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Bereavement Protocol

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Hey Scoobies,
I'm just seeking advice.
John's father died yesterday, aged 93, after a brief illness. John went out to be with his mother and brother, but not before he went to get a haircut and shave! On his mother's insistence. I didn't accompany him but will be going out in the morning.
My relationship with his mother has, until recently, been extremely fraught because she took a dislike to me. Now she isn't so bad, but I'm not sure what to do.
I said I would go out in the morning but don't even know what to wear. It's Sunday so I can't afford to bring flowers.
Any thoughts?
#1 - September 22, 2018, 07:17 AM

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Every family and culture has its own expectations, so my suggestions may not be helpful at all, but here are my thoughts. There is often a lot of work to be done before a funeral - arrangements, cleaning, preparing food and clothes, etc. - so I would wear comfortable clothes. For the funeral, I would wear something respectful and subdued. It doesn't have to be black.

Even though relations have been strained with your mother-in-law, you are still family. You don't need to bring flowers if that isn't an option. If you feel like you need to bring something, food is always welcome at times like these. Maybe some of your wonderful chocolates, if you have some on hand. Mostly, you are there to lend emotional and physical support. Watch for chances to be helpful and do what you can.

Also, people grieve in different ways. Your mother-in-law could be more difficult than normal or more complacent. Either would be normal. It could be a few days of rolling-with-the-punches. Sending cyber {{{hugs}}}.
#2 - September 22, 2018, 09:12 AM

Thank you, Pons.
I decided to go out tomorrow morning to John's Mum's.
Then my mum rang, just as I got home. She knows I'm short of money & has bought me me some appropriate clothing for the funeral. I'll be calling to her house first.  Thankfully mum's the sort who believes that whatever the relationship bereavement is never the time to bear a grudge & will drive me to the house. I'm not with John now & although we don't have a conventional relationship it feels empty here.
His mum will likely be stoic. That the way she is, but I'll try to support the family.
Thanks,
TE.
#3 - September 22, 2018, 09:31 AM

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I'm sorry you're all grieving right now, TE. I've not been to a ton of funerals, but like Pons said, they all seem quite unique. I think helping out will definitely let the family know of your support and be appreciated. And even if you try to anticipate what John's mum will need, if she's unwilling to share or open up, you can only do so much. :hug to you and yours!
#4 - September 22, 2018, 10:42 AM
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Thundering I'm sorry John cannot be with you right now. I hope his mum is able to let him go to you too. :flowers2 Sending you and yours lots of hugs and prayers at this difficult time. I'm glad your mother can help you out. I have nothing to add to the excellent advice of Pons and Robin.
#5 - September 22, 2018, 12:44 PM
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You have very good advice above, but I did want to send my condolences to John and his family. Bereavement is not easy for anyone under any circumstance. The best thing you can do is just be there as much as you are needed and give space to those who seem to need it. I hope it goes well tomorrow, though I'm not sure what that would mean in this case.
#6 - September 22, 2018, 06:26 PM
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You have gotten very good advice. I might just add that sometimes the best thing you can do is just quietly be there, showing support for the family. If his mother doesn't seem to want any help, then allowing her to have her space might be the most helpful thing of all that you can do. Hugs to all of you!
#7 - September 22, 2018, 10:50 PM
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