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"You let him do WHAT?? That's HORRIBLE!" UPDATE & answers, #101 - Page 4

post #61 of 118
I think you did a great job preparing you and your DS for an event that will be sad and stressful. Planning ahead, as you said, will allow you to grieve without the burden of attending to details that could easily have been done beforehand, as you so aptly did.

OP, I don't see why people are speculating about Grandma's input. Clearly this is normal for your family and the issue isn't YOUR actions, but this woman's very rude and strange reaction, not to mention the absolutley inappropriate display she put on in front of your son. Surely folks may get wierded out about death, but they also surely ought to be polite to those who do it differently. (Just to illustrate the point, imagine the flak I'd get if I saw someone feeding a baby a bottle and came right out and said "HOW could you do that to your baby, you awful mother?????". Ok to think somewhere waaaaay on the inside, NOT Ok to verbalize.....there's no way I could ever place myself in another's shoes and fully understand her choices....I could be so wrong, and I'd only serve to make bad feelings. Same thing here.....she may have been upset, but had a duty to conceal that in the interest of common courtesy.)

My mother hasn't really said what she wants besides cremation and a specific hymn at her funeral. I figure at this point, the rest is up to me and I'll plan it the way it makes the most sense for those of us who are left to deal with it. Same with DH if he goes first....his family discusses NOTHING of bigger import than the weather, and I used to be annoyed by this and push him for details 'just in case', but now I see it as less of a burden on me.....I'll just go ahead and do my thing without a laundry-list of wishes from a guest-of-honour who really, really couldn't care less at that point.
post #62 of 118
I think i would be Ok with it if you had bought the urn for yourself or for your DS's ashes for when the day comes, but not for an unsuspecting grandma.
post #63 of 118
I'm with those who say this is strange because Grandma has no input.
I would have thought it was kind of nice if you, your DS and Grandma had gone together. And I love the story of the older woman picking out her own urn--doesn't disturb me at all--but this seems vaguely intrusive/weird. Personally, I could totally see going to pick out my urn, but I wouldn't want my family doing it without me, and I imagine I would probably want to be in a certain place regarding my own death before I went (I'm not there yet!)
post #64 of 118
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Originally Posted by bmcneal View Post
I want my headstone to say "I knew that was going to happen."


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"No, absolutely not, take it back, I wouldn't be caught dead in that thing!" ...by viola
post #65 of 118
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Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
I'm with those who say this is strange because Grandma has no input.
I would have thought it was kind of nice if you, your DS and Grandma had gone together. And I love the story of the older woman picking out her own urn--doesn't disturb me at all--but this seems vaguely intrusive/weird. Personally, I could totally see going to pick out my urn, but I wouldn't want my family doing it without me, and I imagine I would probably want to be in a certain place regarding my own death before I went (I'm not there yet!)
I don't think you read the whole thread...twice now it has been mentioned that grandma has had some strokes and is not mentally or physically able to be out and about urn shopping...
post #66 of 118
I sort of agree with those who think it was understandable that the acquaintance responded the way she did. Sure, she was rude about it, but I can see why it might have upset her.

About seven years ago, my ex's uncle died suddenly. He was young, healthy, and active, so it was even more horrific. Anyway, he was cremated, and his wife and kids intended to scatter his ashes in their backyard. After the service, they asked everyone to grab handfuls of the ashes and scatter them about. I was kind of grossed out by this, to be honest, and I'm not a squeamish person by nature. But I bit my tongue and did it.

My SIL's kids, who were really too little to understand what was going on, were grabbing handfuls of ashes and throwing them everywhere like it was a game. Several of the older people were upset and offended by this...not blaming the kids, but just bothered by the whole situation. Everyone handles death differently.

ETA: Most of the people in my family are not sentimental about death. To us, an urn is just a container...so nobody would care whether it was picked out beforehand or what it looked like. I'd be happy with a cardboard box or a Ziploc. Once again, people have different ideas about death. The idea of someone revering my ashes on a mantelpiece is sort of repulsive to me.
post #67 of 118
I can understand your friend being weirded out because of whatever issues she has about death, but her reaction was rude and inappropriate. I think she owes you an apology, but I wouldn't EXPECT one and would continue to be friendly to her when you get the chance.

However, I think it would have been wise to explain to your son that "her problem" is a horror of the whole concept of death, which is very common in our society and is something we need to respect in others. On that note, instead of trying to explain to your friend "that there was no reason he couldn't choose it," I think it would have been more helpful to explain that making arrangements for your dad at the time of his death was distressing, so you'd decided to choose your mom's urn in advance because it would be so upsetting if after she passed you learned that the perfect urn was no longer available. She might still not have listened to you, but at least you wouldn't have sounded like you were arguing and might have triggered some sympathy regarding your dad.
post #68 of 118
I would probably try calling the woman in a few days and explaining. No, you don't owe it to her, but it may help smooth over the situation and could be helpful to her. If she was going into the funeral home, isn't it likely she was dealing with a loss (especially if she was recently back in town after a long absence - maybe that's why she's back?)? I don't think laughing about it with your son is useful in helping him understand how various cultures process death (which you said you did). For many people in the US, death is serious and taboo, and that's as worthy of discussion as any ancient burial rites.
post #69 of 118
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Originally Posted by HappilyEvrAfter View Post
My son and I talk about what kind of headstone we'd like frequently.
I have also told my dp and my sister - and possibly mentioned to my kids when we were at the cemetery visiting my parents' graves - that I want the same shape headstone that my parents have. I recently discovered a song that I'd like played at my funeral - and told both my dp and my sister. I see nothing wrong with it. But it is MY wishes about MY funeral. I think that is the difference.

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Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
I personally wouldn't have purchased the urn when its intended occupant is still breathing.
This.

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Originally Posted by mommy2maya View Post
I think it is kind of weird to be picking out LIVE grandma's urn unless it was WITH her. I mean, really, what do you do, call grandma up and say, hey grandma, I just bought you a really cool gift, picked it out myself, oh, yup, it's an URN for your ashes when you die.

Our family is not strange about death, we aren't AFRAID of death, we all realize that DEATH comes at the end of life, but at the same time, we aren't going on shopping trips for urns.
I agree. It seems disrespectful to be excited about buying an urn for a living person.

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Originally Posted by meemee View Post
its one thing to be open about death. its a whole different story to be buying an urn for a living person. i find her reaction perfectly normal. i wonder if she interpreted that as you guys cant wait for mother to die, or you dont care - you just want to get it over with.
of course she should not have been so rude in front of your son. but i can totally understand why she was.

i absolutely did not find this encounter funny. sad perhaps. miscommunication. but definitely not funny.
Same here.

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Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I DO find it unusual to buy an urn for a living relative without that relative's involvement (be it with your son or without). The whole things just doesn't sit well with me. If the point is to be accepting of death and open about it, then I think you HAVE to involve the person whose death you are discussing. IF you have a reason good enough not to discuss it with that person, then you should wait until they are dead to buy something like that. Sorry! I don't think it's cool and wonderful in this particular case. Without your grandmother having a part in this shopping trip, it doesn't seem all that great. Not something I would want my kids to do behind my back "for when the time comes". I'd appreciate them asking my opinion or actually waiting for me die first.
Thank you! The whole thing would have been ok if it had been directed by gramma. Without her input (which I understand isn't readily available due to the strokes), it is... well, wrong IMO.

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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
I give it 20 days before you find out the acq. has been telling people your son predicted your mother's death. She'll change the story like that because no one else will freak out enough over the real story.
I disagree. I think the actual story is enough to freak many people out. I think so, and I have taken my kids to my parents' graves since they were babies. We have pictures of them standing next to the headstones.

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Originally Posted by TropicalGirl View Post
I think i would be Ok with it if you had bought then urn for yourself or for your DS's ashes when the day comes, but not for an unsuspecting grandma.
Exactly. Someone who had either ASKED you to do this or was involved in doing it.

My uncle went to the funeral home to make arrangements for his mother, my gramma - before she was dead. She was a day or two away. To me, it was SO disrespectful! Spend that time with her - there is only a bit of time you have left. The high majority of people don't pre-plan their funerals. The entire industry works on having a week or less notice from death to service.

Off the OP's topic but related - Costco sells coffins. True. And if you have room to store it, and if you are buying it for YOURSELF, I think it is fine.
post #70 of 118
There does seem to be an impression that discomfort with the scenario involved = discomfort with funeral planning, with death, etc. And I'm really not sure where anyone who has that impression is getting it from. It's kind of like this: my mom once asked my grandmother if she could have a particular piece of my grandmother's furniture after she passed. And my grandmother was seriously affronted. Now, my grandmother was not at all the type of person who preferred to pretend death doesn't happen or that it's the subject that shall not be named. But she was offended by the impression that someone was just waiting for her to die to snag her end tables. And I can definitely see how handling funeral planning about the same as one would handle planning a surprise party -- particularly for someone who has suffered a dehabilitating medical condition -- could give the same impression.
post #71 of 118
I'm kind of surprised at the number of comments about "unsuspecting grandma" and grandma's lack of input. Grandma's husband has died. She's obviously not a young, healthy woman (yes - any of us could die at any moment, but it's very common for young people to overlook that). If she hasn't chosen to make these arrangements on her own, why do people assume she even cares? Honestly, if I were going to cremated, and had any concerns about what kind or urn my ashes would go into, I'd have made that clear to my family already. If it were a huge deal, I'd have already bought the urn.

I'd have no problem whatsoever with ds1 or my grandchildren (I hope to have lots) making their plans for my funeral. I'm going to be dead. They're going to be grieving. I remember what it felt like to sit in the funeral home and pick out an urn for Aaron, crying my heart out in front of a stranger, when I wanted to be at home on my couch. If my children/grandchildren choose to avoid that part of the process for themselves, more power to them. I don't care what the urn looks like, because I'm not going to be looking at it.

That said, I think I want a green burial, anyway. Embalming kind of creeps me out, and I've heard bad things about the level of air pollution from crematoriums.

ETA: I also agree with those that said that the OP's acquaintance did seem to be more upset about the fact that a child was involved than with the fact that the urn was picked out ahead of time.
post #72 of 118
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I don't think you read the whole thread...twice now it has been mentioned that grandma has had some strokes and is not mentally or physically able to be out and about urn shopping...
I did read the whole thread, actually, but I didn't write my reply clearly. IF Grandma were capbale and interested, I think going together would be sort of cool, but since she isn't, I do find it a little strange.

Here's what I think: if someone is horrified by the very idea of a person discussing preferences for what happens after their death, that person, yes, is maybe a little uncomfortable with death and freaked out by the taboos. But if someone is disturbed by someone else preplanning the aesthetic details for the death of a relative who is still alive, that person may instead just find that sort of cold or detached or odd.

I do agree that her reaction was rude, though.
post #73 of 118
The thing about the unsuspecting grandma is that it appears the OP used her future death as a cool project to teach her son about death and stuff, If the kid liked the urn so much he should have bought it for himself, after all we all die and maybe grandma will outlive them all.

Personally I couldn't care less what they do with my remains, they can flush me down the toilet for all I care, but if someone was buying an urn form me while I am alive and kicking I don't think i would like it, no matter how much my relative loved me. And the fact that grandma is not completely there donesn't make it any better for me.
post #74 of 118
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post
as they passed she held their hands. immediately after the death as we got involved with paperwork adn phonecalls she sat next to her gparents crying silently and reading them books. she joined me in washing them and putting clothes on them. she made them goodbye cards that their spirit could read and gathered flowers to put on their body bag.
That is so very sweet, it brought tears to my eyes.
post #75 of 118
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Originally Posted by TropicalGirl View Post
The thing about the unsuspecting grandma is that it appears the OP used her future death as a cool project to teach her son about death and stuff,
I'm curious as to what gave you that impression, because I just went back and re-read the OP, and still don't get that at all. Is it just because she used the word "cool"?

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Personally I couldn't care less what they do with my remains, they can flush me down the toilet for all I care, but if someone was buying an urn form me while I am alive and kicking I don't think i would like it, no matter how much my relative loved me. And the fact that grandma is not completely there donesn't make it any better for me.
Can you explain why? I honestly don't understand this thinking. I'd rather my relatives deal with things when they're calm than be suckered into spending a bunch of unnecessary money while in the emotionally tangled mess that is the early grieving period. I mean - I tend to assume that if anybody cares that much about what's done with their remains, they'll address that themselves. If they're leaving it to me to deal with, then I can't understand why they'd get bent about me dealing with it.

I guess I'm just not understanding the mindset here. It seems that several posters on this thread think the only appropriate way to handle death is to deal with the practical side of it while still reeling under the emotional side. I'll end up doing that, because I'm not organized enough to make arrangements for mom and dad ahead of time...but I don't see any advantage to it, for them or for me.
post #76 of 118
Well then why just stop on getting the urn for grandma, since we could all potentially die lets get an urn for every member of the family, that way the rest of the family can avoid go urn shopping in a time of grief.
post #77 of 118
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I
Can you explain why? I honestly don't understand this thinking. I'd rather my relatives deal with things when they're calm than be suckered into spending a bunch of unnecessary money while in the emotionally tangled mess that is the early grieving period. I mean - I tend to assume that if anybody cares that much about what's done with their remains, they'll address that themselves. If they're leaving it to me to deal with, then I can't understand why they'd get bent about me dealing with it.

I guess I'm just not understanding the mindset here. It seems that several posters on this thread think the only appropriate way to handle death is to deal with the practical side of it while still reeling under the emotional side. I'll end up doing that, because I'm not organized enough to make arrangements for mom and dad ahead of time...but I don't see any advantage to it, for them or for me.

Yeah, I agree with this, especially the bold parts.
post #78 of 118
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Can you explain why? I honestly don't understand this thinking.
To be honest I don't think it's particularly relevant that you or any one individual understands why so much as it is relevant that everyone understands that it is a plausible and commonplace feeling about the subject -- that personally not caring can not just be hoisted off as an expectation upon the broader population.

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It seems that several posters on this thread think the only appropriate way to handle death is to deal with the practical side of it while still reeling under the emotional side.
I don't think anyone has said advanced funeral planning is a bad idea. Rather simply that the feelings of the person for whom arrangements are being made should be the primary consideration, at minimum insofar as they are still living. In this case that the woman in question would "forget all about it two minutes later" or some such remark does not give the impression that in those two minutes she'd be nearly so tickled as those doing the planning seem to be.
post #79 of 118
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Originally Posted by TropicalGirl View Post
Well then why just stop on getting the urn for grandma, since we could all potentially die lets get an urn for every member of the family, that way the rest of the family can avoid go urn shopping in a time of grief.
I'm sure some families do that!
post #80 of 118
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Originally Posted by grahamsmom98 View Post
We'd already purchased multiple plots several years ago (when mil died), so that part was already taken care of.
I think it's interesting that a lot of families buy plots in advance, but it seems to be taboo to buy the receptacle that will hold the dead body, in whatever form, ahead of time. So it's okay to buy the hole in the ground that your relative's remains will one day go in but not that which will contain the remains? Maybe I'm derailing the thread some with this, but I feel it's relevant given how offended and weirded out some people are about this. If the grandma doesn't have any issue with the plot of land with her name on it then she probably won't care about the urn, either.
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