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Funerals: Go back, or stay away?

(17 Posts)
HomeInSadness Mon 25-Jan-16 17:41:05

Sorry, NC for this, and in living overseas, as I want realistic answers from those not living down the road from relatives.

My Grandmother passed away yesterday. She was in her 90s, and after seeing her at Christmas, I didn't think she would make it far past her birthday (she didn't make it). I'm 5000 miles away, there is no possibility of DH getting leave, and very little likelihood of getting before/after school care for a few days (Nanny culture here, so will all have own charges).

Do people living the sort of distances that scrape into long haul away from home go back for funerals?

If it makes any odds, there is precedent for not flying round the world for funerals. My mother didn't go to her Father's cremation, but did make it over to the US to scatter the ashes, and no one from the UK went to NZ for my Aunts funeral.

Thank-you for all thoughts or experiences.

Pupsiecola Mon 25-Jan-16 22:16:47

Home I am so sorry for your loss. I don't have much in the way of experience but I saw your post this afternoon and popped back and saw there were no replies.

We lived 7000 miles away when DH's uncle passed away. We didn't fly back but we weren't very close - when we lived in the UK we only saw them twice a year. If it were a parent we'd have come back. Hard to say re grandparent as neither of us have any.

I would say though that given you saw her in the last month, that you are far away and that you have no childcare, you should allow yourself to be at peace with your 'decision'. Your options are very limited in any case. You sound lovely, and thoughtful and kind and your family will know this. And your grandmother knew this too. Be kind to yourself x

I'm sorry you've not had more replies. Not sure if you're a regular on this board but it does go in fits and starts.


harridan50 Mon 25-Jan-16 22:20:57

I think it more important that you saw her at christmas. your family will understand.Am sorry for your loss.

MyFriendsCallMeOh Tue 26-Jan-16 01:07:57

Sorry for your loss. Imo, funerals are for the bereaved, not for the dead. If you don't personally feel that you can move heaven and earth to go, and can be at peace without going, there's no need.

LineyReborn Tue 26-Jan-16 01:33:26

Personally I don't think there's a need for you to attend. My family are scattered all over the planet and it's the same for us regarding weddings and funerals - some attend, some don't. It's nice that you saw her recently and have that memory.

You'll be able pay your respects in another way, if you wish. flowers

VimFuego101 Tue 26-Jan-16 01:35:55

I think it's more important that you saw her at Christmas.

fatowl Tue 26-Jan-16 02:16:56

I'm sorry for your loss.

I would speak to your parent whose mother it was and make your decision based on that tbh, if you are happy that you saw her at Xmas and you don't need to go for your own sake.

My uncle (mother's brother) died suddenly last year at the age of 68. I went to the funeral, more to prop up my mum who was devastated than anything else. I'm in Asia, so a long haul flight, but my kids are teens so a bit more self suffiicient. I'm glad I went, but there was no pressure to.

Atenco Tue 26-Jan-16 03:03:37

Every family has different expectations, but personally I always think it is more important to see someone while they are still alive, which you did, and certainly would never expect anyone to cross the world to go to a funeral, though it would be a very sweet gesture.

HomeInSadness Tue 26-Jan-16 04:24:42

Thank-you ladies.
It's Dads Mother who died, but Mum said before we moved it was highly likely that neither grandmother would be around when we moved home, and I wasn't to drop and run when the inevitable happened. (My kids, until the day before yesterday, had four great grandmother's, and one step great grandmother still going!)

Pupsiecola I'm semi regular, and know time differences play a big part in when messages are replied to. Thank-you for your message.

JoandMax Tue 26-Jan-16 04:51:28

Like others the fact you saw her at Christmas means more than going back for a funeral. I think if you were in a position to be able to go easily then consider it but the practicalities sound like it just wouldn't be possible for you.

You can still say goodbye and take some time to pay your respects wherever you are.

My DHs grandmother is in her 90s and not in good health, my ILs have said they absolutely wouldn't expect us to travel back for her funeral.

I'm sorry for your loss xx

5678group Tue 26-Jan-16 05:07:48

Luckily we havent had anyone very close die while we've been abroad but if there is already precedent and you are happy with not going then i wouldn't go. We didn't go to my dh aunties and weren't expected to. I think I you can ask the question then it's ok not to go. (ie. if it was a parent I'd have no question iyswim) it's lovely that you had Christmas.

LastAnni Tue 26-Jan-16 05:14:04

My Nan is nearly 98. She's well but won't be around forever. My mum has made it very clear she would NOT want us to go to the cost or inconvenience of flying 30+ hours to attend her funeral. So much more important to have time together.

Millionsmom Tue 26-Jan-16 05:46:13

Sorry for your loss. flowers
DH grandma died this time last year. He managed to get time off work, but only he went from our family. The rest of us stayed here. If it was his parents, then we would've tried to all get back, but the reality is, we probably wouldn't be able to afford it.

Part of weighing up the pros and cons of living overseas is realising you most likely won't make it back for births, funerals etc. When you do go home, you run around for a while seeing everyone just to cover yourselves - well we do anyway.

stolemyusername Tue 26-Jan-16 06:11:59

My mum died last year and I didn't return for the funeral, it might seem a heartless decision but I couldn't get back there before it was too late and didn't feel that attending the funeral would make that any better. It is the very worst part of living overseas

MaryRobinson Tue 26-Jan-16 06:26:50

Don't go.

When MIL died obviously DH was going and we had decided the children wouldn't, but I only went too because one of my siblings gave up their holiday to look after our kids. (We have no help here).
My family in the UK were there anyway and I was glad to go, but if FIL popped off tomorrow (no expectation of that happening) then I don't think it would be possible.

For a GP that I had seen a Xmas, it would be flowers only.

mrsplum2015 Tue 26-Jan-16 06:34:20

No. I actually missed a dgp's funeral due to being on holiday overseas (australia not France!) and my parents had said in advance I shouldn't come back. Sadly we all knew it was likely he would die while I was away and I went to say my goodbyes before I left sad.... Now I live overseas I definitely wouldn't travel for a funeral, obviously unless it was parent, sibling or niece/nephew (God forbid) but that would be more about supporting the living and coping with my own grief.

HomeInSadness Tue 26-Jan-16 07:29:48

Thank you, Vipers. Not sure why decision validation by a bunch of strangers makes me feel better, but your all lovely.
I was expecting some "how can you be so callous as to not go" responses, and its good to know I'm not being a compleatly selfish bitch about it.
Been for a run to clear my head, and hoping to Skype my parents in a bit, if they are at home, and not spending the day on the A1.
cakechocolate for the rest of the day.

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