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Should I go to Dad's funeral even if my family say I'm not welcome?

24 answers | Last updated: Sep 17, 2014
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Caring.com User - Shelly Beach
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Shelly Beach, MRE, is a seminary graduate; instructor at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan; author of seven books; and contributor to The...
37% helpful
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I understand your frustration over the conflict with your family regarding attending your parent's funeral. Your circumstances are certainly complex.

It's important to honestly consider your motive in attending See also:
How to Avoid Strained Sibling Relationships When a Parent Has Alzheimer's

See all 810 questions about Common Family Conflicts
your father's funeral. If your motive is to pay your final respects to your father and to honor his memory and your relationship, I would suggest you go and perhaps ask someone respected by other family members to accompany you. But whether you go with a friend or alone, be sure that your motive is to honor and pay respect to the memory of your father. You should not be going with a secondary motive or hidden agenda to make statements to family members or to try to confront past family issues.

It would also be wise to consider a graceful exit strategy, should family members want to confront you about sensitive issues. Whether or not you choose to attend the funeral, I would suggest personal counseling for the many unresolved and painful issues that have touched your life. Finding help in dealing with those painful issues will help you move forward as you deal with your grief.

 

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newby1961 answered...

Okay so I am not a Dr, nor do I have a PHD or Masters in family issues, but I do not agree with the post that says check your motives. Hello its the poor womens father she does not owe her sister a darn thing. Go, hold your head up high, and if confronted just say I am sorry you feel this way but I am not here to deal with your stuff today. I am here to honor a man in my life who I loved very much who was a father to the both of us. OMG your sister has a friggen nerve girl. Who died and left her God? As far as your past excuse me but we are human we have all made mistakes, some maybe considered a bit more intense but as long as God forgives and loves you that's all that counts. His opinion is the one that counts not hers. We all have to do what we can live with and not regret, and some day you may regret never going. I do agree with finding some sort of counseling because these are some pretty intense feelings. I know I lost my mom last year and I have had issues with my siblings for years. I live over 3,000 miles away and they stii go on and most of it is because of my past and their unability to forgive. They also are much like your sister pointing the finger at everyone else but themselves. If you ever need to vent this site is a great place for that. Peace & Blessings

 

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frena answered...

of course you should go to your father's funeral if you want to go. though i am actually with Shelley Beach on examining your own deep motivation about this.

if you're going because you want that closure with your father and the funeral will give you that, then go. if it's with some other motivation, then give that your deepest concentration and see if you can grow peace in your own heart, with or without the funeral.

taking support with you, so you're not alone in a conflictful situation, is a very good idea. be clear that you want to go for your relationship with your father, not for the family war.

i'm so sorry your family has been so troubled and hurtful and do be sure to get the help you need that will enable you to overcome their shortcomings and fulfil your own capacities to love and live fully, free of anger and full of energy for great living.

 

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haho answered...

I think you need to make your own decision about the funeral. NO one knows how you feel, what you are experiencing but you. You have the right to go if you choose to. If you go, protect yourself emotionally with whatever support you can muster up. You have no shame and it wont be easy either way you choose. I was in the same situation, I went to the funeral and glad I did. I was actually asked to move from the family seating area and talk about humiliation!. I did not attend the social aspects, just the ceremony. It was painful to hear the lies the siblings told at mass, but dad knew I was there, and that mattered to me. I know his religious beliefs and he would have wanted me there. So I was. I have had very similar issues with family - I have been blacklisted from mine also, and even through the court processess.. and its all about money, control and jealousy. I am sorry you are going through this, it is exhausting, extremely painful and crazy.. way too nuts. I have a good therapist and a great support system.. thank god for that. hang in there... i am here to let ya know - you are the normal one!

 

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Latanak answered...

Go. You won't ever have a chance for a do-over if you miss his funeral. And your motivation whatever it is, is just as valid as any of your other "family" members. Bring your husband or a friend or your supportive child and stand with your head tall. You have the right to closure and grieving just as much as anyone else. Why would a sibling even request such a thing, not for your father's wishes only for their own selfish motives. It seems like winning and getting their way is more important than anything else to them. Many people do not like it when someone marches to their own beat and stands up for what they believe in. It sounds like that may be the case here. Either way it doesn't matter. Just do whatever it is that will leave you without regret.

 

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momjob2 answered...

You shold go if you really "need" to for closure. Personally, I feel that if you and your father had a good relationship, and you both have shown "love" for one another, that in itself is "closure." I know from what I speak....My mother recently has died in a nursing home. After being "earased" from the family years ago by my sister. (A long story, too long to tell.) My sister had "controll" of my mother and even though my mother welcomed contact, she was "influeced" not to. Making a long story short....when I found out where my sister "put" my mother, I started to visit her....it was "so beautiful" having a mother again....Not having the influence of my sister, Mom "welcomed" me and I asked her forgiveness. She forgave me, we hugged and kissed....Then I visited her about 3 more times befor she passed away. The fourth time I was to visit her with my son, who came especially to visit mom. He cam on a flight from another state.
When he called the nursing home to find out if Mom was feeling well enough for visitors, the nursing station kept forwarding his call to other stations...........I will never forget my son's expression when he was told that my mother "passed away" three days earlier. (My dear sister never called me to tell me this.) I knew as soon as I saw his face...and cried along with my son, in disbelief that my sister could be so "cold." She knew I was visiting my Mom and didn't even let "me" know that she was dieing. She still hasn't called me, even after my son left a "loving" message on her message machine...(She never answers the phone.) Now don't get the idea that we left a cruel message, my son is a minister, and only believes in forgiveness and loving another person that hurts you. I found out that my mother was already creamated when I recalled the funerall home that was used for my father. (She did the same to me then, but had a death notice in the paper saying that "services were held with "imediate family", which I was not included. I have put it all in perspective. My sister would have made a scene anyways, and me, having parkinson's and recently a cancer operation, did "not" need to go through all of that. I feel that my mother told me she forgave me, and I forgave her. We enjoyed our "very short relationship" of mother-daughter again...But most importantly,I know that my mother Loved me and my children very much......and "that's what really counts." It has brought "closure" and I thank God for making that happen.

 

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Nadereh answered...

First of all , your father is no one's personal object or property. Your sister in entitled to think about you in any fashion she wants to- as well as the hospice social worker with whatever judgment about you..So what????? Then the answer is YES...you should go to your father's funeral....Go, pay respect and get the closure..

 

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giordano answered...

I just want to thank everyone for writing. Every letter has meant a lot and every letter has a new perspective. I think that is part of the battle - perspective. I am going back to Florida next week and will call my old counselor and see if we can straighten this out. IN THE MEAN TIME - I am going to the funeral. After looking over my time with my folks I realized that: 1. I lived at home until I was 17 2. They moved to Florida, to my town 4 years later - and they stayed 27 years. 3. During the 27 years my kids and I went down 4 or 5 times a year. We did all of the "worlds" in Florida, more than once, sometimes with my sibs and their kids. When it got really hard for them to keep up with medications and cleaning the house (they were the worst at that and it was always so great to see those big smiles when I got the place a in a little better order) and eating well and even driving, I went down to help. When they were in the hospital (and they we in about 5 times in 5 years) I went down to help. So, I'm going to the funeral with my head held high. I have a wonderful husband who will support me and my cousin Maryann is right by my side. I can't imagine anyone asking me not to sit with the family. I'll have to deal with that when we get there - thanks for the heads up. Like my cousin said - and so did many answers here - LEAVE IT AT THE DOOR.......Thanks again everyone. L.

 

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newby1961 answered...

I am so glad you decided to go after all to your dad's funeral. I also am glad that besides just going you are going and holding your head up high. Thank God you have your husband and cousin for support. Say a quick prayer before you walk in and I know it will all work out better than you could even expect. Momjob2 so sorry for your loss but even more so I am so sorry for how mean your sister is. She seems to have a whole lot of issues, cause anyone that has that cold of a heart, well its just a darn shame. Thanks for posting to the both of you because I believe that pain shared is pain lessened at least that's what I've been told and have experienced once or twice in my life. Peace & Bleesings all

 

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Jade1961 answered...

Hello & Prayers from a Russian Orthodox woman who is appalled at how you are being treated. I do not know your siblings nor do I know you or your Dad. What I do know is that as a Russian Orthodox at some point a Russian Orthodox Priest should have been called in for him. He deserves/d, I am not sure of the state of the situation at this point, to have the Sacraments of the Orthodox Church. To have a Minister come and tell what will and won't be done doesn't fly well with those of us who are Russian Orthodox. You Dad is in all probability a faithful man as well as a humble man. He would want you all at the funeral to celebrate his life. Going is all part of the grieving process & Any Russian Orthodox Priest would see to it that there were no shenanigans regarding a member of the Orthodox Church. I wish I had more that I could say to help you. I will keep you & your father in my prayers, your siblings too ... it seems they need it a bit more. I am not familiar with a religion that says you have to confess your sins to the whole congregation, sounds like a cult to me, but I am not a Theologian. Sins of man are between that one person and God. Our debts were paid in full at Golgotha and all one has to do is ask to be forgiven and God grants his forgiveness. I do not know if your Dad can communicate enough to receive all of the Sacraments, including Holy Unction. But, if he is still with you, I would call his priest. If you cannot reach his priest any Russian or Greek Orthodox Priest is fine. It is his right as a Russian Orthodox to receive the Sacraments. God be with you & your family I wish you a safe journey when the time comes to go to the funeral. You need closure too. God Bless, JET

 

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bleu232 answered...

hello, if you want to go see your father in his home no one can stop you but him. when you call and get a nurse you ask her to go in with the phone and tell him you are on the phone. he is the only one the can refuse your calls and you have the nurse ask him not your family but him if you can know how he is doing.your sisters dont make that choice unless he has made one of them guardianship in the case he cant speak on his own or in his right frame of mind. the funeral, go to the funeral. right now i am in the same situation only i am the one my family has dogged, i ask myself these same questions and i'm the one dying. Why do i ask? same reason you are THE REJECTION HURTS. even if it is a no win situation if you try you might get rejection. but if you dont you will be feeling the guilt the rest of your life and the family will throw that in your face also. God Bless You bleu232

 

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solveig answered...

One more: A few years ago a lovely gay young man friend died in an accident. His family had a "christian" funeral for him, in which the pastor talked about how it was questionable whether he'd go into "heaven" because of his sexuality. Most of the people in the funeral gasped and were outraged at these statements, and imidiately after the funeral agreed to get together at my house and have a proper "send off" for him, where we could express our love and good memories. If only people would realize that a Christian without love and compassion in his heart is not a follower of the Jesus they believe in. this would be a better world.

 

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Jennya answered...

well i think you should go its what your dad would want its wrong to hold family fueds on that day you need to be giving the chance to say goodbye if you dont it will bother you and he is your father no1 has any rite to stop you x :) chin up hunny im sure youl make the rite desition for you good luck Jenny xxx

 

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redheadedchica answered...

go!...by all means, go!....you are this man's child - you have a right to be there....in my opinion, and from personal experience, the only reason the others have difficulty with you is that they won't face their own demons and recognize the fact that none of us (including you) is all good or all bad...they don't want to see anything good in you, or that you have feelings, and you attending the funeral shows them both....if "the family" is uncomfortable, that is their problem...again, go!...by all means!

 

paulac1258 answered...

i totally agree go to your Dads funeral it you dad mas much as it is your sibblings. I had a simular prablem when my Father passed away in 1986 I made sure I attended alot of my uncles and aunts we're against me for alot of things I stood up to them. there was alot of favoritisum in my family I resented that I did alot o for my family mt mom just died December 10,2010.I'm just starting to talk to my aunts again. Life is too short. some people don't relize it. i felt left out alot when my brother was living . I can relate to this

 

bleu232 answered...

I dont understand people saying "check your motives for going to your dad's funeral" WHAT MOTIVES. WHO HAS MOTIVES TO GO TO A PARENTS FUNERAL. I think that statement is rude. You go because he is your father. Furnural director do not let it happen that a sibling gets kicked out of the funeral. Go visit your father while he is dying. You have him sign if he can that he wants you to attend and be there with him now. The rest of the family needs to grow up. Sounds like they are jealous over the relationship you have with your father or they think you have something to gain and they want to keep you away. I would have to ask your family if it is grief or greed

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

A sister in law told me NOT to go to my Father's funeral. I was 9 months pregnant with my second child. I loved my Father, and he loved me. I went to the funeral, and spoke to no one there. It was NOT about them. I am glad I went. Sounds to me like your sis is POA.She does have the right to keep you from seeing your Dad if that is the case, but NOT at the funeral. If she is NOT POA No one can keep you from him.

 

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MaryAnnDodge answered...

a very long thread but worth the reading. Attend your father's funeral if you don't i think you will regret not going. There are no re takes. This is an opportunity to say good-bye and have closure. It is part of the grief process. I will be posting my own questions soon so I will be very brief here. Sister hasn't spoken to me or my mom(who has Alzheimers) in nearly 5 years. Sister thought I snuck into So CA to steal my mother's money and has been on a ramage since. Mom needed surgery and all sister could do was scream at me. Hung up the phone because I decided on the spot i was taking my mom with me to No.CA. Sister wouldn't respond to emails so mom had to proceed with surgery in No CA with me. Medical emergencies of all kinds (none life threatening in retrospect). Then it was determined mom needed gall bladder surgery. Sister would not respond to my emails so mom had the 2nd surgery here with me. Mom has lived with me for 5 years now. My sister told me to never contact her and her statement is in writing. Hence, I have't sent any photos or provided updates on mom's condition and its clear my sister really doesnt care given that they have never visited mom in 5 years. They send no gifts for holidays, mother's day or moms birthday. I would never be so cruel to not tell my sister if mom were to die (although I have thought about how good that might feel to not contact her just as she ordered), but I will not attend a funeral with my sister--sister and her husband have hurt my mom and myself too much. If I were not here for my mother she would have no one. At first I imagined being at mom's funeral with my sister; hence here is what i would have done; black hat with a black veil like jackie onassis wore. I don't want my sister to ever see the deep hurt and sadness in my eyes for what she has done to my mother and our family. She is the kind that would also likely make a scene and her looks would be looks that could kill; who needs that when you are grieving the loss of a parent? I also spoke to several friends who were willing to be at my side and support me. I am writing to recommend both of these to you. Hold your head up high but don't let them see your personal private grief. you must go in a protective caccoon (sp) style for your own sanity. My thoughts are with you.

 

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IJC answered...

My neighbor owns a large and famous Hollywood cemetery. I asked him this question, and this was his reply, which I love. I do not feel that anyone should be excluded from a funeral "“ especially those who most need to find peace with the deceased. At Thai Buddhist funerals (never private), which we conduct often "“ a bowl of water is placed on the lap of the deceased. All of the mourners are given a small cup of water from a golden bowl. One by one, they pass by the deceased and pour the water into the bowl. The water represents all that remains unfinished, unexpressed, unsaid between the mourner and the deceased. To not allow proper mourning, to ignore rituals, to erase or deny death "“ well "“ it creates a haunted culture "“ the living unable to find peace because the dead have not been put to rest.

 

IJC answered...

I'd like to see this question taken a step further. What if the deceased specifically stated that a person, (son, daughter, ex-spouse, relative, friend, whatever) should not be allowed to attend the funeral. Should such an excluded person, given a good and overwhelming reason, go anyway? It's a controversial question. Most people would say no. I would say the opposite. See my above comment.

 

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Mika04 answered...

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path. Pray for your siblings, that God night loose the animosity that dwells within them. He is your Father that was given to you by God. You have every right to see and or be with your Dad in his final days. No on should attempt to rob you of that. Your pass is just that, your pass. Which has nothing to do with being there for the man whom assisted in bringing you in this world. Don't put yourself in a predicament that you regret and suffer emotionally later.

 

And& answered...

I understand there's a lot going on in your family. Very glad you decided to attend. You have every right to be there.

 

barbara7246 answered...

I chose to not go to my fathers funeral after 50 years of being treated like crap from my mother. She was always so jealous of my relationship with my beloved dad. She would shut me out of all the family functions, never invite me but then turn around and tell everyone I did not want to come. She would backstab and put me down to my dad every chance she got. I can never remember her ever acting like a real mother to me, but my two older brothers she could not do enough for them. Everytime I would come for a visit she always made me feel uncomfortable and unwanted, but sneakily so others did not see it. When I was 50 she shut me out of my dads sickness, hospital stay and sudden death. Totally shut me out of everything. Everytime I would come around she and my brothers would treat me so mean. I chose to not go to the funeral because it was not about dads death but more of her games. Naturally now I am a piece of crap for not going. I have not spoken to them since then and I never will. I hope she rots in hell right along with my brother. I realize now that Dad really did not love me or he would not have let her treat me the way she did. I would never treat my daughter like she did me, or sit and smirk when she would see the pain she was causing me. I try to remember dad the way he was but again now I see he allowed her to hurt me.

 

 
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