Wedding Woes

Funerals are for the living, so do what's best for you.

Dear Prudence,

I’ve been low-contact with my abusive dad for several years now, and my mental health has drastically improved as a result. I’m a queer trans person (they/them) and would be happiest never speaking to him again. I am in contact with my mother, who occasionally gives me updates on his life. I know my mother was victimized by him in her own right, but she also enabled and justified his abuse of me and my siblings. Now my mother is currently dying of a chronic illness, and her prognosis is only another year or two. I live across the country, although I plan to move to be closer to her this fall. But I’m already thinking about her funeral: I don’t want to go when it finally happens.

Growing up, I was mercilessly mocked for being too “sensitive” by my relatives. The environment was incredibly homophobic and transphobic. I don’t like showing emotion in front of them. I haven’t seen any members of my extended family in years and don’t want to. I have one sibling I sometimes commiserate with about how messed up our childhood was, but we’re not otherwise close. I realize not attending would likely destroy my relationship with my remaining relatives, but I don’t want to maintain that relationship anyways. I do feel guilty about not wanting to stay close sometimes, but I’d rather grieve with my partner and my friends, who accept me and love me for who I am. Based on previous interactions, I worry that attending might trigger a mental health crisis. But I also know these people think I’m overdramatic, selfish, and attention-seeking. The last time I tried to bring up my panic attacks to my mom, she told me to “just close my eyes if I get scared,” so I dropped the subject. What are my obligations here? How do I take care of myself when skipping your mother’s funeral is pretty universally seen as an awful thing to do?

—Can’t Grieve Together

Re: Funerals are for the living, so do what's best for you.

  • Be with your mom and when she sadly passes work with your partner to hold your own memorial intimately.  
    charlotte989875MNNEBridemrsconn23
  • Be with your Mom as much as you can. And when she passes grieve in the ways that are best and most effective for you. 

    You’re not obligated to perform your grief for anyone. 
    mrsconn23STARMOON44short+sassy
  • That's lousy the LW's relatives would judge them for not going to their mother's funeral.  But they sound like lousy people anyway.  People should be given the latitude to grieve in whatever way works best for them.

    Going to a funeral just so judgmental people won't judge you does NOT sound like a good trade for an emotionally harrowing experience that could be a mental health setback.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • That's lousy the LW's relatives would judge them for not going to their mother's funeral.  But they sound like lousy people anyway.  People should be given the latitude to grieve in whatever way works best for them.

    Going to a funeral just so judgmental people won't judge you does NOT sound like a good trade for an emotionally harrowing experience that could be a mental health setback.
    This!

    Funerals are extremely case specific.  I say this as someone in a car today for 10 hours to attend one.   We are going based on our relationship both to the deceased but more importantly our relationship to her parents!  Had this been a situation that would induce anxiety attacks (outside of the dream I forgot to pack face masks last night) we would not go.  

    My own aunt who died suddenly earlier this month hated wakes and funerals so much that there are no services planned.  

    If the relatives are so jerky that they're going to be an ass to him regardless then let them talk when he's out of earshot.
    short+sassy
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I feel like the LW answers their own question in the letter. They have zero interest in continuing these relationships. They know where they are in terms of a relationship with their mother. So fuck the relatives. Stay home, protect your mental health, and grieve in peace. 


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    short+sassy
  • I'm sorry that your family has been so terrible that you even have to think about this. 

    If you don't want to have relationships with these relatives anymore anyway, and you think that going to the funeral would be costly for your mental health, then I'd urge you not to go. Your mother's passing will probably be an emotional and complicated time for you, so it's better to find a way to grieve that feels safer for you than surrounding yourself with people who treat you poorly.
    image
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