Yesterday my uncle was buried. Two of his three children were at the funeral. The third? Apparently my uncle’s former wife had threatened their now grown daughter with disinheritance if she ever had anything to do with her dad. My uncle was dead but the divorce was alive and well. Maybe that’s just an ugly family rumor. I didn’t hear it first hand. But recalling their nasty divorce ~35 years ago…well, let’s just say it’s possible.
Seeing my two cousins without their sister at the funeral added to the sadness of the day. It slammed up against so much of what we believe in around here in our divorce and estate planning work: FAMILY MATTERS. The tendrils of a nasty divorce can grow and thrive and extend into years if nurtured and kept alive. And who gets hurt? The kids of course, even if they are adults. I’m fortunate to have both my parents alive and well. But friends who have lost theirs say it hits much harder than expected. I’m sorry that my cousin’s grief process is compounded by the acrid fallout of her parent’s long ago divorce. What caring parent would actually wish that for their own child?
I often encourage divorcing parents to imagine being able to dance at their child’s wedding and to process their divorce so they can. It never occurred to me to encourage allowing their children the freedom to attend their parent’s funerals.
Wishing you wisdom,