2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appIn the last year of her life, my elderly great-aunt became totally disabled. She always insisted on remaining at home and being taken care of by her only child: a son, my cousin-once-removed, now in his early 40s. And that is what happened. Regrettably, as she knew only too well, this son had been struggling with drugs for over a decade, and the care he gave her was haphazard at best. She died before dawn on Christmas Eve.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThis son has a 24-year-old son of his own: my second cousin. He is the one having to both plan and bear the cost of his grandmother’s funeral. Growing up, he scarcely saw his father; as an adult he is furious with him because of his drug habit and the poor care he took of my great-aunt.
He, along with most of our family, does not want his father present at the funeral; but I knew my great-aunt well, and I know she would have completely abhorred the thought of her only child not being present. I know that every time I very gingerly criticised her son for his neglect, his mother would rush to his defence, and say he did the best he could and ought not be blamed, walk a mile in his shoes and so on.
Should the wishes of the family planning the funeral take precedence, even if they directly conflict with the wishes of my great-aunt? Most of my family have their minds made up, and indeed have been posting very harsh criticisms of my cousin-once-removed on social media.
Bryony, via email
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appYour cousin has an illness – drug addiction. You say he has been “struggling” with it for years, which implies he has made efforts to overcome his dependence, but failed.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appOf course the fallout has affected everyone in his orbit – his invalid mother, his son, and the wider family; and your collective anger and frustration with this man is completely understandable. But you should strive to keep it in check, because it is pure negative energy and can only be destructive.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appIt would be a harsh punishment indeed to deny him access to his own mother’s funeral, however unreliable a son he may have been. What harm can it do anyone if he is there to pay his respects? If every child who failed their parents were to be barred from their funerals, there would be no one to carry the coffin, as the old north-country saying goes.
My advice is to try to pour oil on troubled waters by speaking to the family, and especially his son. urging them to rethink their harsh views and remember your great-aunt’s wishes. I promise they’ll feel better for it. Do the right thing.