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    • ALI1973
    • By ALI1973 3rd Jan 15, 4:01 PM
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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 4
    • Vikipollard
    • By Vikipollard 3rd Jan 15, 5:55 PM
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    Vikipollard
    I don't know the age of you MIL & FIL but it certainly wasn't the done thing for children to attend funerals in the 50's & 60's and I wasn't allowed to go to that of a favoured aunt. More recently my great nephew attended the church service for his father at 8 but not the internment.
    Originally posted by gwynlas


    Very good point above. Thinking back to when my Grandma died, my sister was 9 and I was 6. We lived 150 miles away and like you, had no family nearby. We came up as a family, but sis & I were shipped off to a friend of my Aunt's for the funeral/wake. Our half brother (age 19) was allowed to attend. At that age, I didn't question why we weren't going, though I was devastated at the loss of my Grandma. This was in the 1970s.


    Perhaps FIL is of the age where people fully expect no one will take children anyway, so has not felt the need to stipulate to anyone other than yourselves? No idea, just rambling...
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    • Torry Quine
    • By Torry Quine 3rd Jan 15, 6:04 PM
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    Torry Quine
    Very good point above. Thinking back to when my Grandma died, my sister was 9 and I was 6. We lived 150 miles away and like you, had no family nearby. We came up as a family, but sis & I were shipped off to a friend of my Aunt's for the funeral/wake. Our half brother (age 19) was allowed to attend. At that age, I didn't question why we weren't going, though I was devastated at the loss of my Grandma. This was in the 1970s.


    Perhaps FIL is of the age where people fully expect no one will take children anyway, so has not felt the need to stipulate to anyone other than yourselves? No idea, just rambling...
    Originally posted by Vikipollard
    It was the early '70s when I went to my grandparent's funeral at 9 and my sibling 7. I would have been very upset to not have gone.
    Lost my soulmate so life is empty.

    I can bear pain myself, he said softly, but I couldna bear yours. That would take more strength than I have -
    Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
    • Better Days
    • By Better Days 3rd Jan 15, 6:05 PM
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    Better Days
    When my Dad died I organised the funeral and I stipulated that a family member was not to attend.

    I would have been very distressed and upset if my wishes had not been respected. It was a difficult enough day as it was. Please, please respect your FIL wishes with good grace, he is experiencing a devastating loss, and some semblance of control of the funeral and wake may just help him to cope a little better than he may otherwise.

    OP I think you are being overly precious about this on your children's behalf and they are getting upset because you are upset about the situation. You are taking the whole thing far too personally, especially as your children haven't seen MIL for four years (a very long time in childhood)

    At this time it is your DH who most needs your support now and at both the funeral and the wake. Your children have not had such a significant loss by a long way. I agree with Mojisola
    Your OH needs your support at the funeral and the wake, if he wants to go. If you go without the children, you can focus on supporting him completely.

    Your children don't need you on that day - for them, the day of the funeral won't be any different to the other days since her death.

    You can have your own family memorial for her and that's when the children can be your focus.
    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
    • ALI1973
    • By ALI1973 3rd Jan 15, 6:20 PM
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    ALI1973
    Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. I am taking on board all the comments and trying to put it into the right perspective.

    Just to clarify - We will not be taking the children as per FIL insistence.

    I cannot respect FIL decision as I think it's cruel to deny my children (who are old enough to know what is happening, how to behave etc) the option of paying their respects to their Grandma - I know they haven't seen her for 4 years, but that is because she couldn't remember us, and became agitated after about 30 mins of a visit, which after a 4 hour drive, with no hotels local is quite a strain on us all, so we decided that DH visiting solo was the way forward (we did discuss this with FIL who agreed at the time).

    The decision is do I go with DH? or do I remain at home to support my children? - DH says he will resent me if I don't go, whereas, I feel guilty about leaving my children to grieve on their own? - I know it shouldn't be about me - but I feel it's been foisted upon me to choose between my husband and my children.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 3rd Jan 15, 6:27 PM
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    Mojisola
    The decision is do I go with DH? or do I remain at home to support my children? - DH says he will resent me if I don't go, whereas, I feel guilty about leaving my children to grieve on their own? - I know it shouldn't be about me - but I feel it's been foisted upon me to choose between my husband and my children.
    Originally posted by ALI1973
    But you are making it about you - your DH wants you there so go!
    • Brighton belle
    • By Brighton belle 3rd Jan 15, 6:33 PM
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    Brighton belle
    I think your children, given the opportunity, will find ways to cope on the day of the funeral, be it friends, supportive teaching staff etc. This could be an opportunity for growth and discovering how to cope. They will not fall apart. (And to be honest, if they did, they will discover that the world does not end and they have inner resources that will help then to find ways to get through it.)


    The older two also can be taught to see it as an opportunity to put daddy's needs first (and to be honest at 9, I think a child is able to do that too)


    I really really want you to go with your husband and support him, with a willing heart.
    I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once
    • ALI1973
    • By ALI1973 3rd Jan 15, 6:33 PM
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    ALI1973
    But you are making it about you - your DH wants you there so go!
    Originally posted by Mojisola
    I don't feel I am making it about me, more that I am the one left having to choose between supporting my hubby OR my children, that isn't me making it about me.

    It's all well and good saying the kids will be fine, but what if they're not? - it will be me who has to live with the repercussions of that, you see.
    • duchy
    • By duchy 3rd Jan 15, 6:34 PM
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    duchy
    If your children haven't seen her in four years then they are grieving because you have told them they should be upset - You've created this situation .

    If you are matter of a fact and tell the children that yes it is sad - but as they hadn't seen her in so long there isn't any reason for them to be super sad or to attend the funeral but you and Dad are going and the best way they can help Dad who is extra sad because he has lost his Mum is to be good for the friends who are looking after them whilst you look after Dad.

    There really isn't any need for drama or to feel your nose is put out of joint.
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    • Torry Quine
    • By Torry Quine 3rd Jan 15, 6:36 PM
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    Torry Quine
    But you are making it about you - your DH wants you there so go!
    Originally posted by Mojisola
    I disagree, she's between a rock and a hard place. Either she supports her husband and goes or she stays home and comforts the children, she can't do both. She is also grieving herself.
    Lost my soulmate so life is empty.

    I can bear pain myself, he said softly, but I couldna bear yours. That would take more strength than I have -
    Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
    • duchy
    • By duchy 3rd Jan 15, 6:37 PM
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    duchy
    I don't feel I am making it about me, more that I am the one left having to choose between supporting my hubby OR my children, that isn't me making it about me.

    It's all well and good saying the kids will be fine, but what if they're not? - it will be me who has to live with the repercussions of that, you see.
    Originally posted by ALI1973
    Surely it will be both parents who will deal with any upset .......and frankly without you feeding it -it'll just be a day they go to friends rather than home after school. If there ARE repercussions they will be of your making because you've involved the children into your drama .

    Your OH has asked for your support - why can't you do that instead of creating all this drama about the children ? He's your family too !!

    What repercussions are you imagining ? The youngest is nine - it's not like they are babies after all.
    Last edited by duchy; 03-01-2015 at 6:40 PM.
    I Would Rather Climb A Mountain Than Crawl Into A Hole

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    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 3rd Jan 15, 6:39 PM
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    bossymoo
    I agree with the majority. A funeral is not an experience to tick off for children. They have not seen the family for years. I can understand why he doesn't want them there. When my DH died I didn't want children at his funeral either. It would have been disrespectful of anyone to bring them when I'd asked them not to. I would rather people stayed away than deliberately go against my wishes on such a day.

    As it happens, my own children (1 & 2 at the time) didn't come to the crematorium for their fathers funeral. I felt it wasn't appropriate and that was my decision to make. We had our own Memorial Day shortly afterwards, where I could spend time explaining to them, and taking photographs that they can keep forever.

    You don't have to understand his decision to be able to respect it. He has probably based it on far more things than you know about.
    Bossymoo

    Away with the fairies
    • ALI1973
    • By ALI1973 3rd Jan 15, 6:41 PM
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    ALI1973
    I really really want you to go with your husband and support him, with a willing heart.
    Originally posted by Brighton belle
    I do to, but I am really struggling with my own conscience about my children. They have had no grandparents really for the last 6 years, no family who can step in to help support them in my absence only friends, whom I love dearly, but it's no substitute for family. I feel so damn guilty that they only really have me and DH, I can't bear the thought that they will feel abandoned by me.
    • duchy
    • By duchy 3rd Jan 15, 6:48 PM
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    duchy
    Abandoned ? You are going for the day and not even staying overnight- Get a grip !!!

    I was also thinking it sounds like you have serious attachment issues or you simply don't want to go and your husband wants you to. You haven't even bothered going to see your MIL yourself in years -which makes all this somewhat out of proportion.

    I did wonder if FIL doesn't want the kids there because they haven't been to see MIL in years anyway and he either resents it or (possibly rightly) believes they didn't really know her - four years is an awfully long time in a child's life.
    Last edited by duchy; 03-01-2015 at 6:54 PM.
    I Would Rather Climb A Mountain Than Crawl Into A Hole

    MSE Florida wedding .....no problem
    • ALI1973
    • By ALI1973 3rd Jan 15, 6:51 PM
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    ALI1973
    If it were me and I felt this way, I'd be asking myself if, deep down, I was:

    a) looking for a reason not to go, or
    b) needed my children there primarily for my own benefit to help me cope (perhaps to not be left alone at any point or maybe to provide an exit strategy?)

    Both of those would be perfectly valid feelings.

    Because otherwise, in the kindest way of suggesting this, I think this is a wee bit of a mountain out of a molehill.
    Originally posted by Quizzical Squirrel
    I will ponder more on this, but I KNOW that if my children were coming that I would not be posting here.
    • ALI1973
    • By ALI1973 3rd Jan 15, 6:56 PM
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    ALI1973
    Abandoned ? You are going for the day and not even staying overnight- Get a grip !!!

    I was also thinking it sounds like you have serious attachment issues or you simply don't want to go and your husband wants you to.
    Originally posted by duchy
    Bad choice of word perhaps and yes no doubt right now I do need to get a grip.

    I know when I was younger and upset I wanted my mum, my children are no different, that's what mums do, make things better.

    I do want to go, I also want to support MY family in its entirety, but can't - it's the who do I let down I am struggling with.
    • Brighton belle
    • By Brighton belle 3rd Jan 15, 7:03 PM
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    Brighton belle
    I appreciate this feels a very painful choice.


    Would you consider a discussion with your children where you explain daddy grief, and you can't look after them all.
    They need a chance to show you are all a team, and they can choose to cope in the name of supporting someone else.
    Your eldest is only 2 years off from going to college, being able to marry, join the army etc.
    Yes your children may be upset, but what is the worst that can happen?
    You are not abandoning them. Are they really going to be catatonic with hysterical grief not to be at the funeral, with a terrible terrible long term fallout?
    I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once
    • splishsplash
    • By splishsplash 3rd Jan 15, 7:04 PM
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    splishsplash
    I do to, but I am really struggling with my own conscience about my children. They have had no grandparents really for the last 6 years, no family who can step in to help support them in my absence only friends, whom I love dearly, but it's no substitute for family. I feel so damn guilty that they only really have me and DH, I can't bear the thought that they will feel abandoned by me.
    Originally posted by ALI1973
    You and your children are relative strangers to your MIL's side of the family. Your children have not had a relationship with your MIL for years, so without meaning to sound harsh, what is it exactly they are going to be so upset about on the day of the funeral??
    I can understand them feeling sad about not having had a great granny/grandchild relationship, but they really didn't really know her, so can't exactly mourn her as a person?

    On the other hand, your OH has lost his mother. He has been watching her fail and decline over the past number of years, without you or the children to support him in the long journeys and no doubt difficult visits. He is now asking for your support for one day.

    No brainer, really. Your children will be fine, your husband will not. Your support for him should be full and unstinting and given with good grace.
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    • elsien
    • By elsien 3rd Jan 15, 7:05 PM
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    elsien
    Your kids have lost a grandparent who although they loved, they've not seen for four years. Your husband has lost his mum. The woman who brought him up and presumably meant as much to him as your kids do to you.
    In the scale of who most needs your support in their grief, your husband has suffered a far greater loss. In his place I'd feel hugely let down by a partner who wouldn't support me in this situation,
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 3rd Jan 15, 7:07 PM
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    bossymoo
    It's one day, will it really be any different for them the day before, or the day after? They only know the day of the funeral if you tell them.

    I don't think they are creating this "issue" I think you are. It doesn't have to be a problem. They will not be scarred for life missing the funeral of an old woman they haven't seen in years. Honestly, they won't.

    Bigger picture here: every 22 minutes, a child under the age of 16 in the UK loses a parent or carer. The real majority of these children come through this.

    Your children will manage. It's one day.
    Bossymoo

    Away with the fairies
    • Better Days
    • By Better Days 3rd Jan 15, 7:11 PM
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    Better Days
    OP I am really struggling to understand your perspective on this.

    It seems simple to me. Clearly your DH needs your support much more than your children atm as his loss is much the greater, and not only that your DH has expressed a clear wish for you to go with him to the funeral.

    You have met your children's needs already by kindly explaining to them the situation. You can have your own remembrance ceremony with the children as you deem appropriate. You are not abandoning or letting them down at all, the funeral will probably be on a school day, you can explain to their teachers the situation and they can deal with it as necessary. If they are upset, that is OK too, but you do not have to be there to deal with it. You cannot always be there to rescue your children from any potential upset. That is not letting them down, that is life, and it is nothing to feel guilty about. You clearly care deeply for the wellbeing of your children, but don't let it blind you to your husbands needs.

    I do wonder if there is something else going on here, was there an incident in your childhood which is bringing back memories of being let down or abandoned and you are transferring this unconsciously to your children? Your response to the situation seems to be a bit out of proportion.

    In the long run I think you are risking real harm to your relationship with your husband with all this drama and dithering. It is your husbands needs which are most important atm. And don't forget, your children will probably feel some of the fallout if your relationship with your husband does deteriorate if you don't support his perfectly reasonable request with good grace.
    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
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