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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 5
    • Tigsteroonie
    • By Tigsteroonie 3rd Jan 15, 7:13 PM
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    Tigsteroonie
    It does seem strange that he wouldn't want all the family around him.

    I went to my grandparent's funeral when I was 9 and my sibling was 7 so not allowing children is a new one on me.
    Originally posted by Torry Quine
    Not strange to me at all. My family believe that funerals are not appropriate for children and, in accordance with my Mum's wishes, I will not be taking our son to my Nan's cremation in a week or two's time. She is the primary person grieving, and I am taking her feelings into consideration.

    On the other hand, we did take our son to his paternal Grandfather's funeral service (Catholic) a couple of years ago, it was expected that he should attend. This just shows how different families have different ideas.
    Mrs Marleyboy

    MSE: many of the benefits of a helpful family, without disadvantages like having to compete for the tv remote

    Proud Parents to an Au-some son
    • DianneB
    • By DianneB 3rd Jan 15, 7:13 PM
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    DianneB
    I'd take them. Not read all 5 pages but surely no one will actually stop you going in? They are old enough to behave, your husband wants you there, that's it, you're a family you don't need to palm them off on strangers for the day. Hope all goes well for you.
    Loading........................
    • Andypandyboy
    • By Andypandyboy 3rd Jan 15, 7:20 PM
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    Andypandyboy
    I also think you are blowing this "angst" way out of proportion. Your children have not had a relationship with your MIL for years, nor have you either it seems. I am at a loss to understand how you can say you were very close. I am afraid your nose is out of joint and you are feeding this situtation and creating drama by purporting to have to "choose" between your husband, who is grieving for his mother and your children whose upset stems from how you have handled it given the circumstances.

    This easily solved, you take a step back and arrange for your children to spend the day happily with friends, you take a deep breath and tell them yes, it is sad, but that they need not be overly upset as they didn't really have a close relationship with her due to the nature of her illness. Then you support your husband and put your own feelings aside. Nothing should prevent you doing that, and frankly, I can see why your husband is upset.

    You are adding to his sorrow and engineering situation where he is being asked to feel annoyance, cause more family rifts, take sides, appease you, etc, etc. This is really not what he needs right now. Put yourself in his shoes with one of your parents and ask yourself how you would hope he would behave. This is one of the very few times when children do not come first provided their needs are taken care of.
    Last edited by Andypandyboy; 03-01-2015 at 7:22 PM.
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 3rd Jan 15, 7:22 PM
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    iammumtoone
    I am sorry but see can't how children of that age will be upset about not attending a funeral. Funerals are not a fun event. At that age I also don't see how they themselves would put together the connection you are so worried about of them paying their respects, unless they have been told (by you?) that it is bad manners they are not going to pay their respects they would not think anything about it, especially for a person they have not seen/spoken to for four years. They will be much better off staying with friends for the day and visiting the grave afterwards if they really want to.

    You mention you have been told not to take them but everyone else can take their children? I can't see what you mean by this it seems as family members like yourselves have been told no children, the only other people likely to attend are distant friends who read of the date in the local paper - people attending in those circumstances will not be taking children with them, that would be rude and disrespectful. The only funerals I have been to where children are present are family members and invited guests, non invited guests who attend do not bring children along with them.
    Last edited by iammumtoone; 03-01-2015 at 7:24 PM.
    • longforgotten
    • By longforgotten 3rd Jan 15, 7:24 PM
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    longforgotten
    Sorry OP I think you need to suck it up as you yourself mentioned earlier. Funerals come in many shapes and forms, just go with the flow.


    Your children must have been aware that their Gran's illness would only get worse, and you would have prepared them for the inevitable. If they are really that grief stricken after not seeing her for four years, and you feel you can't leave them then I would be very concerned, about them now and indeed about them in later life. You should be explaining how it is a 'happy release' , as they say, and to celebrate the life your MIL led before being poorly.


    I'm not a fan of children at funerals , they'll be going to enough of them when they get older.


    I think you should go with your husband, stay overnight up there and as a couple do all you need to help your husband and yourself deal with the MIL's passing.


    Can't your children go and stay with the friends that they usually have sleepovers with.........
    • lostinrates
    • By lostinrates 3rd Jan 15, 7:27 PM
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    lostinrates
    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

    Your children are incredibly lucky.

    They have parents who are still together ( increasingly rare) and it looks like you are going to support your husband through this, and I believe like the majority this is the right course of action and that you are not seeing wood for trees here and somewhat making this a personal crisis.

    So, two parents, who loved their parents dearly. Surviving aunts with whom hopefully there is lots of contCt, and if not, greater network can be made. Perhaps that's something valuable you can do while up there, make some plans for family meet ups?

    Extended family is indeed a tremendous and wonderful thing, much devalued in society. But the funeral is NOT that extended network, nor are histrionics or guilt the valuable parts of it.


    Many children lose contact with not only grandparents, but have no aunts, uncles, cousins, and even one parent, not too unusually. . While grieving the loss of your mil maybe the opportunity to look at and celebrTe what opportunities your children have and whether you are making the best of them is also something to consider and whether reaffirming these connections is a benefit of looking outward rather than inward at this point in time.
    Last edited by lostinrates; 03-01-2015 at 8:06 PM.
    • lika_86
    • By lika_86 3rd Jan 15, 7:27 PM
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    lika_86
    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 3 children, 14, 13 and 9. 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. MIL has Alzheimers, so has been unable to speak for over 6 years. DH has visited alone for the past 4 years.
    Originally posted by ALI1973
    It sounds to me like your children are practically strangers to your FIL. It sounds like you feel put out that your FIL, who is currently grieving for his wife and struggling to cope, doesn't want children he doesn't know there. Respect his wishes and don't take them.
    • cte1111
    • By cte1111 3rd Jan 15, 7:43 PM
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    cte1111
    I think that teenage girls can tend to be drama queens and really they are taking the opportunity to indulge themselves, rather than being overcome with grief. You've acknowledged that your youngest daughter is picking up on the older girls' behaviour rather than grieving herself.

    I don't think they will suffer unduly from 1 day without their parents, albeit a difficult day. The teachers at school will look after them and I'm sure have procedures to support children on days like this. Talk to their form teachers when they are back at school and hopefully they will reassure you. I do understand that it can be difficult to arrange childcare for occasions like this, however if it were one of my daughter's friends in this situation, I wouldn't think twice about helping out and I'm sure some of your friends would be happy to help, if you give them the chance.
    • Newly retired
    • By Newly retired 3rd Jan 15, 7:47 PM
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    Newly retired
    Would you keep your children off school to stay at home and grieve, if you didn't go? I hope not, in the circumstances. As they are not going, they need to be at school, in a normal routine, with friends around. Maybe a note to their form tutor, but tbh the less fuss the better.
    Presumably with such a long journey you will have arranged for a sleepover for them at various friends's homes, so they will be fine.

    Unless you labour the point, it is just another day really. I guess they were sad when they heard their Grandma had died, but actually after four years of not seeing her it is not so hard. I don't believe they need you around "to support them in their grief that day", anywhere near as much as your husband needs you. He is probably dreading the day, with his grief, his memories, and the strife between family members making things worse.

    I think the idea of you having your own family time of remembering and celebrating her life is a good one.
    • Armorica
    • By Armorica 3rd Jan 15, 7:54 PM
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    Armorica
    Thank you for the suggestion, where they live is large enough for a cinema or such, and tbh I wouldn't be comfortable leaving them unsupervised. I do appreciate the suggestion though.
    Originally posted by ALI1973
    Is or isn't? If you're not willing to leave them at a friend, it's probably one of the more practical ones. I'd pick a public cinema over a random babysitter. Unless they are very sheltered for their age, your 13 and 14 year olds are clearly old enough to see a film without adult supervision. The 9 year not by themselves, but potentially with the older two. Or perhaps arrange a sleepover with a friend for the 9 year old and do this with the older two.

    For example, the hobbit is three hours - practically long enough for you to drop the kids off, get them seated, attend one, possibly both committments, and be waiting for them as the film finishes.
    • ALI1973
    • By ALI1973 3rd Jan 15, 8:21 PM
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    ALI1973
    Thank you all, your input is most valuable.

    Armorica - isn't - sorry typing too fast and not reading before posting.

    You are all right, that I do feel that my family has been disrespected and I have taken it personally. I do believe that children have a place in the funeral/grieving process should they and their parents wish for it to be. But as you have all stated, FIL has made that decision and I have to live with that - and I shall.

    I can see now that my not wanting to attend the wake, is because I do not feel welcome in the family, and this is probably because of the choice we made for the children to stop visiting (please bear in mind when judging me that we were not offered shelter at the siblings homes and there is no hotels locally, and staying with MIL in her state was a no-go) that we have somewhat alienated ourselves.

    And I shall suck it up and go with DH and support him as best I can. I can see reading through, how selfish I may appear, I am not generally this way.

    I thank each and everyone who has posted, it really has helped clarify for me, and although I shall never view DH's family favourably again, it has made me see that I need to offer more support to DH.
    • 74jax
    • By 74jax 3rd Jan 15, 8:21 PM
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    74jax

    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
    He will RESENT you????

    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.
    Originally posted by duchy
    A brilliant post.
    Forty and fabulous, well that's what my cards say....
    • ALI1973
    • By ALI1973 3rd Jan 15, 8:26 PM
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    ALI1973
    He will RESENT you????
    .
    Originally posted by 74jax

    resent
    rɪˈzɛnt/Submit
    verb
    feel bitterness or indignation at (a circumstance, action, or person).
    "she resented the fact that I had children"
    synonyms: begrudge, feel aggrieved at/about, feel bitter about, grudge, be annoyed at/about, be angry at/about, be resentful of, dislike, be displeased at/about, take exception to, object to, be offended by, take amiss, take offence at, take umbrage at
    • cte1111
    • By cte1111 3rd Jan 15, 8:28 PM
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    cte1111
    I'm glad you've managed not to take offence Ali, it is a tough situation but it sounds like you've been able to decide what's best. I wish you and your family all the best.
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 3rd Jan 15, 8:28 PM
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    iammumtoone

    I can see now that my not wanting to attend the wake, is because I do not feel welcome in the family, and this is probably because of the choice we made for the children to stop visiting (please bear in mind when judging me that we were not offered shelter at the siblings homes and there is no hotels locally, and staying with MIL in her state was a no-go) that we have somewhat alienated ourselves.
    Originally posted by ALI1973
    This maybe explains why you want the children to be there. Do you feel guilty that you stopped them visiting and feel the way to make up for this would be for them to attend?

    It is completely understandable why you stopped children visiting a relative who did not know who they were, there is no reason to feel guilty due to that.
    • Brighton belle
    • By Brighton belle 3rd Jan 15, 8:31 PM
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    Brighton belle
    I certainly wouldn't judge you for stopping your visits to your m-in-law: sounds a very sensible decision and one that is actually recommended if dementia leaves someone distressed and worse from a visit where they don't recognise anyone - a very distressing thing for you all to go through.


    It will be tough at the wake given there is some 'history'. But you have done nothing wrong and you're going for all the right reasons. And your DH is probably dreading it too and you have made things a little more bearable for him by going. And once it's over it's over.
    And I think you have responded well to people disagreeing with you.
    Last edited by Brighton belle; 03-01-2015 at 8:34 PM.
    I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once
    • ALI1973
    • By ALI1973 3rd Jan 15, 8:34 PM
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    ALI1973
    This maybe explains why you want the children to be there. Do you feel guilty that you stopped them visiting and feel the way to make up for this would be for them to attend?

    It is completely understandable why you stopped children visiting a relative who did not know who they were, there is no reason to feel guilty due to that.
    Originally posted by iammumtoone
    No I don't feel guilty about them not visiting, it was distressing for MIL and for them, I have always made sure that we talk abut Grandma, and although they have not seen her, we have kept her very much in our lives.

    I just believe that they are old enough to choose if they wanted to pay their last respects, and am afraid it never occurred to me that they would be refused.
    • Andypandyboy
    • By Andypandyboy 3rd Jan 15, 8:35 PM
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    Andypandyboy
    Thank you all, your input is most valuable.

    Armorica - isn't - sorry typing too fast and not reading before posting.

    You are all right, that I do feel that my family has been disrespected and I have taken it personally. I do believe that children have a place in the funeral/grieving process should they and their parents wish for it to be. But as you have all stated, FIL has made that decision and I have to live with that - and I shall.

    I can see now that my not wanting to attend the wake, is because I do not feel welcome in the family, and this is probably because of the choice we made for the children to stop visiting (please bear in mind when judging me that we were not offered shelter at the siblings homes and there is no hotels locally, and staying with MIL in her state was a no-go) that we have somewhat alienated ourselves.

    And I shall suck it up and go with DH and support him as best I can. I can see reading through, how selfish I may appear, I am not generally this way.

    I thank each and everyone who has posted, it really has helped clarify for me, and although I shall never view DH's family favourably again, it has made me see that I need to offer more support to DH.
    Originally posted by ALI1973
    I think you have made the right decision for all concerned.

    I do wonder though if you have been a bit harsh on the siblings. It seems as if the illness was a long standing one, and that being the case I think it is a lot to expect anyone to put up a family of 5 every few weeks for a weekend. You say there are no local hotels, but unless she lived in the middle of nowhere I can't see that being the case. I can see expense might have been an issue but I think putting that onto the family is a bit unfair.

    I do think that this might be a time to move forward and mend fences. As LIR says extended family can be a blessing for children, don't close that door for them.
    • ALI1973
    • By ALI1973 3rd Jan 15, 8:36 PM
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    ALI1973
    I'm glad you've managed not to take offence Ali, it is a tough situation but it sounds like you've been able to decide what's best. I wish you and your family all the best.
    Originally posted by cte1111
    No offence to be taken, I asked for perspective - I got it. Sometimes we need a bit of tough love,
    • Marktheshark
    • By Marktheshark 3rd Jan 15, 8:37 PM
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    Marktheshark
    The Grandchildren are direct blood relatives, I would put my foot down or stay away.

    Too much of this no kids snobbery about, funerals are for relatives first.
    Blood is always thicker than water.
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