Family Feud before funeral

Anyone been in this situation before? I'm not sure what to do for the best. So awkward (& disrespectful) when it concerns a funeral...

My Mum sadly passed away suddenly & unexpectedly 2 weeks ago. It hit us all hard as it was a sudden death and the day before her birthday. My Dad took it really bad as unfortunately most of his other relatives passed away with various things over the last 2 decades, so his support network is just my brother & I.

We were starting to accept the death and plan for the funeral and move on with things but a massive family feud has erupted & I'm stuck in the middle. I'm afraid of loosing contact with my Dad or my brother and his family or even worse - both.

The arguement started with my sister in law telephoning my Dad on 2 ocassions demaning money towards the wake (not sure why she was involved as my brother was sorting that out & I was organising the flowers and some of the paperwork). Her tone and manner were vey rude, abrupt and hurtful. I received a similar unpleasant email. Unfortunately my Dad in his state of grieving took this really badly and has reacted with an anger and hatred I've never seen before.

This isn't an isolated incident - she has upset the family on a few ocassions before & unfortunately the most recent incident seems to be the final straw with my dad. Her manner is very domineering and abrupt, however I know my brother loves her so even though her email to me was very rude, I have replied sensibly to it.

I dont really want to take sides, but my Dad is still angry today and wants nothing more to do with her. He wants the whole wake to be cancelled and has not spoken to my brother for the past 2 days.

This whole situation is really awkward & I wondered if anyone who had been through similar before can share any words of wisdom. I cant ask any other family members for advice as they are either ill or very elderly & I don't think it is fair to burden them.

If I lose contact with my brother and his wife I am worried I will never see them or their children again (both nephews are only young), however I am worried about my Dad's level of anger and resentment - it doesnt seem healthy. He has been given sleeping medication from the doctor.

So what's the best course of action if any or should I remain totally uninvolved?


  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    Your dad has lost his wife and partner of many years, he needs your support.

    Have you spoken to your brother, rather than his wife, about her behaviour?  Does he even know why your Dad is so upset?  Does he know about the email you received?


  • It's an incredibly tough time.  I went though the loss of my dad to cancer just over two months ago.  It's shit, and we're a tight family.

    Wilkie's right - sort your dad out, and then deal with the family later when things have settled and the grief has lifted a little.  If necessary, step in and tell your brother to sort his shit out until, at least, the funeral is over and your dad is learning to cope.  Explain that the tone of the email while, perhaps, unintentionally inconsiderate and hurtful, was received that way.

    At the moment things are hard for all of us, but my priority is to ensure that my mum is coping.  If I fall out with my brothers or in-laws while I'm doing that, so be it.  I'll deal with that later.

  • I think you should have a word with your brother, expalain the situation. Because your dad is in no fit state to talk and neither is your sister in law. Just be honest with him and say what you think needs doing. It's your dad at the moment that needs the support and she doesn't really. No point in reasoning with your dad at this time so that leaves your brother. He needs to know your dad needs your support at this moment and his wishes should be respected. Have a quiet word with him.

    Its a bloody difficult time and anything can be blown out of proportion quite easily. You are doing the right thing and it seems as though you are taking a lot on your shoulders. It's your family dealing with this and she needs to know that. She also needs to know that your dad is doing his best too.

    I hope it all sorts itself out. Try not to worry about it too much and just be there for your dad

  • I would just support your dad for now and not try and be the middle referee...........

    It might be that your father has wanted to speak his mind about his daughter in law for years but your mother has made him keep quiet.without her guiding hand and in pain he is getting years of frustration out...

    I take it your father asked your brother to arrange the wake.........and so i take it that its not the fact that they are asking for the money that has upset him but the way that it was asked........maybe if arranges the wake himnself it will give him something to do and to occupy his thoughts instead of dwelling on them.....he could be feeling that everyone has taken everything of his hands and he is left without being in charge


    just keep as quiet about all parties as you can whilst connuing to support your dad and then wait for time to try and sort things out

  • Funerals are a bad time and people react differently, your loyalties are with a bereaved parent, but arguments can break out when emotions run high, don't let it ruin things and allow a little bit of leeway for what is a bad time 

  • Your Dad is the one who needs most support now. Bite your tongue.

    Be the oil on the troubled waters - by maintaining your own calm and being civil with everyone. Not easy.

    Meanwhile come and character assassinate the bitch anonymously on the internet.


    I have a feud already ongoing with my brother, haven't seen him for 12 months, don't particularly want to see him ever again... but will be interesting when the old chap shuffles off the mortal coil which could be any time in the next few years.

  • Be there for your sister in law. You don't want to lose touch with her and her family. Life's too short. You're Dad will be fine.

  • bol saucebol sauce ✭✭✭

    Maybe they're strapped for cash, as you say they've got 2 youngsters, and this could just be pushing their finances a bit too much, causing her to be so abrupt with your dad? Maybe your brother didn't want to have to deal with this issue himself so that's why she stepped in?

  • If your brother is contributing to the wake, unless he is arranging something extreme, shouldn't you be offering to go halves?  Or have you already agreed to go halves on the whole funeral?  Ultimately you will both get it back through the inheritance




  • Sussex Runner (NLR) wrote (see)

    Be there for your sister in law. You don't want to lose touch with her and her family. Life's too short. You're Dad will be fine.

    Why? She's the one that's caused the rift.

    I agree with the others - your dad comes first, the others will sort themselves out in time.

    This sort of thing makes me glad I'm an only child, there'll be no feuding when my parents shuffle off this mortal coil.

  • It takes two to cause a rift. I think she should sit next to the sister in law at the funeral. You have to think of the future and keep the peace or she may never see the children again. 

  • Could I reverse it - your Dad's lost his wife - but you've lost your Mum!!  You deserve as much support as he does.  Why is he not offering you and your brother support in your own particular loss?  I know grief can make you selfish, but I think should take responsibility for the arrangements as a way of honouring your Mother's memory.  If he is not able to do this then don't feel so guilty.  Sorry to come across as a bit hard and ((()))) for your loss.

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    Support your dad as others have said.

    Stand by him, help him the best you can. Get through it then after it's over start to rebuild everything else, but your dad appears to need you now, maybe to make some decisions that he cannot in his grief. Stand up and be a shoulder for him to lean on, then worry about the other things, but be there first for your dad. I know it's hard, but you do the best you can. That's it. You can't work miracles but you can be there to help the best you can even if that includes having to bite your tongue a few times. 

  • thanks all for the kind responses and advice. image

    It is a difficult time. I feel compassion for both my dad who has lost his wife and lost his parents at a young age, and for my sister in law who's father passed away 3 years ago. I don't want to fall out with either of them so am trying to remain level headed and neutral. My dad over-reacted a bit to her rantings and told me he never wanted anything to do with her ever again. I think he was just hurt and in a moment of grief and anger said that to me.

    I decided to do 2 things this evening and feel better for it - met a good friend for a nice coffee and chat. I also spoke to my Uncle (my mum's brother) and had a good chat to him on the phone - he is very level headed and calm and it really helped just talking to someone. Whoever mentioned have I had the support I need is quite right - I've been rallying around my family but no-one has really bothered about how I feel. I was very close to my mum - even though we lived 200 miles apart & it hurt a lot.

    i'll leave the phonecalls to my brother and dad until tomorrow! I did have a long chat with my brother yesterday but he couldn't talk long as he was at work and needed to get to a meeting. He hasn't replied to any of my texts or emails today.

    i'd paid for the flowers and covered the costs of accomodation and travel expenses for family who would otherwise not be able to come to the funeral so it was up to my brother to organise the wake with my grandfather....anyway it turns out neither my brother or Dad had told my sister-in-law about this so no wonder she thought I was a tight old cow!!

    Thanks all....will sleep on this and tomorrow is another day.

    Good night

  • My wifes Family have had a fued which lasted over 15 years (Over Money what a shock) they accused my Mother in Law of all sorts,which she kept a dignified silence

    Well her Mother who she diligenty visited every week but the other side turned up rarely, died recently.The Funeral was planned with input from the other side and a sticking point came up over the song to be played during the crematorium service

    Well her favourite song was "sex on the beach" her beloved husband who died several years previously and herself used to go out to a local social club and the DJ played it for them both every saturday night image

    Well the other side thought this was in bad taste and objected to this being played at a funeral (by the way they didn't know what her favourite song was) my Mother in Law maintained her silence and aknowledged their objections and said no more about it

    The day of the service arrived and everything the other side had suggested and agreed to was put into place and in all honestly everything went well ...until the coffin made its journey into the crematoriumd furnace

    "I want to have sex on the beach" rung out even the preist had a smile on his face image...lets say they didn't look to pleased ..image

     I can't offer any advice just a story that in the end, its about the person who passed on what they were as a person and you as a Family and the life you have led together ..hope everything goes well on the day

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    ((Life's too short)). I think remaining calm is a great option and I hope everything works out well.

    There's always two sides to every story so let's hope any misunderstandings are resolved quickly.

  • Hope you are feeling better today LTS.

  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭

    as they say, you can choose your friends but not your family - hope you get it resolved

    family disputes are horrible when deaths are involved.  my wife had a major dispute with her sister following their father's death (mum had died some time before) as her sister had been cut out of the will at the last minute over some unkind words she'd said to their father before he died.  originally she was going to contest the will but backed off in the end - this issue was being driven by her money grabbing husband who we have never liked for many reasons.

    time passed with no subsequent contact between the sisters - no big deal as they'd never been close - and then the eventual drying up of Xmas cards from her.  again we didn't think this was a deal.  (why are Xmas cards the last bonds between people?? - odd - but anyway...)

    some years after, my wife got an e-mail out of the blue from someone her sister had been at school with, sending condolences on her sister's death and that "she'd only just heard the news".   with my wife now in a state of shock as this was the frst we'd heard we resorted to scouring the internet for info.

    it turns out that her sister had died 8 YEARS ago and her husband and kids had not had the decent courtesy to tell my wife of this fact at any time. now, in our minds, even if you are not getting on, or even talking to, siblings/family relatives you would NOT withhold this information from them, but yep, the money grabbing twat of a husband and family did on this occasion.  words cannot describe the disgust we have for them for that act of unkindness.

    my wife did have some e-mail contact with her sister's son to establish a few facts of the death, but despite him saying he'd be back in touch to explain more, he hasn't.  

    that was over 5 years ago now and we've moved on but it's left a very sad and bitter taste in our mouths


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