Step funeral etiquette

lamomJuly 14, 2010

The maternal grandmother of my adult skids passed recently well in to her 90's and the funeral was last Saturday. Coincidentally and more tragically, the 20 year old nephew of DH also passed and his out of town funeral was the same day. I encouraged DH to attend his brother's son's funeral as that was a genuine tragedy and that his ex's mother passing at 90+, while sad, still represented a long and full life. Both skids, especially SD36, were close to their grandmother. I have only met her a few times in passing like picking up SS at her home, over the years.

I stayed in town with DS7 while DH traveled to his nephew's funeral. We agreed the nephew's funeral would be too heavy for him. DS7 and I went on with our regular routine.

Some negative feedback, very surpisingly has come back from BM, SD36 and SS30 about our absence at the grandmother's funeral. I sent flowers but since I really didn't know her, have been told bluntly that I'm not family and since neither of my skids bothered to attend EITHER of MY parent's funerals or repasts I saw no reason to go. Plus I really didn't think they thought I should.

Well, they are displeased that no one was "represented." SD said she understood DH going to the 20 year old nephews funeral to support his devastated brother, but now has said, "someone" should have been there. Someone like who? Me?

What is the etiquette here? I really believe that DH did the right thing, I sent flowers to BM's family out of respect and have a hard time believing they wanted me there.

What is the step-family funeral etiquette?

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ocarina

My step daughters grand-mom passed away recently and we were all planing to go to the funeral (husband, me and his two daughters). It was the mom of his ex partner (they were non married) but he still knew her a bit. I was going out of support and respect because I had never met her. For me it was really ackward because I didn't know anybody nor her but it wasn't about me, about was about being there for my DH and SD.

But in your case... your DH was not even going to be there. I suppose you could've went with the SD but in my honest opinion I think they are making a fuss out of nothing. The flowers were very respecteful and showed that you were sorry for their loss.

I don't know if there is such thing as step familly etiquette, if so I would like to know as well.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 6:43PM
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sweeby

"I sent flowers to BM's family out of respect and have a hard time believing they wanted me there.

What is the step-family funeral etiquette? "

The step-family ettiquette is to blame the step-parent whether she does or does not attend, because whatever it is she does (or doesn't do) -- it's wrong.

;-p

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 7:28PM
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finedreams

what sweeby said, if you attended you would be told that you aren't a family and have no business to be there

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 8:41PM
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ceph

Yup. I'm with Sweeby and FD.
Lose-lose situation.

If SS11's maternal GM passed away and DH couldn't go to the funeral, I wouldn't go either.
If he was going (as support for SS), then I would go as support for them both.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 9:12PM
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mattie_gt

Wait, what? Seriously? They are upset that you didn't go to BM's mother's funeral?

Well, they are displeased that no one was "represented." SD said she understood DH going to the 20 year old nephews funeral to support his devastated brother, but now has said, "someone" should have been there.

Why don't you tell them that since BM didn't attend your parents' funerals to "represent" them that you were just following their lead?

I agree, total lose-lose situation.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 9:34AM
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lamom

Just to be clear, they are not saying that I specifically should have been there, but that "someone" should have been there to "represent." However, DH went to his nephew's funeral so the only someone they could be talking about is me. Unless they think my seven year old could have "represented."

I just think they need something all the time to have grist for the mill. Anyway, I think I did more than my share (per usual) sending flowers out of respect to BM's family.

I never have wanted BM at my parent's funeral although in fairness she did call and express regrets to me. However, I did expect to see my skids and they were not present at either. Sooo....

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 11:18AM
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mattie_gt

Mattie visualizes lamom rolling on into the 90 some year old lady's funeral and announcing "I'm here to represent, yo!"

I wonder if you can still hire professional mourners? Maybe that's what they meant.

I just think they need something all the time to have grist for the mill. Yup.

My condolences for the loss of your nephew.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 12:15PM
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silversword

I'm sorry about your nephew. I think regardless of how young he was or tragic it was that the etiquette is to go to blood family funeral over ex-spouse family funeral.

IMO, you aren't step-family to your Skids grandma. You are step-family to your Skids. If they had wanted you there they should have invited you prior. If they were young, and someone had to go with them, it would be your responsibility to take them, IMO. As their (step) parent.

I didn't even take DD to my grandfather's funeral. I thought at 7 she was too young. I wouldn't take a child to a funeral unless unusual circumstances (I think going to the funeral of someone they knew very well and loved very much may be appropriate, if at least for just ten minutes to say goodbye)

They are classless. Why the heck would you or DH need to represent when the Skids are there to represent? Aren't you the same branch of the family tree? I can understand wanting someone from every "branch" there, but DH was cut off and grafted to your tree ages ago, right?

Did they send you a thank-you for the flowers?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 2:33PM
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lamom

Silver, you know that they haven't sent a thank you note BUT it's been less than a week. I don't expect one ever. They just don't have all of that "etiquette" or better still home training for that. Not looking for that unless one of the aunts, BMs sisters, take the task.

I just feel they are upset about the loss of their grandmother at 93 or 94, PO'D that DH went to his nephew's/their 1st cousins/DH's brother's funeral than their "family funeral" because it was big and well attended.

basically, they are not thinking straight. How come KKNY has not commented on this? Because those BMs, relentlessly hostile to ALL affairs with them, their "family"and the SM are fighting a war long since lost.

In all truth, I shared here to vent but I don't believe that I am even a little bit wrong, DH either. This is one of those enlightenment moments when you know that the opinions of certain, even important others, don't count and aren't relevant. Ohmmmmm.....Woo Sah.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 5:28PM
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finedreams

it just occurred to me that grandma was not your DH's grandma but his ex's??? Why were you required to attend his ex's family member's funeral? Under normal circumstances it would be OK for your DH to attend but even he is not obligated, but YOU? It does not matter how old was grandma, it is EXWIFE'S FAMILY. You didn't have to attend at all.

My ex-husband attended my grandparents funerals so did my ex-parents in law. But my ex's wife certainly didn't attend, she didn't even know my grandparents, it would be silly for her to be there. I can't imagine me or my parents get mad that ex's wife does not attend OUR family funeral. Why would they care? How stupid.

BM is just mad that she couldn't act around your DH like they are a family because he wasn't there. that's the reason.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 6:09PM
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eandhl

I am sorry about the loss of your nephew. Your husband went where his support was most needed. If there had not been 2 funerals on the same day it might have been nice if he stopped to pay his respects to his children about the loss of their GM and if wanted you to go also that would have been appropriate. I bet when your SD is less upset she will be more understanding.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 6:51PM
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justmetoo

You did fine in a difficult situation. I will assume that DH would have attended both funerals (or at least the visitation of the kids' Gma) if it would have been possible.

Not sure what timeline is considered 'correct' in thank-you notes, but I think it took my mother a few weeks to get them all sent. She was busy dealing with the loss of my dad and she did her best to get the notes out in a somewhat timely manner.

Seriously, with Dh not able to attend, the flowers sent by you respresenting your family's condolences (DH, you and son) along with a sympathy card to BM was fine in my book.

I will assume you talked to SKs and expressed condolences on top of the arrangement sent to the funeral home. To expect you young son to attend was not required. If DS were older it might have been nice for him to say attend visitation to show support of his siblings, but he's a child (not to mention these siblings do little to show their kid brother support in his times of need).

Let it go. You did fine. Let them chatter all they please. If it's not one thing your family does to 'upset' them, it's another. There's no winning with these kids and you did your share of acknowledging the passing of their Gma.

Your husband does not 'owe' them an explaination as to why he went to the funeral he did go to. While the passing of any family member is hard, even expected ones of those who have lived long lives, the sudden passing of a child/young adult would be heartbreaking...your husband did what he thought best and so did you.

Not to sound mean or unsympathic to your SKs loss, this time next week or so, they'll find something else to make you/DH the bad guys. They always do. You'll never please them. This too shall pass.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 7:44PM
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lovehadley

What a strange family they are.

I don't think your DH did anything wrong, and I definitely do not think you should have attended.

I will say---my own bio-parents were married for 23 years--have been divorced for over 10 now. But if my mom's parents--my maternal grandparents were to die (which will happen), I do think MY DAD would attend for ME and for my DD, as we are close to my grandparents. My dad was their son-in-law for 23 years and I do think he would "pay his respects" so to speak.

So it wouldn't have been unusual for your DH to attend the funeral. HOWEVER, like you said, there was the terrible tragic passing of his nephew and your DH absolutely did the right thing by attending that funeral. It is way more important IMO that he support his brother in this situation.

And you sent flowers, which was a kind and thoughtful gesture. I think it honestly may have been *inappropriate* for you to even attend DH's ex-MIL's funeral.

What Sweeby said. THAT is step-etiquette! HAHAHA.

I am sorry about your nephew. :(

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 12:57PM
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lamom

Thanks all for the comments. It is definitely a lose-lose situation. DH went to his brother's side which was right and proper.

I don't think they were really thinking when the comment came about someone should have "represented."

BTW, today SD36 texted/called to tell me the grandkids, SGS9 and SGS3 will be visiting her for a week. Per usual, DS7 was not included in the sleepover. No big deal and par for the course. However, SD asked/told me that she expected me to keep SGS9 on Saturday, "thought" I wanted to do so as she has planned on doing something else with SGS3. I sure don't remember making that invitation although I did say it would be good SOMETIME for SGS9 to go swimming with DS7 and MAYBE sleepover. I told her that I not heard from any of them until today, SS left a voice mail, and had made other plans. She was clearly not pleased so I told her I would pass the message on to DH.
After all, they are HIS grandkids, not mine. After that I think it's out of my hands.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 11:37PM
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