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"You let him do WHAT?? That's HORRIBLE!" UPDATE & answers, #101 - Page 6

post #101 of 118
Can we all be gentle with how we talk about this other mom? She was outside a funeral home, and might have been dealing with a loss, and her grief could have colored her reaction. She isn't necessarily freaked out by death in general. Maybe she's just responding to the feelings surrounding a death she's dealing with now.
post #102 of 118
Thread Starter 
Hello, I'm back!

Sorry I haven't responded to you earlier, we've been dealing with more issues with my Mom. Another small stroke. She will be 89 on Monday, Oct. 12. Happy Birthday, Mom!!

I had no idea this post would grow to a thread of such length. I appreciate all your comments (yes, I did read all of them!), both the positive and the negative.

I have further info regarding the friend and your responses.

First off, the friend we saw was NOT going into the funeral home, she was simply parked in front of it (having been, instead, in case you wish to know, renewing her driver's license across the street!). I know this as I just got off the phone with her.

She actually called me to apologise to ds (not to me, but to ds!) for calling me a terrible parent in front of him. He told her not to worry, he understood how she might have been bothered about it. She said, to me, she didn't feel children should have anything to do with death and dying, unless it was to attend a funeral.

I explained we felt differently, especially as ds had been upset that he hadn't been consulted about what his favorite grandfather had been buried in (other than his mess dress military uniform). He had felt left-out of those arrangements and it had made him mad, at the time. When he told me all that, I promised him he could help with any future dealings that were possible. His concern to purchase that particular urn was that it was the one he thought was most like my Mom and he was worried it wouldn't be available when her time, eventually, does come. It is important to HIM. If you knew my Mom, you'd know that her greatest desire is whatever her favorite grandson want is alright with her. They are incredibly close.

She said she still wasn't sure but, whatever. We agreed to disagree and that was that. A lunch date is planned for next week!

WHY would anyone think we'd harm my Mom???? I don't understand that type of thinking!! We've done nothing but care for all our parents as they have aged. We don't need their money. I cannot see how buying an urn would lead to that type of conclusion.

My Mom decided, years ago, her desire to be cremated. My Dad wanted to be buried. It was part of the codicil to their wills, POAs, advanced directives, etc. They both stated their wishes for everything, writing their desire that I make all the arrangements. This was all witnessed and notarized. We'd talked about what they wanted. I am the POA for my Mom (and, executor, when that time comes). I was the same for my Dad.

They clearly stated their wishes: The cheapest casket available, per my Dad, cardboard, if available (it was). Cremation, for Mom (with a pinch of her ashes to be scattered in Hapshetsut's tomb, in Egypt! We will...). Mom wants her ashes to be placed at the foot of the same plot Dad is in (she states she always felt she was "the stable foundation that allowed him to serve his country"). No funerals for either. No flowers. A headstone of my chosing and creation (Dad's is having a crossword puzzle design, Mom's will be Egyptian-themed). The family plot, here in our small town.

So, you see, they did/have made their wishes known. Mom would have chosen an urn, but it's something we never got around to doing with her.


Another poster wrote:

Quote:
I think there's also a decent chance that while you've taken care of this little end-of-life chore, diplomatically presenting the results to your relatives may be more of a chore than you seem to be anticipating.
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...may suddenly find themselves offended when they learn that the choice was made by a child well in advance of your mother's passing.
Well, as NONE of my 3 siblings has had anything to do with Mom OR Dad for many years, their feelings aren't really any of my concern. They have not phoned once, in the year since Dad died, to ask how Mom is doing. So, whether they like the choice of urn, when it was purchased or even where Mom is placed in the plot, is of no interest to me. Had they been involved with our parents' lives, during these last aging years, it would be a different story. They could care less about which urn or when it is purchased. They never asked about Dad's casket, so this is not an issue. Choosing an urn, pre-need, is not offensive, not being involved with your living, aging parents IS.

For those couple of relatives that have been emotionally close (Dad's brother & his wife, and one cousin, both living far away), their concerns are not about the burial arrangements of my parents. They know me, they know my parents and they know how I have been caring for them these past many years.


Quote:
Given his difficulty in understanding your friend's reaction, I think your faith in your son's tact might be a greater than evidence warrants. I'm sure he's perfectly tactful under ordinary circumstances but it sounds like, while he understands that death is an inevitable natural process, he hasn't yet developed empathy for other people's feelings about it. You should definitely talk to him about how this will be approached with his Grandmother and other relatives.
It was her vicious outburst that startled him, not the reasoning behind it. He knows not everyone deals with death the way we do. He realizes not everyone accepts their own mortality (my fil refuses to discuss anything to do with his own, future, passing). He was angry at her nasty reaction to me. We know people that do things we don't agree with, but we have the tact and manners not to attack them for it. It's none of our business.

Not trying to sound snarky but, as you don't know ds, I can assure you he is most empathetic towards the dying and their relatives and friends. He has been around the elderly for many years since my Mom had her first stroke. He saw my Dad going downhill fast and how nice people treated him, how kind they were. He witnessed the care the nurses cared for my mil, when she was dying and the personnel that helped Mom in rehab, after her first stroke. He saw and learned and is one of the most wonderful and empathetic people I know.

He is also practical, like me. There are times when the practical can override the emotional, and now is that time. So, we bought the urn he liked and we bought it pre-need. Done deal.

No, Mom was NOT involved in the choice of the urn. Had we waited until she was gone, she wouldn't have a choice then, either. It makes no difference to her. We are not going to tell her about it. Why should we?

As many feel she should be part of this decision: The main reason not to take her urn shopping is it was at the same funeral home that handled my Dad's arrangements. Mom doesn't remember what she had for lunch or what you said 5 minutes ago, but she does, oddly, remember having met someone before. She would have remembered meeting the nice man at the funeral home (he's also a close friend of ours). We had concerns that it would have triggered the memory of Dad's death (the urn display is in the same room as the casket Dad was buried in), which hit her so hard last year. To remind her of that would be like ripping open a wound. There is just no reason to do so. She still thinks her parents are alive (they would be 117 & 120, were they alive). Why should we cause her pain???

We don't take her to the cemetary either, for the same reason. A part of her has forgotten or buried Dad's death (no pun intended). To remind her of it would not be helpful. Were she of completely sound mind, yes, the grieving process is something that must be traveled. But, as she is not my "old" Mom (with it, cognizant or emotionally stable) it would be cruel to do that to her.

She has had multiple strokes. Her memory is more than just short-term. It IS 2-minute memory. Remember the movie, "Groundhog Day" about the guy that relives the same day, over and over and over? Well, with Mom, it's that way by the quarter hour. And, it has declined from the decade memory day memory to the half-day memory to the hour memory to the minute memory, for the past 5 years. Her mind is back in the 1950's, not in the here and now.

Sorry, I digress............

Anyway, almost all is well with the horrified friend (lunch should be interesting!), Mom's urn sits safely in the garage and we hope it won't be used for many years (a probability, as the women on Mom's side all live to 100+).

Ds adores his grandmother more than anyone else (except, possibly, dh & I ). She was there when he was born and has been incredibly involved in his life ever since. She is the one he tells first, of any event in his life.

When her time comes, as it does for everyone, it will be easier, for him and for all of us, that certain arrangements have been made. That ds is capable and desirous of helping with these is something we respect. If it helps him, there is nothing wrong with it. It works for our family.

I hope this helps with the concerns that many of you have!!


Feel free to keep the comments coming..........
post #103 of 118
Thank you for the update. I've been following your thread. Your and your family's attitude about life and death is so beautiful. Your son is lucky to have such loving and considerate parents.

It's encouraging your friend apologized to him. I hope she comes around and apologizes to you at your lunch with her. Death really brings out strong (and strange) emotions in folks.
post #104 of 118
I think you are an awesome mom and daughter.
post #105 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherry Alive View Post
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It's encouraging your friend apologized to him. I hope she comes around and apologizes to you at your lunch with her.
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post #106 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamsmom98 View Post

WHY would anyone think we'd harm my Mom???? I don't understand that type of thinking!! We've done nothing but care for all our parents as they have aged. We don't need their money. I cannot see how buying an urn would lead to that type of conclusion.
Because, unfortunately, some of us know people who have harmed their parents out of impatience for them to die. I will take your word for it that you are not one of them!

And I'm looking forward to hearing about the lunch. Children shouldn't have anything to do with death except to attend a funeral? What if a child dies, is that child allowed to be involved with death?

Does your friend come from some other culture with extra-strong taboos about being around death, or against cremation, or something like that?
post #107 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
Because, unfortunately, some of us know people who have harmed their parents out of impatience for them to die. I will take your word for it that you are not one of them!
of course some people do but the majority of people dont...for goodness sakes. I am just shaking my head over here at some of the things people say or assume on these forums its like people just want to find something to clash over or mull over unnecessarily. I think even assuming someone would do ill will to another person (esp a loved one) you dont even really know is just bizarre to me. Maybe too many people have overactive imaginations but that is something I never even assumed about the op reading this thread. I am sorry but I am surprised noone said this already or maybe I missed it.
post #108 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamsmom98 View Post


WHY would anyone think we'd harm my Mom???? I don't understand that type of thinking!! We've done nothing but care for all our parents as they have aged. We don't need their money. I cannot see how buying an urn would lead to that type of conclusion.
There are so many horrible things that happen in the world that are done by such nice people that nobody knows what someone will do. When people seem to be gleefully planning for a death during a time of extreme stress it isn't necessarily a good sign. I realize that isn't what you are doing, but I don't think it is an unreasonable conclusion to come to because stress pushes people quite frequently. We have seen many murders in our area caused by stress with the recent economic downturn. It is a sad thing, but if you saw someone joyfully buying an urn for a loved one who was causing them a lot of stress you may also be worried about that person and what they were up to. I know I would see what I could do to help them with the burden because I would fear they were not dealing with the stress well.
post #109 of 118
Wow. It sounds like you and your son have an awesome relationship. You sound like an amazing woman and mother, and daughter.

to you

post #110 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
There are so many horrible things that happen in the world that are done by such nice people that nobody knows what someone will do. When people seem to be gleefully planning for a death during a time of extreme stress it isn't necessarily a good sign. I realize that isn't what you are doing, but I don't think it is an unreasonable conclusion to come to because stress pushes people quite frequently. We have seen many murders in our area caused by stress with the recent economic downturn. It is a sad thing, but if you saw someone joyfully buying an urn for a loved one who was causing them a lot of stress you may also be worried about that person and what they were up to. I know I would see what I could do to help them with the burden because I would fear they were not dealing with the stress well.
umm...that's really odd. The last thing I'd think if I saw a 10 year old boy talking about picking out an urn for his grandmother's ashes is, "wow - his mom is under stress and planning to kill her mom and got her son to pick the urn". I'm not going to be thinking that the 10 year old is happy about choosing an urn because he's in on the murder plot. Just...no.

Also, with respect to the bolded part, I didn't see the OP say anywhere that her mom was causing her a lot of stress, or that the acquaintance would have any reason to believe that. Mind you, the rude outburst in the OP would be very unlikely to ease that stress in any way, even if the acquaintance had jumped to such a bizarre conclusion.
post #111 of 118
I think what you and your son did was awesome. What a beautiful way to talk about and think about and honor the idea of the death of a loved one. I wish I had been raised in a home where such "taboo" topics were discussed so openly.

Peace to you, your son, and especially your mom.
post #112 of 118
Crumbs. now this thread has me wondering if I'd be offended if anyone bought me an urn. And I'm not sure. Let's see... I'd rather be buried than cremated, but that's a preference I'm happy to forgo for the sake of cheapness (on the grounds that, well, I'll be dead). Plus, I've recently been thinking I ought to donate myself to medical science... something that doesn't really appeal, but see above re. dead! Also, I think most urns are tacky... but then, I haven't made a particular study of them. (I'll bet you can buy work-of-art rns on Etsy!) Plus, again... dead!

So in conclusion, I'd probably find it rather odd, but I'd only be offended if it was my mother-in-law who purchased the urn. If it were one of my sisters we'd probably get into a very complex argument about the design of it, and then I'd go "Eh" and forget it. Just like we have long, involved discussions about the music we want at our funerals, and then go "Eh" and forget it.

Side question, and I hope this isn't too macabre, but how big does an urn have to be? I don't believe I've ever been to a funeral where ashes were scattered or anything. Are there, like, cups of ashes, or only a little? Inquiring minds want to know...
post #113 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
but if you saw someone joyfully buying an urn for a loved one who was causing them a lot of stress you may also be worried about that person and what they were up to.
Um, not really. If the person's so far gone as to do something as public as go urn shopping with their kid, I'd expect other signs of impending violence.

Premeditated murder is something most people keep under wraps, y'know?
post #114 of 118
WHERE ARE YOU PEOPLE FROM?? Never in a million years would I think the OP is plotting to kill her mother and getting her son to buy the urn. It is so out of left field it is almost funny!
post #115 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Side question, and I hope this isn't too macabre, but how big does an urn have to be? I don't believe I've ever been to a funeral where ashes were scattered or anything. Are there, like, cups of ashes, or only a little? Inquiring minds want to know...
http://www.funeral-urn.com/ 220 cubic inches. 60 for keepsake.
post #116 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by neverdoingitagain View Post
I think I found my new headstone epitaph. That or "I told you so."
I've always loved Spike Milligan's one: "I told you I was ill."

I'm glad to read an update! I think the friend's reaction was understandable (in my mind), but still rude, and I am glad to hear that she has apologised to him.
post #117 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by homeschoolingmama View Post
WHERE ARE YOU PEOPLE FROM?? Never in a million years would I think the OP is plotting to kill her mother and getting her son to buy the urn. It is so out of left field it is almost funny!
The people I know who have possibly/ probably euthanized their parents, are related to me and live in different parts of the country.
post #118 of 118
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