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My Uncle & DGM's funeral arrangements(4 Posts)
Not sure where to start with this, but would appreciate some advice.
My lovely DGM passed away last month. It was expected, but the end was very sudden and we are utterly bereft that she has gone. Myself, my DSIS and my DM have spent the past few years looking out for DGP (my DGF is in the early stages of dementia) as they have declined. We are all very willing to help as our DGP did so much for us and were so kind as we were growing up, it's really the least we could do for them. DGM left very basic instructions as to what she wanted to happen at her funeral, the main one being that she wanted no fuss.
My U has had his share of family issues over the years which meant family relations between DGP and his family became somewhat strained but were back on track in recent times. We've never really been that close to U or his family, not for the want of trying on our part, aside from seeing each other at family gatherings etc. He ended up moving 70 miles away from DGP several years ago and his infrequent visits became even less frequent - a couple of hours once a month or so. As DGM declined all of her care was left to us, right up until the day she died.
Since then we've all rallied around to sort out funeral arrangements and care for DGF - aside from the date and location of the funeral currently nothing is set in stone. But he has now upset my DM by calling her up and telling her he feels like he's not involved in the arrangements, and things are being decided without him which is totally untrue. For example, my DGF asked me to take him to a local florist to choose his own flowers, whilst we were there we asked if they could do the flowers for the top of the coffin to complement DGF's flowers. They agreed but we didn't pay a deposit as we wanted to check with everyone - including U - that they were happy with the cost and flower selection etc. He then complained that he had been "told about the flowers rather than asked" and that there wasn't a specific flower included - we had requested it as I knew it was one of her favourites, but it is out of season and could cost up to £50 for a handful of flowers. DGM requested no fuss, she would count £50 for a sprinkling of flowers a fuss! He also got my DM to send him a picture of my DGM coffin which she and DGF had selected yesterday for his approval, on Mother's Day FFS.
I am so cross with him for making my DM feel like this, and for even having to worry about this now. Not once has he asked her how she is coping with the loss of DGM, it's all "I feel" and "I want". She is mourning her DM and trying to do her best by her and our DGF, and her good intentions are being called into question by U. She is now doing anything she can to avoid upsetting him due to her all-pleasing nature. He didn't step up and show an interest in any of these details when my DGM was here, why the sudden interest now she's gone? I need to say something to him but I don't want to cause a big fall out - that's certainly not what DGM would have wanted, but then nor is this.
Funerals can bring out the worst in people. Maybe he is feeling guilty if he wasn't that involved in his mother's life. He is not helping, but given the arrangements can't take that much longer I think I would try to ride it out with him. His niece having a talk with him sounds likely to make it all explode. You want the funeral itself to be as pleasant in terms of how people behave as possible - and after that you can keep your distance.
Tell him of course he can have the flowers he wants. You'll get the bill for them sent directly to him. On top of his share of the funeral, of course.
It's possibly grief and guilt.
There is no excuse for his upsetting your mum but, having watched my sister totally exclude me from my dads funeral, it's a hideous feeling.
Why don't you, or your DM, contact him and say
'we are here trying to arrange the funeral in accordance with what we believe we DGMs wishes. But of course the funeral should also reflect our individual grief and our wishes. So is there anything you want incorporated into the ceremony or the day that means something particular to you?'
If he wants the flowers then , tbh, I think deciding they shouldn't be there because your DGM wouldn't want the fuss, is a bit mean. Yes, tell him about the cost if it's prohibitive but in my opinion that's not really the point.
My fathers funeral was horrendous for me. My sister stamped on every possible effort I made to feel some personal connection with my father and did it all saying she was trying to be fair and help our mum.
Just ask him what he wants instead of making it about lots of small decisions.
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