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My sister’s in-laws behaved insensitively at her funeral

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my mid-60s. When my younger sister’s funeral service was held, I felt very frustrated and angry at the insensitive behavior of her husband and his relatives.

She died after struggling against a disease for 2½ years. The incident happened at her wake. I wanted to talk about my deceased sister with my sister-in-law and my sister’s eldest daughter there. However, my sister’s husband and his relatives got dead drunk. We were forced to leave, too.

During a ceremony to place her remains in a coffin, these relatives were constantly talking. It looked as if they came together to have a family party, making use of my sister’s death. Also, they didn’t express a single word of condolence to me.

I lost my only sister. I felt like my sadness had been further intensified by these people. So I’ve become more and more sad and angry day after day.

On the 10th day after her death around the time she breathed her last, she appeared to me in a dream in a dark place wearing a sad face.

I want her to be greeted with a smile by my late parents in another world.

How should I cope with this matter? Please give me some good advice.

J, Hyogo Prefecture

Dear Ms. J:

How sad it was for you to be separated from your younger sister. I understand how you felt. As she is your dear family member and you particularly liked her, it must have been shocking for you.

On reflection, her husband and his relatives were similarly all sad about her death, I suppose.

As they were busy with the funeral, they may have hidden their true feelings in front of other participants. They were so sad that they got dead drunk. What about taking the incident that way?

To cope with the sudden unhappy incident, some people may have behaved insensitively to some extent as they were so upset. If you are tolerant enough to accept their behavior as an expression of their sadness and overlook it, it will probably meet the wishes of your deceased sister. If you don’t stop being angry, I’m afraid she may be concerned about it.

You have many opportunities to talk about your sister from now on. You should wait a bit for some time until everything is done.

At that time, don’t complain about these relatives as the deceased person probably wouldn’t be happy about it.

Tatsuro Dekune, writer

(from Nov. 25, 2015, issue)Speech

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