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To abide by my mother's wishes and not let my sister know when she has died?

(295 Posts)
Bonjelica Fri 23-Jun-17 18:24:24

Half-sister has been estranged for nearly 10 years. She has MH issues, had a breakdown and started accusing my parents of doing awful things to her when she was a child. She insinuated my father (her stepfather) sexually abused her. This was a lie and is unforgivable. My mother took the painful decision to have no further contact with her and therefore her children because of this and has suffered greatly for not knowing how her grandchildren are.
Since then she has posted occasional nasty messages on Facebook but we have not heard anything else from her.

Mum is now 75 and has been in ill health for the last year. She has stated clearly that she does not want my sister to know when she dies, to be invited to the funeral, or to know where she is buried.

This doesn't sit right with me but I have to honour her wishes don't I? Despite being extremely angry with my sister (still), I think she at least deserves to be told when she passes.

Any advice on how to handle this would be appreciated.

BreakfastAtSquiffanys Fri 23-Jun-17 18:27:45

Yes, you should respect your mother's wishes not to tell your sister. However if sometime in the future if your sister contacts you and asks, you can tell her that your mother has died, but not where she is buried.

Is there ANY possibility that her accusations were true? How can you be So certain?

RippleEffects Fri 23-Jun-17 18:32:41

There's a difference between going out of your way to notify her of your mothers passing (when it happens)/ invite her to the funeral/ formally tell her where she rests and blatant lying to her face.

I'd be comfortable with agreeing to not inform or invite but I wouldn't agree to blatantly lie.

I think that the time of mourning needs to be preserved for those who will need this time to rest/ reflect/ find a new life direction. It's not the time to open old wounds and create potential battles for those already in distress.

If she's 10 years estranged then another year or two to allow initial mourning isn't going to actually make any difference is it?

hugoagogo Fri 23-Jun-17 18:34:26

I think your sister deserves to know.
I have personal experience of being abused and not being believed, so that no doubt colours my view.
All the same, I too would question whether there could have been some truth in her allegations?

SheepyFun Fri 23-Jun-17 18:36:08

Once your mother has passed away, she won't know whether or not you tell your sister. Funerals are for those left behind. Would you and other close friends and relatives want your sister at the funeral? If not, you might want to consider telling her afterwards. But it's definitely up to you.

abbsisspartacus Fri 23-Jun-17 18:43:19

Tell her after the funeral if you think she will make a fuss but I would tell I'm nc with my sister I know how to contact her if our dad died and I will

ineedamoreadultieradult Fri 23-Jun-17 18:45:19

If she is going to be able to attend the funeral and be respectful and not cause a scene then I would tell her. Either she was abused in which case the not being believed is horrific or she wasn't telling the truth and has mental health issues. Either way a bit of compassion goes a long way.

wherearemymarbles Fri 23-Jun-17 19:03:58

I'd be inclined to grant your mothers wishes.

That said, I do feel its worth mentioning that not all paedophiles are the same. Touching you makes it incestuous. Your half sister could have been a different kettle of fish

dustmotesinthesun Fri 23-Jun-17 19:08:23

I think it's beyond the pale not to tell someone their mother has died. I understand it's complex but there's little bigger than this. It would devastate most people, even if they were estranged.

It's very rare to accuse someone of sexual assault. How do you know that was a lie?

thestamp Fri 23-Jun-17 19:11:51

Dead people don't get a say, unless they enshrine their wishes in a legally enforceable document.

Your sister is living, and is either a survivor of family sexual violence, or dreadfully sick. I feel for her that her family has written her off in this way. Your DM doesn't really have much of a leg to stand on, ethically, but if my own mother is anything to go on, that isn't an impediment... My mother chose men over her children on many occasions and would make the same decisions again, given the chance. Some people are just like that unfortunately.

So, I'd tell mother whatever she wants to hear, and I'd also tell sister where the date of death and where her mother is buried. I would probably also tell her when and where the funeral is.

I know family relationships are sometimes hellish.
Your sister's life sounds pretty hellish too.
Love to you all at this difficult time.

OdinsLoveChild Fri 23-Jun-17 19:24:58

I would tell her myself. Surely she would want to know her Mother has passed away. It wont make any difference to your Mum as she will have passed. She probably wont want to go to the funeral anyway given the way she has been treated but she should be told really. Surely you would want to know?

How can you be so certain it is a lie? A huge number of victims do not tell until adulthood because they don't always understand as children what happened to them was wrong. By the time they understand and come to terms with what happened and tell someone family members will often immediately try and discredit the victim because 'they didn't speak up sooner, so it must be a lie'. Its not easy for someone to say they were abused and should never be dismissed without thorough consideration. (preferably by a professional)

Whocansay Fri 23-Jun-17 19:29:28

Your mother cut off her daughter and grandchildren because she didn't want to deal with her mental health issues?

Your sister is better off out of it.

But no, when your mother dies, you don't have to tell your sister immediately, but once you've had time to grieve you should let her know. Because it's a kind thing to do. And keep in mind that she has mental health issues and deserves compassion.

monkeywithacowface Fri 23-Jun-17 19:32:51

I think it is grossly unfair of your mother to put this burden on you. I would not agree to it. Its a final "fuck you" from the grave. I feel sorry for your sister she is suffering and shunned by her family and this is a final twist of the knife by your mother.

RippleEffects Fri 23-Jun-17 19:34:28

Those falsely accused are victims too. If (Step) Father is grieving why should he have his mourning, as next of kin, disrupted by someone who's made such significant allegations and the complex decission to go no contact with has been made.

The fall out from allegations to the accused goes on for years. You are never innocent once accused, only ever not proven guilty if things even go as far as arrest and trial. The fall out as well as emotional can effect career/ earnings, relationships with other children, ability to do completely innocent things like run you childrens friends home and do the school run.

People with mental health conditions do need compassion but so do those who have their lives irrevocably damaged by unfounded allegations.

Surely its your fathers call.

HildaOg Fri 23-Jun-17 19:35:20

I wouldn't tell her. Why bother? She hasn't been a part of the family for ten years. If she's as bad as you'll say, she'll probably use it as an opportunity for more drama.

Peanutbuttercheese Fri 23-Jun-17 19:39:47

She is mentally unwell and your family has nothing to do with her and she is not believed. Has anyone ever considered why she is so unwell.

I would tell her and not tell your Mother and as much as you won't want to hear this children don't really lie about being abused as far as I'm aware.

user1497997754 Fri 23-Jun-17 19:43:34

When my father died I was told but not invited to his funeral....his wishes....was very upset for along time...since then my mother has told me how nasty he had been to her during thier marriage....soooo very pleased now that I did not go even though not given the choice....I feel now I can put this to rest now and get on with my life....my parents are weird anyway so no great loss

f83mx Fri 23-Jun-17 19:46:41

Why doesn't your mum want her told? i can (possibly, if the allegations were false, although sounds like she needed help not pushing out) understand choosing not to have her in her life and maybe not attending funeral if there were to be a scene (would there?), but to not even tell her? thats just so bitter/petty/cruel?

JustCallMeKate Fri 23-Jun-17 19:49:01

This is awful and cruel of your mother IMO. Your step sister is already mentally unwell yet your mother wants to put her though more anguish? As a PP said it's your mothers choice if she is not at the funeral or knows where she's buried but to not tell her? That's just heartless.

How do any of you know your step sisters accusations weren't true?

Believeitornot Fri 23-Jun-17 19:50:13

Several things to unpick there.

Your sisters breakdown would have been caused and perhaps triggered by something. Maybe, just maybe, there's a grain of truth in there.

She clearly has MH issues and is unwell. I know that mental illness is scary to deal with but it has to be thought of as someone has something wrong with them and they need help. They don't and shouldn't be shut off.

So me, no I wouldn't respect my mothers wishes. Because that's actually quite a spiteful thing to do.

MadMags Fri 23-Jun-17 19:50:45

Firstly, it could be true.

So she's either been rejected because she was sexually abused as a child, or she's been rejected because she's mentally unwell.

My mother took the painful decision to have no further contact with her and therefore her children because of this and has suffered greatly for not knowing how her grandchildren are.

Your mother doesn't get to cut innocent children out of her life then play the victim about not knowing how they are.

Tell or don't tell but your mother doesn't sound very nice either way!

Bananamanfan Fri 23-Jun-17 19:52:57

Whatever the truth i feel for your sister. Tbh, 10 years later i imagine she has come to terms with being cast out & would not want to spend time with family that have let her down so badly.

eddielizzard Fri 23-Jun-17 19:53:31

i think it's a kick in the teeth for your sister from your mum's grave. i wouldn't actively tell your sister - you're not in contact anyway - but i wouldn't lie if asked a direct question.

i also think have open mind and consider that she might not be lying. if she is, that is horrendous for your parents. either way, it's devastating.

MineKraftCheese Fri 23-Jun-17 19:56:24

Your mother sounds cruel from what you have posted. You seem to be demonising your sister for having MH issues too, which is pretty callous.

NoArmaniNoPunani Fri 23-Jun-17 20:01:08

I would tell your sister. Your mum won't know either way. I feel for your sister in this situation. How awful if she was telling the truth and wasn't believed

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