Etiquette School is in session! > "Why would I want to do that?"

Going to a funeral but not to the other

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Emergency! Help!

My mother mistook my number with her brother's, and called me. So I now know (by accident) that her mother is very ill, in the hospital. It could be nothing, but she was crying so I think this could be the end and she will ask me to go. To visit in hospital, to go to a funeral, I don't know yet, but I'm certain she will ask me to go home. In fact, when she realized of the mistake, she told me to hang the phone and that she would talk to me later. That was 3 minutes ago.

Background: I don't want to go at all. Not to hospital, nor to a funeral. I barely knew her mother, even though I was forced to visit her. Never had a conversation with her beyond hello and good bye, never shared anything even though I was there every sunday, and to top that, she is an unpleasant woman.
Problem is, my mother always forbade me to have a relationship with my paternal grandparents, threw away their presents to me so I wouldn't receive them, ridiculed those presents that my father got to gave me, and when I was big enough to go visit them alone, put a long face the whole day. They were very nice people, and I went to both funerals even though my mother tried to prevent it.

So now I know my mother will use that to guilt me into going. Thing that I'm not going to do. Problem is, I don't want to give her those reasons when she is distressed, so what do I say?

Sorry for the language, I usually write better, but I'm writing this in a hurry.

You're not required by etiquette to go to a funeral for anyone, and certainly not for a woman you don't have a relationship with.

However, you might consider that funerals are really for the living, and it wouldn't be unreasonable to consider going in order to support your mother (rather than to pay respects to your grandmother). It doesn't sound like you have an awesome relationship with your mother, but it's a different angle you might want to think about.

FWIW, I went to an Uncle;s funeral nearly 20 years ago.  I had never met the man, nor the cousins in that family.  I went ONLY because it was my father's last brother, and Dad wanted the moral support.  I didn't have a great relationship with my father either, (although nothing as overtly ugly as your mother sounds) but I could do this for him.  It was also (purely for me) an opportunity to see all those cousins I'd never met (9 of them!) and we had a nice weekend.  No deep and lasting bonds came out of it, but Dad was happy I was there, I was glad I went, and it was generally all around mildly good.  It very much did not hurt me to have gone.

That said, I'm NOT saying to go only out of 'daughterly duty'.  I'm ONLY saying it can be better than you expect it to be.  Can you afford the expense to go?  Will your mother use the opportunity to get ugly with you?  Do you have the mental strength and stability to go?  Make your list of pro's and con's and see what works best for you.

What Aeries said. If you want to support your mom at her mother's funeral, then go. But if you don't have that type of relationship with your mom, then don't.

to echo what others have said...what message are you trying to send?

Are you trying to make teh point to your mom that you didn't have a relationship with her?  are you trying to make an "I'm not a dutiful daughter" point?  Are you trying to define your time as your own (and going would be a hardship)?

I pushed very hard, just over a year ago, for my  husband to go to his grandmother's funeral.  Not because either of us were sad to see her go (that's putting it to bluntly but, there wasn't love lost) but because it was important to his mom--we were there to support HER, not to mourn grandma.  And even if his mom hadn't needed the support, she also didn't need the 'where are the dawbs's" questions that would imply that she hadn't brought her son up right, what with him missing his grandma's funeral.

My situation isn't yours, I'm not saying you SHOULD go necessarily.
But I think looking at your motives for not going will give you a better idea of how to approach this.


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