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Catholic Funeral For A Relative


Rosa Mystica
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Hi all,

 

I have a sticky situation on my hands. I have a relative in the family who is on her deathbed. She will probably go before the end of this year. I don't want to say her relation to me, b/c I fear such info is too distinctive to be posted on the public forum (note: Open_Minded, please don't reveal her relation to me, as I've already told you about this situation). However, I will say that her funeral seems like an obligatory thing to attend- at least, in the eyes of my family.

 

The person for whom the funeral will be for is a Catholic (like the rest of my family). I believe the ceremony will include a Mass. Trouble is, I only attend church occasionally (for the purpose of faking it for my folks). I've forgotten a lot of the rituals. Also, I haven't prayed in the Catholic way for quite some time now. I fear that I will look out of place in the church, as these things no longer are instinctual to me. Would my folks pick up on it? You betcha! I would then be confronted about my beliefs in a hostile manner ('cause yeah, they always suspected I'd turn out to be a "heathen" anyway).In addition to this, I panic in churches. Severely, at times. Sometimes, I have not been able to play the game of fake-believe, as I get dizzy and sick on the way to Mass. My dad doesn't know about this! If he finds out, then I hate to think what he'll do to me.

 

The other problem is a timing issue. See, I was hoping to take the next few months to mentally prep myself for cutting off contact with them. I was planning to do that before I got engaged next summer/fall. But, is it really right to cut off contact with them before the funeral?????? Is it not socially unacceptable for me to not show up at an event like that????? My family will say that strangers will find out that I didn't attend, and that this will reflect badly on them. Whether or not that perception is accurate, I really can't say.

 

I guess my question is this: if I haven't written my folks the "Stay outta my life" letter before my relative's passing, then should I just suck it up and attend the funeral (and fake belief as well as I can)? Or should I just ignore their phone calls altogether, and ensure that I'm outta the house that day?

 

I hate this. :( Dammit, why did I have to lose my faith at such an inconvenient time????? :vent:

 

Rosa

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I'd say to base your attendance at the funeral on what kind of relationship you had with the person who dies, not what your folks will think about it.

 

Although really, you're under no obligation to go. Funerals are for the living, not the dead; it likely won't matter much to the deceased if you make an appearance or not. If you find it too traumatic or upsetting to even set foot into a church, much less try to fake a faith you no longer believe in (while trying to deal with the loss and fend off hostile parents to boot), you don't have to go.

 

Your health and safety are the priority in any situation. If you cut off contact with your family, do it because it's healthy for you..

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I'd say to base your attendance at the funeral on what kind of relationship you had with the person who dies, not what your folks will think about it.

 

 

Gwen,

 

I wasn't at all close to her. Personally, I don't see what difference it makes if I go or not. My mom was closer to her than I was, and hence I feel all this pressure.

 

Hmmmm....I think I will make a point of not being at home that day. That way, my folks will look really dumb sitting outside my house, waiting for no one to arrive. :scratch:

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Hi all,

 

I have a sticky situation on my hands. I have a relative in the family who is on her deathbed. She will probably go before the end of this year. I don't want to say her relation to me, b/c I fear such info is too distinctive to be posted on the public forum (note: Open_Minded, please don't reveal her relation to me, as I've already told you about this situation). However, I will say that her funeral seems like an obligatory thing to attend- at least, in the eyes of my family.

 

The person for whom the funeral will be for is a Catholic (like the rest of my family). I believe the ceremony will include a Mass. Trouble is, I only attend church occasionally (for the purpose of faking it for my folks). I've forgotten a lot of the rituals. Also, I haven't prayed in the Catholic way for quite some time now. I fear that I will look out of place in the church, as these things no longer are instinctual to me. Would my folks pick up on it? You betcha! I would then be confronted about my beliefs in a hostile manner ('cause yeah, they always suspected I'd turn out to be a "heathen" anyway).In addition to this, I panic in churches. Severely, at times. Sometimes, I have not been able to play the game of fake-believe, as I get dizzy and sick on the way to Mass. My dad doesn't know about this! If he finds out, then I hate to think what he'll do to me.

 

The other problem is a timing issue. See, I was hoping to take the next few months to mentally prep myself for cutting off contact with them. I was planning to do that before I got engaged next summer/fall. But, is it really right to cut off contact with them before the funeral?????? Is it not socially unacceptable for me to not show up at an event like that????? My family will say that strangers will find out that I didn't attend, and that this will reflect badly on them. Whether or not that perception is accurate, I really can't say.

 

I guess my question is this: if I haven't written my folks the "Stay outta my life" letter before my relative's passing, then should I just suck it up and attend the funeral (and fake belief as well as I can)? Or should I just ignore their phone calls altogether, and ensure that I'm outta the house that day?

 

I hate this. :( Dammit, why did I have to lose my faith at such an inconvenient time????? :vent:

 

Rosa

 

 

If I were you. I'd go. Put on your best face, act as normal as possible and don't worry about what others think. You are strong and can do it.

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Since it's a funeral for a relative, I would go out of respect. Probably a lot of people there will not know/remember the prayers, etc. so I would just go along with the crowd on those. Maybe you can manage not to stick around too long afterwards.

 

Good luck anyway

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Since it's a funeral for a relative, I would go out of respect. Probably a lot of people there will not know/remember the prayers, etc. so I would just go along with the crowd on those. Maybe you can manage not to stick around too long afterwards.

 

Good luck anyway

 

Would this advice apply if I managed to cut my parents off before then? This person has been "on her deathbed" for the past three or four months (and has been doing better lately). I just can't keep pushing my life aside for my abusive family. They hurt me repeatedly, and any amount of contact with them is enough to trigger a stress reaction. Heck, even a *phone call* from my mother can bring on an episode of the shakes.

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Since it's a funeral for a relative, I would go out of respect. Probably a lot of people there will not know/remember the prayers, etc. so I would just go along with the crowd on those. Maybe you can manage not to stick around too long afterwards.

 

Good luck anyway

 

Funerals are filled with people who barely set foot in a church. Don't feel like your the only one. As distasteful as the actual mass may be, you might have some good come of it. Perhaps recconect to a relative or maybe meet a new friend. Stranger things have happened.

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Perhaps recconect to a relative or maybe meet a new friend. Stranger things have happened.

 

Not likely. Most of the people there will be Eastern European immigrants who don't speak English well. Plus, the funeral will not be in English (so I won't understand a damn word of it!). Though *that* might be a good thing...

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I'm still going to dissent from most opinions here, and assert that you don't have to go if you don't want to. Your safety and sanity are a priority.

 

There really isn't any need to go just out of respect for a relative you hardly even knew, especially if your father will probably be there - based on what you've mentioned about your parents, his presence may well jeopardize your physical safety. If there's a real threat from him, then screw your damn relatives. I wouldn't go.

 

When you're dealing with truly psycho family members, a lot of social niceties have to go out the window. Sure, it might be polite to go out of respect for the deceased, but if it leads to a confrontation with your parents, or ends in your dad assaulting or stalking you, it isn't worth it.

 

So at the risk of repeating myself, I'll repeat myself: your safety and sanity are the priority. NOT what your family wants or needs. Especially since they've made it abundantly clear that they aren't interested in you being safe and happy.

 

If you need to honor your deceased relative, you can do so in your own way another time. If there's a burial, you can visit her grave later; if she's cremated, you can light a candle for her, or whatever seems appropriate.

 

Another public service message from the Department of Redundancy Department.

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But, is it really right to cut off contact with them before the funeral?????? Is it not socially unacceptable for me to not show up at an event like that????? My family will say that strangers will find out that I didn't attend, and that this will reflect badly on them. Whether or not that perception is accurate, I really can't say.

 

I guess my question is this: if I haven't written my folks the "Stay outta my life" letter before my relative's passing, then should I just suck it up and attend the funeral (and fake belief as well as I can)? Or should I just ignore their phone calls altogether, and ensure that I'm outta the house that day?

 

I hate this. :( Dammit, why did I have to lose my faith at such an inconvenient time????? :vent:

 

Rosa

 

Hi, Rosa. I advised going and sucking it up, basically. My advice doesn't amount to a firm guide as to what is right. People I know do have to cut relatives out of their life - one friend has to do this with her mother to protect her own psyche.

 

Sitting here not experiencing what you're experiencing I'd say the usual rule of thumb is to put up with a certain amount of aggravation from relatives for the "greater good" of your family solidarity with them - and the chance that relationships may improve. Emotional or physical abuse calls that rule of thumb severely into question. I think you have to go with what you sense is right to yourself and to them, and maybe you'll have to take a chance or two in discerning where to draw the line.

 

I think it's best to act out of who you are, while exhitibing compassion and consideration for others, than to try to figure out what others want you to be and then try to be that.

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I'm still going to dissent from most opinions here, and assert that you don't have to go if you don't want to. Your safety and sanity are a priority.

 

There really isn't any need to go just out of respect for a relative you hardly even knew, especially if your father will probably be there - based on what you've mentioned about your parents, his presence may well jeopardize your physical safety. If there's a real threat from him, then screw your damn relatives. I wouldn't go.

 

When you're dealing with truly psycho family members, a lot of social niceties have to go out the window. Sure, it might be polite to go out of respect for the deceased, but if it leads to a confrontation with your parents, or ends in your dad assaulting or stalking you, it isn't worth it.

 

I'm with Gwenmead on this one. Send flowers instead. The dead can't hurt you. The living might.

 

If necessary, invent an emergency that will prevent your attendance.

 

You are experiencing guilt about your desire to not attend.

 

Accept it. You aren't going. Own it. Anyone who insults you about it is trying to make you feel an emotion. Guilt. That is manipulative and rude. WHO are THEY to think they have any right at all of effecting what goes on in your head? No one has that right, not even a parent. Instead of feeling guilt, feel insulted. YOU somehow are incapable of deciding for yourself what YOU are going to do? Insulting!

 

For a relation you barely knew, flowers are definitely sufficient. Find a way to make yourself unavailable for the funeral itself. And seeing as the funeral is entirely speculative at this point, you are worrying yourself over nothing. You will know when this person dies. Make sure your mother knows you are "concerned" about your relation. Ask about their health. Let your mom know to keep you informed.

 

This way, you will be informed as to when this person dies. Funerals are not spur of the moment events. There is no drive-thru funeral home as there are drive-thru wedding spots (a la Las Vegas). You will have four days at the least to arrange an "emergency" that will tie you up completely and prevent your attendance.

 

And yeah...this may seem underhanded, but talk to relations as though you fully intend to go to the funeral. Yeah....you're lying. But the world is not going to end.

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In your case, I'd agree with Gwenmead and White Raven. Since it's for someone you barely knew, you shouldn't have to go. I'd send a card or flowers or both.

 

I ended up not being able to make it to the funeral of a not-so-close relative this summer. I sent a sympathy card. The world hasn't ended.

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Are people going to really be paying that much attention to whether you are going through the motions? Just sit when everyone else is, stand when everyone else stands, and kneel when everyone else kneels, and I can't imagine anyone would ever notice.

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In your case, I'd agree with Gwenmead and White Raven. Since it's for someone you barely knew, you shouldn't have to go. I'd send a card or flowers or both.

 

I ended up not being able to make it to the funeral of a not-so-close relative this summer. I sent a sympathy card. The world hasn't ended.

 

I *did* know her. Quite well, actually (i.e. since early childhood). Just never felt close to her, that's all.

 

I'll figure something out. For all I know, she'll hang in there for another twelve months or so (even though she's in her 80s).

 

Gwen and Raven: you're absolutely right about this one. Just not sure what would make a believable "emergency".

 

I wish I was a better liar than I am. :(

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Rosa Mystica,

 

Didn't you say that you moved out of your parents home? I think it was in one of the threads where I was talking about moving out. Anyway if you're out on your own then you can do whatever you damn well please girly. I'm sorry you're not getting along with your family because trust me I have lots of drama with mine. If going to church causes you stress and shakes you up then don't go.

 

And please girl, don't take emotional/verbal abuse from family, I had to cut off a relationship with my biological father because he was like that. Now even though my mom and I do fight and everything, I keep working at it just because she's been there through everything and didn't give up like my old man. So salvage what relationships you can and cut off the ugly ones. Best of luck to you girly, I mean it.

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I say if you don't want to go, don't go. Give an excuse and send flowers and a card.

 

But if you do decide to go anyway, remember to take deep breaths, try to follow the crowd (probably once you're in there you'll remember the rituals anyway), and pay your respects with dignity. If anybody gets in your face or questions your faith, you can just tell them right then isn't an appropriate time to talk about it.

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Rosa Mystica,

 

Didn't you say that you moved out of your parents home?

 

Yes, indeed. I have my own house now. :)

 

Despite not living with them, my mom still works in the same building as me. She uses the workplace's e-mail system to send harrassing, guilt-filled messages to me. :( She could easily track me down, and give me some spiel about this crap. I eventually plan to leave the system, but haven't had time to pursue formalized training for another field yet. Getting a second degree right away was something I had to sacrifice in order to move out.

 

Just wish their was some way to escape from their crap- permanently. :(

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My advice: don't lie.

 

Don't make up a convienent emergency (if one happens, then I'm sorry, and go ahead and milk it for what is worth, but don't fake one. Those have a way of biting you in the ass more often than not).

 

Be honest. If you won't go, then just don't go. Deal with things the way you have to.

 

Also do your parents realize what they are doing to you? Have you actually told them directly/confronted them on it?

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Also do your parents realize what they are doing to you? Have you actually told them directly/confronted them on it?

 

Yes!!!! More times than I can count! The responses I've gotten are mind-boggling. My father has often said that, with regards to the physical and emotional abuse, I'm "creating stories" (exact quote). When he hasn't said this, he's essentially implied that he didn't smack me around enough. :ugh: He also thinks that anything I've revealed about my mental illnesses is "bullshit", as far as he is concerned.

 

My mother, on the other hand, tells me all this crap about how she "tried to make life bearable" when I was living there with my abusive father. That is untrue: she did *nothing* to pull me out of that situation (or my sister, for that matter). She also says that I should "put past things in the past." When I told her that I believe I've developed PTSD due to the childhood trauma (I believe this to be the case), she suggested that I slowly expose myself to them- as a phobic would do. :ugh: Obviously, she has no idea what it's like to suffer a condition like that.

 

In a nutshell, no amount of reasoning I do with them helps. They will *never* change their asshole-ish ways. So the only thing I can think of to help me heal from their crap is to avoid them at all costs.

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Man, what are you talking about? Catholic funerals are the best. I've never heard of one where the mourners weren't fed liberally afterward. Yeah, everybody whines and cries for a little bit, but then you head to some restaurant and eat and drink in the name of the dead. Sooooo beats the stiff Lutheran send-offs I sat through as a kid.

 

Anyway, to me funerals are just a part of life, like weddings. I have a wedding I honestly don't want to go to next month, but I have to, for familial obligation insists, and I don't want to spend the rest of the years of my life telling the exact same people who ask me every time exactly why I didn't show up at this oh-so-important life event. "I was busy." "Too busy to be at your aunt's wedding?" Sigh......

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Also do your parents realize what they are doing to you? Have you actually told them directly/confronted them on it?

 

Yes!!!! More times than I can count! The responses I've gotten are mind-boggling. My father has often said that, with regards to the physical and emotional abuse, I'm "creating stories" (exact quote). When he hasn't said this, he's essentially implied that he didn't smack me around enough. :ugh: He also thinks that anything I've revealed about my mental illnesses is "bullshit", as far as he is concerned.

 

My mother, on the other hand, tells me all this crap about how she "tried to make life bearable" when I was living there with my abusive father. That is untrue: she did *nothing* to pull me out of that situation (or my sister, for that matter). She also says that I should "put past things in the past." When I told her that I believe I've developed PTSD due to the childhood trauma (I believe this to be the case), she suggested that I slowly expose myself to them- as a phobic would do. :ugh: Obviously, she has no idea what it's like to suffer a condition like that.

 

In a nutshell, no amount of reasoning I do with them helps. They will *never* change their asshole-ish ways. So the only thing I can think of to help me heal from their crap is to avoid them at all costs.

 

wow chick I'm so sorry, this sounds even worse than my situation at home. I can understand now why you'd want to cut them off completely and save your sanity. In that case, not going to this funeral would be a start. You have to start cutting the chains somehow. I hope that it eventually works out for you chickadee. Whatever you decide to do, we're here for you, okay? Take care girly.

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Despite not living with them, my mom still works in the same building as me. She uses the workplace's e-mail system to send harrassing, guilt-filled messages to me. :(
Talk to your friendly neighbourhood network administrator. If it's the same company, she's in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy and could easily get fired for doing crap like that. If it's a different company, there's probably a way to "blacklist" her e-mail so that it bounces at the server and doesn't make it to your e-mail inbox.
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