slightly OT- whether or not to attend a funeral

drcindyFebruary 29, 2012

My husband has an aunt who is in very ill health with kidney failure. She is currently hospitalized and it's anybody's guess what her actual prognosis is, but it doesn't look good. We personally cannot stand this woman (and most other family members don't like her either) because she is rude, obnoxious, and just plain evil. Mostly due to these reasons, DH had initially told his parents (aunt is married to his Dad's brother) that if the aunt dies, he probably wouldn't attend the funeral. Plus, we live in WA and they're in CA; hubby does not get bereavement time because the aunt wouldn't be considered immediate family. DH is now reconsidering this, saying he really should be thinking of showing respect to the family. While I do agree with this in principle, I told him I would support him going when the time comes, but that I did not want to go, although I'm very close to his parents (but not at all to the uncle).

To complicate matters, I'm dealing with my own grieving. I just had to enroll my Mom in hospice because she has end stage liver disease and is only 65 lbs. now. She lives in the same town as the in-laws, and I've been flying to CA more often because of her illness. I was there over Christmas, a week ago, and plan to go again the end of March to celebrate her 75th birthday, if she even makes it that long. This of course, is much more important to me than feeling obligated to attend a possible near funeral of someone I personally can't stand.

Is this petty of me? What would you all do?

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I have had two aunts pass and I did not attend their funerals and they were right here in town. The first aunt was my mother's sister and said some very bad things about my parents, who did nothing but try to help her, and the other aunt was married to my mother's brother and was just always a pain in the butt. I didn't not go out of protest, but I chose not to go listen to the lies people were going to say about how great they were, and how giving and all the drivel that flows during a funeral.
If you happen to be in town with your mom when your husband's aunt passes, you could show your respect to your in-laws by showing up for them. But I personally wouldn't feel obligated.
I am sorry about your mother, my mother has stage 4 non-alcoholic cirrhosis, but is fighting to stay alive as long as possible. I know the day will come when I have to see both my parents pass. I don't look forward to that day because I have recently lost my son, my little sister and another aunt...all within the past year.
Do what makes you the most comfortable. If you think that you will regret not going, reconsider. I can't say that I regret not going to either of my aunts' funerals.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:50AM
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I have heard "funerals are not for the dead, they are for the living". Just saying!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 11:04AM
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Ditto mav63.

At the risk of seeming callous, I must observe that people do, in fact, die all the time. There are frequently important issues in people's lives that cannot be ignored even to attend funerals...or weddings...or reunions...or insert whatever you wish. I think your situation with your mom is in that category.

For example, I'm a full-time caregiver. There isn't anyone else who can do it and hired help is incredibly expensive. I can't tell you the number of otherwise-obligations or preferences I've declined over the years. Specifically, I don't attend distant funerals. I send flowers and cards and things with regrets. Normal people understand this instantly. Life and the needs of the living must prevail over wishes and sentiment, IMHO.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 11:42AM
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I agree. In this instance and in many like this (and every family seems to have it), a card will suffice. It is sad to see anyone die but I feel it's almost hypocritical to go and attend the services. A well chosen card, a heartfelt note that you are sorry for the loss goes a long way and let's face it, life happens. The best you can do emotionally, physically and mentally has got to suffice.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 10:12AM
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