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Bereavement

Not been informed of a bereavement.

(58 Posts)
SueSocks Sat 22-Jun-19 23:31:15

My husbands sister passed away at quite a young age about 12 years ago. Very sad, she was a lovely person, she had 2 children now in their 40s. We were never that close to her family, but got on OK when we met at family gatherings. Her husband had many siblings and she seemed closer to his side of the family.
After her death I used to see her son quite often when I went into the place where he worked, we would have a pleasant enough chat. My husband used to occasionally see her husband (his brother in law) & they got on OK.
This week we heard via my stepson that my brother in law had died, a friend of his had seen it on Facebook. Someone had asked my stepson if we knew about this as they didn’t want us to find out from Facebook. Neither my husband or myself are on Facebook.
My stepson showed us the Facebook post & it is a message thanking people for their messages of condolence & giving information about the funeral.
I checked on the funeral director’s website & my brother in law died 10 days ago, it said the funeral service was private - so no details were given even though it is on Facebook.
My husband & myself are both upset to hear of this death obviously, but also upset that no one has bothered to inform us. We only spoke to the deceased a couple of weeks ago & there has been no ill feeling between us and his children.
I find this strange that my nephew has not been in touch, he knows our phone numbers & our address & my husband is the only surviving member of his mother’s family.

stella1949 Sun 23-Jun-19 03:27:57

Sometimes it's hard for the remaining family members to work out who to contact / what their contact details are. It seems that your husband's nephew was the person who would be doing the contacting, and these days it's quite common for young people to do a Facebook announcement for family happenings.

I can't say I blame them - contacting multiple friends and family at that time can be a nightmare. I remember going through my parent's phone contact books and spending hours ringing numbers which were either not answering or not even connected any more.

The fact that you got on OK with the brother-in-law doesn't mean that his son would know to call you. Maybe he thought that since "everyone is on Facebook" these days, a Facebook announcement would cover everyone.

I wouldn't take offense at this - poor man is probably snowed under.

It might be a good reminder to get a Facebook account - it really is a great way to share family information.

absent Sun 23-Jun-19 05:50:01

Contacting other people about the death of someone to whom you were very close, especially if you are also making funeral arrangements, is difficult and demanding in terms of both time and emotion. It also often involves long telephone conversations about the person who has died which can be quite hard when you are newly bereaved yourself.

I was an executor for one of my aunts and thought I had got everything well organised about the funeral and notifications of death until I realised that I had not recognised the new married surname of my cousin's widow in my late aunt's address book and had sent her a notification letter when she she had actually already attended the funeral. I was hugely embarrassed and she was very gracious when I apologised.

EllanVannin Sun 23-Jun-19 08:03:14

We have a local weekly newspaper which keeps everyone informed of someone's death and I've had a few shocks this year of those who I'd known over the years with one in particular not so long ago where I actually sent a card and donation c/o the funeral director. I'd attended primary school with the husband of the deceased.

I could well have felt embarrassed had I not known.

sodapop Sun 23-Jun-19 08:17:37

I can understand you are upset SueSocks but don't take offence at the omission. People often assume that everyone has access to FB which is not the case. There is so much to do when a family member dies things do get missed. I would write to the family expressing your sympathy and explain that you had not heard.

MawBroonsback Sun 23-Jun-19 08:31:33

I think my nephew ‘s Wife was very embarrassed the other day when he emailed me somewhat “brusquely” (but not actually rudely) to request some pictures of his mother my sister in her childhood. But no “How are you, what are the girls doing “etc which I might have started with as I hadn’t heard from him for 20 years.
All that side of the family (my sister, BIL and their 3 children and their families) live in Canada and although he and his wife have stayed with us, it was in fact over 20 years ago.
When I replied that I would do my best but they were “somewhere” on the “big” Mac and I wasn’t really familiar with all the ins and outs as it had been primarily Paw’s computer but I would do my best.
A day’s silence and then a very sweet email from his wife to say they had not heard about Paw and how sorry they were etc plus some welcome family news, and the promise of keeping in touch. I felt for her because it is not nice to feel you might have offended.
However, I find it hard to believe that my sister omitted to tell them he had died!
My point is, sometimes you hope you are able to rely on the family or friends’ grapevine - FB isn’t for everyone and long phone conversations too difficult.

themaybot2 Sun 23-Jun-19 10:07:56

Too many weather forecasts? Does anyone else think there are too many weather forecasts on TV? They seem to use them as fillers.

merlotgran Sun 23-Jun-19 10:26:00

Everything moves at a much faster pace these days thanks to social media. When DD died in the early hours of 18th May, our grandsons announced it on facebook that morning because they had set up a 'just giving' page for the hospice. All well and good but there were close relatives I hadn't had time to contact who were shocked to turn on their phones/laptops and see the news....So were we!

I don't think people are deliberately being thoughtless. It certainly does away with the heartbreaking phone calls of the past but what's wrong with copying and pasting a personal message to your loved ones? It meant mine had to begin with, 'I'm so sorry you've already seen this' hmm

It seems to be the way of the world now.

Humbertbear Sun 23-Jun-19 10:26:11

A few years ago I went to a funeral of a very distant relative. I had seen the announcement on Facebook and assumed everyone else in the family had seen it too. Others were very offended that I went ‘without’ them.
Conversely, we think my husbands cousin in Switzerland has died but we have no way of contacting her sons and they obviously didn’t go through her address book or emails and contact us.
Unfortunately families splinter and not everyone places a high priority on keeping people informed.

NainGymraeg Sun 23-Jun-19 10:40:39

This is a difficult time for his children so why don’t you contact them to offer your condolences and support. Ask for funeral details and say you’d like to pay your respects.

SueSocks Sun 23-Jun-19 11:38:13

Thanks for your comments, didn't sleep too well last night, so shocked to hear of his passing and also he was only 69, doesn't seem that old in this day and age.
Your comments have made me think! I suppose that young people assume that everyone has Facebook, I have no desire to sign up to this, I don't have this modern compulsion to share every aspect of my life on line - it's not that interesting to others!
It has made me think of my mum and her sisters, they used to buy the local paper back in the Midlands every day and avidly read the births, deaths (mainly deaths!) and marriages! We are a small town, used to have a weekly paper, that stopped production years ago, so I agree the logistics of telling everyone is difficult.

Kimrus Sun 23-Jun-19 12:13:22

I can understand totally how you felt. Last year, I turned on FB to see an announcement that my nieces grandfather died the previous night ad she was with him. I maybe on the other side of the country, but this was my father, andI am the eldest of 3. I had no idea he had been in hospital, no phone call nothing. I was in shock. I had been going back and forwards for the previous 18mths, sorting parents into care, cleaning, packing up their house to sell, no help from my 2 sisters and to think, they haven’t rung me to this day to inform me. No funeral details were given to me, I had to find out from my parents ex neighbour. I had no time to get back for funeral, it was held within 2 days of his death. My father died last August, am very disgusted with my sisters and so now I don’t have the contact from them. I get called home, to fire the bullets to get them into care and organise everything even though my hubby was very ill and needed me at home, but I dropped everything organised our children to take charge at home for me and did what was asked. It hurt and still hurts, but neither of my sisters can access large amounts of money without my signature on any withdrawals land mum has dementia and unable to sign anything, so now I sit back and wait. Did dumb to them now. Facebook is not the correct way to deal with this type of news, family should have made contact with you direct

Kimrus Sun 23-Jun-19 12:15:14

Gawd I hate autocorrect, sorry

Justanotherwannabe Sun 23-Jun-19 12:17:53

My mother mother died recently, I wasn't in charge of the funeral arrangements, but later I phoned round her friends and happened to phone her cousin, who was adopted. She hadn't been told, apparently only blood relatives count. I was - well furious and disappointed.

Tillybelle Sun 23-Jun-19 12:18:02

SueSocks. (What a delightful name!)

I am so sorry to hear about the death of your BiL and that the news was so slow and circuitous in reaching you.

I am a very bad corresponder - since the builders turned my house into a tip, even going through my private papers in my bureau when I was out, I have lost so many addresses that it is a very big problem.

I dread that I will not be able to send important news to somebody when the time comes. I trust my eldest DD as she is very good at these things.

I once was sent news of a death of a person extremely close to me via an email that went into the "trades" box because my cousin's wife sent it on their business account. I did not see it and din not know about it until I met the Widow at my own Mother's funeral. I was utterly distraught. I thought then that it was terrible to send such a message by email but other people disagreed. I still maintain that electronic mail is not the way to do this. It is a useful tool to tell the wider public, just as putting an announcement in the times is helpful to reach people whom you may not know knew the deceased. But people whom you know, family and friends you know well, deserve a phone call or a letter. That is a simple courtesy imho.

I am so very sorry you heard the news this way. I can understand your distress. 💐

justwokeup Sun 23-Jun-19 13:03:56

My DC heard about grandparent's death via FB, as cousin put it straight on there, whereas we didn't want to upset them at work and wanted to wait to call until they got home. Very thoughtless indeed for all the shocked relatives and friends, I think, to put these things on FB.

Tillybelle Sun 23-Jun-19 13:09:36

Oh Kimrus ! I am lost for words! I am so so sorry! This is even worse than the pain I have surrounding my father's death!
I feel so distressed for you! I really do. I went through so much pain when my dad was dying, driving 4 hours a day to stay with him overnight, returning to wash the sheets which were from my children's beds and they were using cot sheets. Then driving back to put the clean sheets on and stay the night again. After falling asleep on the motorway driving back one morning I arranged a Nurse to
stay with Dad overnight. I told my daughter,10, I would just take over the sheets and visit Grandad and be back later. Her father had killed himself 2 years before and Grandad's dying was very hard for her. I arrived to find my mother had dismissed the Nurse and I had to stay again. I have a sister, mother's favourite, who has two adult sons, but they were nowhere near.

Eventually the District Nurse ordered that I had to rest and I stayed home after bringing all my three girls over to see Dad on Sunday. My eldest went back to Uni. Next day I phoned at 9 am in the car park by the shops to ask if there was anything my mother wanted me to buy on my way there. The phone call went: Me "Hello it's Elle just.." my cousin's daughter who is a Palliative Care Doctor interrupts "I'm too upset I can't talk. Uncle H has just died" and slams down the phone. I still feel the cold air of the car park on my face and the unreal feeling that my dad had gone and I was just standing there, looking like I was doing the shopping. So that's how I learned of my father's death, from the daughter of an older cousin, who lives in Australia and had seen my dad about twice in 10 years, who was a Doctor treating people who are dying, that my DAD had died, but she "couldn't talk" because her uncle had died! He was my dad!
So, believe me, when I read that you were not even able to get to your father's funeral, I really did start crying and I am now! The typos will be many as i can't see!

I am both distressed for you and so angry with your sisters.

Mine - a half-sister as I always point out, - is equally disgusting. I do all the work. Always have. She sits around like the Queen. My mother used to fuss over her and her disgusting drunken "boys". When dad died they behaved so badly, taking things I had given dad - my dad - from whom they had stolen and whom they derided and made cry...
I do not see them now. It is a longer story...

I am glad you exert control over your mother's finances. You do know that whoever has the primary control of her accounts needs to present them to the other attorney(s) once a year? I say this because my mother also had Dementia. My sister, living nearer, took over her money, but I was also an attorney, "jointly and severally" so my sister could sign without me. I was desperately worried about my mother's finances and my sister who was obviously helping herself. My mother's solicitor said she had to present the books to me. She didn't. So I reported her to the Court of Protection. The police were involved and more occurred... but my mother died which meant the Court of Protection was no longer involved and my ex-half-sister got away. However, the Police said they knew more about her (can't say) and her sons and advised me to sever all contact for my own safety.

I feel so strongly for you! I would just say, hang in there and one day you will be able to be free of them. I am very sorry you have a family like this. But I understand from the bottom of my heart.

Justanotherwannabe. I came across this in my mother's side of the family. A cousin who is adopted was left out of her father's will! How cruel can people be? I was so shocked when I heard I literally couldn't speak. You know when we say it we thing it means we don't know what to say, -well I did think that - but I actually couldn't make a sound! My mother and an aunt were talking at me saying things and getting annoyed because I wasn't answering and I was just opening and shutting my mouth like a goldfish.

I am glad your cousin has you. You at least are a decent and kind person! 🌼🌺

GinJeannie Sun 23-Jun-19 13:19:29

I so feel for you. We made 2 x 5 hour car journeys to see terminally ill BiL in hospital. When he was transferred to a hospice we got a phone call to say he had died. Eventually read the funeral arrangements on Facebook posted by SiL. Not nice way to find out, esp as he was my husbands only bro. Families huh?

Tillybelle Sun 23-Jun-19 13:29:52

justwokeup. I entirely agree. To just announce it before waiting for close family to have time to be informed shows complete thoughtlessness. Indeed it is callous.

I do think there is a side to FB that makes people want to "show off" and be the first to "own" a piece of news. It has been said many times that it is a portal for narcissism, a place for self aggrandisement. Your cousin, in jumping in before anyone had time to tell their nearest family, was, I think, just trying to promote him/herself in owning a piece of important knowledge.

I have to say that I have seen that a death can bring out the worst in people. I spoke of my Dad's death above. The daughter of my cousin, over from Australia, was revelling in the attention. She parked herself in my parents' house - my home where I was born - and was answering the door, giving orders, telling my mother what to do, what hymns to choose, generally taking over. As I said, she hardly knew my dad, having barely seen him in the last decade. Of course, as far as grief was concerned, hers was the greatest! There's always one.........

M0nica Sun 23-Jun-19 13:32:40

The problem is that telling everyone and making sure no one is left out can be so difficult. Those who do the contacting are often their deceased's nearest and dearest and stricken with grief. Sometimes there is a limit to how many calls and condolences one can cope with.

My dear uncle had one set of long-time friends refuse to come to his wife's funeral because he didn't contact them until 5 days after the death, but the death was sudden, he was traumatised, they had no children. My aunt was one of those people with a contact book than ran to several volumes, and he could cope with only a limited number of calls each day

And lastly, mistakes will happen at times like this. Somebody key will nto be contacted because A thought B was doing it, B thought C was doing it and she thought A was doing it. At times like this mistakes happen. Do not take umbrage, just sympathise with the bereaved at this difficult time.

fizzers Sun 23-Jun-19 13:35:23

when my mother passed away at Christmas I had to warn my sister to tell her adult children NOT to be putting things on Facebook until I had notified all those who needed to know. It lasted all of a day - there they were putting allosrts on Facebook, I found it upsetting to be opening Facebook to find they had uploaded more photos, some of them having those stupid filters , I found that to be most disrespectful, but I guess that's how it is these days.
In a similar vein, several years back my cousin got married for the umpteenth time, I knew nothing about it until I saw the wedding photos on Facebook, just recently she asked me why didn't attend, I told her that I knew nothing about it and wasn't invited, she said other family members knew and she'd announced it on Facebook. Well I didn't see it and sorry am not going to turn up at a wedding without an invite

Tillybelle Sun 23-Jun-19 13:49:29

M0nica. I don't think anybody will disagree with you. Many of us have been through it, some more than once.

The OP has explained a particular incident however and I do feel sympathy for her and her DH. Particularly because she says,
"We only spoke to the deceased a couple of weeks ago" and "my brother in law died 10 days ago,"
and regarding their nephew,
"he knows our phone numbers & our address & my husband is the only surviving member of his mother’s family."
It is as if the nephew has turned a blind eye to his mother's only surviving relatives who had only just been in touch with the Departed a few days before he died!

That is very sad.

sharon103 Sun 23-Jun-19 15:11:24

I would have thought that the family should have contacted the close members first by phone. Surely! Then friends if they have their numbers after that. I can accept that friends can't always be contacted. I must be old fashioned but I would be appalled I really would to see on facebook that a relative had died. It's not to say people who have an account are on there everyday anyway and so miss it. I know death is a shock and there's everything to deal with but the first thing one should think of is immediate relatives. Whats happened to courtesy these days.

grandtanteJE65 Sun 23-Jun-19 15:11:41

I know only too well how hard it can be to keep control of ones voice and emotions when phoning to tell someone of a death.

However, I feel it is unkind of the younger generation to rely on Facebook - after all there are still some of us who don't use it.

Surely there is nothing wrong, if you feel you really can't phone with sending a letter or an e-mail?

When my mother died we sent a computer written letter to everyone in her hand-written telephone book, either by post or e-mail.

I could imagine distant cousins we never saw not having been included, but to omit to notify such near relations as many of you on this thread is IMO quite inexcusable.

Chucky Sun 23-Jun-19 16:39:28

We only learned of my dh’s aunts death after her funeral.

She had 2 brothers, both still alive at the time. There had been no split in the family and they still corresponded and occasionally visited. However my dh’s cousin, who didn’t live far away from us (though aunt lived 50 miles away) only phoned my fil and his db to say that their sister had died and had been buried, a week after the private funeral!
The whole family was upset (especially dfil and du) that it had been deemed unnecessary to let them know so they could pay their respects!