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This doesn't have to do with my children so much as my mom and my deceased stepfather...

Posted by on Aug. 1, 2013 at 11:08 AM
  • 7 Replies

So my mom has clinical depression and she hides it well from everyone. She also has crippling anxiety and it causes terrible procrastination in all areas of her life, causing things to get to crisis level before myself and my brothers find out about it, and then we have to take the fall for her. It's getting frustrating to say the least. 

My stepdad passed away in December. I was there for my mom every step of the way but was stuck between being respectful of her wishes and trying to push and prod her to MAKE decisions. Because they had so little money due to claiming bankruptcy a few years back, she simply had him creamated and had NO visitation for him whatsoever, vowing to have a "memorial celebration" for him at a park somewhere when the weather got nice. Well, I was with her when we picked up the urn from the funeral home, and it was weird having that just be "it". I awaited hearing plans from her on this memorial thing, trying to give her time to grieve,but it is now August and I'm not surprised that I have yet to hear anything. My stepfather deserves SOME kind of goodbye. SOME kind of sendoff. He has relatives on the coast, we live in the midwest. He has friends he worked with for decades prior to his retiring and then his slow decline into dimentia due to a series of small strokes he had in his brain. I'm sure they would ALL have come to the visitiation if my mom had done so, and I encouraged it when it was time to make those plans, but she was very insistent on how she wanted to do things. I know she declined on doing EVERYTHING because of her anxieties, she felt she couldn't make it through. But my stepfather deserves SOMETHING. It's sickeningly tardy now, but I feel I need to step in now and plan his goodbye myself, because my mom sure as hell isn't doing anything. She just put his urn up on a shelf in her apartment surrounded with some of his favorite things, and that's it. So frustrating....

So, anyway, my question is, I have NO idea how to plan a memorial. My mom mentioned maybe to scatter some of his ashes in his favorite park/conservation area... but other than that, what typically happens during a memorial of this sort? Do I hire a pastor to come and bless the ashes and say a few words or something? Do I rent out a room at a local restaurant to gather and talk about him afterwards? Am I even doing the right thing by taking action, or should I just let it be? Any ideas would be appreciated.

by on Aug. 1, 2013 at 11:08 AM
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by Silver Member on Aug. 1, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Maybe you should include your siblings and his family in the decision. Your idea is very different than your Moms.

When my Mom was was years before her ashes were sprinkled somewhere. She was gone, the ashes were just ashes. In fact, they were kept in my sisters closet until then.

by on Aug. 1, 2013 at 2:27 PM

I'm sorry for all that you and your family have gone through, especially in the past few months...that sounds difficult. Honestly, I'm not sure of what all is entailed in doing a memorial service, but I think it's great to see how much you care for your stepdad and his loved ones!

by on Aug. 1, 2013 at 2:29 PM
have you spoken with any of his relatives to see what they would like to have done? does he have any siblings or parents or are they all distant relatives? they should probably be involved in the planning process somehow.
by Amy on Aug. 1, 2013 at 7:53 PM

My thoughts are that you talk with your siblings (are any of them his children biologically?) and your mom.  You especially need to talk with your mom and make sure she's ok with you planning some sort of memorial for your stepdad.

Honestly, memorials that I've been to have been done all number of ways.  When my cousin passed away as much of the family as could gathered together at my dad's house for a big dinner and fellowship to celebrate his life.  Later his parents and sister scattered his ashes, mixed with those of his beloved dog who had preceeded him.  When one of my mom's brother's passed away a few years ago, we didn't have a memorial, but several of my cousins and my mom & I got together to scatter his ashes on a hill above his home.  Other family members have had burials and gatherings of family and friends after a full out funeral. 

I honestly think that it doesn't matter if there is a full on gathering, as long as the loved one is remembered by each individual in their own way.

by Member on Aug. 1, 2013 at 11:52 PM

I like and agree with what all of the members before me suggested. O.P., I also liked your idea of talking to a pastor. Do you or your father have a church home? When my father passed away in 2008, my church family was very helpful. I am sorry for your loss.

by on Aug. 2, 2013 at 8:44 AM
When my grandmother passed away last year, family was scattered around the world. We all live in different countries. So we gathered together geographically as best as we could in small bunches and held small memorials on our own. We needed closure so we didn't skip this step, but we did our own, at homes or in parks. A memorial is just that - getting together and honoring the memory of that person. Afterwards, we shared via email how we'd celebrated her life. Then perhaps you and your mom can do something local - scatter some ashes, have a special home-cooked meal with his favorite dishes with his favorite music playing in the background, and just talk about some of your favorite memories of him. I don't think he would have wanted his death and subsequent memorial to have made your mom anxious or uncomfortable.
You can certainly circulate via emails or phone calls to try and get everyone to hold their memorials on the same afternoon/evening so you know everyone is coming together at the same time to celebrate him.
Good luck and I'm sorry for your loss.
by on Aug. 3, 2013 at 5:19 PM

I have no experience with any of this.  My Granddaddy was cremated back in 1994 and my Grandmommy still has his ashes in an urn. 

Do whatever you feel is right.  *hugs* to you.

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