Author Topic: My Grandmother, Her Son, Her Daughter, & Her Daughter-in-Law (Funeral stuff)  (Read 11536 times)

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QueenofAllThings

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I'll try to keep this short, and will refer to everyone by their relationship to my grandmother (not me) for simplicity. If it helps, the daughter referred to here is my mother.

B/G: Grandmother is 99. She is slowing down physically and has someone at home with her during the day, but she is living independently and sharp as a tack. She can walk from, say, door to car, but often uses a wheelchair for bigger distances and loves the freedom it gives her. She is pretty spectacular, but she is also imperious, demanding and self-centered. She had four children - her son is deceased and, of her three daughters, my mother is the only one who will deal with her. Yep, she's that difficult. End B/G

Grandmother's son passed away last year and, as he was a vet with MS and cancer, decided to donate himself to the local teaching hospital. Fast forward to now. The hospital has released his ashes to his wife, Daughter in Law.

Here's the issue: Grandmother has insisted that either a) the ashes be shipped down to her or b) she be flown up (from FL to MA) for the service. Flying is a Major Production for Grandmother - it involves two plane tickets (her aide has to come), limos, the 'appropriate' accommodations and food choices at Daughter's house, etc. It is expensive and positively exhausting for Daughter, who is now caught in the middle between Grandmother and Daughter-In-Law. Naturally, Grandmother has put Daughter in the middle of all this. Daughter is down to her last nerve.

So - what would you do? Tell Grandmother that it's Daughter-in-Law's decision and she has no say? Tell Daughter-in-Law to suck it up and send the ashes down? Fly Grandmother? Pull a King Solomon?

I've told Daughter (my mother) to stay out of it - but she really can't without completely ignoring her mother which she can't/won't do.

scansons

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I think your mother has to pull herself out of it.  Yes, it is the Daughter-in-laws decision what happens.  It would be nice if DIL would fly down and spread the ashes with Grandma.  But I'm guessing that's not an option. They're adults, if your mother wants out she needs to tell Grandma that it's DIL's choice what to do, and she's not going to get in the middle.  And that unless she gets a green light from DIL she's not hosting Grandma for this event either.  Then she needs to suggest to DIL that it would be nice to fly down and include Grandma, but that she(Daughter) is not going to host Grandma without DIL's green light, and that the decision of what to do is totally up to DIL.  There will be no hard feelings from Daughter.  If that's what she feels.   

I personally think the King Solomon this is a little over the top.  If it were me, I'd fly down and let my MIL help with the spreading of the ashes.  Her son after all.  But then I have a great MIL.

Still in the end it is DIL's choice.  She needs to make it, and let the chips fall where they may.  Stalling isn't helping. 

Sharnita

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Could your mom travel to Grandma and have a memorial service without the ashes?

JeanFromBNA

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DIL gets to decide what to do with her husband's cremains, if BIL hasn't already made his wishes known.  If she wants to have them interred locally or keep them with her, she should.  (I'm presuming that they were still married when he passed).  Sorry, but Grandmother doesn't get to decide. 

I do have sympathy for Grandmother, though.  This is a memorial service for her only son.  Would your SIL consider shipping some cremains to Grandmother?  She could have someone handle this for her if it's too difficult.  If that's not possible, then could your Mother arrange to have a service for your Uncle with Grandmother in Florida?  If that's not acceptable, then pleading financial hardship is legitimate, if your Mother would be paying for all of this. 

Texas Mom

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A lot of it depends on who will pay Grandma's travel expenses.

OP?

WillyNilly

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I say find someone with a fireplace.  Fill a bag with ashes.  Put them in a lovely urn.  Send them to grandma.  And then let Daughter in law keep the northern services quiet.

Sharnita

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If there are no remains to bury a memorial service could be whatever mom and grandma want. It can be free. Two or three people in a public park sharing memories and maybe a few prayers. Perhaps recorded music or scripture if that is something they'd like. A small chapel for more people. Clergy could be involvef or not.

O'Dell

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I say find someone with a fireplace.  Fill a bag with ashes.  Put them in a lovely urn.  Send them to grandma.  And then let Daughter in law keep the northern services quiet.

LOL you beat me to it. What grandma doesn't know won't hurt her.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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hobish

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DIL gets to decide what to do with her husband's cremains, if BIL hasn't already made his wishes known.  If she wants to have them interred locally or keep them with her, she should.  (I'm presuming that they were still married when he passed).  Sorry, but Grandmother doesn't get to decide. 

I do have sympathy for Grandmother, though.  This is a memorial service for her only son.  Would your SIL consider shipping some cremains to Grandmother?  She could have someone handle this for her if it's too difficult.  If that's not possible, then could your Mother arrange to have a service for your Uncle with Grandmother in Florida?  If that's not acceptable, then pleading financial hardship is legitimate, if your Mother would be paying for all of this.

I was thinking that, too. I thought that was supposed to be one of the nice things about having ashes, you can divvy them up if you want to.
It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
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HonorH

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I agree with the others who suggest splitting the cremains. If DIL would agree to do so, it would save a lot of hassle all around. But it is her decision.
William wondered why he always disliked people who said "no offense meant." Maybe it was because they found it easier to say "no offense meant" than actually to refrain from giving offense.

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QueenofAllThings

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Willy Nilly, don't think it hasn't been suggested!

To the PP who asked, my parents are responsible for all my grandmother's expenses. She was a wealthy woman whose husband died young; she didn't expect to live long (ha!) and spent like a mad woman. Her other children don't help out in any way.

And yes - my folks are in the same town as Grandmother from January - April and would happily have a small memorial with her. BUT. She wants the ashes. Of course, Daughter-in-Law (and Son's daughter) want the ashes up north - which is why I suggested the King Solomon thing (split the ashes), but I thought that might offend.

For what it's worth, her son didn't like her much either - he had to be prevented from writing a farewell letter on his death bed, telling her what he really thought  ::)  So, as far as his wishes, I doubt he'd want to be in his mother's yard - but you can't tell her that.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 02:24:46 PM by QueenofAllThings »

Sharnita

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What would she wany to do with the ashes? If they wete interred that would be a significant additional cost for your parents.

ClaireC79

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rather than saying he wouldn't want his ashes with his mother could you say that he requested his ashes be X (which just happens to be up north)

BeagleMommy

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The DIL, as the surviving spouse, gets to decide what is to be done with her husband's cremains.  Queen, I thiink your mom needs to stay out of it.  It doesn't sound like Grandma had a relationship with her son and his family so she is not entitled to anything.  If someone wanted to ask DIL if Grandman could have some of the cremains it would be fine, but she has the right to refuse.

lowspark

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I say find someone with a fireplace.  Fill a bag with ashes.  Put them in a lovely urn.  Send them to grandma.  And then let Daughter in law keep the northern services quiet.

I love this. You might have said it tongue-in-cheek (and I did laugh when I read it) but it's the perfect solution! It sounds like grandma has created her own misery by apparently alienating most of her kids (except OP's mom). And it also really sounds like it would be against deceased son's wishes for his ashes to go to grandma. That alone puts me on the side of Daughter in law, regardless of Mom's wishes in this matter.

Look, grandma is 99. I don't think it's the right thing to do to send the real ashes but at this point in her (and eveyrone else's) life, sending her some fake ashes seems to me like a pretty harmless solution, assuming of course, that she never finds out.