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  • FIRST POST
    • ALI1973
    • By ALI1973 3rd Jan 15, 4:01 PM
    • 280Posts
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    ALI1973
    MIL funeral, but FIL won't allow my children to attend
    • #1
    • 3rd Jan 15, 4:01 PM
    MIL funeral, but FIL won't allow my children to attend 3rd Jan 15 at 4:01 PM
    I am at loss of what to do, as I feel torn. My much loved MIL passed away last week after years of suffering. They live 4 hrs away. I have children. Due to the circumstances of her illness, they have not seen her for 4 years, but we have tried to maintain telephone contact with FIL, it has been difficult and he has not wanted to speak with the children. DH has visited alone for the past 4 years.

    There are brothers and sisters who all have adult children, only mine are younger. Sisters have pretty much estranged themselves from us, I am not totally sure why, as I have always encouraged DH to keep in touch, but I will admit that eventually I left it to him to converse with his family (as I do with mine).

    Everything regarding the funeral has been told to us (no input from us). Anyway, we have made plans for the funeral, only to be told today by FIL that our children are not welcome.

    We do not have family local to us, and will have to rely on goodwill of friends to watch our children if we both attend, not to mention how upset our children are that they cannot say goodbye. My DH wants me to be with him at the crematorium and the wake after, BUT, I feel I am betraying my children by "socialising" with his family (whom I am very disappointed and angry with) at the wake.

    I know this is not what my MIL would have wanted (we were very close) but quite rightly DH doesn't want to cause a scene, I also though don't want to pretend all is ok when it really is not.

    What would you do?
    Last edited by ALI1973; 07-01-2015 at 6:33 PM.
Page 11
    • Better Days
    • By Better Days 5th Jan 15, 8:36 PM
    • 2,720 Posts
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    Better Days
    Thank you for the depth of your understanding, it can be difficult to explain on the net the full details of things, it has brought a tear to my eye that at least someone can see that actually I am a nice person, as many of my friends and family would tell you.

    Thank you again.
    Originally posted by ALI1973
    OP, I think the tone of some of the comments was more down to frustration with your perspective rather than a judgement on you as a person. Respondents can only comment based on what you have posted, and inevitably the focus is narrow.

    Nuance can easily be lost in a forum such as this, but do bear in mind that those who have responded genuinely want to help. And at a time when emotions are running high it can be difficult when in the midst of the situation to take a deep breath and step back. Reading through the thread there has been a level of consistency of responses which I hope has given you alternative ways forward to consider.

    Have you read any Susan Jeffers books? I am especially thinking of 'End the struggle and dance with life' http://www.amazon.co.uk/Struggle-Dance-Life-Susan-Jeffers/dp/0340897600

    Whatever the method, the purpose of quieting the mind is always the same - to step out of our own way and touch a universal oneness with all things
    It is a good idea to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.
    James Douglas
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 5th Jan 15, 8:42 PM
    • 31,569 Posts
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    Mojisola
    I am a nice person, as many of my friends and family would tell you.
    Originally posted by ALI1973
    It's possible to be a very nice person and have anxieties that make you react somewhat over the top when a situation is out of your control.

    Developing the skills for seeing situations more objectively is very useful - sometimes things can hit a sensitive spot in us and feel like a personal insult when it wasn't intended that way.

    A thick skin is very helpful at times.
    • longforgotten
    • By longforgotten 5th Jan 15, 10:22 PM
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    longforgotten
    I agree 'that having a thick skin is helpful'. but it is also helpful to realise funerals and wedding will always bring family 'differences' to the surface ( got a wry smile on my face as I type, went to a wedding from hell ! ). The deal is FIL is in the position to call the shots and if anybody goes against him it will rock the boat. It's best to accept he's in charge for the day, just to have a quiet life. The day will be over soon enough, just imagine the relief when its over and you'll have that happy smile that you did the right thing.........and if it was me , I'd have a bucket of the bachs remedy to last the whole day through , oh and try to find a place where I could have a few moments to myself ( or with hubby ) to relax. You can also get the Bachs remedy as sweets.
    • duchy
    • By duchy 6th Jan 15, 7:43 AM
    • 18,373 Posts
    • 46,796 Thanks
    duchy
    Ali No-one is saying you aren't a nice person -what they are saying is that you have this all out of proportion about people you haven't even seen in four years.

    It's a day - get through it with good grace to make it easier for your husband -and use it to reflect on what knowing your MIL meant to you and then get on with your lives happilly without the rest of the family just like you've done for the past four years.

    Make your husband's memories of saying goodbye to his mother good ones of a "good send off" - and not with the major memory been your resentment of his siblings and step father.

    My uncle died when my son was only a couple of months old -the funeral was in Dublin -we lived near Gatwick. I wanted to go and was prepared to take the baby with me as it was an easy journey and I had other family I could stay with. My Mum was insistent that as it was an old school Catholic funeral that taking a baby would be inappropriate - even if I left the baby with one of my cousins for a couple of hours (They wouldn't have all gone as they weren't close big Irish family lots of cousins)
    I rang my Mum at the wake to check she was ok and to find out how it had all gone - My uncle -the deceased#s brother answered the phone and the first thing he did was scold me for not coming -and said how it would have been lovely to have the baby there too !!! <wall-head-bang>

    I hadn't agreed with my Mum's stance - and with hindsight realised had I rang her brother he'd have told her me coming with baby would be fine and have talked to my Mum into it but at the time although I disagreed with her I wasn't going to upset her by pushing the issue .

    That said when my own Dad died unexpectedly a few months later (that was a dreadful year) I chose not to bring my son as he was that bit older and might be disruptive and the cemetery was a long journey (Crossing London south to north on the way following the hearse and M25 on the way back ugh)- However he was a great distraction at the wake - and there was a kind of "circle of life" feeling amongst the mourners as most of them were meeting him for the first time.

    So even within families who actually speak to each other there will be different views about whether it's appropriate for children to attend or not -and the default is not to upset the older generation who are the ones more likely to be old school about it. So don't explode if someone asks why you didn't bring the kids !!!
    Last edited by duchy; 06-01-2015 at 8:05 AM.
    I Would Rather Climb A Mountain Than Crawl Into A Hole

    MSE Florida wedding .....no problem
    • mumps
    • By mumps 7th Jan 15, 8:56 AM
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    mumps
    Sorry, just to clarify. The nearest hotel is 45 mins away (travel lodge), I would never have expected them to put us up every weekend, but although we have previously, accommodated them and their families the offer was never even muted as an option, despite eldest SIL having a 5 bed house and all children left home, but as I say, we didn't expect it - more part of the reasoning for why DH went solo.
    Originally posted by ALI1973
    I can see why your husband would visit alone for most visits, but 4 years? Not once in 4 years did you think it would be nice to go and let children see granddad or aunties? For you to pop in and see mother in law for half an hour? I'm sorry but look at it from their point of view you and your children have had no involvement for 4 years and suddenly it is so important for you to be involved. It might not have been meant like that, you might not have thought of it like that but if father in law and sisters in law were local and facing this horrible situation day in day out can you see how it might seem to them? When father in law was agreeing about the children not visiting he probably didn't realise they would not been seen again for years.

    Sorry if I have got it wrong but I am just trying to see it from their point of view.

    I just wondered if there is any reason your 14 year old can't look after 9 year old, if you are due back at 8 or 9 pm it wouldn't be leaving them alone overnight or anything. I am assuming they are at school in the day so max of 4 or 5 hours.
    Last edited by mumps; 07-01-2015 at 12:04 PM.
    • ALI1973
    • By ALI1973 7th Jan 15, 7:16 PM
    • 280 Posts
    • 281 Thanks
    ALI1973
    I can see why your husband would visit alone for most visits, but 4 years? Not once in 4 years did you think it would be nice to go and let children see granddad or aunties? For you to pop in and see mother in law for half an hour? I'm sorry but look at it from their point of view you and your children have had no involvement for 4 years and suddenly it is so important for you to be involved. It might not have been meant like that, you might not have thought of it like that but if father in law and sisters in law were local and facing this horrible situation day in day out can you see how it might seem to them? When father in law was agreeing about the children not visiting he probably didn't realise they would not been seen again for years.

    Sorry if I have got it wrong but I am just trying to see it from their point of view.

    I just wondered if there is any reason your 14 year old can't look after 9 year old, if you are due back at 8 or 9 pm it wouldn't be leaving them alone overnight or anything. I am assuming they are at school in the day so max of 4 or 5 hours.
    Originally posted by mumps
    When we were organising visits we had attempted to organise visits to siblings, they were usually going to be unavailable, or have things already planned which would have meant that the visits would only be for an hour etc. FIL had already said that he felt the children's visits were distressing to MIL and was in agreement when we said we would stop bringing them. So a 4 hour drive (if traffic good) for a possible hour visit was just not going to happen. It wasn't for want of trying. That's why we have tried to maintain phone contact.

    I wouldn't leave the children home alone when we are not close by, and certainly not for over 5hrs. They are responsible, but if something did happen, it would be unforgivable.
    • mumps
    • By mumps 7th Jan 15, 9:50 PM
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    mumps
    When we were organising visits we had attempted to organise visits to siblings, they were usually going to be unavailable, or have things already planned which would have meant that the visits would only be for an hour etc. FIL had already said that he felt the children's visits were distressing to MIL and was in agreement when we said we would stop bringing them. So a 4 hour drive (if traffic good) for a possible hour visit was just not going to happen. It wasn't for want of trying. That's why we have tried to maintain phone contact.

    I wouldn't leave the children home alone when we are not close by, and certainly not for over 5hrs. They are responsible, but if something did happen, it would be unforgivable.
    Originally posted by ALI1973
    Well I guess you know your children best. At 14 lots of kids get paid for babysitting.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 7th Jan 15, 9:54 PM
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    Mojisola
    Well I guess you know your children best. At 14 lots of kids get paid for babysitting.
    Originally posted by mumps
    I wouldn't leave a 9 year old alone at home for that length of time, even if two slightly older siblings were also there.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 7th Jan 15, 11:32 PM
    • 40,098 Posts
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    Savvy_Sue
    For me it would depend on the children: some would be fine, not all would.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: TWO adult cardigans, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees, 2 sets of handwarmers, 1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 3 balaclavas, multiple hats and poppies, 3 peony flowers, 4 butterflies ...
    Current projects: pink balaclava (for myself), seaman's hat, about to start another cardigan!
    • seven-day-weekend
    • By seven-day-weekend 8th Jan 15, 3:46 AM
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    seven-day-weekend
    I personally would not have left them in charge of a fourteen year old for that time.
    Member #10 of 2 savers club
    Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology: Terry Eagleton
    • mumps
    • By mumps 8th Jan 15, 3:10 PM
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    • 12,722 Thanks
    mumps
    I would have trusted any of my children at 14, they could all cook and knew what to do if there was a problem. As SavvySue says it depends on the children.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 8th Jan 15, 7:17 PM
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    Spendless
    The OP didn't feel comfortable with an earlier suggestion of taking the kids and leaving them at the cinema whilst the adults go to the funeral. (which is the option I'd have probably gone for having similar aged kids) so I don't think she's going to be comfortable leaving the kids for several hours when it's possibly the first time they'd be left in such a way.

    It's irrelevant if we leave our own kids (or used to).I have no issues leaving my 14yo and have done in a similar manner, though it wasn't intended when our car broke down 40 miles from home and we awaited hours for recovery. I rang my parents to collect 11yo as I was aware that our intended eta home would be fine, but not hours later for her. I make this judgement call based on what I know about my kids,their capabilities and their interaction with each other.
    Last edited by Spendless; 09-01-2015 at 4:53 PM.
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