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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- They attend to spite the other family members to whom they are also estranged.
- 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?
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
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Anonymous on May 15, 2020:
I have extended family through a second marriage of my father. They disrespected him in life and since his passing as well as myself his next-of-kin. I have planned a private cremation with a memorial mass at a later date but fear this will not be respected. It really seems that this is an alien word to some people.
I'm the Black Sheep -Anonymous on May 07, 2020:
I'm considered the Black Sheep 2 of the family because of a nasty rumor and I've been told not to worry because G-d knows. This situation has broken this Black Sheep's heart and destroyed so many relationships/memories but before you point a finger at me, know that every attempt was made to reconcile, the other parties cut ties completely from me.
If i go, I've been threatened with physical violence and if I don't go, I'm heartless-Dam, if I don't and if I do. I was told to ban some of the same people from a certain funeral and I didn't do it because it wasn't the right thing to do but I know that those same people are waiting to drag me out the door and face first into a curb.
Where's the forgiveness? that we are supposed to forgive our brother 70 x 70's times?? I will count myself lucky if I can sit in the back of the funeral home or in the parking lot as the Black Sheep of the family silently.
Just think of it if you were in my shoes.
Bemijo on March 16, 2020:
As a “black sheep” I am frustrated with your article...I was ousted because I broke from a fundamental religion and divorced my husband by having an affair to get kicked out of the church and my marriage. Drastic, yes, but until you live in a ultra conservative, fundamental religion you wouldn’t understand. I have spent eight years trying to have my parents ‘move forward’ from the divorce. They insist I apologize for breaking up the family and causing my mother to have a ‘broken heart’ because I befriended another mother figure. I won’t apologize so I have lived on the ‘outs’. My mother passed away this past weekend. My heart hurts because we were unable to move past the past before she left this world and now my brother is telling me I am not welcome at the funeral. I have done nothing but live my life outside their religion; I am happily married, successful, and content. I do not believe I should be excluded from saying goodbye to mom. I am going. Maybe your article hit a nerve but I believe it is very jaded and narrow-minded.
French Traveler on March 07, 2020:
This article seems somewhat mean spirited to me. I am the black sheep of my husband’s family. I have been abused, made fun off, isolated, had my children bullied/abused by that family, been humiliated and embarrassed for starters. What did I do to justify this behavior you ask? I got my husband off drugs, I helped him graduate college and find a great job and I’ve dealt with all the abuse and luggage he brought into our marriage from his extremely abusive upbringing. The fact that I was educated, successful, driven and believed that both spouses should work as a team and share households duties was highly shunned upon.
Those People feel the same contempt and hate for me that you do for your sister in law. As a matter of fact, a SIL caused a lot of fiction and drama so she could the be favorite of that family. It’s mostly inheritance, need for control and greed motivated. I haven’t spoken to them in 12 years, nor have I allowed them to have any relationship with my kids. Now, they finally have a reason to hate me but they abused my children and that will never be tolerated. So the question is, will I banned from my husband’s mother’s funeral? Most likely. Will I attend? Absolutely, I will be there by my husband’s side to support him as I always have and always will be whether his family likes it or not.
Merry Mary on December 26, 2019:
“I have made ADA list. A Donot Attend list and have notified my husband of said list.”
What a perfectly narcissistic response. Just in case it wasn’t enough to nurse hostilities and bitterness in life, Barb wants to make sure she maintains hostilities posthumously. Must be a fearful thing to go through life so nervous of what people might say and think of you that you try to maintain control even in death.
Does everyone not on her paranoid Do Not Attend list feel the same about barring those who are? Expecting one’s surviving spouse, siblings, children, grandchildren, and cousins to maintain hostilities on behalf of the deceased against other siblings, children, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, etc., will say much more about the deceased than any polite eulogies.
As to Susan Reid’s conclusion that a funeral is about making “a fitting tribute to the deceased,” I disagree. A funeral is about the living coming together to comfort one another in response to the passing of the deceased. For some, they will find comfort in making tributes. Others may simply seek the company of their extended family, and perhaps the reminder that life goes on, in the form of existing relationships in the family, and the generations yet to come.
The best tribute anyone could hope for is leaving behind a legacy of love. Instead, others hold on to bitterness, and leave behind a legacy of brokenness. While the Barbs of the world will bathe in bitterness until their final breath, only fools will carry forth the vendettas of the deceased.
Barb180 on August 25, 2019:
I have made ADA list. A Donot Attend list and have notified my husband of said list. If you cannot see or talk to me alive dont bother with me when i am dead.
Kristina on August 20, 2019:
What if the estranged
Is not the black sheep? In my case, I’m estranged from my parents because my dad is a narcissist and he’s brainwashed my mom against me. I’m sure she’s going to die first, although we may still have a few
Years ahead of us. Can he keep me from coming to her funeral/memorial service? Because he would out of spite. He is against me because I stood up to him and stopped him from being abusive to my children. But surely I would like the chance for a proper goodbye to my mom when that day comes. Can he legally ban me?
Sara on May 21, 2019:
My great uncle bobby recently passed, and as a family we all agreed to let the immediate family grieve and they told us they would have a memorial service/picnic at a later time... they set the date, and family is coming from near and far, but a member of the family just texted us a week before the service to tell us only certain family members are invited(we were part of the chosen few to attend).... but others who had already asked for time off work, and others who knew the deceased well are not invited.... please keep in mind that the deceased always made a huge deal for family gatherings and welcomed everyone with open arms- he wouldnt have ever excluded anyone from his gatherings for any reason... now I can understand that they only want a small gathering for the memorial service but for the picnic afterwards I don’t understand why everyone cannot pay their respects... is it dishonoring the memory of the deceased?
Lisa on May 17, 2019:
Brother is over bearing narciscist. Kept me from my mothers life last 5 years. But he intentionally chose not to let me know and beibg blovked could not visit. Mom didnt want me blocked. He did it for spite. Intentional harm. Well there you have it. Proving not all black sheep are bad just mom made bad choices under duress. Won't get a chance to say goodbye. They cheated her of proper send off. Leaving me to answer other family as to why he did not have wake like we did Dad. I can not answer and explain was not my doing nor my deceased mothers devision was a power controling idiot trying to be a big shot. Well he really stirred the pot this time. As everyone knows it is lies. So frankly their should be a law that you cant bann just because you didn't like the person. Mom never told him to block. Yet he did it anyways after her demanding he unblock. Now she is gone and now he thinks he has it all. But we all paid into her life insurance. I am trying to get what was promised to my kids. We paid into it so thus needs to be divided 3 ways. I won't pay for services that we were not included in from obituary to burial.
Pat Crawford from Falher on May 15, 2019:
I have more of a question than comment. I just wondered if all the siblings have the right to be at the funeral. For instance if one sibling is living afar and the other siblings make arrangements without consulting with one another and then the siblings living afar hears the news but can not get themselves home in time. Do they have any rights to prevent the burial for a few days if they’re coming back home buck it’s going to take a couple days before they get there.
Wilda on April 12, 2019:
My father had us get together to so we were on the same page and to discuss his will. My sister suggested that she should be the executor and when the suggestion of a co executor she convinced us that she would be fair and it would be a hassle if someone else was involved. (Very bad choice)
When my dad died she Had my mother sign full power of attorney to her and would not let us know what she was doing with the estate of my mother mom died 6 years later in the interim she had my mother changed her will. Not notifying anyone. She promised she would honour my dads will and said she would keep us updated with the estate.
So we have not talk since we got the copy of will and I have contested will.
She took money out for memorial expenses and did not let me know and invited everybody but me. I’m a daughter and beneficiary is not part of her job is to include direct family ?
What kind of sister does this?
Justin on March 18, 2019:
The way I see it is this: If the person is going to die, write out a final will and testament in who you do not want at your funereal and make sure no idiot lawyer or judge will overrule it. However if that doesn't work (or you think it may not), tell only certain close friends/family who you want to show up and not to disclose it to nobody else, wait a few weeks/months or years after the person is buried, then disclose what happened and state why, or not say anything at all.
Cynthia Cervantez on March 14, 2019:
I have a question if anyone can help, I would greatly appreciate it. Is there a document I can use so that no one in my immediate family is notified of my death? One day I came to the heartbreaking conclusion that my mother, father, sisters and I would never be the family I wished, quite contrary we are toxic for each other. . I have no hard feelings towards them, but if they want nothing to do with me now that I'm alive I don't want to them to be bothered should anything happen to me. Thank you.
mirandaace on January 14, 2019:
In response to Caroline 5 months ago: There is nothing repugnant about banning family from funerals. You need to be aware of the circumstances surrounding why these people are banned from the funeral. And unless you know the full story of each family, there is no comprehension from an outsider what the actual breakdown was in the family. My ex extended family were evil to me in such a gross way that they were cruel to my immediate family and disrespected us all in the same way and the crescending part was when they laughed, ridiculed and mocked my youngest sister's internment and that was the very last straw for me. They also threatened me regarding my mother's funeral and what they were going to do to me if I succeeded in banning them. So unless you know the full circumstances of each family, nobody has the right to pass judgement on all of the black sheeps and there are many in my ex extended family, whom I have no association with whatsoever.
firstname.lastname@example.org on January 13, 2019:
I'm having huge problems trying to support my mum and my stepfamily in planning her husband's funeral. When the time comes for me to plan my mother's funeral, I plan on banning them from attending. They have shown no respect for her losing her husband, their father! She gave them over 30 years of her life to them. I'll be dammed if I allow them to turn up to my mother's funeral.
Life without Annette on November 15, 2018:
Personally, I look forward to attending my estranged mother’s funeral. It will be a day of relief for me, knowing that the bile and narcissistic contempt she heaped on me throughout her life will have finally come to an end. It will mean my children are finally safe from her trying to get her claws into them. It means closing the final chapter on what has been a painful, scarring relationship from a childhood full of profound dysfunction.
I will drive in the funeral procession to the cemetery, I will stand amongst the mourners, I will see her casket lowered into the ground, and I will throw dirt on her grave.
In a family marked by violence, crime, and abuse, I was never the black sheep so much as a beacon of reflected light in a sea of darkness.
For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
— John 3:20
Dawn on September 25, 2018:
When my father passes away he has
made it adamant not to allow one of his nieces, To the wake or the funeral.
Unless she pays Me his only relative back but $4000 that she borrowed.
She has never made any upper to pay this money back it's only been a year.
She claims she's come to Terms with what she's done and will make amends
Well with my father she has 5 years or less and I'll believe it when I see it.
Caroline on September 01, 2018:
I wrote a reply because my mum died about 3.5 weeks ago. I found this article very one-sided as it referred to the black sheep of the family. I thought I would give an update of what happened and perhaps help others understand what it's like for the 'other' family member whose not close.
I finally got to say goodbye to my mum at the Chapel of Rest and spent a couple of hours there, not speaking, but had lots of memories that i replayed in my head. It was upsetting, but also nice to have time with her alone where I could start to put to rest all the hurt, anger and trauma. One thing I will say is that I really wished I had called, and the feeling of regret is huge for me. I cannot stop thinking about my mum, and it's been a very hard process so far.
I saw my younger brother afterwards who couldn't listen to why I had not spoken for five years because he had a different relationship with her. When I met with my sister who has been estranged for more than 19 years, we discussed if we should attend the funeral. I have realised that every person who knew my mum had a different relationship with her, compared to ours. Therefore, they won't be able to relate to what we feel or think because that's not the person they know. We both decided not to attend because it would be disrespectful as a funeral is to celebrate someone's life and not cause stress for people who wanted to do that and say goodbye to her.
I also learned this week from my sister that we have a history of mental illness in our family. Estrangement has been running through our family for at least one generation. My mum never spoke to her brothers and sisters from her mid-twenties onwards.. Both myself and my sister have started to come to terms with our abuse and now understand that the family has been through a lot of trauma. My mum had a nervous breakdown when I was born and me and my sister were put in to care. Our Aunt's & Uncles saw my sister being beaten, but they never intervened. We're angry, but also very saddened by the fact that nobody stepped in because what we experienced growing up has affected us for our entire lives.
My feeling is that unfortunately, estrangement is far more common than we realise. A charity in the UK called 'Stand Alone' that support both parents and children who have become estranged have stated that 1 in 5 are estranged from their family. My sister and I would like a relationship with our younger brother, but that's proving difficult. We now know that we cannot talk about the past if we want to try and build bridges, and I need to work on myself quite extensively to put aside all the concerns, anger and resentment.
I don't know other people's stories about people who have posted here about why they don't want family members attending, but I hope that my story will help shed light that sometimes you might not know all what is going on / happened in the past. I don't think anyone chooses estrangement lightly, myself and my sister certainly didn't.
Alex on August 29, 2018:
I have made it clear to my husband and close friends that I do not wish to have my brother at my funeral. We are currently not on speaking terms and even when we were, he never made the effort to visit me and my family, when we go back home at least once a year. If you can’t make the effort when I’m alive, I don’t want you there when I’m dead. He’d only be there to make himself feel better, not because he really cares. Sad, but true.
Caroline on August 16, 2018:
I find your comments about estranged family members not being allowed to pass their final respects rather one-sided / ignorant.
My mother died last week, and I was estranged from her for the last five years. It was a difficult choice to make, but it was not the first time we had been estranged. The reason why we were estranged is that my mother emotionally abused me for several years whilst I lived at home. She also continued this abuse throughout my 20's, 30's, and some of my 40's. She also behaved this way towards my older sister but was also physically violent too and would beat her. Plus my older brother sexually molested both myself and my sister. And when I refused to have a relationship with my brother as an adult and explained the reason to my mum, she told me that she'd been interfered with as a child and I should forget about it, and have a relationship with him to please her.
A few years ago I was diagnosed with severe depression and eventually got help from a trained specialist and we spent a few weeks unpicking all the detail of my relationships within the family. After dealing with depression and coming out the other side... my mother five years ago accused me of saying something that I didn't and was verbally rude to me and aggressive. When I called back two weeks later to discuss why she was behaving like this, she hung up on me. So I didn't call her back ... I was waiting for her to call me, and she didn't.
And at that point I decided that I was not going to put myself in a vulnerable toxic situation to protect myself.
So round circle back to the death of my mum last week. I wasn't told until the day that she was dying. I had to try and handover my work and I missed her as she died. So, I didn't get the chance to say good bye. Also, I don't want to go to the funeral because my brother will be there and I cannot face any interaction with him.
I've tried to find out if I can say goodbye to my mum in the Chapel of Rest, and have contacted a family member on Monday. They've not messaged me or anything.
It appears that I've been banned from saying a private goodbye to my mother, but that's my closure to the situation and our relationship. Is that deserved? Or are you in denial about the reason why a family member can become estranged? Just like my family are with me.
Frankly, I find your article about banning estranged family members repugnant. You should consider people who've had to make a very difficult decision to become estranged and that as perverse as it may seem to you want to pay their last respects in a very private way. And, to be honest, it's actually none of your business why I, or someone like me wants to.
Ferd Moscattini on August 13, 2018:
Have a few relatives that should and will not attend any funeral. They only attend as I have seen as an outsider of this family only to be curious and have no respect and are extremely divisive. They are ethnics which axes to grind.
mirandaace on July 25, 2018:
Yes, absolutely, I emphathise with you. When my dear sweet beloved youngest sister died, MY PAL; I was mocked, ridiculed and laughed at inside the cemetery during my sister's internment. These people that call themselves extended family have had NOTHING to do with my family for over 40 years, no contact, no nothing and they were enjoying themselves in the cemetery and gloating. My mother died not long after my sister and the same people harassed me on the phone and threatened me that they were attending my mother's funeral even though they behaved preposterously badly at my sister's funeral. One of them even threatened to get even with me in the event that I succeeded in keeping them away from my mother's funeral. I did NOT want the same ridiculing, mockery, laughter and joviality repeated at my mother's funeral. I succeeded in preventing them from attending and airtight sealed any leaks of information. Then, they stooped so low to badger the funeral director's office demanding to know details of my mother's funeral, but they had already been instructed by me NOT to release any information regarding my mother's funeral. I have never been so humiliated in all my life.
Donna on July 17, 2018:
What if it was estrangement because your mother was abusive and kicked your out of the house before you even graduated high school. The only time contact was made is when she wanted to ask for money. Now 30 years later she has finally tried to apologize and the children want to have peace and grieve a mother they really never had.
Marg on July 02, 2018:
How about in the obituary it’s reads. As per the request of the deceased. If you were not there during their life please refrain from being there at their death
Mark XXX on July 01, 2018:
Last week my partner and I were "not invited" to attend the funeral of a friend, and we were excluded from the wake as well. To the best of my knowledge there was no estrangement, tension or issue between us and the deceased. While we were not particularly close with her in recent times, our lives had drifted apart over the years, there was never an occasion I can recall that would have been the cause of a rift.
We found out about her passing by Facebook.
A large number of my "friends" all knew about it and went to the funeral. I cannot face any of them now. Because I feel so hurt, conflicted, isolated, confused and angry. But this time shouldn't be about how I am feeling - it should be about the deceased.
So please - when excluding someone from a person's death - make sure you do it for the right reasons.
Joann Redmond on May 10, 2018:
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! :)
Anonymous on May 07, 2018:
For autists by autists. Either follow social convention or admit that what you're doing is antisocial. That bloody simple.
Debra Owen on April 30, 2018:
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.
Andrew millar on April 11, 2018:
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
agendab on April 05, 2018:
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?
annonymous on March 21, 2018:
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.
At peace for once on March 04, 2018:
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.
Madeline Dinmont on February 05, 2018:
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.
HaeshuKasiiki on February 05, 2018:
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.
Charlie on February 02, 2018:
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.
Stephanie judd on February 01, 2018:
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
La Texangirl on January 29, 2018:
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 it...my 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!!!
Susanace on January 22, 2018:
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.
Grave site service for MOM on January 14, 2018:
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.
JJ on January 11, 2018:
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.
An upset grieving granddaughter on November 25, 2017:
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.
Annette on November 19, 2017:
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.
Lisa on November 18, 2017:
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.
Eric Ebacher on November 11, 2017:
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.
Eric Ebacher on November 11, 2017:
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.
Jeannette on October 23, 2017:
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.
bettybb on October 22, 2017:
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.
Love and Happiness on October 22, 2017:
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.
Me on September 16, 2017:
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.
Dawna on September 04, 2017:
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
Wow on August 27, 2017:
Agree with wolf and Jennifer.
P.s. Forgiveness is a miracle.
Anglofile on June 10, 2017:
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.
Wolf on April 04, 2017:
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.....
Tom Shelly Jr. on March 08, 2017:
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.
Anonymous on September 29, 2016:
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.
stuart trevaskiss. on June 23, 2016:
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 June.giving 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 wale.my 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 this.im so distraught over matter.ive tried to resolve matters in appropriate amicable manner.but what my brother has done was unforgivable.
oldersister on March 08, 2016:
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.
Shore Gal1950 on September 16, 2015:
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.
Jack Hagan from New York on July 14, 2015:
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.
Brienne on June 17, 2015:
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.
Michael Siewert on May 22, 2015:
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.
Daughter in law on April 25, 2015:
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.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on March 30, 2015:
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.
Annfield on March 29, 2015:
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
wmschneider on March 27, 2015:
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.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on March 03, 2015:
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
confused on March 03, 2015:
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
Fedup on March 02, 2015:
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.
Ann Field on February 05, 2015:
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.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on February 04, 2015:
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.
Ann Field on February 01, 2015:
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.
C may on January 17, 2015:
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.
flossy on November 27, 2014:
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.
Swan on October 03, 2014:
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
Cont'd Let the dead bury the dead on September 10, 2014:
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.
Let the dead bury the dead! on September 10, 2014:
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.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 06, 2014:
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!
Elleke on June 26, 2014:
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.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on June 16, 2014:
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.
Mimi on June 15, 2014:
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.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on April 15, 2014:
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. :-)
Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on April 14, 2014:
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.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on March 12, 2014:
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."
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.
louba on March 12, 2014:
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.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on November 05, 2013:
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
Debbie on November 04, 2013:
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.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on October 22, 2013:
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.
CindyCross on October 22, 2013:
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.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on September 22, 2013:
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.
GuitarFever73 on September 08, 2013:
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.
Memorial Services on August 31, 2013:
It s a very nice concept to get more creative ideas. Can you publish the results too. For more details
Surprised on July 08, 2013:
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.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 03, 2013:
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!
NMLady from New Mexico & Arizona on July 03, 2013:
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.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on June 21, 2013:
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 from USA on June 14, 2013:
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.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on May 19, 2013:
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.
Twin Brother on May 18, 2013:
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"
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on May 08, 2013:
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...!
NJ Rivka on May 02, 2013:
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.