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I am so sad & angry


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It will be 8 months ago that I lost my Dad. Dad found out he had colo/rectal cancer in 4/19/04 had surgery 5/6/04 and passed away 8/20/04 without ever being well enough after surgery to withstand any chemo. I come from a blended family so the issues are complicated. It would take a very long time to explain everything about the issues leading to my problem so I won't try. The problem is that my stepmother refuses to place a memorial marker on my Dads grave! At first we were told money was an issue even though Dad has a free one due to him through VA. We figured money wasn't an issue but offered to let her pick it out and order it and we would pay for it. She refused this offer as well. We have been told several times that one is being ordered since October but still the cemetary has heard nothing about it. I know this sounds like a small thing but I think it is very disrespectful to leave it unmarked. I can't seem to get on with the grief process while I feel so much anger over my stepmothers refusal to do this one small gesture of respect. I guess we will have to find a way to make another type of memorial for my Dad. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Not to be harsh - but wait until your step-mother is no more - then put a marker up. Presumably she is older than you.

In the meanwhile, maybe you could make a little spiritual area in your yard - a tree, a bench, special flowers, your own little brass plaque, in memory of ...

In the meanwhile, visit the grave, tell him and yourself of love, and of a marker coming when the time is right.

Don't give your power away to this woman. Disregard her, out-wait her. You - or someone in the family - will get your way in the end.


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I understand the step-mother thing. When my father dies she was "too upset" to claim his body from the hospital. Did you know that after three days of a body being unclaimed, it's released to the state......I lived in another state from him and thought everything was being taken care of (we were not very close my father and I). I had to go track down his body and make sure she followed through with everything.

My experience with step-mothers, if you want a marker and she won't do it. I would do it myself....but after my story, now you know why.

Good luck and I'm sorry it's taking so long to get through the greiving stages.

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I agree, just wait her out. In the mean time maybe make a wreath or something similar and put beloved dad on it, and take it out there. He may have been her husband, but he was your Dad too. You should have some say, I would think! Maybe tell her how much it would mean to you to have something out there for him, but then again you probably already have! I hope that a compromise can be reached for your sake. Praying for you,

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Thank you all for the responses. Beth, I think that is absolutley terrible! Yes, we are all upset by the death of someone we love but we have to deal with it. My stepmother was too upset as well to make funeral arrangements even though she had stated at the hospital that she wanted to do that herself. She sent my stepbrother & halfbrother. Dads 3 eldest children were not given that opportunity.sending her son from her first marriage and my half brother.

My sister, brother & I were very close to our Dad as he had sole custody of us for about 7 years before my stepmother. We worked closely with him in his business for many years. He taught us all about the trade and trained me as his bookkeeper. We also have a stepbrother & sister and five younger half brother/sisters. Only the stepbrother chose to work in the business.

My Brother, sister & I were the ones that stayed at the hospital with Dad 24/7 for 8 days taking turns to administer his oxygen as needed as they wanted his levels to stay in a certain range. Not one night did she stay in the room but upon his death we were sent the standard thank you notes for attending the funeral from my own family! It goes on & on. She has totally excluded Dad children from his first marriage in everything. She stated that we never called or took her to lunch to console her over Dads death! Geez, didn't she think we were exhausted and grieving too!

Margaret, thanks, I like the idea of a garden with a bench a plaque and discussed it with my sister and I guess that's what we will do until my stepmother is not in the picture any longer.

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I am sorry that you have to go through this..Grieving is hard enough on its own..Unfortunately many times illness can separate a family rather than bring them together..It seems like your stepmother is not taking any one elses feeling into consideration during this difficult time..

She needs to realize she is not the only one who is devasted over this loss..

I hope you can find peace in time..

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  • 3 weeks later...

Can you hire someone, like a stone engraver, to go out to the cemetary and engrave your dad's name into the stone? I don't know about the legalities of this but if were me, I'd try it!!!!! I hope maybe this is a helpful idea!

I feel for you! My father passed away on March 3 and I'm in estate hell now, also with family problems, from which I dont think I'll ever heal. It's wicked, the whole thing, grief and all it's complications.

I wish you the best of luck with this. Please let us know what you decide to do. And I think the other suggestions are great too, wait her out and/or make your own memorial... If you make another grave with another marker, imagine how confused any generations that come along who might do a family tree would be! and imagine how much they would treasure the story about how much you did to mark your father's life!

good luck



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So sorry to hear you are dealing with this issue that shouldn't even exist. What is the big deal with a marker on your stepmother's part? You would think she would certainly want to mark her departed husband's gravesite...especially since the VA will provide a marker at no cost to the family. Maybe she is just opposing the idea because it is yours? Maybe if you just let the issue ride for a while and don't bring it up to her, she will figure it's not a big deal for you and will go ahead and order the marker.

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I need to speak up on the part of the stepmother here, see, I am one...

My husband's wishes are to be cremated. He has four kids - any bets on who keeps the urn? I can tell you that were I to have to deal with the attitude of "we're his kids, you're just his wife", it would be a cold day in Hell they'd be invited over to "visit" the urn.

If your father had chosen to be cremated, you would have to memorialize him in some other way. It's not disrespectful that he doesn't have a marker, he is buried in consecrated ground, is he not?

Another thing to remember about a grave is that he is not there. If you have belief in the afterlife, life after death, an eternal soul, etc., you should know that. A body lies under the earth - ashes to ashes, dust to dust...the soul is now free, and I'll bet it ain't hanging around a graveyard!

I don't know how your stepmother was approached with offer of a donation, sometimes it's not the words that are spoken, it's the way they are spoken.

I don't think there are any right answers to your situation. In a perfect world, joint decisions would be made in unison and everyone would be happy. I doubt that will ever happen in the real world, where everyone involved is happy.

Good luck,


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I didn't mean to imply that all step-parents are bad. I also have a wonderful step-father that traveled from out of state just to be with us when our father passed away. My father is buried in a family plot where all other family members have markers. We also have a half brother that was still born and his grave is marked as well. This is a part of what makes her refusal to mark his grave disrespectful. It is not that she doesn't believe in putting up markers...just not his!

I'm sure it is horrible to lose a spouse and I would not deny that my stepmother does feel grief. However, contrary to my stepmothers beliefs, it's not easy losing a Dad either. My stepmother made the comment that we are just the kids as though we aren't entitled to feel grief. It seems we have the opposite problem as the one you listed.

During my Dads short illness my stepmother made it all about her, her feelings, her needs, her wants. Not once did she ever present the view of what a terrible thing Dad was going through or anything that she wasn't the direct focus of.

Yes, Ann, it does appear that she is doing this directly out of spite...why? I have no clue, maybe because she can. My stepmother has always been biased towards her own biological children but that has never been subject that we have voiced with her or my Dad. To keep peace in the family it was always overlooked and accepted that she is who she is. Maybe this is just her way of getting rid of the stepchildren! She has done other things after Dads death that seem to say "You are no longer part of this family". She has received at least three different offers to pay for the marker so it is not how it was said that would give her reason to refuse. For the time being I guess we are going to start a little garden somewhere and place our own plaque and as you said maybe when she figures she can no longer get at us by refusing to place the marker she will go ahead and order one.

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