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Ask Rene: Drama After Death.. Should I Get Involved?

RIP on graveAsk Rene:
Drama After Death.. Should I Get Involved? 

Hi Rene,
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?
Signed: 
Torn in Tacoma

Dear Torn:
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

Picture 1 of 4

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.

 

.

6 Comments

  1. Deanna

    June 4, 2014 at 8:41 am

    She is only the niece. With that being said……I personally would not be involved. I would just attend and show my support for the family.

  2. Barbara Webb

    June 4, 2014 at 9:27 am

    I’m like the previous commentor, don’t get involved. It’s not your Mom and you don’t have to attend the service if it will bother you. Her memories are her memorial.

  3. Niki Wesley

    June 4, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    You have no legal or moral right to plan the funeral..its not your mother. There is nothing you can do about so just attend th service and be done with it.

  4. Niki Wesley

    June 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    You have no legal or moral right to plan the funeral..its not your mother. There is nothing you can do about so just attend the service and be done with it.

  5. Chevas Samuels

    June 4, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    I disagree with not having a moral right. Indeed she does. She can try to grant her aunt’s wishes.
    She might even have a legal right, we don’t know, she doesn’t know–until she reads the will.

  6. Monica

    June 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    One other place she could check is if her aunt was involved in a Group or Temple. Even if the daughter still went through with a Christian burial, they may want to do something for her Aunt. We did this for a friend of mine’s mom. She had never put her wishes in writing and one daughter was Wiccan (as was the mom) and the rest of the family was Christian. Even though her mom had not wanted a Christian service, the other daughter was the power of attorney so she planned a Christian funeral, and the other daughter and the group they were apart of had a potluck dinner and candlelight service that night.

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