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asking my terminall ill father where he wants to be buried - help!

(15 Posts)
Positron Thu 11-Feb-10 13:59:55

My father has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he probably has only around 2-3 months to live. He is very aware of his diagnosis and he tells me he is trying to be philasophical about this, given he is 78, and feels he has had a "good innings" as he put it. The problem is this:

My mum and him are not seeing eye to eye on where he should be buried. On the one hand, my father wants to be laid to rest in his hometown in the NE of england, but my mother (who wants to be buried beside him when her time comes) want to be laid to rest down south because their children (inc. me) and grandchildren are there. She was planning to move down south after my dad's retirement, although he wanted to stay up north, but I guess my dad's terminal condition has answered that one . i.e he will spend the rest of his days up north as he always wanted. However, this difference of opinion between my parents is now spilling over into where they should be laid to rest.

I am going up north to see him this weekend, and want to approach the subject with my father alone, about where he wants to be laid to rest, because I want to respect his wishes. My problems are:

1. How do I bring up the subject of burial in a terminally ill man?

2. How can I persuade either my dad to be laid to rest down south so that we can all pay him much more regulkar visits when he is gone, do I persuade my mum to respect my father's wishes of being buried up north where they are now (my mum won't like this idea, because she wants to leave the north east when he has gone and start a new life down south to be near us - she doesn't want to be up there all alone).

Any words of advice/wisdom would be utmost appreciated.

mrspoppins Thu 11-Feb-10 14:27:11

Firstly, so sorry this is happening and you seem to be handling it amazingly, even if only on the outside.

Seeing as your Father is so openly talking about this, and that is great in itself, my suggestion would be to talk to them both and discuss not spending too much of the time that is left worrying about this so that you can make other new memories.

On a practical point and being very matter of fact as only you can be on a forum such as this..Cannot your Father stay up North, your Mother move closer to you eventually and then join her husband when eventually that time comes too?

Once gone, my thoughts are we are gone. I never visit the area where the closest possible person to me ever was buried due to distance yet think of them often and my physical presence at that place is not needed to recognise their value to me in life. Their value to me is a daily thought and made me who I was and kept me from the rubbish that was around me and as I write this I have tears BUT whatever life there is after, if they can see into my heart, they will know I loved them dearly and if they can't, it doesn't matter.

Perhaps have a special area near to you that you can make your Father's place. Bury there something that symbolises him or have a tree/bench that will be your place to sit and reflect.

I wish so much for you to have peace over the next few weeks. Take care.

Positron Thu 11-Feb-10 14:36:24

Thankyou, Mrspoppins.

Sorry for evoking tears!

Whilst your suggestion of my mum coming back up to join my father is a good one, I think

1. My parents would want to feel that we would come and see them as often as we could.

2. We would want to be near them for the upkeep of the grave, so that things don't get neglected.

I feel so ignorant about the whole process of what happens when one goes to visit a loved one who is laid to rest - how often people go and what one does to maintain the grave etc. This will all be so new to me...

Positron Thu 11-Feb-10 14:37:03

oh dear - i chose the wrong symbol! should have been

Poledra Thu 11-Feb-10 14:38:33

I'm sorry you're in this position - it's not easy to have to cope with your parents disagreeing over this when you're also facing up to your dad's illness.

I'd think I'd agree with mrspoppins. I'm not big on visiting graves myself - it's the lines of that poem 'Do not sit by my grave and cry / I am not there, I did not die.' There was another poster on here recently who remembered her mother when she saw the sun shining through the clouds onto the sea.

Make a place for your father near you - put a bench in your garden that is his, and remember him there. Enjoy the time you have left together. I wish him a gentle and peaceful passing.

Poledra Thu 11-Feb-10 14:43:18

Positron, IM limited E, graveyards are kept neat by the owners (whether a church, council or whatever). Families may put flowers on graves etc. but you generally don't have to go there. My grandparents are buried near where they lived, and I think my mum goes there once or twice at year. Mind you, my grandparents were very vocal about how they didn't want people "traipsing up to the graveyard" to see them, which does make it easier on one's conscience. They only asked that we remember them, and we do, every day.

mrspoppins Thu 11-Feb-10 14:50:57

Practically, you could employ a local gardener to tend the grave for you on a regular basis. I am sure the church would be able to help you in this.

Some visit never.
Some go every birthday, Father's day, Christmas etc...

I have a friend who visits her Dad every Father's Day. I feel sad about this as her husband, a Father, doesn't get HIS day and now that his Father is gone too, their day is a sad one rather than celebratory of the Father in their own home.I think once religiously visiting on certain times begins, it is hard to stop it.

My Husband's Father is up North and we are down South, though he was cremated and scattered in a favourite park which makes the tending of a grave a non issue. When we go up North, we pop there for coffee and tears. Just a popping by to say Hello.

You find your own way...don'y worry about what others do.xx

Positron Thu 11-Feb-10 14:58:21

Thanks Poledra.

I think I would personally take great comfort from visiting his grave.

Positron Thu 11-Feb-10 15:01:09

Mrspoppins - that's sad about the Father's Day story.

cat64 Thu 11-Feb-10 15:05:11

Message withdrawn

mrspoppins Fri 12-Feb-10 21:59:08

just wanted to say thinking of you this weekend...xx

mrspoppins Mon 15-Feb-10 17:50:43

How did it go...hope you are ok xx

typoqueen Wed 25-Apr-12 17:12:43

we had a similar problem a few years ago, and i really feel for you, its not an easy thing to discuss, fil wanted to be buried close to his parents where he was living at the time, mil does not like funerals at all and has decided she does not want a funeral just to be cremated and ashes scattered where she and fil got married she talked fil into being cremated not buried when the time came she had half the ashes buried with his mother and the other half scattered in the same place where mil wants her ashes scattered..

cynthiag Wed 25-Apr-12 17:17:36

Hi As a faily we've just been through this. We settled with something similar to typoqueen.

royguts Tue 25-Sep-12 15:26:59

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