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What to do about mums funeral

(29 Posts)
Caucasianchalkcircles Thu 18-Apr-19 09:40:56

My 90 year old mum sadly died yesterday. She'd had dementia for the last 10 years and lived in a rest home for 7 of those after DF passed away.
Up until the diagnosis they'd led a fairly active social life and had a wide circle of long standing friends. They were also close to my fathers 3 siblings and regularly met up. Once my mum began displaying obvious symptoms of her
illness they pretty much withdrew from life, I suspect because DF wanted to shield mum from potential embarrassment. He didn't even tell his siblings about her diagnosis (they only found out because he was admitted urgently to hospital and she rang them repeatedly) even though they would have undoubtedly have been sympathetic.
Once DM went in to care, all family and friends forgot about her, not even a christmas card or a quick note. Admittedly many of their friends were frail and elderly themselves and didn't live that close but 2 of dad's siblings were 10 years plus younger and pretty fit and active. She'd known them 50 odd years. One of them would ring occasionally to enquire about her but that ceased a few years ago. I'm an only child so essentially was her only visitor for all that time (all her own siblings died years ago ).
I'd pretty much accepted that her funeral would be an extremely small gathering, just myself, dp and my 2 children. I'm happy with this tbh. Yesterday I facebooked a cousin just to ask her to let aunts and uncles know (I don't have their numbers) but stressed I didn't expect them to attend her funeral due to distance etc. Apparently they now want to know funeral arrangements.
I feel in two minds about this as I'd psyched myself up for a very low key event. How do I tell them nicely I'd rather they not come ? They apparently asked for my number and that's fine, I 'd like to chat to them and maybe keep in contact but feel awkward. Any advice ?

HoraceCope Thu 18-Apr-19 09:45:06

sad sorry for your loss.
i would let them come
they want to pay their respects, they feel it is their duty.

Knittedfairies Thu 18-Apr-19 09:57:05

The relations were close to your mum for many years so would probably like to be there. It can still be a low-key event, but it might help you to share their memories of your mum when she was younger and in good health. My sympathies on your loss.

AtSea1979 Thu 18-Apr-19 10:03:56

You could tell them it’s immediate family only but I think you might regret this in the long run. It must have been so hard visiting your mum alone in all that time but as you know your mum wouldn’t have known they hadn’t visited and they probably stayed away out of respect to your mum and her dignity it doesn’t mean they have forgotten the amazing woman she was before the illness. Dementia is cruel. Don’t let it cloud you on having a day with your family to share all the memories you didn’t know about your mum.

SleepingStandingUp Thu 18-Apr-19 10:06:41

I'm so sorry for your loss and I can't imagine what you're going through.

That said, I'det them come. They also have a right to say goodbye to her, to celebrate her memory and it might just be nice for you to see how loved she was

ineedaholidaynow Thu 18-Apr-19 10:09:01

I assume as it was going to be low key and small you weren't planning food afterwards. I would let hem know that it is a low key funeral but that they can come

Snog Thu 18-Apr-19 10:09:48

AtSea has really great advice
Sorry for your loss OP

Birdie6 Thu 18-Apr-19 10:13:25

These people are all elderly - even the ones who were younger than her. I'm sure they'd like to pay their respects to her . Let it happen as it may - it would be awful if you wrote to tell people not to come. There is no "nice" way to tell people such a thing.

When my mother died I had no idea of how many people would come - she was also demented and had few visitors at the end. Yet on the day, dozen of old friends from her previous volunteer job came along - they even hired a bus so they could all make it. I didn't know them, but it was lovely that they'd remembered her and had nice things to say about her.

Just let it happen - you may be pleasantly surprised.

FurryDogMother Thu 18-Apr-19 10:14:50

I'm soon to be in a similar position (Dad is 91 and fading fast) - and I've decided to only tell those who have been there for us in the past couple of years - yes, it will be a small funeral, but I don't want the day to be clouded by feelings of resentment and anger towards those who failed to offer any support when we needed it most. I'm afraid their 'rights' are of little interest to me - I plan on honouring Dad with those who truly cared about him. I hope you make the decision which feels right to you, and I am so sorry for your loss, OP.

RosaWaiting Thu 18-Apr-19 10:22:05

sorry for your loss OP flowers

my mum wants a funeral with just myself and my sister

I will just tell people that.

with my dad's funeral, it was all done quite quickly and quite a few people didn't hear till the day before etc. I was obviously polite to them but just said things had been done quickly so I had notified everyone in our phones but hadn't had a chance to go through his address book or email.

I don't think anyone has a right to be offended, so to speak.

I do realise that when mum goes, some people will be offended, but if they want to pay respects, they can do so in many other ways.

Caucasianchalkcircles Thu 18-Apr-19 10:33:26

Thanks everyone for kind words Food for thought and I’ll play it by ear. No point bearing grudges smile

Magissa Thu 18-Apr-19 10:37:43

At my mum's funeral I hated the fact that we had so many people attending that hadn't seen her or shown any interest in her wellbeing for many, many years. I understand how you feel. Some years later one of my cousins died and I hadn't seen him for at least twenty years but I wanted to go to the funeral because I was genuinely sad and wanted to "see him off". It seemed right to attend. I think as long as someone is alive you are kind of complacent and assume that everything is fine. It's a shock when somebody dies and it is natural to want to attend their funeral. My dad is in a care home with advanced dementia and has barely any visitors and I do feel hurt by this but his life before was full of people who I expect will be sad if/ when he dies and will want to attend his funeral.

Magissa Thu 18-Apr-19 10:40:26

I meant to add my condolences. I am so eery for the loss of your mum. Hugs.

RosaWaiting Thu 18-Apr-19 10:50:29

Magissa "At my mum's funeral I hated the fact that we had so many people attending that hadn't seen her or shown any interest in her wellbeing for many, many years."

exactly. That's why I didn't bother going through Dad's address book or emails. I just couldn't see why someone who was around in the last difficult years of his life should be notified about the funeral.

not saying they are bad people, not at all, just don't see the need for funerals to be a big thing if that's not what the deceased requested.

even then, mum felt dad's funeral was quite big, and there's catering etc and just doesn't want me and my sister going through it all again.

HoraceCope Thu 18-Apr-19 10:52:51

I still feel bad that i didnt go to my relative's funeral, to pay my respects to his dds. yet i hadnt seem him for years but i still loved him.

RosaWaiting Thu 18-Apr-19 12:42:01

Horace don't feel bad. It's such an awful time, I didn't notice most of the people at dad's funeral.

you can always send a letter to them.

cakeandchampagne Thu 18-Apr-19 12:50:19

Sorry for your loss. flowers

mrsnec Thu 18-Apr-19 13:01:47

My dgm was one of 5 sisters. She had nothing to do with them whilst she was alive. She died of dementia at 89.

At her funeral it was only dm and her db, my db and I and our respective partners but her old neighbours and two of the estranged sisters turned up. It was still a small affair.

My DM has never questioned why they were estranged or why they never visited their sister but since the funeral my dm has re-connected with her aunts and her cousin. It seems strange to me but it's given my dm some comfort.

Sometimes I can understand with funerals and relatives like in the circumstances I"ve mentioned it's when hundreds of old school friends etc that turn up that I don't get.

Sorry for your loss op.

BlueMerchant Thu 18-Apr-19 13:03:12

I'd not feel right keeping them away. People deal with illness and getting older differently. Some people feel worry at the thought that someone in mental decline may not recognize them. Or may be worried that their visit will upset and confuse the person.
The fact they never visited could say more about them and their anxieties than their feelings about your mum who they may share special memories of and who they want to pay their respects to.

KnopeforAmerica Thu 18-Apr-19 13:17:02

A funeral is hopefully a celebration of a life well lived as well as a chance to say goodbye. Her friends and BIL/SIL were a part of that happy part of her life, why should they not be part of this opportunity to share memories and remember together? Not everyone knows what to do when someone goes into mental decline. As long as there was no active animosity between them and your DPs which might ruin the occasion I would let them come. If you find it too difficult you don't have to talk to them at first but might find it good to catch up at the wake etc

CookPassBabtridge Thu 18-Apr-19 13:27:10

My dads funeral was just my mum, me and my siblings/their spouses and grandkids. It was great as it was intimate and didn't have to face other people. It's what he wanted. We'll do the same for my mum as it saves a lot of stress.

Cosyjimjamsforautumn Thu 18-Apr-19 14:53:17

flowers for your loss.
My 76yr old DM had lots of "friends" and she was very active socially up until 2.5 years ago. She has been in a lovely care home since then and not once since shes been in there have her siblings/in laws or people who she would have considered some very close friends (for 50yrs) visited, sent a birthday or Xmas card despite me sending them cards on her behalf at xmas. I realise 2 of them are frail and can't visit, but DH and I are her only regular visitors and feel so disappointed on her behalf with her friends giving shit excuses like that "they want to remember her how she was" or basically implying they're too busy to visit. No thought for DM who would so have appreciated a short cheery visit once in a blue moon to keep her spirits up? Too late now as unfortunately she's in rapid decline and not expected to last much longer.
As the siblings obviously care so little for her DH and I have also been talking about not notifying them about DMs funeral until afterwards. I really dont know what to do for the best as i doubt i could bite my tongue if they did turn up.

TreadingThePrimrosePath Thu 18-Apr-19 15:24:21

I’m in the camp of letting people know about funerals who actually stuck with my elderly, sick parents when they needed support, or someone to drop in for half an hour for a cup of tea.
Not the ones who took when my parents were in a position to give, and then ignored them when they weren’t fun or useful any more. Don’t need Sunday Hat Christians turning up to make themselves feel good. Sod them.

Magissa Thu 18-Apr-19 15:33:53

For all I said in my previous post above I I am seriously considering having just a very small "close family only" funeral for my dad when the time comes and then at a later date a memorial service for everyone else to attend.

makingmiracles Thu 18-Apr-19 15:49:51

I think you can have clouded judgment about funerals, it’s quite common for people to not visit in the last few years of life, especially if they themselves are elderly or if the person has dementia most people consider it unkind to visit unless they are immediate family who see the person on a regular basis, doesn’t mean they don’t care or wouldn’t want to pay their respects. Not notifying people or asking people not to come comes across as a bit selfish tbh, the day is about the deceased and the people that are or were in their life, not you.
I mean that in the nicest possible way, death can stir up alsorts of emotions but you need to think about the deceased and what they would’ve wanted/expected.
Sorry for you loss flowers

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