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Attending funerals of estranged siblings

(24 Posts)
Annofarabia Tue 07-Jan-20 19:25:52

My brother of 86 died yesterday. I haven’t seen him for over a year. I arranged to visit him but he forgot or decided not to see me. I was angry as I had had years of him not speaking to me and had had enough.
Recently I heard he was in hospital, I rang but he refused to speak to me. I sent a card.
I sent a Christmas card and left a Christmas cake on his doorstep but he didn’t open the door to me.
My nephew (58) could have told me he was ill but didn’t. He told me today that he wasn’t allowed to tell me that my brother was ill.
My nephew has arranged the funeral and asked me to write something for the vicar to say.
I started to do it then decided not to go to the funeral as, if he didn’t want me to know about him being ill, he would not want me to go to his funeral.
Any thoughts?

Hetty58 Tue 07-Jan-20 19:31:24

Funerals are not compulsory. If you are sure that you won't regret your absence, then don't go. You could still write something, if you feel able to, maybe a childhood memory.

Sussexborn Tue 07-Jan-20 19:36:02

It seems that your nephew is trying to include you. You feel that your brother was stubborn and difficult so being his son can’t have been easy. It would be hard for your nephew to antagonise his dying father by ignoring his wishes. Your brother won’t know whether you are there or not but your nephew might well be hurt by your decision.

M0nica Tue 07-Jan-20 19:56:42

I can understand how you feel and on balance I do feel that given how determinedly to the end your brother excluded you from his life, it is reasonable to be pretty sure he wouldn't want you at the funeral either.

However, you nephew was not party to his father's behaviour so I think the best thing to do would to speak to your nephew, and explain to him as kindly as you can that given how determinedly his father was, in excluding you from his final illness and death, you feel it would be disrespectful to him to attend his funeral.

If you approach it from this view, your decision not to attend the funeral, can be presented as a thoughtful decision to not disrespect your brother by being present at an event he would clearly not want you to attend.

endlessstrife Tue 07-Jan-20 20:00:48

Do what you feel comfortable with. Funerals are more about the people left behind, who may need comforting. In this case, your nephew? Were you in contact with him? Would he benefit from you being there? If you’d like to see him/ others then go, but if not, only you can judge. Sorry for your loss, as in some ways, with estrangement, you lose people twice.

Grannytomany Tue 07-Jan-20 20:07:03

I'd do what your heart tells you to do. Your nephew clearly wants you to be involved and doesn't seem to feel he's being disrespectful of his father by doing that.

We only have one funeral and formal opportunity for people to pay their respects to the deceased. I don't think I could stay away from a funeral of a close family member unless the surviving members of the family had made it clear that I was unwelcome and this certainly isn't the case for you.

I'd go.

Esther1 Tue 07-Jan-20 20:32:31

I would go - for the sake of your nephew.

sodapop Tue 07-Jan-20 20:45:01

I agree with Esther1 go and support your nephew.

Hetty58 Tue 07-Jan-20 21:23:33

Your nephew is offering you the opportunity to go. That doesn't mean that he needs you there - or would want you to go merely out of perceived duty. It's best to contact him for a chat. It seems to me that he just wants to do the right or expected thing, that's all.

Newquay Tue 07-Jan-20 22:46:02

Yes I would find out what nephew wants too.
There are some relatives whose funerals I won’t be attending and I wouldn’t really want at mine but that’s for our DDs and DH to decide, not me.

mumofmadboys Tue 07-Jan-20 23:45:51

I would go too to support your nephew.

Tedber Wed 08-Jan-20 09:20:35

I think the fact you are asking on here shows you are in a turmoil about it. You obviously cared about your brother enough to keep “trying” with him.

Only YOU know how you would feel if you didn’t go.
Like the previous posters - I would go. I would have to. Funerals ARE more for the living and it could mean a whole new relationship with your nephew? We all need love and support at funerals “People Power” gets you through.

Good luck with whatever you decide and RIP brother.

Madgran77 Wed 08-Jan-20 09:27:51

Funerals are for the people left behind! What would be best for YOU? Would you be a support to your nephew? Do you think that relationship will continue positively? What your brother thought is basically irrelevantbti this decision! It's all about what you think! flowers

Dottynan Wed 08-Jan-20 09:29:02

If your nephew wants you there, go. Help him by giving some him some childhood memories of his dad.

Septimia Wed 08-Jan-20 09:42:14

Yes, I would agree that it's your nephew who would like to keep a relationship with you. He's probably feeling a bit adrift at the moment.

If you can think of some suitable reminiscences then you could let him have them, and go to the funeral if you feel you can support him.

BlueSky Wed 08-Jan-20 09:47:09

Would you go to an ex partner 's funeral? Or would it depend on the way and reasons you split up? What about the new partner?

jura2 Wed 08-Jan-20 09:49:37

Time to extend friendship to the next generation, especially as he has asked you. The son is not responsible for his dad's behaviour.

Mapleleaf Wed 08-Jan-20 10:44:24

I can understand your reasons for not wanting to go, and only you can know how you really feel about this. I think, though, your nephew may be looking for some support? Are you the only remaining sibling, is your brothers wife still alive? It sounds as if your nephew didn't agree with his Father shutting you out and is trying to draw you back to the family, but of course, only you know the answers to these questions and only you can decide what will be best to do. My advice would be to think of the living (including yourself) - would your not going cause further pain to all concerned?

trisher Wed 08-Jan-20 10:45:40

I would go to the funeral service. It will be your last chance to do anything for your brother.Your nephew wants you there so whatever had happened between you and your brother hasn't been passed on to another generation. You could try remembering how things were when you were younger and perhaps jot these down. Even if you don't use them for the funeral they will help you adjust. Hope you can go and get through things.
BlueSky I went to my ex's funeral. So did his other exes!

BlueSky Wed 08-Jan-20 10:52:14

Thanks Trisher in two minds about it, if I'll still be around!

Hetty58 Wed 08-Jan-20 10:54:29

There's also the question of what you think about funerals in general. I find them ritualistic, fake and unhelpful myself.

Billybob4491 Wed 08-Jan-20 11:52:21

Yes I would go if only to support your nephew, I will put my feelings to one side re my brother, I think also if you go you will be at peace with yourself.

Hithere Wed 08-Jan-20 12:50:38

What do you want to do?

Funerals are for the living

Maybe your nephew was following his father's instructions, and now that your brother is gone, he has more freedom in including you.

GillT57 Wed 08-Jan-20 13:01:32

If your brother was a difficult sibling he was, in all likelihood a difficult parent too. Your nephew has made a kind request, and as others have said, the funeral is for the living, not for the dead, and maybe by getting to know your nephew better you will both be able to understand just why your brother was how he was. Your brother has not expressly forbidden you to attend. Also, your absence could be interpreted by other family members as you being the 'difficult' party, although this may not bother you of course. You only have one opportunity to attend, and in your position, I would go.