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Farrar

Funeral drama

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Sorry for the loss of your uncle.  What drama surrounding the funeral!  Hope it all gets sorted out in a way that honors/remembers him best - without all of you donating to it!

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(((Farrar)))

In most cases, I would let the widow/widower do whatever helps them to grieve.   It sounds like she just doesn't know what to do and she's trying to please too many people.  Asking other people to foot the bill though seems out of line.

It also sounds like the people closest to her are not supporting her when she needs it the most.  😞  I get it that she might be making things more difficult, but this is probably one of the hardest things she's ever done.

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12 minutes ago, Junie said:

(((Farrar)))

In most cases, I would let the widow/widower do whatever helps them to grieve.   It sounds like she just doesn't know what to do and she's trying to please too many people.  Asking other people to foot the bill though seems out of line.

It also sounds like the people closest to her are not supporting her when she needs it the most.  😞  I get it that she might be making things more difficult, but this is probably one of the hardest things she's ever done.

Yes. I know this is the case. She can be a bit of drama in general. I haven't always gotten on with her either, but some of the attitudes toward her in my family go from reasonable complaint to attacking things like her appearance in ways that make me super uncomfortable and angry so it's hard to gripe to my family about her - they're really unfair. She's not a bad person, just difficult to work with sometimes. And yes, she can totally grieve however she needs. I wish her support network was helping her dial it all back a little and process instead, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

I actually think two funerals wouldn't be a terrible thing. A more family oriented thing and whatever she wants to do in her neighborhood. It would just feel very weird to do one without her. Like, we're hijacking him or something. I think my family is just posturing, but ugh. I'm not sure. 

He would have HATED all this. He hated conflict.

 

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I'm so sorry about your uncle, @Farrar.  Hopefully, everyone will come to their senses soon.  

 

Edited by MissLemon
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Maybe it’s common in some cultures to chip in for a funeral? I genuinely think it would be okay if she didn’t have the money. Regardless, the siblings are saying no. I just have a bad feeling.

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17 hours ago, MissLemon said:

 

 

When my mom passed she wanted to be cremated and all of her children were very happy with that plan as it would allow us to split her remains and have them with us but her family wanted her buried in the family plot in east of nowhere TX where none of us would ever be able to visit her. 

Edited by KidsHappen
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I have to admit that if you haven't had to pay for a funeral yet you might be surprised as to how much they cost. For just my mom's service and cremation, it was $7500 and that was 11 years ago. And of course that was not all of the expenses. Me and my youngest brother had to split the cost. We both had to borrow from our 401Ks and it set us back for quite a while. So it is easy for me to see that not everyone could easily afford it. I think in these circumstances I would assume the best and contribute if I was able. If it is a real burden she can check with her church or any organizations that he belonged to. Some will provide or pay for funeral services for members in good standing. 

We had some craziness at my MIL's funeral and she laid out and paid for everything ahead of time. We weren't able to do to the memorial so we were able to kind of ignoore most of the turmoil but it was still a little stressful. So sorry for your loss. 

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I think that today, with GoFundMes being sent out for, literally, every tiny thing... that asking for $ for funeral expenses is becoming a relatively common thing to do.

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36 minutes ago, KidsHappen said:

When my mom passed she wanted to be cremated and all of her children were very happy with that plan as it would allow us to split her remains and have them with us but her family wanted her buried in the family plot in east of nowhere TX where none of us would ever be able to visit her. 

"her family", do you mean her parents and siblings?  or her children and husband?   children and husband have a closer connection and their wishes should have priority over "parents and siblings".

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I’m so sorry, Farrar. It’s so hard to lose someone you love, and a lot of needless drama and competition makes it even worse.

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1 minute ago, gardenmom5 said:

"her family", do you mean her parents and siblings?  or her children and husband?   children and husband have a closer connection and their wishes should have priority over "parents and siblings".

Yes, I meant her siblings, their spouses, her aunts and uncles, etc. Her parents and one of her siblings were already buried there. My father remarried and moved elsewhere. Originally my brothers and I all lived in that same small town too but we got out and moved on a long time ago and we wanted to take her with us because we would rarely if ever be able to visit her grave there. 

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I'm sorry for your loss.  

My uncle died unexpectedly.  All his assets were frozen at his death.  He was divorced and his (adult) chidren didn't know whether he had life insurance or even a will.  He had retired from the military and they were sure he was due some death benefits, but they couldn't find his discharge papers.  My mother and her siblings chipped in to cover the costs of cremation.  

I have not heard of multiple funerals except in the case of disinterment and reburial but multiple memorial services are common.  They often occur when a person has deep connections in one location but is buried elsewhere.  Or when some friends and family feel excluded from the main service or have other reasons for wanting to say they their good-byes in a different manner.

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Funerals can definitely be expensive. We haven't had to pay for one, but I saw the planning around my step-father's. The way they charge you a ton even for the "vessel" to take cremated remains is a little mind boggling. But my step-father's and my father's actual funerals were not expensive at all. They were at their churches and the food was potluck. Flowers were bought and a donation was given to the church. That was it. The expenses here are things like renting an expensive venue, getting the food, and renting AV equipment. She can plan the funeral she wants - and she should. But surely it should be within means?

I guess I think it's okay to ask for help. It just seems awkward when you have the resources to cover something modest and the rest of us aren't exactly swimming in it.

Edited by Farrar
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I'm so sorry for the loss of your uncle.  It sounds like the shock of his death is taking it's toll.  But, I agree with what others have said that it brings out the crazy.  Sounds like she really needs a shoulder to lean on and that's not happening (not that I think it should be you though).  

 

I agree with you that asking for money is weird and improper.  But, I'm OLD... there seems to be a GoFundMe for just about everything... maybe I'm out of touch.  

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I agree that funerals can bring out the crazy in people.

I have never heard of people taking up an offering to pay for a funeral.  As he was cremated, the cost should be manageable.  But maybe she is really in a bind.  I guess I would withhold judgment on that one.

As for delay in picking a date - I have seen that happen.  Very uncomfortable for the close family!  In that case, I did not attend as I was not so close that it justified canceling all my kids' activities for the day they finally picked.  Not really concerned about what the wife thinks of me (she is a piece of work anyway).

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I have never heard of two funerals unless there is a state funeral and a private one that is a long way away, and I think that that would be pretty improper.

Re. taking up a collection--funeral stuff is shockingly expensive, but I have never heard of this.  I HAVE heard of folks pitching in at the funeral lunch or in their condolence cards.  Not my custom but pretty common among my husband's FOO's friends.  Occasionally there is a go fund me for funeral and subsequent living expenses for someone who died young/unexpectedly with children, but it's generally organized by friends not by the beneficiary.

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It sounds like his wife might be reeling a bit and trying to do too much people pleasing. Grief is a strange thing. I suggest giving her as much grace as possible.

Chipping in to pay for a funeral is a little bit of a generational thing, I think. When my parents died, some of their friends sent us money to "help with the expenses." It was totally unsolicited or unexpected, but it was something they wanted to do instead of sending flowers.

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15 hours ago, City Mouse said:

Funerals bring out the crazy in people for sure.

 

Yes, they do.  My best friend's brother in law (her husband's brother) died when he was in  his 30's.  His wife and his parents didn't get along so she didn't tell them when the funeral was!  They found out from someone else, but they also had their own funeral!

What a mess OP, so sorry.

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I’m sorry. Deaths of family members have always brought extreme friction in my family. It happened with the passing of my grandparents, father, aunt, brother and one last month. I am sick of the drama, exhausted from listening to the repeated tales, and also embarrassed for my own anger at the person now grieving. 

I’ve told my son to cremate me, put me in a cute container on his desk so I can hear him talk, or spread my ashes in a cool forest.

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People are nuts. This is one of those stories that makes me thankful for a small family, because mine is pretty much a bowl of nuts, and there's enough crazy with just a few of us in the mixture. 

That said, for me, I give 100% weight to the wishes of whoever lost the most. Assuming his wife isn't evil, and assuming his parents are long deceased and he didn't have children, then that'd be the widow. So, whatever she wants, I'd do my best to fulfill. (If his parents or children were alive, I'd consider their feelings as equally important.) In general, unless there was an exceptionally close relationship (lived together for a long period in recent years, etc), then nephews/nieces/aunts/etc really don't rank, IMHO.

I'd say to the widow, "If at all possible, I'll be there whenever works for you. Just tell me when and where, and I'll be there." and I'd say, "Let me know how I can help." (and then I'd do it.) And, since she's ALREADY TOLD YOU how you can help ($$$), I'd offer some generous amount. If you can come up with $500 or $1000 to travel to his service, you could just send that to her instead. If you can afford both, do both. If you can afford just one, then send her the money (unless she refuses it after you let her know that this is all you can afford, so won't be able to ALSO come to the service). He loved her, so, presumably, he'd have appreciated you doing that. Even if she doesn't need it financially, maybe it's just a way of getting emotional support/recognition/whatever. Maybe she's just nuts, and maybe money is her "love language", but whatever the reason, I wouldn't worry about that part. I'd just do what I could do. So, if I could possibly afford it, I'd send her a nice card along with $500-1000 towards *whatever she needs*, and I'd (gently, mostly by letting them know what I'd done) encourage my siblings/relatives to do likewise.

You have nothing to lose by being generous here. And nothing to gain by being stingy or judgey. 

 

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The "afford" thing is so weird though. Like, can we "afford" to make it work to fly some of us across the country and get a hotel and go to this funeral and then additionally give a large donation to running it? Um, kind of? Like, if we had to, then we could, but it would require sacrificing things that are important to us, some of which involve long term planning like for retirement and college, and some of which is the ability to travel or do things we generally want to be able to do or causes we like to support. Why should I give a lot of money that would cause me and my family to have to make sacrifices when I don't even agree with the throwing of a lavish funeral? If she genuinely didn't have money for basic funeral expenses, then I'd consider it. But as it is... um, she can afford it. She just doesn't want to pay for the catering and the venue and the rental of the AV equipment she wants. I mean, she's practically throwing a wedding from what it sounds like. And she can, if she needs to do that. And I seriously... if dh died, I would be beyond crazy. So I don't have any real judgment per se. Like, she can hold the funeral she needs to hold. But also, where's the line? I feel like it's her finances. Not everyone else's. That's the line.

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Oh, and she agreed today, after a lot of family pressure that I was not in on, to choose the date that actually worked for most of the family. That was after trying to schedule it other times and sending out an online poll to a bunch of her friends that didn't include any of the dates the family had requested. Sigh. My brother and cousin are saints for dealing with all this on the ground.

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I've often felt that financial pressure with relatives.  Like, yeah, on paper it says I can afford to do all these things relatives think I should be doing.  But...then I don't get to do a lot of things that are really important to me, because I've spent all the money doing whatever for the relatives. 

Maybe this is something you can compromise on? Can your family stay behind and just you attend the funeral, @Farrar? Then maybe you can contribute a token amount of cash toward the funeral to keep the peace and honor your uncle's memory?  I don't think it's totally fair that you should spend all that cash for everyone in your family to go AND have to kick in for the funeral when the expenses are basically to provide a posh upgrade to what would be an otherwise decent and respectable send off.  I think it's a fair line to draw.  

 

Edited by MissLemon
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I think it's all mostly resolved. At least, this leg of the drama. There will be more. Just waiting to see what's next. A date was picked. Family made it clear no one was chipping in and whatever she staged was on her but we were all happy to pay for a scaled back affair if that's what she wanted. Dh and I are going - assuming that dh can get off from tech week rehearsals. We're going to leave the boys behind.

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I’m sorry it’s so crazy.

I will be forever grateful that my FIL has always said, even years before he got sick, that he didn’t want a funeral. The family has devolved so tragically that there is zero way I could imagine a funeral being pulled off. We’re hoping to plan a small get together for certain people in the near future, though it’s already been 2 weeks and we don’t yet have a date!

Families are hard. I’m sorry for your loss!
Hugs

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On 5/18/2019 at 12:03 AM, Farrar said:

Family made it clear no one was chipping in and whatever she staged was on her but we were all happy to pay for a scaled back affair if that's what she wanted. 

 

IMHO, this is an inappropriately controlling approach. Offering to pay if the funeral looks one way, but not if it looks another way, is interfering in something that really is not your business. If you are willing to chip in $X towards a funeral, you should do that. But, putting strings on it (unless there is critical moral or religious reason why you feel strongly the funeral service must be "your way"), isn't cool. I encourage you to offer $X (just mail it, IMHO), and stay out of the details/logistics.

Note: I can understand a family member saying, "Uncle Joe was strongly Religion Z. I'll pitch in $X as long as the service complies with Religion Z's rules. . ."  Or even, "It was really important to Uncle Joe that his family be present at his service, and I'll pitch in $X (or two plane tickets, or whatever) towards helping get family members there." But . . . offering $$ tied to your vision of a "scaled back" vs her "staged" affair is not cool, IMHO. 

TBH, you sound resentful and judgmental towards your aunt. I totally dislike and am annoyed by plenty of my extended relatives, so this isn't meant as an insult. Just as a warning that you might want to check your feelings & be super careful as to what you do and say. (That's what I do whenever I have to interact with plenty of my extended relatives.) 

 

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If she did not have the money, we’d pay, though not give her carte blanche to spend anything. We want a memorial service to happen. Since she does have the money and wants to control it, we are happy to attend and only asked she take our needs into account in terms of the timing. I don’t think that’s controlling to ask that a service that’s already going to be weeks out take into account the traveling family members. Which was initially what we were told - that none of our timing would be considered. Or to say that we’re not willing to sacrifice things my family wants and needs so she can host a much more elaborate ceremony. If expensive ceremonies are important to you and yours, plan ahead now, everyone.

Yes, I was frustrated with her refusing to set a date and telling us that she wouldn’t take our needs into account and then asking for money. I don’t resent her. She can be difficult to deal with at the best of times, but she’s grieving and I know that. Of course she’s going to be more frustrating than ever now. But I also can be annoyed by it and vent to you all so that I can dial back my frustration later. Now that it’s settled, I’m honestly over it. Because she often creates drama, I’m sure there will be more, but now that I have a memorial I can actually attend, I’m happy to let it roll off.

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