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On Hospice and making final plans.
Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 9:30 AM
Joined: 6/18/2021
Posts: 45

My mom was admitted to hospice last week ater a fall and fracture.  She has been on a downward spiral since then and we are making end of life plans.

My mom has had dementia for quite some time (>10 years) and she is over 80.  She has lost many of her siblings and friends at this point.  She hasn't seen most of her extended family in quite some time. She has seen only two family members in the past year.  A little of this was COVID, but a bigger part is that contact decreased as she aged and her disease progressed.

We are contemplating doing a direct creamation when she dies and no service.   I hate to spend so much money on a service for people she hasn't seen in years.  Does this seem wrong? 

Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 9:42 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20914

My husband was service. I saw and heard from people that were close to us. No regrets.
Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 9:46 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 3734

I am sorry for the situation in which you find yourself.

If there is an upside to COVID, it is that it freed families from the automatic expectations around the commemoration of a life lived.

I would suggest you do whatever it is that brings you the most comfort. A friend recently hosted a small dinner for those close to his dad to share stories at the request of his late dad who was an avowed atheist. Several friends had memorial services at the church sometime after the passing of their loved one. For a small donation, congregation members provided a simple tea, lemonade and cookies after. 

That said, if seeing the people who bailed on you and your dear mom would anger or stress you, it is OK to skip it. 

My dad died pre-COVID having moved back to the area in about stage 5 of dementia. Dad former friends and golf buddies-- the very people who made him persona non grata when his moods darkened in the early stages and who never once visited/called my parents once they moved back showed up in droves for the simple burial service and luncheon after. My mom found this a comfort. I wanted to tell most of them to go f*#% themselves. My mother's funeral will be by-invitation-only. 

Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 9:47 AM
Joined: 9/10/2021
Posts: 374

Hi DawnOfANewDay - sorry you are dealing with this.  

You do what you feel is right. Others have had no contact, and this is your mom, so I would say it isn't up to anyone else (if someone gets rude enough to say something).    If, by chance, you change your mind at a later date, you could do what we did with DH dad, and just have a small luncheon with a few select friends/family for a celebration of life.

No stage of this easy.  ((hugs)) and thoughts out to you

May flowers
Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 9:59 AM
Joined: 4/9/2021
Posts: 658

I am so sorry to hear this. I agree with the others, do what feels right for you. 

My FIL has had no friends contact him in the past five years. His other two children have been to see him a handful of times during that time, but one does call weekly to check on him.

We will likely have a small graveside service for us and our children, and any other close family who wants to come. Doubtful his daughter would come. DH wants to have a memorial in the town that my FIL (and my DH) spent most of his adult years, with church members he was close to at one point. But, I personally don’t want to go to it and see all those people who come out after the fact who will act all caring and sympathetic but who couldn’t be bothered to send a card or call. Some of them, this started when my MIL had cancer and passed. They all drifted away, but some showed up at her memorial.

It’s sad. Especially for my in-laws who spent their lives caring for others, taking food to invalids, etc.

Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 10:58 AM
Joined: 6/18/2021
Posts: 45

Thank you so much for the replies.  

I was thinking of maybe a small get togetther later.  IDK.

I hate to spend the money.  In my area a bare-bones event at a funeral home starts at over $7000.

My sister has been the full-time care provider for my mom and has made so many sacrifices.  I really want her to get as much as she can from my mom's estate.  She was there every day for the last two years.  She never got a vacation (I tried to get her to go), never complained, and was always there for my mom.  She has earned every penny and then some.  If it weren't for my sister, we would have spent 8-10,000 month for care as I still work.  Luckily, I am in a position to gift the entire estate to her.  

I felt a little bad not planning a traditional service, but think a small luncheon for those she was closest  to will be best.

Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 11:01 AM
Joined: 6/18/2021
Posts: 45

And, Yes, I am angry at family that can't even stop by for a 10 minute visit.
May flowers
Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 11:15 AM
Joined: 4/9/2021
Posts: 658

Dawn, that is incredibly thoughtful of you. Bless you for recognizing the worth of your sister’s time and effort in caring for your mom. I had just the opposite - my SIL complained about using some of my FIL’s money for a part time caregiver, even though it is fully covered by his pension. Go figure.

Another thing we have already done is write his obituary, with input from my BIL. We also got the contact info of newspapers where we would want to post it. It’s one less thing to have to worry about when dealing with other arrangements, and we wouldn’t want to be thinking about it in the final days. We have been donating clothes and equipment as he progresses past using them too. For me, one of the hardest things was going through all my MIL’s stuff after she passed, when all I wanted to do was grieve.

Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 11:38 AM
Joined: 6/18/2021
Posts: 45

May Flower,  That is a really good idea.  I am struggling now.  When people ask how I am doing, I reply, "I feel shattered."   

My mom and I are very close.   We talked multiple times every day and I saw her at least once a week if not three times.  When her dementia became worse, I spent every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with her often for 8-10 hours a day.  Up until her fall last week, I would still take her out to lunch twice a week and we'd walk around a store for as long as she tolerated.  When I would walk into her house, she would immediately want to get dressed so we could go out. 

 During COVID, we would get carry-out and go to the airport park and watch planes from our car as we ate.  At Christmas, we would dive all over the place looking at night time decorations while we sipped hot chocolate.  She was my puzzle partner.  I have missed the person she once was, but embraced the person she was.  

Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 11:51 AM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 6060

DawnOfANewDay wrote:

We are contemplating doing a direct creamation when she dies and no service.   I hate to spend so much money on a service for people she hasn't seen in years.  Does this seem wrong? 

Absolutely not. My wife recently passed, and we knew she wanted a private funeral. So we made it for family only.



Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 12:54 PM
Joined: 10/24/2018
Posts: 1525

Hi Dawn-- I'm sorry your mom is so near death. It sounds like you were able to give her some good times. 

Dad died young, of cancer, and my mom elected immediate cremation+transport to far-away cemetery, and waited 6 months before having a very small family graveside service, with a larger family get-together following. Part of the decision involved not disrupting grandkids' school years, but also the death was sudden and very unexpected, they were only 70, and had not made any formal plans beyond burial site. 

Mom died 23 years 21 days later, end of February 2020. She'd made organized plans 15 years before that, which included immediate cremation (the funeral home encouraged us to come visit her as often as we needed before cremation, which was an emotional help to my autistic son), a very small graveside service, and a memorial service at her church. She had lived 20+ years in upstate NY, died in Virginia, the old family plot is in Vermont, and her church was up in NY. And Covid crashed down on us about two weeks after she died. As a result, she was cremated and the ashes were shipped, but not buried until April 2021, and the graveside service was August 2021. We decided that by that time, there'd only be 15-20 people at any church service, so her church group organized something amongst themselves later in 2021. It's really hard to get three siblings from three different regions of the country together, and our cousins wouldn't fly (me neither!) and couldn't drive that distance. 

One thing you could do is decide what your mom would have arranged were she of sound mind right now, with the family situation as it is now. Funerals and such are for the living, and money spent is not necessarily the goal. If it were I, I'd not spend that $7K for essentially nothing. If it were my mom making the decision, she would definitely say that the money should go to her grandchildren!

Quilting brings calm
Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 1:43 PM
Joined: 10/16/2020
Posts: 1108

I think your idea of cremation, no service and honoring your sister’s care of her is a beautiful tribute.    I have seen many people the last few years opt for minimum services.  For various reasons - the deceased was isolated for some time prior to death, contemporaries were infirm  themselves, Covid, family drama, being  realistic about family finances.  Or the family was just unable to handle the stress of it all.   Any one of those are valid reasons to minimize things.  My parents have opted to be cremated, and to wait until both are deceased for the veterans ‘graveside’  ceremony.
Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 3:24 PM
Joined: 5/16/2017
Posts: 884

When my mother died, we did a direct cremation with no service.  You should be able to find a company that will do this for you for under $1200.   If the company you are looking at online is not showing a price list, go on to the next one.  For a direct cremation, I was quoted prices from $900 to $6000 for the same services.  It’s really a racket. 

The obituaries that I had done cost more than the direct cremation.  My family does not believe in ‘funerals’ per se + after doing a lot of research + burying 4 people in the past couple years,I have become somewhat of an expert on the subject.


Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 3:55 PM
Joined: 6/18/2021
Posts: 45

We did find a place that will do direct creamation for around $1000.
Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2022 4:14 AM
Joined: 8/24/2020
Posts: 271

HarshedBuzz's advice to do whatever brings you the most comfort is on the mark. Before my mom's dementia set in she told me on more than one occasion that she wanted nothing, no service, no obit, only to be cremated and buried with her last husband. I recently prepaid those arrangements. I felt a sense of relief because I know I will be upset to the point of paralysis when she passes. Although she insisted she wanted no service I'm going to have a graveside blessing because that will give me comfort and closure. She has a few friends left, and they have been incredibly supportive to her and to us during this dementia odyssey. I'll extend to them an invitation to attend the graveside service. Again what HarshedBuzz said. This is such a rough journey you have to do what brings you the most comfort. I'm sure your mom would heartily approve of giving the money to your deserving sister. I think it excellent to honor loved ones who are still alive whenever we can.
Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2022 6:04 AM
Joined: 6/1/2020
Posts: 62

I am in agreement with others who have advised you to do whatever arrangements bring you peace, and I commend you for wanting to recognize your sister’s incredible gift of care to your mother.  Families have become more comfortable with non -traditional approaches to how their LO’s lives are celebrated, and I personally embrace that.  When I’ve been included in these personalized life celebrations I have found them to be very moving.  So please do not feel bound by following a “traditional” funeral path, but go as your heart directs and honor your LO in a way that is meaningful to you and those who were closest to her.
mommyandme (m&m)
Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2022 9:14 AM
Joined: 2/16/2020
Posts: 672

I wish you peace as you travel this part of your journey. I’m so sorry that you’re losing your mom. 

I’ve thought about what I will do when my mother passes.  She will be cremated but no funeral.  I thought I might need to do a formal one for all her grandchildren but we will just do a big family gathering when it works for everyone.  And some day we will probably hike into the Rockies and spread her ashes where her mother and daughter already are. 

My thoughts are with you. 

Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2022 10:12 AM
Joined: 6/18/2021
Posts: 45

I will tell you it is harder then I thought it would be.  After so many years of dealing with dementia and the number of times that I prayed she would die in her sleep,  I find myself not ready to lose her. I have lost her little by little to dementia, but I still see in her the woman who laughed and cried with me.  I still see my mom.  

Thank you to everyone who reponded.  I do find myself feeling very lonely at times and thes comments have really helped.


MN Chickadee
Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2022 11:06 AM
Joined: 9/7/2014
Posts: 1579

I found my mother's funeral to be therapeutic; a patchwork of people came from various times in her life and it made me feel closer to her. However we are all different. I was also POA and estate executor for my uncle, and a traditional funeral made no sense in that scenario. I rented a room at a community center for $300, got some trays of food from Costco, a couple close friends handled setting out food and drink, and we had a small reception in his honor. I still put photo boards together and we shared stories of him. No service, no structure, just people gathering. There is no one right way to do this. Doing nothing may be best for you. You don't owe people anything, just do what works for you.
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