Ask Rene: Drama After Death.. Should I Get Involved?
My 81-year-old aunt just passed away a couple of days ago. I called her daughter–my cousin-to find out how I could help with the funeral arrangements. My cousin told me that the family is having a Christian service. This is surprising because, for the last 30 years of her life, my aunt practiced Buddhism. She always made it clear that whenever she died, she did not want a Christian funeral. She wanted a memorial service that followed the traditions of her religion. Although my cousin agreed at the time, she’s totally going against her mother’s wishes. I’m pretty disgusted with her right now. I’m not sure I should get involved with helping to plan the funeral knowing full well my aunt would not approve. What would you do in this situation?
Torn in Tacoma
Wow. Just wow. What the heck is going on here? Okay, here’s what I’m thinking and what I would do if I were in your place.
1. Check To See If There Is A Will
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This is the first place I would start. The problem is I'm not sure how much you'll get from your cousin since it sounds like the relationship is already strained. Is there someone else, another child who might be willing to share that with you? And if there is another child, what is he/she saying about the daughter hijacking her mother's funeral plans? We don't like to talk about things that make us uncomfortable (like death) but a lot of these issues could have been prevented if your aunt spelled out clearly (and put it in writing) what her desires were, which she probably didn't think was necessary because she assumed she could trust her daughter.
Rene Syler is a wife, mother, breast cancer advocate and television personality whose burning desire to tell the truth about modern motherhood led her to create GoodEnoughMother.com. When not spending time with her family or burning something for dinner, Rene travels the country as host of Sweet Retreats on The Live Well Network and Exhale on Aspire.