A Question of Propriety

Regina, Saskatchewan
November 16, 2011 1:22pm CST
A week ago my mother in law passed away. The hubs and I went to Alberta immediately to see to the arrangements and get a date for the service. My MIL wanted to be cremated and her ashes buried with her mother back in Ontario. The hubs and I will take them there next summer and have a small service at the graveside with her relatives that live there and couldn't make it to Alberta. My MIL had seven children. My hubs is the oldest, and it fell to him and I to take care of her affairs and arrange the service. We had had many discussions with Mum about her wishes when the time came. Now, my hubs family is literally a horror show. Most of my hubs brothers and sisters haven't talked to him or each other for years. Having them all together in the same house with various children was a zoo worthy of a coverage charge to witness! One of the brothers has a 9 year old son. He is cute, immature and terribly spoiled. His father dotes on him to the point of it being unhealthy. I witnessed a lot of interaction between them, and I know in my bones that poor child is going to end up one messed up adult. My tongue has holes in it from biting it so often and so hard not to say anything. My brother in law took me aside at one point (he hasn't spoken to my hubs in 20 years) and told me that his 9 year old son wanted some of Grandma's ashes to keep in a baby food jar to be buried with him when his time came, like in about 60 years or so! ........????????? WHAT? I said I would talk to my hubs about it. Well apparently the word got around and before we knew it, all the siblings wanted a 'piece of Grandma'. My MIL had been very clear that she didn't want her ashes 'parceled out like a bag of candy'. She KNEW her family! After much discussion, the hubs and I told everyone, that in keeping with Mum's wishes, we could not give them any of her ashes. The 9 year threw a fit .... literally! Mum's good china ended up in pieces all over the floor! The siblings started yelling at each other and my hubs, beer fueled tempers flared and in the middle of the melee, the hubs and I slipped away and took refuge in Tim Horton's. We also checked into a motel... The day of the service, which was actually just a private viewing in a small room as Mum didn't want a full fledged funeral (she knew my hubs and I would be the ones paying for it and the others wouldn't contribute a thing, not even flowers, so I believe she was trying to keep the cost down for the hubs and I) all the family showed up. The oldest daughter and her son took pictures of themselves grinning like fools, next to the casket with Mum in the pic, with their cell phones. The youngest daughter's boyfriend was not allowed into the funeral home as per Mum's wishes (they hated each other, but that's another saga!) and so the youngest daughter left with him and then sent someone to the funeral parlor right away to take Mum's flowers off the coffin that the hubs and I had paid for! I soon put a stop to that!!! The father of the nine year old FORCED his son to enter the viewing room and look at his Grandmother, while telling him that the ashes he wanted would come from the burning of the coffin in a huge furnace. The kid asked what would happen to Grandma, and his father told him that Grandma would be burned up inside the coffin. The poor child started screaming and crying and fighting to get out of his father arms and away from the coffin. It was horrible to watch and I finally stepped in and dragged the kid out of his father's arms and took him outside and calmed him down. The child refused to go back into the funeral home and I had to get his father to take him back to the house. His father accused ME of spoiling him by taking him out of the viewing room!! He said the kid should have been forced to stay and take it like a man! Told you this family was a horror show........ My questions are this: Should children under the age of 12 be allowed, let alone forced to view their deceased relatives in their caskets? Should they be allowed to have some of the ashes for themselves to be 'kept' for their own eventual interment? Is is appropriate for the family members to demand that the deceased ashes be parceled out them no matter how the deceased felt about it? And it needs to be stated, that in this case, NONE of Mum's kids even intended to come for the service, except for my hubs and the brother who had been living with Mum for the last 3 years, until they all learned that the will wasn't valid and therefore they knew they could take whatever they wanted from Mum's house without legal reprisal! In the past week I have received several emails from these relatives calling myself and my hubs cowards for leaving the house and 'avoiding them', for not doing what THEY wanted with Mum's remains, and been lambasted right and left for the way we handled things. Oh, and made fun of because we don't drink and therefore didn't 'get into the spirit of things'!!! Mum didn't drink either and she would have been appalled at the amount of alcohol consumed and the resulting trashing and pillaging of her home and meager belongings. Were the hubs and I wrong? I think not, but at this point, I don't trust my own judgement anymore..........
8 people like this
7 responses
@GardenGerty (149096)
• United States
16 Nov 11
It sounds like you have a lot of backbone. How exhausting. The whole family sounds messed up. Why was the will not valid? No, she did not want to be parceled out, and you did respect her wishes. I do not really believe it matters one way or another, her soul has gone on, but I do believe she wanted these things done this way and they should have all respected those wishes and they should not have acted like a bunch of drunken fools.
3 people like this
• Regina, Saskatchewan
16 Nov 11
Hi Gert. Yes it was exhausting. We got home on Friday, took the phone off the hook and slept for 19 hours straight! The hubs went back to work on Sat. morning and I am almost afraid to open my computer. lol The hubs and I kept to Mums wishes as much as we could and I think she would be proud of her oldest son (my hubs). He kept his dignity when all about him were behaving badly. The will had never been properly signed and witnessed, so it was not valid, which gave the group free rein in their eyes. Mum would have been so ashamed of them! Thank heavens we will not have to deal with any of them again. The hubs has already told me that when his time comes I am NOT to inform them. A simple cremation and burial near his mother is all he wants...........and that is exactly what he will get. I will NOT allow his family to make a mockery of his life and passing like they did his mothers.
3 people like this
• Regina, Saskatchewan
16 Nov 11
LOL Annie....you are my Oak!
2 people like this
• Canada
16 Nov 11
I will be sure to go to that, and it WILL be kept dignified with you and I there to assure it. IF any of HIS family do get wind of it, I WILL TAKE IT UPON MYSELF to straighten them out. That is a PROMISE!
2 people like this
@savypat (20217)
• United States
16 Nov 11
No possibility of right or wrong here. It was what it was and now it's over. It seems to me you both kept your tempers and handled it. Now you have to choose how you want to deal with the results. Or maybe not deal at all. Probable that would be my choice, unless I felt one or more of the children could benefit. Blessings to you all.
@savypat (20217)
• United States
17 Nov 11
Please remember that none of these people's odd behavior reflects on you. As for dividing the ashes, I think that is a common practice. My Sister in law did this and then sprinkled my Brother's ashes in several of his favorette spots around the country. I still have some in my house, not knowing exactly what to do with them. However all of this was done with great respect. Not my choice, but this seemed important to his wife and children.
1 person likes this
@MsTickle (25187)
• Australia
17 Nov 11
I read this discussion this morning and words failed me...almost. Words like "gruesome" and "macabre" were floating around my head. They say you can pick your friends but not your family. I would do what needs to be done with the least communication necessary and then I'd make myself scarce, praying that the father of the nine year old wakes up to himself soonest. This must be sickening for you both and L especially...my heart goes out to you. Hugs
1 person likes this
• Canada
16 Nov 11
I was appalled when you told me of all these going's on. I can't beleive how reprehensible they all behaved, like a bunch of rotten kids that are just in it for themselves. Which, I assume is why your hubs hasn't had much contact with them over the years. I almost wish that you hadn't had the 'service' at all. It would have saved you the agony of being saddled with a huge debt that nobody can afford these days, and saved you the misery of witnessing what a huge joke this family is. They don't seem like family to me at all. They just seem like a bunch of animals, grabbing this and that, screaming and yelling and breaking things. What a horror show and NOT what his Mum deserved at all, after her raising all 7 kids. Just remember that you got the ONE good one out of that family, your hubs. He has rounded up into a decent man whom loves and respects you. Hold onto each other as much as you can in these trying days. And tell those nasty emailers that they will have to deal with ME if they persist, ok? *HUGS*
2 people like this
• Regina, Saskatchewan
16 Nov 11
Page loaded...YEAH! Yep, I got the best of them, though it did take a few years to train him. lol And we have discussed it and the hubs agrees that you are the best person to put in charge of our affairs when the time comes........ If the emailers keep harrassing me, I will sent their emails on to you to deal with. No worries. Love you.........
2 people like this
• Canada
16 Nov 11
But thank goodness he was trainable, in the end. Betcha he is really glad now that he turned it around and realized you were the best thing that ever happened to him. I know he knows that now, because of the way he speaks so highly of you. And that is what 'sisters' are for, aren't they? At least in a proper 'family' they are. You stick up for your own, and you stick together, not cut each others throats. That bunch of DWEEBS wouldn't know a 'family' if they if it smacked them in the face with a sledgehammer.
1 person likes this
@cynthiann (18602)
• Jamaica
14 Dec 11
I think that you should flesh out the characters involved in this horror story and sell the rights for a movie to be made. I do not know how you both survived. Definitely the family from hell. I cannot believe how that child was treated. It is not often that I am speechless - but I am.
@TLChimes (4822)
• United States
16 Nov 11
Dearest Sparks..... ((((((HUGS))))))) What hell for you both! I'm sorry people forget why they are there. Answers: No, no one of any age should be forced into a viewing or service. Nor should he had to have had that graphic stuff tossed at him there in that environment. Nor was it fair to the other mourners to have to see and deal with that child being tortured. I think you handled it well considering. More then likely you handled better then I would have. I would have asked the spirits to visit the house that night to rattle chains and bang pots. That would have taught them to disrespect their Mum that way! (((hugs)))
3 people like this
@jerzgirl (8710)
• United States
21 Nov 11
OH MY EFFIN GOD!!!! And, I thought Tom's family was bad!!! Even my ex inlaws weren't that uncivilized (despite their penchant for ending up in the pen)!! Your judgment, girl, is NOT flawed in any way, shape or form. THEY are flippin' lunatics!! Why was her will not valid? I can't imagine a situation where it wouldn't be unless she didn't write it. What a circus!! Loads of clowns to go around, too. I got a headache just reading about it. God help me if I'm even involved with a group like that - I'll end up with an aneurysm, for sure!! You hand in there, Sparx. You've got your act together. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Speaking of which, how's the situation with your ex? Have you received your just desserts yet?