1. Expert Q&A: Benefits - Weds 23 October, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of benefits. It will be hosted by Lauren from our Knowledge Services team. She'll be answering your questions on Wednesday 23 October between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

  1. Lovleemummy

    Lovleemummy Registered User

    Jun 13, 2013
    My mother in law passed away on Monday. My dilemma is should I take my Husband to his mums funeral. He has been in a nursing home for over 1 year. He does not realise his mum has passed away even though I have told him. He doesn't cope well with a lot of people. My daughter has said that he should go to say goodbye to his mum. Any advise would be appreciated.
  2. esmeralda

    esmeralda Registered User

    Nov 27, 2014
    That's a really tough one Lovleemummy. Conventional wisdom would say that it's very important for people to go to funerals as your daughter has said, to experience an ending and say goodbye. However it does sound as though this would be an upsetting experience for your husband who may not even realise what is going on, and he may not remember it, still thinking his mother is alive, therefore it doesn't benefit him in coming to terms with his mother's death.
    I don't have an answer for you, I guess it would be good to get the opinion of others on TP to allow you to weigh everything up before you make your decision. To this end it may be useful for you to start your own thread so that you get the widest range of answers.
    I'm sure there are others with the same dilemma so your question is an important and useful one. Love, Es
  3. Gigglemore

    Gigglemore Registered User

    Oct 18, 2013
    British Isles
    Please don't let your daughter make you doubt your own judgement. If he doesn't really understand what is going on, how badly might he react to seeing you so upset? Do you feel that his mother would prefer him to be protected from the distress of her funeral, given his current level of understanding?

    If your MIL is to be remembered on a gravestone or crem plaque, perhaps you and your daughter could take him on a separate private visit at a later date to pay his respects if you feel it is important.

    So sorry you have this difficult dilemma when you are grieving the loss of such a close relative.
  4. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I think that if you have told him about his mum and he still does not realise that she has died then I dont think the funeral will help him and may cause a lot of problems.
    Its not as if you are trying to keep it from him. If he is unable to remember then I think it would be better to say nothing more about it.
  5. Delphie

    Delphie Registered User

    Dec 14, 2011
    Funerals are for the living, to help us grieve and accept the loss. But your husband isn't grieving and by the sound of it won't realise his mum has passed away even if you take him. So the reality is that you'd be taking him away from his routine, to a strange place with lots of people, and into a situation that he won't understand or know how to deal with. I really don't think that much will be achieved by doing that.
  6. Chaplin

    Chaplin Registered User

    May 24, 2015
    I am so sorry for your loss. We had a similar dilemma a couple of months ago when my sister passed away suddenly, whether mum should go to her funeral or not. After lots of discussion she did go but not sure she gained anything from the experience other than satisfy the 'expectations' of others attending. Mum still attempts to call my sister now so there was no 'closure' for her by attending my sister's funeral.
    I agree with others on TP, you should follow you gut instinct and do what you feel is right. God bless you all at this difficult time. X
  7. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    There is this conventional thinking that people must say goodbye to their loved ones or they'll regret it forever. It doesn't work like that with dementia. Why take someone to a funeral who doesn't remember? Why make them remember and therefore grieve again? Why bring him into a stressful situation just so that conventions are observed? This strikes me as cruel. Leaving him in blissful ignorance seems to be the kindest thing to do.
  8. niki

    niki Registered User

    Jun 16, 2011
    Birchington, Kent.
    My Mum was in the same nursing home as her brother when he died. At that time I was still able to take her out although she was getting very confused. She knew her brother had died but in the waiting room at the crematorium she suddenly asked why we were there.
    Later at my aunt's house she became very agitated and upset, it was all too much for her.
    It wasn't so much the death of her brother, it was all the people and being in unfamiliar surroundings. It had seemed a good idea at the time, she had been very close to her brother, but looking back I think it was a mistake.
    Perhaps an alternative would be for you to visit your husband after the funeral, have a small 'remembrance' of his Mum with your daughter and just share some memories or stories with him, even if he doesn't remember her it may help you and your daughter.
  9. Lilac Blossom

    Lilac Blossom Registered User

    Oct 6, 2014
    Loveleemummy, Although you have told hubby, he has not grasped/remembered that his mum has passed away so I am not sure anything would be achieved by his attending the funeral except perhaps satisfying the expectations of others.

    When my father died 18 years ago my mum was in nursing home (advanced dementia). The advice I was given at the NH was that mum must go to the funeral as she needs to "say goodbye and have closure". I remember thinking at the time if mum did not have dementia I would think that too, but I went with their advice, took mum to funeral (she had no idea where she was, or why, in spite of having everything explained to her). She was not upset, just detached from feeling anything, locked in her world of dementia. I was very close to my dad, was devastated to lose him and so sad to see mum so devoid of awareness of losing the husband she had been so close to - they were a devoted couple.

    Back at the NH they tried get her to talk about what had happened. When I visited, mum said they keep telling me about someone who has died - she had no idea who they were talking about. When I spoke to staff they told me she was upset whenever any of them talked to her about her husband's death but she seems to forget so quickly so we try to remind her! Every time they reminded her she was upset all over again, only to forget till the next time they told her! I suggested that it would be kinder to mum to stop trying to remind her and thereby upsetting her over and over again.

    Lilac xx
  10. Lovleemummy

    Lovleemummy Registered User

    Jun 13, 2013
    Thank you all for you advise. We have decided that my OH won't be going to his mums funeral. When we scatter mums ashes which will be in a couple of weeks and it will just be the family we will take him. The NH he is in have said if I need someone a carer can come with us. Lovleemummy

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