Whether to attend an ex-spouse’s funeral services is a dilemma that people face on a daily basis, and the answers aren’t always as straightforward as they might seem. However, before even contemplating whether to go or not, you should contact your ex-spouse’s family and make sure it’s okay with them.
If the breakup was amicable and you remained on good terms with your ex-spouse’s family, there will probably be no objection to you coming to the funeral service. If there were children involved – young or adult – and the shared custody arrangements worked out well, then you’ll probably be welcome as a support and comfort to your children.
However, most divorces are much messier than this and it may be that your ex-spouse’s family doesn’t want you to attend the funeral service. As much as this may hurt, it at least resolves the dilemma immediately and in a very concrete way.
However, if there were complicated relationships between you and your ex-spouse and your ex-spouse’s family that swung from great to awful and back again throughout the years, your ex-spouse’s family may have a difficult time telling you not to attend the funeral service, because some family members may really want you to come, but they know it could cause issues. The issues might be within the family itself. The issues could be with a current spouse. The issues could be with the children you had with your ex-spouse.
All of these issues on top of grieving would add extra stress and tension to the situation and it could end up being more trouble for those family members who want you to attend the funeral service than it’s worth.
If the family says it’s okay for you to attend, they may lay down guidelines and limits, which may not be acceptable to you. If that’s the case, then making the decision not to attend your ex-spouse’s funeral service is easy. However, if you don’t like the limitations, but are willing to accept them in order to attend, then you’ll need to prepare yourself emotionally and mentally for the environment you’ll be walking into.
If there are family members, including your own children, who don’t want you to be at your ex-spouse’s funeral service, then expect some hostility from them. They may ignore you completely. They may be rude, disrespectful, or angry.
You need to be prepared to handle this kind of behavior with grace and civilly, which, because you’re grieving too, will be very difficult when nerves are frayed and tensions are high. However, you don’t want to be remembered as the person who lost it at an ex-spouse’s funeral service and created havoc and caused mayhem as a result. Whatever stature you had in some family members’ eyes will be destroyed, and any relationships you might have maintained would be irreparably severed.
If you’re unsure or have doubts about going to an ex-spouse’s funeral service, it’s probably best to listen to that gut feeling. You can grieve privately, even though that may mean you don’t have the comfort and support that your ex-spouse’s family will receive. For additional information about our funeral services, our empathetic and knowledgeable staff at Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home can assist you. You can stop by our funeral home at 483 Chenango St., Binghamton, NY 13901, or you can contact us today at (607) 722-4023.