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Telling the "truth" at the funeral

ErikSpokane

New Here
My father is now in hospice care and is expected not to live much longer. Both of my parents were abusers as narcissists, I can't count the number of times they are suddenly speaking with me and something happens where they no longer speak to me for years. Eventually, I decided not to speak with them, instead of speaking with them only for it to end due to some perceived slight I did to them, but they never told me about.

I know both of my parents had really shitty childhoods in the 50's. My father grow up with an alcoholic single mother. My mom grew up with a raging narcissist father and a passive mother, who was kind to me, but never stood up for any of her own kids against her husband.

Growing up in the 70's and 80's most kids were left to run "wild" on the weekends and after school. My two brothers and myself didn't want to be home around them and their up and down moods, so we tried to be out of the house as much as possible.

I have tried to excuse their behavior given their parents and how they were raised, as if they couldn't have known better. My wife points out to me that I didn't treat my daughter the way they treated me. I told her in ever situation with my daughter, I would ask what would my mother do and decide to do the exact opposite, because I knew that would be right. So I apologize to my daughter if I was rude or did something wrong to her, since I wanted her to grow up to be a woman who will marry someone who will apologize to her too. I knew I was being abused and I made sure not to repeat that abuse to my own daughter.

My mom passed years ago and I choose not to go to the funeral. My dad will pass soon. My therapist says it's important I go, not for my father, but for my siblings so that we can talk about what happened to us. It's the funeral that bothers me. People are expecting me, as the oldest child, to give remarks about my father. There are good sides to him but there are many, many bad selfish sides to him. Most of my relatives believe in the church stuff where as long as you accept Christ as your savior you will go to heaven, even if you are a self-ish prick to your kids. If I tell them the truth, they will be shocked.

So at his own funeral, do I only tell the pleasant things about my father or should I go into how abusive he really was and how destructive that has been on his three kids.

Thoughts?
 
Do you want to speak at his funeral?
do you even want to go?

I’m hearing that your therapist thinks it’s important you go, and I’m hearing there is an expectation on you. but, none of that matters because all that matters is what you want to do for you.

if you want to speak at his funeral, what do you want to say?

if you’re thinking about obligation and that being the driving factor, then you’re prob obliged to only talk about the positives. People are there to mourn and it’s a humdinger if they are hearing about a side of someone they are grieving that they haven’t heard about before.

I think you should do whatever works for you.
 
What @Movingforward10 said.

***

I generally refuse to go to funerals, with VERY few exceptions, I simply “can’t”. The last one I was supposed to attend was my oldest/best friends father’s. Whom I LOVED, deeply & profoundly, and still think on often / am still shaped by his role in my life. I made it to the street above it, and watched from the roof of my car, bawled, collapsed on my knees on the street, and went home. I couldn’t get TO it. I tried. I tried so damn hard. Hell, technically it wasn’t even my car, I’d stolen it to be able to get there. I reeeeeeally tried. But just couldn’t do it.

I lost 1 of my 2 most valued relationships that day. (Herself, and my kid). Because she needed me, and I couldn’t be there, for her. A few days prior, in the middle of the night? I was there. I’m good at emergencies. Ditto the next few days, 24/7 on call. No worries. I’m here. But? I’m SHIT public displays of grief. I left the bags of… toys? Bubbles, chocolates, etc…. That I’d gotten for her/kids on the doorknob to her condo on my way home. It made sense in our relationship for me to bring those things TO the funeral, although since I didn’t/couldn’t attend she may very well have thrown them at a wall &/or lit them on fire. I don’t know. As it been years, now, and I’ve still not spoken to her. 25 years of friendship… gone… because I couldn’t pull my shit together. In one of those moments where you put up or shut up.

Previous funerals I’ve ACTUALLY attended? Have ranged from the someone pissing on the grave in full view of everyone attending, as well as after/in private; the coffin being lit on fire; and someone being killed for speaking badly of someone everyone else loved… on the negative side of things… as well as state funerals, where you don’t “gift” your emotions to your enemies, those are saved for people you actually love/care for; less formal far more emotional, and hundreds of people having a seeeerious party, and wailing women rending their clothes, pulling out hair hair, blinding themselves in pain and grief.

THESE days? The only funerals I attend are the death of a child. Full stop.

As a parent whose kid was in hospital for a couple years? I’ve attended a lot of those. And they are… bizarrely… okay. Because a child’s death means that the funeral is ONLY for the living, and there is NOTHING complicated about it.

Adult funerals? Are ALSO only for the living, but are complicated as hell. Because people are complicated.

I MIGHT attend my ex-MIL’s funeral. To set her coffin on fire. But? I might/probably would be pretty far back in line to do so. Not joking. Truly evil bitch, who deserves to die screaming. Also on my “nothing left to lose” kill list. (She’s been selling children to pedophiles for decades. The cops/courts all know, as she trades a few months in a psych ward (avoiding jail time) for her johns list. EVIL f*cking woman).

Do what’s right for YOU.

Attend. Don’t attend. Speak. Don’t speak. Speak well. Speak badly. Funerals are for the living. You’re alive. He won’t be.
 
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Do you want to speak at his funeral?
do you even want to go?

I’m hearing that your therapist thinks it’s important you go, and I’m hearing there is an expectation on you. but, none of that matters because all that matters is what you want to do for you.

if you want to speak at his funeral, what do you want to say?

if you’re thinking about obligation and that being the driving factor, then you’re prob obliged to only talk about the positives. People are there to mourn and it’s a humdinger if they are hearing about a side of someone they are grieving that they haven’t heard about before.

I think you should do whatever works for you
What @Movingforward10 said.

***

I generally refuse to go to funerals, with VERY few exceptions, I simply “can’t”. The last one I was supposed to attend was my oldest/best friends father’s. Whom I LOVED, deeply & profoundly, and still think on often / am still shaped by his role in my life. I made it to the street above it, and watched from the roof of my car, bawled, collapsed on my knees on the street, and went home. I couldn’t get TO it. I tried. I tried so damn hard. Hell, technically it wasn’t even my car, I’d stolen it to be able to get there. I reeeeeeally tried. But just couldn’t do it.

I lost 1 of my 2 most valued relationships that day. (Herself, and my kid). Because she needed me, and I couldn’t be there, for her. A few days prior, in the middle of the night? I was there. I’m good at emergencies. Ditto the next few days, 24/7 on call. No worries. I’m here. But? I’m SHIT public displays of grief. I left the bags of… toys? Bubbles, chocolates, etc…. That I’d gotten for her/kids on the doorknob to her condo on my way home. It made sense in our relationship for me to bring those things TO the funeral, although since I didn’t/couldn’t attend she may very well have thrown them at a wall &/or lit them on fire. I don’t know. As it been years, now, and I’ve still not spoken to her. 25 years of friendship… gone… because I couldn’t pull my shit together. In one of those moments where you put up or shut up.

Previous funerals I’ve ACTUALLY attended? Have ranged from the someone pissing on the grave in full view of everyone attending, as well as after/in private; the coffin being lit on fire; and someone being killed for speaking badly of someone everyone else loved… on the negative side of things… as well as state funerals, where you don’t “gift” your emotions to your enemies, those are saved for people you actually love/care for; less formal far more emotional, and hundreds of people having a seeeerious party, and wailing women rending their clothes, pulling out hair hair, blinding themselves in pain and grief.

THESE days? The only funerals I attend are the death of a child. Full stop.

As a parent whose kid was in hospital for a couple years? I’ve attended a lot of those. And they are… bizarrely… okay. Because a child’s death means that the funeral is ONLY for the living, and there is NOTHING complicated about it.

Adult funerals? Are ALSO only for the living, but are complicated as hell. Because people are complicated.

I MIGHT attend my ex-MIL’s funeral. To set her coffin on fire. But? I might/probably would be pretty far back in line to do so. Not joking. Truly evil bitch, who deserves to die screaming. Also on my “nothing left to lose” kill list. (She’s been selling children to pedophiles for decades. The cops/courts all know, as she trades a few months in a psych ward (avoiding jail time) for her johns list. EVIL f*cking woman).

Do what’s right for YOU.

Attend. Don’t attend. Speak. Don’t speak. Speak well. Speak badly. Funerals are for the living. You’re alive. He won’t be.
Thank you!
 
My father is now in hospice care and is expected not to live much longer. Both of my parents were abusers as narcissists, I can't count the number of times they are suddenly speaking with me and something happens where they no longer speak to me for years. Eventually, I decided not to speak with them, instead of speaking with them only for it to end due to some perceived slight I did to them, but they never told me about.

I know both of my parents had really shitty childhoods in the 50's. My father grow up with an alcoholic single mother. My mom grew up with a raging narcissist father and a passive mother, who was kind to me, but never stood up for any of her own kids against her husband.

Growing up in the 70's and 80's most kids were left to run "wild" on the weekends and after school. My two brothers and myself didn't want to be home around them and their up and down moods, so we tried to be out of the house as much as possible.

I have tried to excuse their behavior given their parents and how they were raised, as if they couldn't have known better. My wife points out to me that I didn't treat my daughter the way they treated me. I told her in ever situation with my daughter, I would ask what would my mother do and decide to do the exact opposite, because I knew that would be right. So I apologize to my daughter if I was rude or did something wrong to her, since I wanted her to grow up to be a woman who will marry someone who will apologize to her too. I knew I was being abused and I made sure not to repeat that abuse to my own daughter.

My mom passed years ago and I choose not to go to the funeral. My dad will pass soon. My therapist says it's important I go, not for my father, but for my siblings so that we can talk about what happened to us. It's the funeral that bothers me. People are expecting me, as the oldest child, to give remarks about my father. There are good sides to him but there are many, many bad selfish sides to him. Most of my relatives believe in the church stuff where as long as you accept Christ as your savior you will go to heaven, even if you are a self-ish prick to your kids. If I tell them the truth, they will be shocked.

So at his own funeral, do I only tell the pleasant things about my father or should I go into how abusive he really was and how destructive that has been on his three kids.

Thoughts?
I am back in therapy . Not sure your therapist telling you to attend is healthy at all. My mother died in 11/21. What is left of my family were 1900 miles away, My father offered to fly me back I said no. My brother spoke at her funeral. He is the golden child . What I do regret now is the transgenerational passing of trauma toxic family dynamics. I cannot change that now except in me,
 
I can’t imagine it’s helpful or healthy to you to attend a funeral for a man who abused you and hasn’t been in your life.

My dad died recently and I was hesitant to speak but I am glad I did. The difference is that my dad was in my life.

Most therapists don’t advise clients to do something rather they help you make a decision. They should present pros and cons to doing something but if yours is saying you should go, I’d steer clear of that. You shouldn’t be obligated by others to do something. I will say that is much easier said than done but having your own therapist complicate that is less than helpful.
 
Funerals are for the survivors. If you don't want to go, you're not obligated to. Presumably your siblings are adults, which means their emotions are their responsibility, not yours. If they want to hash it out on terms that are more palatable to you, they know where you live. It's not up to you to be everyone's therapist, or to be the glue of your family. You have your own shit to deal with. Protect yourself, first.
 
Most of my relatives believe in the church stuff where as long as you accept Christ as your savior you will go to heaven, even if you are a self-ish prick to your kids.
If that's what they think, they've missed the point. The actual point is, if you've really and truly "accepted Christ" you won't BE a selfish prick to anyone. If you're a selfish prick, it's a sign that you're lying.

Have you talked about this with your siblings? Do you guys even want to HAVE a funeral for him? (No law that says you have to.) If you have a funeral, decide to go, decide to talk....... I'd say you have a perfect right to say whatever you want to. I think I'd be tempted to talk about both the good and the bad, but that's just me. One of the most memorable funeral talks I've ever heard was the funeral of an uncle. He was an alcoholic. A rather mean one. The minister got up and said, "Well, Raymond made his bed, now he's going to have to lay in it." Kind of shocking to the crowd, I think, but I also think the truth went over rather well.
 
For me? Funeral’s aren’t something we do for the dead person, they’re something we do for the people left behind to help them with the grieving process.

If I don’t want to be part of that grieving process, I wouldn’t go.

And when I’ve been asked to speak at funerals, the people I’m speaking to (rather than the person I’m speaking about) is always foremost in my mind.
 
I have both similar and very different ideas than others who have posted. I have never and would never speak at a funeral of someone in the family, so the question of what to say/not to say wouldn't be an issue. But...I don't think it's appropriate to talk shit about anyone who has died, no matter how awful they were. All it does is sow anger and, maybe, shock. The funeral is for the survivors--what if someone you really, really loved died and a family member or friend got up there and revealed they were a murderer or pedophile? Why add to the grief that folks are already feeling? Like someone said, it's not a worry for the dead person, but it could seriously f*ck up those left behind.

I think you have to ask yourself what it would accomplish? And...do you really want to go and talk? If not, don't. It's for YOU to decide, not your family and not society (or your therapist). When my dad died, I opted to go--and I accepted the flag I was given (before passing it on to my brother). Even my sister--who would have nothing to do with him--went. I'm glad I went because it sort of put that part of my life to bed.
 
Okay so, hope you don’t mind my 2 pennies on this. I’m a funeral director so I’ve seen many, many funerals. So I’ll give you that side and then what I think about a couple things specifically you’ve said?

As far as the whole funeral etiquette thing goes…err on the side of caution. For your own sake, for the sake of your existing relationships, for the sake of the staff… It can get ugly real quick because everyone is feeling tense, quick to anger, take things the wrong way. I’ve seen fights start because someone wore the ‘wrong’ colour tie, because such-body-uncles-ex-whoever didn’t shake hands, or pushed in the queue or…whatever. What I’m saying is, it doesn’t take a lot for it to turn to chaos because emotions are high, both good and bad. You have total control in those 5 minutes where you’re speaking. You have none over what happens after. If saying pleasantries or smiling and agreeing that he was wonderful sickens you (as it rightly should), then either stay in the background (you don’t have to speak, that’s what the celebrant/minister is for), or don’t go. As @whiteraven said, it makes naff all difference to him, he’s gone.

My therapist says it's important I go, not for my father, but for my siblings so that we can talk about what happened to us
I’m struggling with this one; are you not in contact with your siblings otherwise? The formal service part is not the time or place. See above. I personally find that very strange advice. It’s a formal half hour up to a couple of hours. The funeral is the societal marking of someone leaving the world. Yes it when people get together, but only for the final goodbye, not for a forensic examination of your experiences at the hands of the deceased.
do I only tell the pleasant things about my father or should I go into how abusive he really was and how destructive that has been on his three kids
Want my honest opinion? Neither. You can’t honestly do the former? So don’t. You can’t do the latter unless you’re truly prepared for the consequences. IMO the only thing you can do is you want to see him formally depart the world. But if you don’t want to, the best protest against someone, the thing that will speak volumes about what kind of a father he was for everyone else there, is to not show up. Because who doesn’t go to their Dad’s funeral? People who’s Dad’s were rubbish. To put it mildly.

Take what you will from what I’ve put, I know I’m being quite forward with my opinion. Whatever you decide to do, I hope when the time comes you find some time to grieve in a way that suits you and is true to the relationship you had/didn’t have.
 
Funerals are for the living but some people still living have certain ideals. If you write it ahead of time maybe pretty it up instead of, he was an abusive prick, say he wasn't the best of fathers. The saying, "don't speak ill of the dead" is a big one in my mind to your situation but then again if your father was well hated it might be appropriate. Think of your audience.

If you want to go to try to reconnect with your siblings, maybe go and then arrange to have dinner privately and talk then.
 
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