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Help! Memorial service question


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Help! Memorial service question

Well before dad died on march 3, 2005, my brother was in such denial that we could not even discuss the “d” word, let alone plans for funeral or other memorial service. Dad didn’t have many wishes, but he did state about ½ dozen times that he wanted to have a wake and a funeral at the same funeral parlor that his father, mother and brother had theirs.

Well the day before my dad died, I asked my brother about this (there could now be no more denial) and he said that if I had a funeral, he was NOT GOING!!! He said he hated funerals and he didn’t want to stand there having people come up to him and say “I’m sorry for your loss,” I’m sorry for you loss,” and that we should have a party, to celebrate dad and all his accomplishments. I was sort of force to agree, for how could I hold a funeral without my brother there? And I did like his idea in principal (celebratory of dad rather than morose and embalmed!) but I felt horrible about going against dad’s wishes!!!!!!!!!!!!

I still DO feel guilty about not adhering to dad’s wishes on this, but I figure I’m absolved as I did my best!

Since then, my mother, has offered her apt to hold an “open house.” Okay, I gotta tell you that the idea of having this “event” at my mom’s is making my SKIN CRAWL… she and dad were “divorced’ essentially and well I just don’t want it at her house. BESIDES I want to at least adhere to most of what my dad wanted, ie a service of some sort.. and I’m infuriated that my brother is all about him and nothing about me, but what else is new….

My father was a HUGE baseball fan and I contacted the local national league stadium to see if we could have a service there. They said we could use their diner’s club overlooking the field. I thought that would be great; dad would love it, it would take the event out of my mother’s house and well I mentioned it to my brother and he said:

“I told you before that I am not getting involved and I won't show. I show at Mom's, “

so what am I to do????? I’m going to be ANGRY if I am forced to do this happy family shi_ at my mom’s when I just want to punch her.. I mean in a way it’s “nice” that she’s offered her home but in a way she’s just budding in…. I really don’t want to do it there…. Why can’t my brother compromise???? He probably feels comforted at Moms but I DO NOT!

I feel like not showing up and having a private ceremony at the funeral parlor where he asked to be honored. But what, just me and my fiancé???? Besides, it HURTS so bad to not come to agreement on this. I know that I WILL GIVE IN as I will be forced to, as always, no one cares about my feelings. It sucks doesn’t it.



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Pull your butt out of pity me mode and get on with what you need to do. IF you hold a "wake" at a funeral parlor, the name/obit goes in the local newspaper with the days of viewing, time of service, etc. It would not be just you and your fiance, your father's friends would show up, as would local family members, etc.

If your brother wants to hole up at your mother's, fine. If your mother invites people to her house after the wake, fine. If you feel you need to do as your father wished, do it - be aware that you may have to foot the whole bill, though, if you have no other support from mo/bro.

I'm not sure what the relationship between your mother and father was. You have stated they were divorced for ten years, now you state they were almost divorced. It was nice of your mother to offer her house, but maybe she was doing it just to help you out. Funerals aren't free and I don't know if your father pre-paid one or not. Your mother should not be expected to pay for your father's funeral if they were no longer married or were legally separated. That would fall upon you and your brother.

Get it sorted out, and realize that these people lost someone, too. It's not just about you, it's about them, as well. Decide on if you want your mother's help or not, but don't condemn her either way. You're upset if she doesn't help, yet when she offers help it's not what you want. Be specific if she asks if you want a specific result. I doubt she's a mind reader.

...and check into that trust to see if his funeral expenses are to come out of it. You really need to get in contact with an attorney and start figuring out the money issues.

I'm sorry you have lost your father. You do need to step up and take care of business. Put the deep grieving on the shelf, do what needs to be done, then revisit the grief.

Take care,


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I agree with Becky. The death of someone you love is horrible, horrible, horrible. I lost my sister and husband within 3 months of each other last August. I am still in deep grieving and sadness.

But I get up every day and do what I have to do and what I believe is the right thing to do. I honored Earl's wishes. While I am lucky that my family has been supportive in every way, I would have done what I did no matter.

It sounds like your brother is acting like a child and needs his Mommy. That is not your problem. You have to do what is right according to your heart and conscience. If your Father requested a funeral, then I think you should give him the send off he wanted. While you will always be sad you will not suffer the woulda's, shoulda's or coulda's that are so crippling if you do not abide by his wishes.

Be strong Lori, it will help you in the long run.

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I too have to agree with Becky and Ginny.... Your Dad made his wishes known, post the memorial in the paper at the funeral home your Dad choose... those that want to honor his memory will be there. If your brother chooses not to come, that is his choice (and his loss) in my opinion.

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IMO I'd give Dad the send off he wanted, no matter who decides to come. Hold your head high knowing you did what he wanted. You cannot control other people, only how you react to them (I keep telling myself this everyday - maybe some day it'll SINK IN!) I wish you peace, Lori.


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Yes Please listen to what has been said here. I have been following all of your posts and I truly hurt for you. This is a situation nooone would want to be in. But it is happening. It has to be dealt with and you are the only one who can do this. Put your anger aside, and take care of business. Yes, its time to get off the pity pot.

Take care


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Hi everyone,

I want to thank each and everyone of you for responding to my letter below about my suffering over my beloved father’s memorial service. Thank you thank you thank you.

Since so many of you responded and were so caring, I want to share with you the update and the decisions that I have come to.

I wound up speaking with a prior therapist of mine, who knows me very well and is a wise woman, smart and gifted beyond her training as a therapist.

She advised me to “let go’ of the “place.” She advised to have the memorial service at my mom’s. WHY? I said. She said that there are several reasons. First, I want to tell you that my therapist is very systems oriented. I respect her because she never puts “blame” on the other people, but rather tries to understand why they behave as they do, and ultimately encourages me to deal within the reality that I find myself in.

She said that she understood that I am angry and that it is very frustrating that my family members all want different things. But she said that the place is less important than the people. She said that when people come for funerals or memorial services, they come from all parts of the person’s life, even people who had not been in touch with my dad for years will come. And that my mother, well she wants to have this at her apt because she shared 36 years of her life with my dad and it’s her way of giving back and honoring him.

Plus, she said, it’s not good for me now to engage in a battle with my family over this, that it would be more HEALING to me to let go, let the place be at my mom’s, and when I am there, take as a gift all the people who will come and share stories with me about my beloved father.

Also, by holding my own service, I will break apart the people, not as many will show…

She also reminded me that my brother, even though I feel he didn’t do as much as I think he should have, did as much as he COULD.. this is a hard concept for me to get, but then I realize that sometimes I have my own emotional limitations, and well that helps me to understand him… not that I like it, but I do love my brother, and it gives me some peace to accept and understand.

So that’s the decision. I am okay with it. I think my dad would be a little annoyed but honestly would probably feel good in some way that my mom was doing this for him. So I’m okay with it…..

Thanks everyone for ALL YOUR SUPPORT!!!!!

With much love


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It sounds like my family!

Your Dad made his wishes known, if you are willing to pay for it alone. Screw your brother, thank your Mom for the offer and do what he wanted.

As I said earlier, it sounds like my family and I have told them they better do what I wanted and not act like fools should the time come. We are all adults, we need to honor the person who died the way THEY wanted it, not what makes us adults MORE comfortable.

Sorry if I'm being harsh, but I have a brother like yours and I know mine can just jump off a bridge when it come to getting his way when things have already been discussed.

Good luck and I support whatever you decide to do.

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