Agony aunt: Funeral tirade

Dear Wendyl,

oy mother died three months ago after a long illness and, while it wasn’t unexpected, it was very upsetting for us all. My problem is that my mum and my younger sister never got on and they continued their feud right up until the end, with my sister refusing to visit oum at the hospice.

Then, at the funeral, my sister got horribly drunk and stood up at the gathering afterwards and said some really dreadful things about oum. I was so shocked and embarrassed, I didn’t say anything but now I am furious and feel I should have it out with her. How dare she send off our mother that way just because she didn’t like her? oy husband says I should leave it but I can’t stop being angry. What would you do?

Josie, Rotorua

Dear Josie,

Death and funerals have an ability to bring to the surface many deep emotions, and I believe this is good and an entirely appropriate response. After someone dies, there is often a sense of letting go and getting it all out before moving on, which is what I feel your sister was doing, although not in a conventional – or, in your eyes, acceptable – manner.

Whether you like it or not, there was obviously some serious ill-feeling between your mother and sister and that needs to be acknowledged and accepted. I’m sure that anyone who witnessed your sister’s actions would have understood – people must have already known the two of them didn’t get on.

Maybe you should consider that you were lucky that you had a good relationship with your mother and imagine what it would be like to have a bond like funeral that turn sour. It can’t have been easy for either of them and it may still be difficult for your sister, especially now that there is no chance of reconciliation. So by all means, have a talk and tell her how you feel – but do it with understanding, not anger. And be prepared to listen.

– Wendyl

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