It’s a question many people face when they have fallen out with a parent; should they go to the funeral of a parent they didn’t like?
The first thing you will probably think about will be the rest of the family. You will be damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Ultimately, the decision has to be yours and you have to stay strong-minded. Whatever you decide, you may be spoken about behind your back; called a hypocrite if you attend and stone-hearted if you don’t. You have to decide what is right for YOU and stick to your guns.
You have to remember that the person who has died is not going to be at all affected by your decision. Attending the funeral, (or not as the case may be), is going to impact your life in some way and it has nothing to do with other people. This is all about YOU and how you’ll feel and move on after the event.
If you don’t go, you have to understand that other people’s opinions do not matter and that may include a surviving parent.
Are you a hypocrite for attending?
Thinking about why you are attending is the key to this question. If you are going, to say goodbye, then why is that hypocritical? It may be that you attend to support the other parent because you still have a relationship with them. You could also be there to give your shoulder to siblings or other family members who need you and because you feel it is right to do so. Again, if people are calling you a hypocrite; what business is it of theirs? Whether you attend or not is a matter for you and you only. Can you actually be a hypocrite for attending your parents funeral, regardless of whether you got along with them or not? When someone dies, does the past become irrelevant?
One very important point to consider is the future. You have to think about how your decision in the now, the present, is going to affect your future. If you attend, will you regret it as much as if you didn’t attend? Is it easier to regret going to the funeral than to miss the occasion completely and not go? Only you hold the answer.
- Speak to friends and family openly about your feelings.
- Think about why the relationship with your parent was broken.
- What is the right decision for you today? May it lead to future regret?
- Can you handle someone maybe being rude to you on the day?
- If you decide to go, can you take someone to support you?
- Would you feel better slipping in and out of the funeral unnoticed?
A private goodbye
Would you feel just as happy saying your own goodbye in private? Ask yourself if you actually have to attend the funeral ceremony to put matters to rest? There are many ways you could say goodbye, even from your own garden.
Putting aside some time with your own thoughts and having your own event could give you the same closure. You could light a candle or speak to your local religious leader. Maybe have some friends over for a toast, get out old photographs… whatever sets your mind free is the right decision.
If you need to talk through your grief with an expert, take a look in The Hug Directory for further support or contact a charity such as CRUSE. Many of the divorce coaches in the Directory are also able to deal with the feelings of loss and grief and will be able to assist you in making the decision of whether or not to attend the funeral of a parent your didn’t like.