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Author Topic: Should my son go to the funeral? Advice needed .......  (Read 6001 times)

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Offline Sujo1

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Should my son go to the funeral? Advice needed .......
« on: April 16, 2010, 03:56:42 PM »
At the moment, I'm in a state of shock, so apologise in advance if I ramble ...... I've just read in the local paper that J's great auntie Maureen (from his dad's side) has passed away and the funeral is on Tuesday. J ( who's 12) is really upset and is insistant that he wants to go to the funeral.

That in itself seems straight forward but due to family history is really complicated. Obviously, I'm not thinking straight at the moment and all the scenarios are going around in my head.

A bit of the history ....

Me & J's dad split up 10 years ago. Apart from the first 6 months, my ex has not seen J or had any access ( his choice ... didn't fit in with his new life). When his dad decided to stop seeing J, my ex's parents ( J's grandparents) also chose to stop seeing J ... in their words they were showing support to their son ( i know, you couldn't make it up!)

Over the 10 years, I have tried at intervals to reserrect access  but just hit brick walls. However , throughout the 10 years, the only member of his family that decided to keep in contact was .... auntie Maureen ( my ex's mum's sister).
Initially, she told her family, that she wanted to still see J and be part of his life. Although, she suffered a lot of opposition from the rest of the family, she ALWAYS sent him cards & vouchers for birthday, Christmas and Easter. I took J up to see her every couple of months and he loved his visits and the joy on her face when she saw J said it all. She always wanted updates on how he was doing at school and we gave her a copy of J's school photo every year.
Over the years, she had upsets with her family about it and after the first 2-3 years, she would keep our visits secret from them to avoid the grief. She would keep J's photo and cards tucked away in a drawer and it was an 'unwritten' agreement that neither of us would mention about our visits to any of the ex's family.
Then about 18 months ago, I received a letter from her saying that it was deeply upsetting for her to have to write to me to say that we would no longer be able to visit her. The letter was pretty vague, mentioned 'family matters', 'everyone's best interests' etc. Totally shocked, I rang her. She said that there had been a MASSIVE family argument and they knew about her having contact with J. In a nut shell, her sister (J's grandma) was not talking to her due to her seeing me & J - she saw it has a betrayal to her son's (my ex) wishes.
Maureen said that the family had said that if she continued to see J then they would cut her off as part of the family. Obviously, Maureen was so upset and was in an unenviable dilemma. After a long conversation, it was agreed that, at least til the dust settled, that we wouldn't visit but she still wanted to keep in contact with J through cards, phone calls etc. Both Maureen & J missed their visits but still kept in regular contact - every 2-3 months.

Sadly, before visits were ever reintroduced, Maureen has now passed away. J was so upset when he found out today, he said he'd always hoped that he would see her again and now he can't. He has asked that he can go to the funeral to say goodbye.

Without doubt, I want to go to her funeral. This woman stood up to her family for the best part of 9 years, to stay in contact with J ... she truely believed J should have a family connection and know his roots. I have nothing but admiration for her and what she did.
I won't pretend that I am soooo nervous and anxious about going. I realise that we have been left to find out about the funeral via the local paper and the fact that no one has let us know personally, that the family are probably not expecting/wanting us to go.
Obviously, my ex, his parents, sister etc will all be there .... none I have seen for 10 years ...... but the love and admiration I have for Maureen will see me through it.
My dad has agreed to go with me for support, as he too used to visit Maureen periodically and do odd jobs for her....our intention is just to sit at the back and pay our respects.
J is adamant that he wants to go too and in any normal circumstances I wouldn't hesitate to let him, as I think at 12 he is old enough to decide himself. However, due to the history of his visits being stopped , that J has not seen my ex or his family for 10 years and that I'm unsure as to whether anything maybe said ..... I'm really not sure what to do.

My dad has said it should be just me and him that goes and maybe take a floral tribute from Joe (as it states family flowers only) but I'm not sure whether my dad is thinking that the ex's family haven't wanted to see J for the last 10 years, why should they get chance now, rather than putting J's feelings first.
Don't know whether I'm thinking of letting J go, to selfishly give  me some support ........then on the other hand why should J's relationship with his great auntie not be acknowledged and kept a secret .....

When I spoke to J about the funeral, he said this will happen again when my grandma & grandad (ex's parents) die. Hopefully it won't be for another 6 years. Then I'll be 18 and can make my own descision and would be able to go .......
As always in these situations, I only get one chance, Tuesday, to get it right and make the right descision but at the moment my head's all over the place with it.

Would appreciate anyone's thoughts or advice ......

S x
 


Offline helencitauk

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Re: Should my son go to the funeral? Advice needed .......
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 04:15:00 PM »
Sorry, Sue, I've no idea what to advise - wanted to give you a hug for moral support - am sure that whatever decision you make will be the right one
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Offline infinity67

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Re: Should my son go to the funeral? Advice needed .......
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 05:17:29 PM »
Its a tough one but if you and your dad are definately going then if J is determined to go I would say let him. He is 12 and knows his own mind by now But make him aware that the family may get nasty. Just go to the funeral and dont bother with the wake afterwards perhaps.

If you turn up just as the funeral starts and leave immediately after then there will be limited family contact. You could both go to her grave at a later date together and put some flowers there, anonymously so they dont get thrown out by the family. Aunt Maureen wont need a note to know who they are from and how much she means to you

Good luck hun X
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Offline Pheonix

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Re: Should my son go to the funeral? Advice needed .......
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2010, 06:21:19 PM »
Im trying to think of the worse case scenario here and that is that you and J are confronted at the funeral, told by your ex and or his family that you shouldnt be there and there is a big argument and everyone especially j gets upset

How likely is that?

If there was the slightest chance of that happening to be honest I wouldnt go

She sounded like a wonderful caring woman and they clearly had a bond which went above and beyond all the stupidity and pettiness of the rest of the family. I think the last thing she would want is for J to be in a situation where he was upset, no matter how much he says he wants to go.

Your visits were a special secret and I would be temped to make your goodbyes that way too, she will know you are there and you get her all to yourselves to say goodbye properly.

Could you go the next day and lay flowers

So sorry you both have to endure this loss. She sounds like a very sweet lady.

Offline scatily

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Re: Should my son go to the funeral? Advice needed .......
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2010, 06:28:42 PM »
Have to be honest and say i think i agree with Pheonix.

I hate confrontation myself and certainly wouldn't want not only my child to witness it but also possibly for him to feel the full blast of total rejection from them.

I think maureen would understand if you went to pay your respects a while later, i understand it probably feels important to you to go but i think you have to give some serious consideration to the long term impact on J, and that's why i think his aunt wouldn't mind if you went a little after the main event, maybe even that evening?

Whatever you decide i hope it's not too painful for you both.

Offline Jambee

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Re: Should my son go to the funeral? Advice needed .......
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2010, 07:16:45 PM »
Sue - if you are adamant that you and your dad are going then my recommendation is to contact the vicar beforehand, tell him everything exactly as you have written on here and ask him for his guidance on the matter too.

Personally, after digesting everything you have written on here, I think Auntie Maureen would prefer it if you, your dad and J would have your own private moment with her away from everyone else where you can show your true emotions.  The vicar may also be able to help make that happen for you too.
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Offline Scoobylou

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Re: Should my son go to the funeral? Advice needed .......
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2010, 07:45:09 PM »
I agree with the others, i think it would be better to have your own private moment. And i think the suggestion of contacting the vicar or funeral home is a really good one.

Hope you work it out, and so sorry to hear of your loss.

Take care all of you xx

Offline Run DM&C

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Re: Should my son go to the funeral? Advice needed .......
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2010, 11:56:47 PM »
That's definitely a tricky one Sue but to be honest I think I am with everyone else  on this one.

Emotions are going to be all over the place for everyone at the funeral and I think if there has been so much animosity in the past with you & J still having connections with Maureen it is likely that some things will be said that you may not want J to witness.

I appreciate you both want to say goodbye but I think the idea of contacting the vicar and arranging a separate time will save a lot of anguish for you all.
Is J fully aware of the ex's view on contact?

I think he is old enough and intelligent enough to understand where you are coming from if you explain you don't want to put either of you in an uncomfortable position

Good luck with whatever you decide
You know where I am if you need a shoulder hun xx
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Offline Sujo1

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Re: Should my son go to the funeral? Advice needed .......
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2010, 11:08:04 PM »
Thank you everyone for your replies ..... all your advice and support has been so comforting at a really sad time.

During what's been a rollercoaster of a weekend, and lots of discussion with J, I took everyone's advice and suggested to J that we arrange to visit auntie Maureen in the chapel of rest to say our personal goodbyes and spend private time there.
So we went on Saturday and the funeral directors made it a really special time for us. J handled it with maturity and J said the visit had given him chance to say the things he needed to say and come to terms with her passing away.
After we left, J asked if he could send some flowers to the funeral, so we called at the florist so J could choose some and write his card.

Then on Sunday J said although he'd been to say goodbye, he was was still wanting to go the funeral. We had a long, long discussion in which I went through every scenario with J has to how the funeral may go and talked through all the what if's and I've got to say it soon became apparent J had really thought everything through.
I agreed with J that if it was the funeral of an auntie on my side, that I wouldn't hesitate in letting him go. So J said why should his dad or family stand in the way of him going to Maureen's. He said she had been there for him, when everyone else hadn't and he wanted to go.

So I rang the funeral director and arranged a meeting with him, advising J that I wasn't promising anything but at least we'd go and see what he advised.

So we went earlier this evening. I explained the situation and also J's wishes and asked if there was anything he could suggest. He couldn't have been more understanding and said he would personally make sure that J felt comfortable with being able to show his respects.
In the end, it was agreed that the rest of the family will enter the building by the side door ( which is the norm) and taken to a large room ( which is like a holding area i suppose). Meanwhile, we would arrive at the front door and be shown to a side room, just for us.
Once Maureen had arrived in the chapel, just before the service, we would be taken in to be able to have a couple of minutes on our own with her. J will then be able to choose where he wants to sit ( J has already decided that he wants to sit on the back pew). Then the rest of the family will be led into the chapel to sit down.
Just as the service ends, we will be shown back into the side room until everyone has left. The funeral director has also organised something similar for the service at the crematorium too.
Which will mean that we have as little interaction or contact with the ex & his family.

J is totally happy with how it is going to work and was involved with all the arrangements from start to finish. As we left, the funeral director reassured J that he should not worry about anything tomorrow and if at any time he felt uncomfortable arrangements could be changed for him.
I must admit I was overwhelmed at how patient and understanding they were of J's needs/wishes.

Has J went to bed tonight, we hugged and J thanked me soooooo much for making it happen for him to go tomorrow.

So I guess we'll have to see what tomorrow brings ..... hopefully it will be without incident .... (it won't be for the want of trying).


Offline Scoobylou

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Re: Should my son go to the funeral? Advice needed .......
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2010, 11:14:20 PM »
Thats fantastic. Actually read that with a bit of a tear in my eye!

Well done for sorting it out, and it sounds like you have a very sensible mature son who is an absolute credit to you. And what a wonderful funeral director for going to all that trouble for you.

I really hope it all goes without a hitch and you and J get to pay your respects and say your goodbyes as you want too.

Take care xx

Offline Pheonix

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Re: Should my son go to the funeral? Advice needed .......
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2010, 11:16:34 PM »
Im wishing so much that it all goes well for you, good luck , you have a very special young man there  :)

 

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