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Family not informed of death

(27 Posts)
Slug1234 Tue 29-Nov-16 23:11:16

I feel wretched about what just happened. My Dad died 3 weeks ago. Funeral was one week ago. Due to family fued mum did not want her estranged family to come or even be told. I reluctantly agreed to respect her wishes so she could grieve in peace. i stay in contact with my grandma, her mum. the ongoing secrecy felt too weird. Each day passing and them not knowing added another stone to the weight I carrying around. I phoned grandma who suffers mild dementia to explain. She was devastated. The news has now reached wider family. They not seen Dad for 2/3 years. I explained to Mam in an email as soon as I made the call that it was impossible to keep it secret and gran now knows and sends her condolences. The family doubtless blame me for not intervening/ overruling her decision not to tell them. Mum doubtless furious with me for telling. Not returning my calls. Was I right to go along with the exclusion in the first place? Was it right to tell the family? The alternative would have been to pretend he was still alive and let them find out from some other source. I can't even believe I've just written this. Is this situation normal? I can't make any sense of what's happening

janeainsworth Tue 29-Nov-16 23:26:05

Please accept my condolences, slug.
You were not to blame for the estrangement between your mother and the wider family, so you must not blame yourself for what has happened since your father's death, nor allow others to blame you.
Your mother put you in an impossible position.
Look after her, but look after yourself too.

Bellanonna Tue 29-Nov-16 23:35:16

Your normal first reaction was to go along with your Mum's wishes, albeit reluctantly. You then realised you couldn't keep up the pretence. As Jane says, you were put in an impossible position. I'm sure, given time, your Mum will realise why you had to speak out and hopefully you now feel relieved that you did.
Sorry you're having to cope with grief in addition to the estrangement within the family.

Shanma Wed 30-Nov-16 00:16:05

It certainly put you in an awkward situation, but I can see your Mum's point of view. My DH has estranged Brothers, and no way would he want them to know anything about him, certainly not to come to his funeral . If someone is estranged, and you have not seen them for years then why would things change because of a bereavement.

My opinion is this. If you have not bothered to get in touch over the years, enquire how things are going, see if any support is needed then keep away, end of.

BUT I would be dealing with that myself, so slightly different for you as you are caught between the two factions( For want of a better expression).

Not nice for you, take it easy on yourself flowers

SparklyGrandma Wed 30-Nov-16 00:18:28


Awful situation to be in but I might have told the others about his passing, but that their attendance at the funeral would be too painful for some.

In my family one side of parents siblings dont speak and when one passed away, some werent told until they found out by accident. Anger and guilt all around.
Personally I would ring relatives I dont get on with to tell them of a passing, for one thing, the husband or wife then doesnt have to deal with extra grief 3-4 weeks after the funeral. Good

rubylady Wed 30-Nov-16 03:24:57

Slug From your post you say that your grandma is your mum's mum, not your dad's mum. Why was it important to you to tell your grandma if she wasn't a direct relation to him and your mum is estranged from her and had asked you not to let them know? You say that you phoned her, not that she had phoned you or asked you direct how your dad was?

I can see that it is hard to not tell others what is going on, but this really had nothing to do with the family which you say had not been in touch with him for two to three years. Your mum didn't want you to tell them. I would have respected her wishes and if anyone had asked me, then I would have said that they had to get in touch with her if they wanted to know anything else about your mum and dad.

My dad, before he died, didn't want my mum anywhere near him. As it turned out my divorced parents ended up in the same ward so they did spend some time together, had a brew together and talked about happier times, while holding hands. I wasn't there, so it was my dad's own choice to do this. I was glad he had this time and found peace before he died.

I do think you have some making up to do with your mum, it is a trust thing with her. She has just lost her husband and she feels like you have betrayed her wishes. She must be really hurting. Send some flowers and an apology card. I would. Good luck. flowers

BlueBelle Wed 30-Nov-16 05:51:39

First I m so sorry Slug, to lose a parent is so hard and miserable for you, This was a totally unfair situation to find yourself in however I do agree with Rubylady I think it would have been better to not have rung your gran who was estranged and also suffered dementia and wasn't related to you Dad I think it would have been better to honour your mums wishes and just leave it .....It sounds as if you really needed someone to talk to and unfortunately chose your gran
Dad was estranged from his in laws as you say he hadn't seen them for a few years so what would he have wanted ?
I think you are going to beat yourself up either way I hope you can find some peace

grannypiper Wed 30-Nov-16 07:18:31

Slug what an awful time you are having. Your Mother is totally in the wrong here, yes she may have her reasons but the world does not revolve around her. Does she actually understand you have just lost YOUR Father or is it all about her losing her Husband.If i was you i would write to her explaining that you have lost your DF and dont feel the need to hide your grief and leave it at that, let her get in touch with you, although by the sounds of it she falls out with everyone.Let her stew, you dont need petulance from a woman who is old enough to know better you need love and understanding.
Take care of yourself.flowersbrew&cupcake

janeainsworth Wed 30-Nov-16 07:27:34

Goodness! Isn't hindsight a wonderful thing!
I hope you are ok slug.

Annierose Wed 30-Nov-16 07:30:27

Actually, I think that you did the right thing. You didn't inform them initially at mum's request. Then, it seemed impossible to keep a secret (and I think being asked to keep a secret like this is a dreadful burden).
You too, have a right to discuss your grief with other people, and sometimes I have found, this can be best with people you haven't seen for ages, but who knew you / your family way back.

Your father's death is actually a matter of public record, the 'secret' was actually out once it was registered, it's just that most people don't go searching.
Let your mum be angry - this situation doesn't arise without a lot of back story and baggage. Just make yourself available for when she does want to mend things.

Use the wise words here to help you put it in the box where it belongs, and talk to whoever seems most helpful.

janeainsworth Wed 30-Nov-16 07:33:51

Very well put annierose

cornergran Wed 30-Nov-16 07:37:03

So sorry for your loss slug. I'm with Jane, we can't live our lives backwards and of course we don't have your experience of past family dynamics to know the relationship between your Grandma and your dear Dad. You did what you thought best at the time, explain as best you can to your Mum and then think about your own grief. I hope there are people who care about you to support you. [flowers.

Rinouchka Wed 30-Nov-16 09:02:21

I think you did the right thing as well, so please do not beat yourself up about it.
Grieve and move on. Your mum will come round. Such good advice above.

If possible, shed a tear and share a cuppa with a friend. Hugsflowers

Slug1234 Wed 30-Nov-16 09:18:53

Thank you all so much. I can't tell you how helpful it is to get some unbiased insight so I can see things from diff and experienced points of view. Funny when you ask ppl you know you only get what they think you want to hear. I've just managed to sleep properly so feel much calmer. The situation described by Sparkly is exactly the reason why I told. It was not to get support for my grief. If they had found out by accident it would have been awful. Yes, anger and guilt all round. Until relatively recently we were all close. Thank you for your honesty Bluebell and Rudy. I will make peace with Mum. It goes to show there's no one right answer.

radicalnan Wed 30-Nov-16 11:52:29

Guilt is part of the bereavement process.

You used the word doubtless twice. Stop thinking that other people will take a certain view, they may well not. They may wish they had done more to heal the estrangement (their problem) they may be relieved they had no choice to make re. going to funeral, they may not care either way or at all.

You did your best no one can ask for more. Take care of yourself now it is hard to lose your dad.

amber22 Wed 30-Nov-16 11:57:02

I was in a similar situation, mother died, some years previously she had specifically asked me (as executor) NOT to tell her estranged daughter about her death when that happened, also had a written explanation of this as a clause in her will. So I followed these wishes, thinking that the subject might come up in the (infrequent) emails I exchange with the daughter, but she's never mentioned it, even when it would have been her mother's 100th birthday. Every family is different, and I'm sorry to hear about your father, but perhaps in hindsight you realise it would have been better not to mention it and upset your mother. I hope that all these comments have been helpful.

Legs55 Wed 30-Nov-16 13:31:43

Rinouchka I couldn't have put it better myself. When my DF died (many years ago) he had always said he didn't want his youngest Sister & Husband at his Funeral (they always left family gatherings at the earliest opportunity), when said Sister rang she was told politely that she was not to attend. DF's other 2 Sisters thought she should have been there - they were again told that DF's wish & we would not go against it.

Sorry you have been put in this awkward position but don't allow a rift to develop with your DM - Good Luck flowers

M0nica Wed 30-Nov-16 13:38:59

I absolutely agree slugs mum put her in an impossible position. I had a friend whose family indulged in feuds and I used to be so glad my family didn't. She banned all her mother's sisters from attending her mothers funeral.

I think, if I had been in slugs situation, I would would perhaps kept quiet until after the funeral then told the rest of the family, but made it clear that it was on my mother's insistence.

But it is easy to produce pat solutions when you have never experienced a situation like this.

SussexGirl60 Wed 30-Nov-16 13:47:32

This rings bells with me. A different situation but all about a parent passing away. You had no choice but to go with what your mum wanted and if anyone wants to 'discuss' that, they can do it with her, not you. I would now just look after yourself and not make my mistake of getting drawn into family aggro, which eventually made me ill.x

Rosina Wed 30-Nov-16 14:03:04

You have been put into an impossible position through no fault of your own, and at a time when it is hard to think straight and work out all the ramifications of what you might or might not say and do. You need some space to grieve too, and please please don't add guilt and have lots of impossible to answer questions whirling around in your head.
It is as it is; you mother had her reasons for the estrangement but they are not a stick to beat you with.
Take a deep breath, try to put all the questions out of your head, and remember that you did what you thought was the right thing. They had to find out some time and how much better that it came from you and not from a casual remark.

Skweek1 Wed 30-Nov-16 14:28:35

I wholeheartedly agree with jansinsworth, slug - not your fault and you must -not_ feel responsible. However, the whole family should agree to bear the brunt and accept that bereavement should be a time to build bridges, take responnsibility for understanding that there are skeletons in every family closet and that no-one deliberately hurts loved ones. So often the person who has passed is the catalyst who has, whether deliberately or through happenstance, caused the rift and this is a good time to discover the truth and sort out any differnces.

GrannyBing Wed 30-Nov-16 15:48:22

You did what you thought best Slug and shouldn't be hard on yourself. It's the law of unintended consequences, I'm afraid. I only hope your DM can forgive and forget, you were not trying to hurt her, only following your conscience. For what it's worth, I think you did the right thing.

Slug1234 Wed 30-Nov-16 18:34:48

I have gotten the wrong end of the stick! blush DM was fine about what I have done. We just had a long chat. There was no intention to ignore my calls. She was just out. The relief is incredible. I must have some paranoia issue. Like Radical says I assumed everything wrong. Omg. I was too embarrassed to say what had been going on in my head all day lol. One day I might smile

Slug1234 Wed 30-Nov-16 18:36:02

Ps thank you all very much for your help. I will be back on this site. What a great forum with nice people.

amber22 Wed 30-Nov-16 19:01:36

I'm so glad to hear that, Slug, and that our comments helped.