Author Topic: Memorial Service Blues  (Read 1594 times)


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Memorial Service Blues
« on: March 25, 2015, 07:30:11 PM »
To be filed under "WTF???"

I am in the midst of an ugly text battle with my husband's sister about the memorial service. We have two planned, one where he grew up and one where he spent the bulk of his life. She is attending the one where he grew up, and she wants it to have everything. I am parceling out some of the details so the people in both places can honor and celebrate him.

As a younger sister, she is used to my husband giving way when she threw a fit, so I think she wants me to do the same, but I refuse. These services are for Scott and for everyone in his life.

I can't believe at this time in my life someone would be such a pain and source of constant stress.

His parents are lovely. They want everything, too, but they understand that they can't have everything. They really just want us to come together and remember what a wonderful man he was, peacefully and gratefully. That is what I want, too.

I've blocked her, and I am going to do whatever I can at the memorial to avoid her. She just won't stop badgering me.



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Re: Memorial Service Blues
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2015, 07:42:35 PM »
I realize that we are not the only ones who grieve when our spouses die.  We have to respect the grief of others, too.  BUT...remember - YOU are his wife. What was his is now yours, unless he explicitly wanted things to go to someone else.  If you aren't comfortable giving things to his family, keep them until you decide you can part with them.  Photographs can be copied. 

We had my second husband's memorial service at the university where he taught.  Alongside the room for the memorial, we set up a gallery of things that represented my husband, from his diplomas and awards to books he loved to his guitars and even his handball gloves.  All of it remains in my possession...for now.  If you can't trust his family members with things you might give them for his second memorial, then keep them yourself.  Some day, you might feel more comfortable giving them away. 

It seems that his parents might have their heads and hearts in a better place and hopefully you can keep the lines of communication open with them.  It can be really difficult for grieving people to express their thoughts and ideas tactfully.  His sister probably doesn't understand what it feels like for you to let go of things, and you might not be able to understand her need to have what she wants, either.

Hugs to you,

Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

Empathy  Developer  Responsibility  Adaptability Connectedness


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Re: Memorial Service Blues
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2015, 09:06:36 PM »
When my husband was in the hospital, I tried very hard to keep his family in the loop.  His middle brother (Rob was the youngest) tends to want to boss everyone around and take over things.  I contacted him when it came time to let him go.  I explained that he was brain dead, that he had a medical directive, and that his organs were shutting down.  At that point, he said, "You are in essence, having to make these decisions for Rob and really only carrying out his wishes."  He was the point person and made sure his brother and parents were aware. 

As far as the arrangements, Rob's dad wanted to write the obituary and to do the eulogy.  He's a writer and beautiful speaker.  Rob and I had snippets of conversation on what he would want in the event he preceded me.  I made damn sure he got everything he would have wanted and I created the program to honor him.  I wanted to make sure he had the best damn funeral - come hell or high water.  The 7th graders from the school were his choir - they were classmates of my daughter's.  His brother sang a couple of selections.  The readings included a young lector he enjoyed - another classmate of my daughter's.  Both he and my daughter were lectors at our church.  He had a military burial and I had Irish bagpipers at the graveside along with scores of Patriot Guard. 

The one thing my in-laws did not want was a viewing.  I decided at the last minute to have a viewing during the rosary the day before the funeral.  I decided that both my daughter and I needed to have closure and the ability to say our final good-bye.  My in-laws were shocked and I think initially upset.  However, they spent a lot of time with him and later told me they appreciated my decision because it also gave them closure. 

I had many struggles with my middle brother-in-law during the time and finally, at one point, addressed him and told him how it was going to be.  To ensure transparency, I CC'd his parents and brother.  They have an estranged sister and I did choose to include her name in the program and local obituary.  I had no way to locate her and was not able to notify her of Rob's passing.  The middle brother helped his dad post an obituary in their city paper and in the paper of the town he grew up in.  Interestingly enough, they chose to omit her name.  That was a big to do a couple of months later when she surfaced and she was quite angry.  I sent her his obituary and program from here. 

In short - and I am sorry that my response is sooooo long - I kept my husband and my daughter first and foremost at the front of the arrangements.  It was for him after all.  I hope you are able to withstand pressure from her and do what you feel is right for you and your husband and your kids (not sure if you have children). 
"I always knew looking back on my tears would bring me laughter, but I never knew looking back on my laughter would make me cry." ~Cat Stevens


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Re: Memorial Service Blues
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2015, 08:23:05 AM »
I can definitely relate to this. My husband ended up having 4 services.  He was born and raised in Missouri and his family refused to come here. They had a service there with the local high school ROTC being the color guard and they bought a flag from walmart they presented to his mother.  I was a little HOT about that, but what could I do? My sister kind of railroaded me into a "funeral" at the church 3 days after he died because she wanted it to be before Thanksgiving. His body wasn't even here. Then when his body WAS here, he finally got what "I" wanted, and I know he would have wanted most and that was the full military honors at the veteran's cemetery. And last but not least, Memorial Day weekend, scattered his ashes off the pier with Luke Bryan singing "drink a beer" in the background as the sun set over the cape fear river.  You did the right thing by blocking her.  Remember to breathe, just concentrate on your love and what he wanted and what YOU need.  You don't get a do over and they don't need to pressure you one way or the other.
I can't look at the stars they make me wonder where you are. 
Stars.... up on heaven's boulevard
And if I know you at all
I know you've gone too far
 So I .... I can't look at the stars --Grace Potter