suffered from borderline personality disorder. I'm blind in my left eye from the time my brother punched me in the face, but the mental scars are deeper.

      I got married and moved away when I was 17. My husband was in the military, and when he retired, we moved back home. I quickly found that they were still abusive and manipulative and that the abuse was touching my husband and children, and I couldn't allow that so I cut them out of my life, and that was very painful for me.

      They turned my nieces and nephews against me, telling them horrible lies about me. Only recently have two of my nieces sought me out for a reconciliation. They have similar stories of abuse. My two nephews are apparently still in denial and haven't forgiven me for what they perceive as abandonment.

      Despite the abuse and passage of time, I still loved my brother for the good times we'd shared long ago, and I've grieved horribly for him and all the suffering he went through during his lengthy illness. I'd always hoped that things could be different between us. And I was very hurt that I was excluded from his Memorial.

      That part you said about insulting the estranged family member is just awful, truly diabolical! The black sheep could have a very good reason for staying away--maybe a reason that you don't know about or can't understand.

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      Love and Happiness 8 months ago

      Family estrangements are complicated and are sometimes a result of a family history that is hard, sometimes impossible to resolve. I don't think it's helpful to label the "estranged" person/people "black sheep." Name calling is not helpful and concerning given that this column is supposed to be about understanding and how to address a difficult situation for a family.

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      Me 9 months ago

      I lived with my mom and when she had a bad stroke, she had to be hospitalized permanently. That very day my entire family turned on me. Blamed me for her permanent terminal illness. I was and still am shunned by them all for close to 7 yrs now. Most of it stems from sibling rivalry and narcassistic behaviors on their part. I finally came to terms with the fact that they felt like this about me from day one. So it had nothing to do with my mom's passing. I was a daddy's girl and middle child so my older brother resented me as he didn't get attention anymore and my younger sister was jelous as she wanted to be the only daughter. We're all in our senior yrs. 70,61&59. I'll never be able to have a relationship with them even if they wanted to someday which i very much doubt. There's nothing more i can say ir do as they refuse to have me in their lives. So now I'm used to being aline and not having any family at all. Am I happy? Yes and No. But I'll survive.

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      Dawna 9 months ago

      My mother passed away. Her & I were best friends. She left my brother in charge as she trusted him to follow her wishes. He didn't like how we were close and is now banning my family & I from her memorial services. Mortuary said he has the right according to the health care directive. I know my mom would not have signed this document if she knew he would do this. I'm being told police will be called if I show up. This isn't right. How can someone use their mother to get even a sibling for their own personal issues! Can I sue him for emotional stress for not allowing me to be with my mother and pay my respects? He is not respecting her wishes whatsoever! She was very specific she wanted everyone to attend her services. She prepared them 6 months in advance when she took ill

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      Wow 9 months ago

      Agree with wolf and Jennifer.

      P.s. Forgiveness is a miracle.

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      Anglofile 12 months ago

      This subject is a sore spot in my family. It seems that estrangement gives family members permission to exclude people from family events.

      When my brother died from melanoma in 1984, his wife decided no one from his family could see him at the viewing. He was cremated and his ashes strewn without ceremony in a place he liked.

      Relations had been difficult with this sister-in-law for various reasons. But when my brother was dying, my parents had intervened as his wife had told his doctors not to tell him his prognosis. My parents made sure he knew. I understand that she felt betrayed. I cannot tell you how much hurt the sil caused by her actions. At a time when we all needed to heal as a family, she shut us out. I had encouraged my parents to get a court order, but they chose not to.

      Since then my sister and I were invited to a the wedding of my brother's granddaughter. And her grandmother made the bride choose between my sister and her. I had declined because of personal issues having nothing to do with this situation. This was 2 years ago. Such a long time to hold on to whatever it is with the rest of us. Even though I had some issues with my brother's wife years ago, they were not things that could not have been resolved.

      There are other issues included in this -- mostly sibling rivalry that had carried over into adulthood. And some issues with my parents, but nothing that could not have been talked through.

      To me the reason people exclude others is mostly to be mean. They really don't want to handle things in a mature way. They hurt others because they want to HURT them.

      When my daughters passed away, I had no problem with anyone wanting to come to their services. It didn't matter to me if I liked them or there was a rift in our relationship. I wanted their deaths and funerals to be a catalyst for healing the family (didn't happen). I was not threatened by anyone's presence. Both my daughters had told me not to share their deaths with certain people. I did it anyway because funerals are really for the living. I would not hurt anyone the way my sil hurt the family.

      I am in a situation now where my son's wife makes all the decisions and I fear I may be excluded from his funeral if he passes before I do. I have been excluded from my son's college graduation (age 40) and my grandson's high school graduation. He is now in his 3rd year of college, so I see what is coming next.

      (My issue with my daughter-in-law is that she disrespects me and treats me like dirt. They have kept their distance since I stood up for myself. I have asked my son to talk to me more than once since then. He and I have met once and he promised to meet again. Until he got home. Then a few emails but mostly no response.)

      My advice would be not to exclude anyone from a funeral because the hurt caused could be worse than having them there. If they make scenes, it should be made clear to them that none of that behavior will be tolerated.

      As I said I believe that people just want to be mean. I believe that they feel they cannot control the situation or their feelings when whatever person is around. Being mean gives them a sense of control (they can punish others, etc). It is a false sense but they believe they have made a point.

      Feelings are raw during a funeral but that is no reason to use the event to hurt others. I don't see how one can feel better by hurting another person.

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      Wolf 14 months ago

      Your writings make a grave assumption that the unwanted guest is the one who has the history of doing ill or having wrongful ways with the relatives. You ignore that birds of a feather flock together, and that the gaggle of persons planning the funeral may just be the wrongful doers.

      You don't even mention that the planners of the funeral might just be completely out of line in negating a family member.

      My family has 4 siblings who banned together to embezzle over 3.5 million dollars of my parents estate. 9 lawyers and 3 judges determined that 4 connected siblings drained the estate of all cash assets and that the company needed to be sold in order to pay the 1 and only legally responsible person what left of the estate a 1/5th portion. The embezzlers have already split $3 million now the 5 siblings will split equally $2 million that is in hard product [ buildings]. The embezzled money is forever gone and cannot be retrieved. What a joke... the embezzlers will still get more money..... I will never receive an equal portion of my parents estate.

      You have considered that the outcast is the wrongful doer.....

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      Tom Shelly Jr. 15 months 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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      Anonymous 20 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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      stuart trevaskiss. 24 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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      oldersister 2 years 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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      Shore Gal1950 2 years 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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      Jack Hagan 2 years 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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      Brienne 3 years 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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      Michael Siewert 3 years 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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      Daughter in law 3 years 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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      Susan Reid 3 years 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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      Annfield 3 years 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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      wmschneider 3 years 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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      Susan Reid 3 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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      confused 3 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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      Fedup 3 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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      Ann Field 3 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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      Susan Reid 3 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 3 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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      C may 3 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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      flossy 3 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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      Swan 3 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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      Cont'd Let the dead bury the dead 3 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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      Let the dead bury the dead! 3 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.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 3 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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      Elleke 3 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 4 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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      Mimi 4 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 4 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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      Carrie Lee Night 4 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 4 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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      louba 4 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 4 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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      Debbie 4 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 4 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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      CindyCross 4 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 4 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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      GuitarFever73 4 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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      Memorial Services 4 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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      Surprised 4 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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      Susan Reid 4 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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      NMLady 4 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.

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      Susan Reid 4 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.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 5 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.

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      Susan Reid 5 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.


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      Twin Brother 5 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"

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      Susan Reid 5 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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      NJ Rivka 5 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.

    • vibesites profile image

      vibesites 5 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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      Roslyn 5 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!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 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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      Tammy 5 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 5 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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      Susan Reid 5 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

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 5 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.

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      Susan Reid 6 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

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      stepchild 6 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.

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      hiit 6 years ago

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

      Ron from Fitness Tips

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      Susan Reid 6 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.



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      sal 6 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.

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      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      LOL mikeydcarroll.

      One never can be too careful. No doubt!

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      mikeydcarroll67 6 years ago

      Yep. One can never be too careful these days.

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      Susan Reid 6 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 6 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.

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      Susan Reid 6 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.


    • profile image

      Sue Wright 6 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 6 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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      Disgraced 6 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?

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 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

    • profile image

      Lou 6 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 6 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.


    • profile image

      catsrule1962 6 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 6 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.




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