Death…That Fabulous Crucible That Reveals The Characters of Evil Exes

by admin on March 4, 2014

My mother (Ann) married my step father (Lee) nearly 21 years ago. They dated for 3 years before that. My brother and I were 4 & 5 yrs old when he came into our lives and we always thought of him as a father to us and we got along very well. We grew up on our family farm together that my parents shared for 19 yrs.

Lee had previously been married to a woman and they had three children together. Their marriage lasted 30 years though they had been separated for many years before the divorce was finalized. His Ex and two daughters made no secret that they blamed my mom for the ending of their marriage and his children were in their 20s and late teens when my parents married. Lee and his Ex didn’t speak after their divorce and it would not be described as amicable. His son who sadly passed a number of years ago, was the only one of the 3 children that developed any kind of relationship with us. Lee’s two daughters (Patty & Jane) were seldom seen or heard from in the 25 years they were together. For example, it was 10 years after they married when I met Jane for the first time. We knew Patty better but she only visited a few times a year. I would describe Patty as passive aggressive towards us and Jane was outright hostile when we did see her. Most visits or phone calls between us corresponded with weddings/funerals/births/holidays and almost never “just to say Hi”. My Mom attempted to make a relationship with them and eventually with Lee’s grandchildren but it never really worked out. I would admit, we did see them a bit more after the grandchildren were born but not by much and usually just as free babysitting while they went on holiday.

A month ago, Lee passed away very suddenly right in front of my Mom. He was 73. This story is about his wake. He didn’t want a service or announcement of any kind but since it was so sudden, my Mom wanted to give his children a chance to say goodbye and a small obituary to tell the community as he was well liked. The plan was to arrange a small family only viewing and he would be cremated. At a later time, we would spread his ashes. Jane insisted on going to the funeral home with my Mom to make arrangements even though she was told it would not be necessary as the arrangements were very simple. She made the 6 hour round trip anyway. This was less than 24 hours after his passing.

As we were leaving, she bullied my Mom into retelling the specifics details of his death in the parking lot of the home. Picture my sobbing mother re-enacting a seizure in -20 degrees in front of a funeral home 20 hours later. As I cut in to take my Mom to the car saying, “This was inappropriate and can be done at another time”, she starting screaming that, “He was my father and she MUST tell me exactly what happened,” and, “Who do you think you are”.   She then informed us her mother (the Ex) would be attending because after all “they were married 30 years and she was the mother of his actual children”. This was so very hurtful to my Mom but we just left.

The next day, we learned that Jane had contacted the funeral home to make changes to the obituary. Among the various changes she tried to make, she wanted to add her mother and move my brother and I to the end of the obituary. At the service, the Ex did arrive and they all barely acknowledged us. Essentially, two services happen at once. My Mom, who wanted to show she was ok with the Ex coming, went up to her at the end but before she could speak, the Ex snapped at my Mom, “What do you want?”  Shocked by her tone, my Mom burst into tears and blurted out, “He always said you were a good mother, thank you for coming”. Before my Mom could even finish, the Ex told my Mom that she, “…knew this already and certainly don’t need you to tell me”.

My Mom thought it was ok that the Ex attended to support her children but the Ex stood at the head of the casket most of the service, the spot usually reserved for the widow. She kissed him and rearrange the items in the casket included pushing the love letter he gave to my Mom out of sight. She behaved like she was the widow even though her spouse of 20 years was there. Jane and her family ignored my mother and us completely. As Patty arrived, she rushed up to my Mom to hug her. My grandmother was sitting with my Mom and holding her hand when Patty arrived. Patty pushed my Grandmother away from my Mom saying, “She doesn’t need you right now, go sit down”. My grandmother had severe dementia and would pass away herself only two weeks later. Other than this, Patty would not speak with us for the rest of the wake.

The next day, the Ex wrote a long and awful review of the wake on Facebook. It included several references to my Mom as “that B***h he married” and details about the spreading of the ashes which we knew nothing about. Jane and Patty both “Like” these comments. These comments devastated my Mom. Their behavior over the last few weeks did everything to reinforce that they were first family and we were second. Never have we felt so dismissed and unimportant. We blocked them on FB and their phone # in an effort to give my Mom some time to grieve her husband and very shortly afterwards, her mother.

Through family friends and Lee’s sister, we have learned they have already made the plans for spreading his ashes and that his Ex intends on attending. An urn has been purchased and a date set. The location is over a day’s drive away and they have attempted to get the ashes from the funeral home. They have been calling my Mom daily despite her request to them to give her some time and peace before making any further plans. They even called the day of my grandmother’s funeral, a detail they were well aware of. My brother and I have spoken with both of them to ask they give her some time and when she is ready, she will call them but they appear to be going ahead with their plans. We are at a loss of what we should do. My Mom doesn’t want to attend the plans they have made as the Ex made it clear she will attend and it is so far away that our family will not be able to be there to support her. She does accept that Lee would likely want to buried where he was born but is not ready to separate herself from him so soon and wants to keep him with her for a bit longer.

So my questions are, is it appropriate for an Ex to go to a wake and not at least ask the widow if that would be ok first? Is it ok for us to ask her not to attend the spreading of the ashes? Does my Mom have the right as the widow to make final decisions or do the daughters have as much of a say in it as they seem to believe? Is it ok to split up ashes, send some to them and keep some? Do we have to tell them if we do that? Is there a time frame in which Mom needs to decide what to do with the ashes, can she not keep them or must they be buried within a few months? Does she even have to share the ashes with his children, could she not just keep them for herself?

This has been a tough month for us and all this family drama has only made it worse. I implore people to remember that death is not an opportunity to unload all the things that were unsaid. If you didn’t say it during someone’s life, their death isn’t your time to unburden your soul. Grief is different for everyone, try to understand that. Use the ceremonies of death to celebrate life, not as your chance to prove you are the most affected or to make amends for things you did or didn’t do during their life. Family is more important than the money or trinkets left behind. Don’t lose your family over material possessions or to prove you are more right. 0221-14

First,  my condolences on the  deaths of your step father and grandmother.   Two loses in such a very short span of time is a double dose of grief.

The Ex, Patty and Jane can make all the plans in the world regarding the dispersal of Lee’s ashes but unless the funeral home releases those ashes to them, those plans are vacuous.  The funeral home should only release the possession of the cremains to the legally recognized survivor which is your mother and I would confirm with them that they are under directions to not release Lee’s ashes to anyone but your mother.  And as the surviving widow with, I assume, full authority to manage her late husband’s affairs, your mother has final authority on how her husband’s last wishes are to be carried out.  If she wishes to wait to disperse the ashes, she is free to do so.

As for the rude and presumptuous behavior of the Ex at the wake as well as her ugly comments on Facebook, one has to trust that close friends, relatives, neighbors who knew Lee and know your mother are not going to think poorly of your mother just because the Ex spews garbage.   People can and do recognize trash when they see it and trust me, the Ex and her hag daughters are not scoring points with anyone.

The Ex, Patty and Jane are petty people who will squabble over the possession of a dead body, as if the last hands to touch “Lee” is the winner.  But your mother was the one who had the honor (and I do consider it an honor) to be with Lee as he died and it was your mom’s hand that held Lee’s as he passed into eternity.   I know your mom is so racked with grief that she cannot appreciate that right now but she will eventually.   Her presence at his death was both a gift to Lee and to herself….so special.   The Ex and daughters cannot take that from her.

Don’t wrestle with the pigs.   Lee is not there in those ashes anymore and in the grand scheme of life, it seems a poor waste of time to argue over the contents of a small box that will quickly “melt” into the ground, never to be seen again.   The spreading of ashes is largely symbolic and it is not uncommon for the cremains to be divided with dispersal in several locations.  Either make an authoritative decision as to how and when and where Lee’s cremains will be buried/spread at your mother’s convenience or give Patty and Jane a small portion of the ashes, perhaps 1/4, to do with as they wish.   I’d choose the latter myself so as to separate myself and family from the drama queens.


{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

Phoebe161 March 4, 2014 at 12:52 pm

My condolences to OP and family.

Although this won’t help OP much (and perhaps these things were done), but I see 2 things that need to be done to prevent a few of the problems. One is a will specifically spelling out who is make decisions regarding the funeral and burial (and of course estate executor). The second is that the funeral home has been explicitly instructed *who* does make these decisions. It won’t stop boorish behavior, but at least, legally, the deceased wishes will (hopefully) be carried out.


Moralia March 4, 2014 at 1:28 pm

If your mother does want to take part in the spreading of the ashes or keep them until she’s ready, you could divide them (I wouldn’t mention this to the Ex or her family though — they sound like to sort to INSIST on their way) and make separate plans for just your part of the family when the time comes.

Different family members had different ideas for how to honor my Grandmother, so finally they took shares (this was done cooperatively because we knew she wouldn’t have minded). Some to spread, some to bury and some to keep.

Divvying the ashes would allow their family and yours to mourn and remember him in their own way without outside interference.

Also, if they’re treating yall like that, why are you friends on Facebook?


Cady March 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm

I know this makes me a jerk, but I’d send them some ashes out of my charcoal grill and call it a day.

It’d be one thing to try to accommodate these people if they were interested in maintaining a relationship with OP’s family, but they clearly aren’t. Lee was OP’s only connection to these people, and now he’s gone. OP should consider it his parting gift that OP doesn’t ever have to have anything to do with them again. OP can try to maintain a relationship if OP wants, but is in no way obligated, and same goes for Ann.


Rowan March 4, 2014 at 2:58 pm

If you’re a jerk, I’m a bigger one – I was about to suggest buying a cheap urn, filling it with cat litter & sending it.


Lisa March 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I like this idea!


Thistlebird March 5, 2014 at 6:08 pm

“OP should consider it his parting gift that OP doesn’t ever have to have anything to do with them again.”

Good point! And you jogged my memory of a detail here–this is not only an accidental “gift” but one that Lee deliberately tried to give! At least I suspect this was the case, reading between the lines: “Lee didn’t want a service or announcement of any kind…” but when OP’s Mom tried to go the extra mile and give one for the sake of his children, the Ex and the children behaved like complete female dogs. Lee knew his Ex better than anyone–I wonder why he didn’t want a service? Could it be that he didn’t want his widow subjected to that?

OP, I urge you to consider this interpretation–that it may in fact be Lee’s wish that you and your mother don’t engage the crazy Ex or let her cause you any further pain.


Rebecca March 6, 2014 at 12:47 am

“I know this makes me a jerk, but I’d send them some ashes out of my charcoal grill and call it a day.”

I like your thinking.


Huh March 4, 2014 at 1:38 pm

The thing that is especially crazy to me is the ex’s behavior, especially in light of her being married for 20 years to someone else, and she’s kissing her ex’s body/acting like the widow – all in front of her husband??? And he’s OK with that? I’d be extremely disturbed if my spouse was carrying on like that about their ex!

I was with my ex for over a decade and we had kids together. The marriage ended because of his affair. Our divorce was not amicable. If not for our kids, I highly doubt we would ever have another conversation ever. (This is what the Ex in the post acts like happened – I’m NOT saying that’s factual, LW.) If he dropped dead today, I would go to the funeral for my kids’ sake, but there is no way in someplace very warm that I want to be listed in the obituary, or would sob and kiss his body. The ex in this letter acting like the widow is completely mystifying to me.

If I was your mom, LW, I’d give the daughters some of the ashes to do with what they want and be done with it.


Shoebox March 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I think the idea isn’t so much about proving that she’s the widow, as it is in cutting the real widow — the ‘usurper’ out as completely as she possibly could.

I agree that my reaction upon learning that my wife (or for that matter stepdaughters, or parent, or aunt, or grandmother) was still that crazed with bitterness twenty years later would freak me out, but it’s possible they didn’t want bring it up then and thus cause a scene at a memorial service. Would love to know how they reacted to the Facebook screed, though.


Shoebox March 4, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Wow. I mean, we don’t know what led up to the divorce etc, but still, wow. It’s been twenty years, they’re all grown women, the ex-wife has in fact actually remarried, and they’re *still* determined to use their dad’s passing to spew vicious bitterness all over a grieving widow?

OP, first of all, my condolences to you and your mother. Second, the Admin is correct, these women are doing nothing but outing themselves — probably to their entire extended family and friends — as unforgivably clueless, crass and cruel. I would take what comfort as my conscience let me from this, and then let them severely alone to continue the circus as they see fit.


Kris March 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I find it sad and pathetic that some people choose to spend their whole life being miserable, jealous and bitter over something that happened to them in their life. No doubt Lee’s ex was a miserable B@#$h when they were married and that is why he left her in the first place. I hope your mom knows that she is a wonderful person and that her husband loved her until the day he passed over.


SamiHami March 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm

These people have already spread their filth and nastiness enough. Time to tell them never to contact you or your family again. Your mother will do with the ashes what she chooses and they should not be informed or included. If she chooses to keep them for a period of time, then that is what happens. They had their chance to say goodbye to Lee and that’s the end of it as far as they are concerned.

I have had my FIL’s ashes since his passing 5 years ago. We intend to keep them until MIL passes and then we will spread them together somewhere pretty and sunny that they would like. I also have a BIL that’s been cremated and his widow wants to have his ashes spread along with his parents when that time comes. For all they know, your mother may want to do the same and have her ashes spread with his eventually.

I wouldn’t blame you and your mom one bit if you were to tell them that the two of you have already “taken care” of his cremains. Let them think that you’ve proceeded without them. If you don’t I would worry that the harrassment will continue until your mother hands them over. If Lee divorced his ex after 30 years of marriage, he clearly wanted to be away from her. It seems like handing him over and allowing her to control this final thing would a terrible insult to his memory.

One final note, I would contact the funeral home and make it abundantly clear that there is family strife and that they need to have photo ID before releasing his cremains. I wouldn’t put it past them to try to pass the ex off as his current wife in order to take them without permission. Throw those roadblocks in place and ensure that they are not able to do that.


ArtsBeatLA March 5, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Perfect response & plan of action. Enough already!! Silver lining – OP never has to deal with these people again.


JF March 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm

To the OP- my condolences for your loss and the nasty treatment your family received. I honestly would ignore the gimmepigs and just realize that they are in no way your family nor do you have to allow them to be part of your family.

At my father’s funeral my grandmother made a stink over the fact that my mom attended although they were divorced and over the fact that we chose not to follow my grandmother’s wishes and have the funeral done by a religious leader of her faith (a religion my dad had left more then 20 years before and refused to let us, his children, be raised in). It doesn’t matter to her that my father’s choices and health lead to my mom doing what she had to in order to protect my sibling and I and that neither of them had remarried nor had my dad even dated anyone after the fact due to his health.

I do know that for cremains if there is a plan to bury them at a cemetery, the majority of cemetery’s will not allow for the burial unless the remains are still sealed by the funeral home. So if the OP’s mom chooses to give the others a portion, then she should speak to the funeral home and have them split the remains (or hold out a bit to give to the others) which is what my sibling and I chose to do so my grandmother could take and have a portion blessed in her religious preference prior to burial at her family plot. The other half I am holding so that my sibling and I can spread them as our dad wanted.


Elizabeth March 5, 2014 at 11:29 am

I disagree that the majority of cemeteries will not allow burial unless cremains are sealed by the funeral home, unless there is shipment to another country. You need the certificate of cremation with the cremains, however, which informs the cemetery of the person’s name, date of cremation, location of cremation, etc. (you can certainly take a portion out and do whatever with it and still bury in a cemetery grave)


Alli8098 March 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm

I agree here, your mother is the widow and has full rights to decide what to do with the remains. When my brother-in-law passed away he was unfortunately tied by common-law marriage to a very manipulative selfish woman. And she decided what happened with his remains, she wouldn’t even hold a memorial or anything for him. And that’s not why I call her manipulative and selfish. There is a long history with her involving many antics that are best saved for another time and place. I had to take DH to the medical examiner’s office so he could at least view the body and say his goodbyes before the cremation. It was sad for us but just reinforces that the legal surviving family member (your mother) gets to decide what to do.

You might have to give a gentle push to your mother to stand up for herself and contact the funeral home and instruct them under no circumstance are they to release the ashes to anyone but her. If she decides to share the ashes that’s a different story. My condolences to you and your family for your losses and everything that’s happened. I hope everything works out for the best.


Cat March 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm

A man can have only one widow. His first wife is not his widow; she is a divorced woman. It is none of her business what you do regarding his funeral or the disposal of his ashes.

It would be a kindness to allow his children to scatter some, not all, of his ashes. It is not uncommon to divide ashes for reasons that the family consider important. Your mother can retain them until her own death and then they can be scattered together or his urn can be placed in her casket.

Jane has no right to bully your mother. If your mother is too fragile to stand up to Jane, you do it.
Tell her in no uncertain terms that the widow is the next of kin. She will get what her father left her in his will and that may mean nothing. In two words, “Back off!”


kingsrings March 4, 2014 at 2:19 pm

I can commiserate with the OP, as my own family has turmoil when my grandfather died nearly ten years ago. Certain family members totally took it upon themselves to dictate what and when his funeral would be and wouldn’t budge, despite the fact that they weren’t Grandpa’s widow – the only person who gets the final say on when and how his funeral would be. Once she stood her ground, they reacted by refusing to attend his funeral because they didn’t get their way. And let’s not even get started on Grandpa’s estate and belongings issues! Death sadly truly brings out the absolute worst in people : (

I think it’s perfectly okay for exes to attend the funeral, as long as they behave themselves! They were part of the deceased’s life at one point no matter what. Plus, if they had children with their ex, it could also be that the children want their mom or dad there for comfort and support.


Mouse March 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I agree that the mother should give Patty and Jane 1/4 of Lee’s ashes. But I also believe that she, the OP, and the OP’s brother should tell these nasty shrews to back off. Now.

Tell them, “Patty and Jane will be given a portion of their father’s ashes. We will let you know when they can expect to receive them. Please do not call us again. Thank you.” And then say nothing more to them.


RedDevil March 4, 2014 at 2:35 pm

I don’t think the Ex ever got over Lee, it would explain her actions. Everything that the Ex has been feeling for the past twenty-odd years is now boiling over, and she’s looking for someone to blame. She can’t blame Lee, she still loves him. So, she blames his new wife, and is taking her grief and anger out on her.
No excuse of course, but I think it could be the cause of her actions.
And it appears in the case of her daughters, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.


hakayama March 4, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Oh, RedDevil… You ARE most kind to think that it was LOVE that propelled the Ex to act like a narcisistic, self-centered harpy that she probably is.
The behavior fits the pattern of a woman whose only love in life is herself. A woman who just HAS to be the center of any and all events, family and otherwise. A woman who will trample on everything and everyone just to make sure she is recognized, and that HER wants and demands are met.
And, no… It’s not something that results from sad life’s dealings. Just like greatness (;-)), you are born into it.
I’m sure that those wonderful features also show up in men (wink, wink), but they somehow become much more obvious in women…


DanaJ March 7, 2014 at 11:35 am

I disagree RedDevil. It sounds more to me like the Ex just wants to “be he winner” of some sick version of a competition she has stablished in her own head. She’s been remarried for two decades. It is extremely disrespectful to her spouse to behave the way she is. She wants to tell the world “Lee is really MINE.” and that is not love for Lee, that is pure spite for Lee’s widow.


DGS March 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm

The unfortunate part of any developmental milestones (births, weddings, funerals, etc.), is that all the various sordid family drama that may lie dormant or be enacted in small increments (e.g., during the holidays) goes on overblow, and all the dysfunction is laid bare for the world to see. Fortunately, the ex behaving like a grieving widow and her daughters’ atrocious behavior only serve to make them look like the histrionic drama queens they are and are no reflection on OP’s mother, OP and other relatives. Funeral homes and directors are usually quite aware of how to deal with various rampant family dysfunction, so I bet there would be nary an eyebrow raised at a reiteration that the rightful widow is the one to make all the final decisions about the body and its disposal. I would encourage OP to be proactive about explaining the circumstances to the funeral home and to take her time and encourage to have her mother take her time in deciding what she wants to do with her late husband’s ashes.

Patty, Jane and their mother sound like terrible people. What a disgrace to Lee’s memory.

I am truly sorry for both your losses, OP, and I wish you healing and peace. Rest assured knowing that your Stepfather loved your Mother very much, and it sounds like he was a very good man and left a rich legacy behind, his ex-wife’s insanity notwithstanding.


Meri March 4, 2014 at 2:59 pm

What an awful situation. I’m sorry for your loss.

I agree with Admin, the first thing I would do is double-check with the funeral home that they won’t give the ashes out to anyone but your mother. Then you can decide what to do from there. Personally, I’d give part of the ashes to them, as your mother thinks that he’d have liked to have his ashes scattered where he was born. Let them have their own ‘super-special snowflake’ ceremony, and be done with them. Your mom can keep the rest with her until she’s ready.


Susan March 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm

I’m so sorry for your loss. Your step father said he didn’t want an announcement or a service. It sounds like he anticipated what was going to happen with his ex and daughters. Your mom could have saved herself some grief if she honored his wishes. That being said, I think she probably needed to have some sort of service for herself as well.

If you were my friend, my advice to you would be to be finished with them. You owe them nothing. There is no relationship you need to protect. They don’t need to be involved in the dispersing of ashes. This is your mom’s decision to be done in her own way and time. Cut them off.


Elizabeth March 5, 2014 at 11:35 am

If Lee anticipated trouble from his ex-wife and daughters, he could have saved his wife a lot of stress by planning and paying for his funeral in advance – yes, before illness or any sign of such. This happens quite a bit when there family strife and stress. Pre-Need Funeral Trusts are secured in an invidivual account with the named benficiary; all aspects of the funeral are defined and delivered as directed. The money is safe in an FDIC-protected account administered by a bank and the funeral home can only access its payment with beneficiary’s death certificate. This removes all pressure from the surviving spouse; he/she cannot change what the person designates for services and disposition.


Michele K. March 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm

First, my deepest condolences to the OP on the passing of her step-father and grandmother.

As the others have already stated, your mother is the legal representative of your step-father’s remains. Unless she designates otherwise, the funeral home should not release the ashes to anyone else. I would make sure this was clear with the funeral home personally.

Your mother needs to make it clear to everyone that there will be no ash-spreading ceremony until she is ready. When she is ready, she should make the arrangements and make the details known only to the ones she invites. It would be gracious to invite her step-daughters, but after their behavior and that of their mother, I can understand any and all reluctance to do so.

If she does invite them, I would make it clear their mother is not invited and would not be allowed in if she shows up. As in, the cops will be called and she will be escorted away. An ash-spreading ceremony is a private service, not a public arena.


Mary March 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm

I guess the only thing I can say is that be grateful that they were at the service and not at your mother’s home cleaning out your stepfather’s (and possibly your mother’s) possessions while she was gone.

I would agree with those that say to contact the funeral home and tell them the ashes can be released to your mother, they must ask for ID and don’t tell them when the ashes will be scattered.


Lerah99 March 5, 2014 at 12:04 pm

That actually happened to my friend Helen.

During their father’s funeral, her brother Kevin, Kevin’s wife, and Kevin’s 2 teenaged sons rented a U-Haul and were busy emptying out his parent’s house rather than attending the service.

Luckily Helen and her mother made it home before Kevin had finished stripping the house bare of all the things.

Already loaded on the truck were things like: the washer, dryer, fridge, sofa, 2 lazy boy recliners, all the pots and pans from the kitchen, the good china, the silver Kevin’s mother inherited from her mother, the big flat screen tv from the living room, the little flat screen TVs from his parent’s room and the guest room, the computer, his mother’s lap top, his mother’s jewelry, his mother’s dresser (with all of her clothes still inside), both his mother’s and his father’s iPads, Both his mother’s and his father’s Kindles, the dinning room table and its 6 chairs, all of his father’s clothes, the king sized bed from the guest room (head board, foot board, box spring, and mattress), even the rug from the living room floor…

In fact, the only reason Kevin and his family were still there to be caught in the act, was they were strugging to disconnect the gas stove in the kitchen so they could load that up as well.

Kevin saw his father’s funeral as an opportunity to basically steal everything his parent’s owned under the justification that he was the oldest child and his dad would have wanted him to have it.

Kevin was REALLY upset when Helen opened her phone and called the cops to report his breaking and entering and attempted theft.

Kevin and his family spent the rest of the afternoon putting everything back while being supervised by a couple of the local police officers in exchange for no charges being filed.


Asharah March 5, 2014 at 7:56 pm

What was Kevin’s mother supposed to door, sleep and eat off the floor? Did he expect her to not have to cook now that her husband was dead? Well, I guess she wouldn’t need the washer and dryer if he stole all the clothes too. I think they should have made him put it all back and then locked him up overnight.


Lerah99 March 6, 2014 at 12:03 pm

I have no idea.

According to Helen, Kevin just kept muttering about how he was the oldest child and his dad would have wanted him to have the stuff.

Why his dad would have wanted Kevin to have the mother’s dresser and all her clothes is a mystery to this day.

Kevin, his wife, and his kids have all had problems with illegal narcotics. So Helen figures they just saw an opportunity to clean out the parents house since dad was dead and the rest of the family would all be at the funeral.


hakayama March 5, 2014 at 9:06 pm

I bet that Kevin & Co. held a grudge forever… 😉
What is verrrrrrily interesting is Kevin’s total disregard for his own mother and HER need for, let’s say, a change of underwear. Poor Kevie, he forgot the house…
Quite some interesting “family dynamic” at work there.


Lerah99 March 6, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Helen and Kevin still are not on speaking terms.

Kevin sees Helen as the over-reactive and greedy younger sister who called the cops when he was simply picking up a few things that their father would have wanted Kevin to have.

Helen sees Kevin as that theiving jerk who tried to steal everything from their parents’ house at a time when he knew the home would be empty due to his father’s funeral.


Huh March 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I think Helen should continue to not speak to Kevin. And hire private security for the house when her mom passes.

ArtsBeatLA March 4, 2014 at 4:41 pm

My jaw is dropping at their truly vile and hateful behavior. OP – take Miss Jeanne’s advice – send them a small portion of the cremains to shut them up and never have anything to do with them again. ugh.

Also, I am sure Funeral directors are highly familiar with this kind of competitive behavior & post-death BS. With a bit of luck, your Mother has paid for the cremation arrangements and so s/he should not have any confusion as to whom to release the cremains in due course.


ArtsBeatLA March 4, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Oh — “Jane insisted on going to the funeral home with my Mom to make arrangements even though she was told it would not be necessary as the arrangements were very simple. She made the 6 hour round trip anyway. This was less than 24 hours after his passing.”

I see what she did there… Very tricky. There might be some confusion as to whom to release the cremains… OP – I hope yr Mom gets them and your family gets some peace.


doodlemor March 4, 2014 at 4:54 pm

My condolences to you and your family on the loss of your stepfather, OP.

The behavior of your stepfather’s first wife and family is totally bizarre, OP, and your mother shouldn’t have to deal with them ever again. A cut direct is in order here.

Your mother must be hurting terribly right now, having lost her own mother at nearly the same time. Therefore, I think that you and your sibling need to be proactive here and take charge as much as you can, without upsetting your mother further.

Your mother did the “nice woman” thing by informing his first children about Lee’s death, and was repaid with cruelty. There is no doubt in my mind that if the horrid first wife comes to a scattering there will be more of the same. Therefore, I think that they definitely need to be excluded from anything else regarding the death.

I think that your family needs to get the ashes from the funeral home ASAP, and put them in a secure location until you and your mother figure out exactly what her wishes are. I POD the PP who said to tell the nasty first family that they have already been scattered/taken care of.

I have dealt with the ashes of two different relatives. As far as I know, this is entirely at the discretion of the next of kin.


Cecilia March 4, 2014 at 4:59 pm

OP- Prayers & blessings to your family for not only your loss but the horrendous treatment from the ex & step-siblings. Your grandmother passing so soon after your step-dad must have been very hard on your Mom & the whole family.

As other posters have mentioned, you & your Mom do not have to associate with these people ever again if you do not want to. Please call the funeral home, or have your Mom, or maybe an attorney if your family has one, and tell them not to release the cremains to any one but your Mom or her representative and insist on photo ID.

If your Mom wants to be the bigger person, she could have the ashes divided and give a portion to the daughters, NOT the ex.


doodlemor March 4, 2014 at 5:00 pm

I just had a terrible thought. Perhaps the ashes shouldn’t be in your mother’s possession, OP. I can picture the nasty daughters coming to her home and demanding the ashes. She might give in to them in her distressed state right now, and hand over some or all of them. This sounds farfetched, but their behavior so far makes me think that they would feel entitled.

There really is no hurry about the ashes. If your family wants to give some to the daughters in 10 years, they will still be ashes.


ChicaLola March 4, 2014 at 5:04 pm

First, let me say that I’m so sorry for your losses. Your family has been through so much already, and now to deal with the horrible actions of your “family”. Admin, your statement was beautiful and right on!! The only thing I would add, or suggest, is possibly splitting some of the ashes. The funeral homes can do some interesting things with remains. Some can be made in to permanent reminders, like jewelry. I would have some given to his daughters only. I wouldn’t give them a heads up that this is being done, and then they can decide what to do with them. They may not have had the best relationship, but that was still their father. Of course, this is all completely up to your mother, and I pray for her. Again, I’m so sorry.


Been there done that March 4, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Jeanne, I just want to thank you for the fact that you made mention that we are privileged to be with someone when they have passed from one life to another! I had lots of drama when my step-father passed away, and my stepsisters where not there when he actually passed, my mother and I were. They can never take that away from us, or accuse us of not being there. I had never thought of it in that way and that makes me feel so much better!


Daphne March 4, 2014 at 5:26 pm

First of all, I’m so sorry for your losses.

This story illustrates exactly why it is so important to follow a decedent’s last wishes to the letter. You write that Lee “…didn’t want a service or announcement of any kind” and now you know why. He must have had a very good idea of what his ex and their harpy daughters were capable of and wanted to spare your mother that trauma.

You do not have an obligation to have any contact whatsoever with those horrible women. Morally however, you really should instruct the funeral home to give a portion of Lee’s cremains to the daughters. You don’t have to, but it would be the right thing to do.


Lo March 5, 2014 at 8:22 am

I agree with this very much.

Giving a portion to the daughters is definitely right. They are his daughters after all. I do believe they have the right.

But that is all you owe them. Shut them out and keep them out. Don’t allow these people into your lives to hurt you anymore.


Dee March 4, 2014 at 5:42 pm

I agree with SamiHami’s advice. I honestly can’t understand why the OP’s family is conversing with these people and sharing things online. The only thing the widow needs to say is that she has not yet made a decision about the cremains and when she does she will let them know. And then do precisely that, even if the timeline is one of years. And telling these people about her plans can be done AFTER the cremains are spread, if she so desires. She is not obligated in any way, shape, or form to allow these people to enter her life again after what they have done, and she is not obligated to even explain this to them. Say what needs to be said and hang up the phone. Do not do social media with them. Do not accept emails or personal visits. She needs to simply stop allowing them to enter her life; if she doesn’t want to do that, then she needs to own the drama and stress she is permitting.


Wild Irish Rose March 4, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Cady, you made me laugh out loud.

It’s funny how any kind of family event, particularly weddings and funerals, brings out the mean in people. I’m so sorry your stepfather’s ex and daughters treated you all this way. If they continue to harass you and your mother, I’d be very tempted to request a restraining order to keep them away. Your mother is Lee’s widow, and she has the power here–not his ex, not his children. That done, I would then contact the funeral home about splitting the cremains, IF she wants to. If not, his ex and kids can get over it. Your mother is the widow and she should be calling the shots. She may want to call the funeral home just to find out exactly what they would recommend in this situation.

My condolences, OP. What a rough go.


lakey March 4, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Sorry for your loss.
I wouldn’t worry about the nasty Facebook comments. Anyone who could condone the ex’s Facebook comments isn’t the type of person whose opinion you should care about.
One thing I’ve learned through life is that if you can see that a person’s behavior is messed up, others see it also.
The first marriage ended twenty years ago, a well adjusted person would have moved on long before this. The ex must be a very miserable, unhappy person. Your mom behaved with class.


Tanz March 4, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Firstly my condolences to the OP.

I agree that the first wife and kids were obnoxious, but – I can also see their point of view somewhat (sort of). If the OP’s mother was a factor in the first marriage ending then I can see why none of them want to be friendly with the Op’s family (and I’m scratching my head as to why she thinks they would want to be??) and I can also see how many actions of the OP’s mother – such as not telling the daughter the circumstances of Lee’s death and refusing to allow them some of the cremains – could come across as dismissive and hostile. Also we don’t know how Lee treated his first marriage and bio-kids either when he and first wife were together or subsequently – and if that treatment was less than ideal it is human (although wrong and misguided) to take the hurt out on someone else (such as the OP’s mother and her children). None of this is to excuse their bad behaviour, just to say that the situation is not black and white (as most emotional situations aren’t) and I do feel a certain amount of sympathy towards them. They are Lee’s family every bit as much as the OP and her mother are.

Basically I think it’s a messy situation all ’round, as death tends to be.

And to JF: No, they’re not technically part of the OP’s family but they *are* part of her step-father’s family and as such she *does* need to ‘allow’ them that… and what comes with it.


Wild Irish Rose March 5, 2014 at 10:23 am

So if Lee had mistreated his first wife and their children, what did they hope to accomplish by even showing up to the funeral? I don’t see their point in this at all. I see a handful of petty, mean-spirited people who apparently blame OP’s mother for the divorce and can’t grow up and get past that, so they decided to come to the funeral and make trouble. There is nothing to be gained by that except to expose themselves as the hateful, bitter people they are.


padua March 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm

i agree, tanz. i was trying to think of what i would do if i was a daughter from the first marriage. if i was a teen when my father remarried, it would be very hard to NOT blame the other woman. and if my father passed away, i would want to be part of everything that would honour him. i would also want to know what happened when he passed away- mostly because i would be sad i wasn’t with him when it happened. while i don’t think these women were well behaved, i also think that grief does a number on us, and it may be that these daughters were grieving long before their father passed away. it seems as if there is a consensus that just because they’re the children of the first marriage, they are no longer allowed to be involved.

i would be devastated if my father died and i wasn’t allowed to be present when the ashes were spread.


Puzzled March 4, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I was involved in a similar situation regarding my mother. When she died, her partner’s two children suddenly appeared out of the woodwork and began to act as if they had the right to make decisions for and about her. Even though my mother and I were estranged for most of my adult life, she still named me executor of her will and her only heir. I had the funeral home reserve two small portions of her cremains and gave them the rest in a really nice urn. They never knew the difference. Her partner was a wonderful man, and I took into account everything he wanted and ignored them. Once the memorial service was over, I haven’t had to deal with either of them again. What it boils down to, however, is your mother doesn’t have to do anything for them at all if she doesn’t want to. What nasty people.


ArtsBeatLA March 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm

I’m so sorry to hear you had this added stress at your time of grief. Sounds to me like you handled it all extremely well. Brava!


Cathy March 4, 2014 at 6:28 pm

When I hear stuff like this, I am so thankful that nothing like it happened when my parents passed. It is hard enough to deal with loved ones passing – nobody should behave like this.

And if I were the widow, I would take the high road and divide the cremains with the previous wife/family so they can have their memorial and she can have hers. I think that’s more than fair. It’s a pity that the deceased did not leave some kind of instructions in his will in anticipation of this situation.


missminute March 4, 2014 at 8:21 pm

If you can bear to part with them, send the daughters a portion of the ashes and never speak to these horrible people again.


hakayama March 4, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Please accept my deepest sympathy to you, OP, and your family at this sad time. I sincerely hope that you will find a way to regain peace and serenity, and you are secure in the knowledge that you were loved by those departed.
If giving a fraction your father’s cremains to his older children is the price to get shot of the three witches forever, let it happen. Your own peace, from that point on, is worth it.


Dublin March 4, 2014 at 10:08 pm

I am the OP. I wanted to thank everyone for their kind words and thoughts for my Mom and our family. This has truly been the toughest weeks of our lives and I appreciate all the support.

In light of the comments, I wanted to add a few things:

We have spoken with the Funeral Home and have confirmed they will only be releasing the ashes to Mom. They witnessed many of the incidents that happen at the viewing including a number of things I didn’t include before so they are well aware of the type of people we have been dealing with. We cut off all direct connection to them already at the advisement of both our lawyer and even members of their own family who have warned us not to speak with them because of threats made towards us. Their own relatives do not have a close relationship with them because of their behaviour over the years and this has sealed it for many of them. Particularly with Jane.

Tanz, I would not waste your sympathy on them, their own families don’t.

We did not refuse them access to the ashes, only asked for time before decided what to do with them. We did not refuse to answers questions about his death but there is an appropriate time/place/person to speak to about that. She was not asking because she cared, she asked to put Mom through the pain of that memory again. We have not been dismissive nor hostile, in fact I feel Mom has been too kind/forgiving of them over the years.

I do agree that these things are highly emotional and never so black and white. Mom was NOT the reason for their divorce but I cannot deny misplace blame has happen. Nonetheless, its been over 2 decades and well past the time to grow up and get over it. It is shameful that Ex allowed her bitterness over her failed marriage to poison her children’s relationship with their dad. Their behaviour is a result of guilt, grief and regret. That anger lost them their father long before he passed.


PWH March 5, 2014 at 8:37 am

Hi OP,

I’m glad that you have spoken with the funeral home to make sure there are no issues with the release of your step-father’s cremains. My condolences to you and your family during this incredibly difficult time. Difficult people make going through difficult times all the more…difficult.
I would have hoped that their father’s death would have given your step-sisters the opportunity to step back, review their own lives and feelings and see how important family is. In a dream world, they could have chose to become closer with you and your brother, since your step-father viewed you both as his children as well.
It seems that you have everything well in hand and I hope, despite all that is going on, you and your family have the opportunity to properly grieve both your losses.


ArtsBeatLA March 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Thank you for checking back with us here – it sounds as if the worst is over (I hope). Blessings to you & your Mom.


Enna March 9, 2014 at 12:15 pm

So sorry for your loss OP.

The ex is a complete creep and so are her daugthers. I can’t believe she behaved the way she did at the funeral: she only showed herself up. It was your mother’s place to be at the head of the casket not her and kissing the body is just wrong. At the most your mum and her should be grieving together. Yes your mum takes prescidance because she is the survior – if the ex was a decent person your mum and her could’ve been there for each other.

If they are making threats don’t hesitate to go to the police.

My parents are seperated and if my parents remarried that would be their choice- I would like to think I would support any step parents.


Dublin March 4, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Admin – I wanted to add that your words about Mom holding his hand as he passed hit very close to the heart for me. You cannot know how meaningful that is for us. Thank-you so much


MichelleP March 5, 2014 at 2:36 am

My sympathy for you and your mother OP. Neither of you have done anything wrong, and I hope you will not have to deal with these people again.

Admin was spot on in her response and advice.


Kimberly March 5, 2014 at 6:03 am

What I cannot understand is why no one stood up for your mother at the funeral? There is no way I would have let the ex do what she did. I would have told her this is no longer her place. This is her mother’s place and if she does not show respect, she will be escorted out.

I think that someone needs to stand up for your mother now. Let the “other” family know that the ashes belong to your mother. At this time, she is not ready to decide what to do with them. And when she does decide, it is her decision, which means they might not get any rights to said ashes or any part of said ashes.

It may take a long time for your mother to decide, especially after all the added grief that they have caused.

When she decides, they will know and only then. There is to be no further contact regarding said ashes or it just means less likely that they will receive any.

It does not sound like you will ever have a good relationship with any of the children, so I would not tippy toe around their feelings at this time.

Let your mom grieve and when it is time, she should do what she thinks her husband would have wanted done with his ashes. If that means, his chilren should get part of them, fine. If not, so be it.

Hugs to you and your family over this loss. May he rest in peace.


ArtsBeatLA March 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm

When someone is acting so appallingly, it’s probably really hard to leap up and take action and somehow quell her behavior – if that was even possible. Honestly, I like to think I have a fairly firm backbone but in a sitch such as this even I may be stunned into silence, inaction or fearful of making a worse scene…


Library Diva March 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm

It would have been great if the funeral director could have said, gently but firmly, “Ex, why don’t you take a seat over here and let Ann stand here.” But I can see the value of not wanting to make a massive scene, which is probably at least partially what the ex was hoping for…one last chance to “get at” her ex-husband and his second family by spoiling his funeral and turning the attention from his memory to her behavior. Maybe she feels he didn’t deserve a good send-off, maybe she wanted to hurt Ann, or maybe she just hates it when she’s not the center of attention. There’s something to be said for that, too. Sometimes, you have to pick your battles. Ann belonged at the head of the casket, but by insisting on standing there, the ex showed off what kind of a person she is, and Ann looked magnanimous and unselfish.


Kahomono March 5, 2014 at 7:05 am

I would claim the ashes from the funeral home ASAP to prevent the Ex from bullying someone into releasing them to her.

Spread 100% of them privately, however you like.

Then post what you did on Facebook.


Mae March 5, 2014 at 9:53 am

My deepest condolences to OP and her family. Dealing with the passing of a loved one is hard enough without selfish people trying to make it all about them.

We had a similar, slightly less hostile, situation when my the man I consider my stepfather passed. He and mom were never “legally” married, but they had been together nearly 30 years. He committed suicide after battling cancer for a year. He had never been married or had biological children, yet he was a wonderful father figure to my siblings and I and the greatest grandparent to our children.

His brothers tried to come in and take over and it was pretty messy for a few days. They said since mom and stepdad were never “legally” married, they got to make the decisions, yet they wanted us to pay for everything. Although my mother is a strong woman who has no problem standing up for herself, she had just lost the man she loved for 30 years. I interceded and told them that if they were going to make all the choices, then they could pay for the cremation and services. Then I took my mom and we left. They backed off a bit but since they still insisted on having a say, so we split the bill 50/50. After the memorial, they tried to come in the home and take items they wanted out. They had a little surprise waiting for them, however. When stepdad was diagnosed with cancer, he had the house and land put in my mom’s name. Mom stopped them at the door with the deed and told them if they tried to take anything, she would have them arrested for trespassing and robbery.

When the ashes were ready to be picked up, they had no interest in attending the spreading or having a portion for themselves. They just wanted to have their names in the obituary (which Mom would have done anyway but they wanted to be listed 1st, since they were “real family”) and items from the home. Greedy, selfish pigs.


JackieJormpJomp March 5, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Your mum is a bad*ss. I love her.


Enna March 9, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I agree with JackieJormpJomp! You and your mum were fantastic standing up for yourselves yet meeting them half way.


inNM March 5, 2014 at 10:42 am

OP, getting the lawyer was a great idea, not just to deal with the childish behavior of your step family, but for the legal implications as well. If Lee died with a will, then the lawyer will see to it that his wishes are honored. If he died without a will, your mother, as next of kin, is his executor by default. At this point, whenever your step family decides to pull a future stunt, all you have to say is, “Take this up with our lawyer.” And move on.
Also, I would make sure that your mom and Lee’s house is properly secured, because I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to break in one day when no one is home to claim what was their father’s and what they believe is “theirs”. This also includes prohibiting them from entering the house so they can’t use that as an opportunity.


PatGreen March 5, 2014 at 10:56 am

Even if, hypothetically, the letter writer’s mom did “steal” Lee from his first family (had an affair), it’s been 20 years and he’s dead. Unless she kidnapped him at gun point, he chose to marry her and be a father to Ann’s children. Punishing a grieving widow and “winning” the rights to move around a corpse doesn’t mean you are suddenly his “real” family. He’s dead and gone at let his good deeds live on and his evil ones (whatever they were or weren’t) by buried with him.

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”
~Maya Angelou


startruck March 5, 2014 at 11:19 am

iam very sorry for your loss. while the ex sounds a bit looney for her actions, i wouldnt be to hard on his kids. he was their dad, they are grieving to, and when your parents pass away you instinctivly feel a little possessive of the decision making proccess. when my dad died, he had three stepdaughters i had never met but they were very respectful and things went smoothly. if they ask for some of your stepfathers ashes, i see nothing wrong with giving it to them. it just makes you out to be a compassionate person . also, if your mom just lost her mother, your grandmother, then she is certaintly in the position to understand how it feels to lose a parent. i would give it to them. but the kids, not the ex wife. god bless.


Elizabeth March 5, 2014 at 11:23 am

My husband is a nationally licensed funeral director (US) so I think I can answer some of your questions. Your mom, his wife, is the person that authorized the cremation; the cremains are released to her, period. Any plans they have made do not matter in the least. Your mom should go and pick up the cremains now, and keep them until she feels ready to take the next step. And that next step is entirely up to her. There isn’t a timeframe that needs to be adhered to; she can keep them for as long as she likes. And no, the daughters do no have any say in the final disposition of the cremains. Splitting them up so the daughters can do what they want would be a very generous gesture however some people are not comfortable with this and that needs to be respected.

But she needs to pick up the cremains from the funeral home, now, before these people attempt to do it. Please don’t expect the funeral home to store them; many homes have a clause in the contract about what is done with unclaimed cremains. And if your mom isn’t ready to pick them up, then ask her to give you written authorization to pick them up and you take them home with you until she feels ready to make a decision. And there are no rules about the next decision – she can inter them in a cemetery, bury them in the back garden, or scatter them over a special place.

I’m sorry for your sadness, and that these people have made the situation more difficult. Please don’t let them bully your mom.


badkitty March 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Thank you for pointing out that it’s okay NOT to split up cremains. I’ve been reading all these comments that say “just give them a bit” and that sounds *horrid* to me. Yes, it’s all ashes and nobody’s in there anymore, but I still can’t imagine distributing bits of my loved one like he was a party platter. Gah!

Besides, wouldn’t the person who got a piece of the whole be staring at that container and wondering *which* bits they got? Just… ick.


nonoNanette March 10, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I also want to say Thank you for pointing that out. If Lee had been buried instead of cremated no one would be saying “You should definitely give them 1/3 of him!” In that case, just as in this, it is completely up to his widow to decide what arrangements are to be made.


Cherry91 March 5, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I’m being uncharitable here but I can’t help but wonder if the Ex and Daughters’ main motivation was to see if they’d been left anything…


hakayama March 5, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Uncharitable, Cherry01?
You are merely being realistic, and doing a good job of adding 2 plus 2…


Harley Granny March 5, 2014 at 12:23 pm

OP, I am so very sorry for your loss.
My husband’s uncle’s family was a lot like this…but luckily everyone stayed “politely” hostile. I’m sure a lot more went on behind the scenes than we were told.

I agree with the others to give them 1/4 of the ashes and wash your hands of them forever.
Altho the evil part of me really likes the kitty litter and charcoal idea.


Wendy B. March 5, 2014 at 1:04 pm


One, call a lawyer, find out what your mother’s rights are as executor of his will (I assume if she isn’t, you or your brother is.)

Two, have said lawyer contact them, or their lawyer, and inform them that harassment charges can and will be filed if they do not cease and desist. If you haven’t already, print out anything that has been on Facebook or other electronic media because you’ll need it.

Third, at this point, spreading his ashes with them present will only be a disaster. Get the ashes from the funeral home now and keep them close. I’d also talk to the funeral director about the lack of action on the part of his staff…since they knew your mother was the widow and heir, it was their responsibility to ensure SHE was at the head of the casket and things arranged in the casket were left as-is. Since they didn’t, they are partially liable.


Library Diva March 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm

I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my mother a month ago Friday, also rather unexpected (although a little less sudden than OP’s loss). Every day has been a struggle and I feel a black line has been drawn dividing my life into “before” and “after.” I can’t imagine having to cope with this level of family nonsense on top of my grief.

OP, I think you guys can do whatever you want, whenever you want, when it comes to the ashes. Keep them as long as you need to, spread them when you’re ready, and invite whoever you feel deserves to be there. The fact that the relatives of Jane, Patti and the ex-wife are not on their side speaks volumes to what kind of people they are and what their true motivation is.

It’s sad to see people holding on to anger and bitterness. My grandmother was one of seven siblings. As of October, all but one of them are gone now, my great-uncle having passed at the age of 89. This leaves one great-aunt B, who has never had much to do with the family. She came to the funeral and luncheon. My cousin (the deceased’s granddaughter) approached her and told her that everyone appreciated her coming. She snapped, “I didn’t come here for you.” She sat by herself at the luncheon and didn’t talk to anyone. The deceased’s son came and sat with us, and told us that when my great-uncle was dying he was asking for B. My great-aunt reached out to B and asked her to come. B launched into a bitter, angry screed about how she was always the least-favorite (her parents have been dead since the 1930s), how no one ever helped her, no one cared about her, etc. etc. My great-aunt cut her off, told her that she wasn’t listening to 70-year old grievances and asked her to come for her brother. She never did.

We all agreed that it was truly sad for her. Her nasty, bitter behavior affected the family, sure. But everyone else could hang up on it, could walk away from it, could choose not to engage with it. She’s lived with it her entire life and can’t get away from it for even five minutes. It’s the same with Jane, Patti and the ex. In the end, their nasty attitudes will cost them much and will poison whatever remains. How sad.


JackieJormpJomp March 5, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Your family outside of B sounds tightly-knit and strong in the face of those who would try to make cracks. That’s wonderful 🙂


Library Diva March 7, 2014 at 11:30 am

Thanks Jackie. Sadly, the ties have loosened somewhat. I think that cousins are just naturally less close than siblings. Everyone’s lives have moved in all kinds of different directions, and while everyone still gets along, the massive gatherings several times a year are a thing of the past. But yes, while all of the siblings were still alive, they were a wonderfully close family despite B. Contrary to her constant protestations, they even did their best to help her when they could. My mom told me that B married an abusive man, and she remembered her parents going over there in the middle of the night many times. Rather than look at this kindness, B chose to resent my grandmother because their parents had left most of their money to her. My grandmother had been in a serious car injury that looked as if it might have left her disabled. As it so happened, it didn’t. The real kicker is that their parents were poor immigrants from Poland. Whatever they left her could not have amounted to much at all. She was probably bitter and resentful over less than $1000.


AthenaC March 5, 2014 at 2:41 pm

‘But your mother was the one who had the honor (and I do consider it an honor) to be with Lee as he died and it was your mom’s hand that held Lee’s as he passed into eternity.”

Beautifully phrased. Actually, all of the last two paragraphs said it better than I could.

My condolences, OP.


gb March 5, 2014 at 4:08 pm

How disgusting. The ex is clearly bitter and wants to have the last say, and her daughters learned that behavior from her. They don’t seem to be grieving the death of their father, but perhaps this displaced anger is their form of it. However, , adults, they should know their behavior is rude.

I’m sorry for your losses!


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