Incest and Funeral Protocol

So, as I’ve mentioned before, my husband’s uncle is shacked up with his own “blood” niece. They’ve been together for 15 years. Some of their kids are accepting of the situation, some aren’t. He was married to “auntie” for nearly 50 years. Last time he talked to auntie, she said she hated his guts and never wanted to see him again.

Hooo-kay. Not hard to understand.

However, auntie died this weekend. My husband’s sister told us that “Uncle” isn’t going to attend the funeral (which I find appalling). Also, they wanted to go in with us on flowers.

The other sisters (and I) feel that Uncle should do his own flowers, separate from niece, as a sign of respect for Auntie, the mother of their seven children. We also think he’s a hideous sphincter to not attend the funeral.

There are going to be hard feelings because we went in on flowers with the other sisters and sort of lied to the niece so they couldn’t jump on with us. We told her everyone was going to do their own thing. It’s difficult to do nice flowers for under $100, so we decided to pool our funds so the flowers would be really nice. She feels that she and Uncle should have been allowed to represent as a couple along with the rest of us instead of as the father of the children he had with Auntie, regardless of how nasty the break-up was. That, coupled with the fact that he won’t be there to support his kids, just pissed everyone off.

What is your take on how we handled this?

Wow. That’s a really complicated situation. I honestly don’t know what the best approach is. Their situation sounds really tacky and horrifying, but I suppose it’s the way they want to live their life, and no amount of disapproval is going to change that for them. That being said, I think perhaps you should have allowed them to go in on flowers with you. Only because by not doing so, you might have made the situation more complicated.

What, there hasn’t been a Dear Abbey column about this situation lately? Shocking.

on a serious note, I don’t think there was any “right” way to deal with this, so I’d just mentally shrug and let it die down. Hopefully there will be no longterm hurt feelings over it.


That is complicated.

I suggest webcamming the event for pure anthropoligical value. Family reunions must be a GAS!

Just how old are these kids and the neice and Uncle?
Oh, btw, ick

Uncle is 78, neice/sister-in-law is 61, and they have 10 children between them (though one is dead).

It’s totally creepy…but I still think he has no business being on his other niece’s flowers. For his family, he’s not half of a couple. The video idea is great, by the way. My sister-in-law at least has the presence of mind to not actually show up at the funeral. But he’s a complete ass for blowing it off.

Lets strip away all the excess baggage. Your uncle dumped your aunt and moved in with someone else. The last time they spoke, your aunt said she hated his guts and never wanted to see him.

Under those circumstances (much less the detailed circumstances) uncle’s showing up at the funeral would rank somewhere between hypocricy and brazen arrogance.

Since you say some of the kids are accpeting and some aren’t, his presence would be, at best, distracting.

On the other hand, he and his niece are now a unit. It’s unfair of you to say she shouldn’t sign the cards on the flowers. Heck, I think it’s unfair of you to expect that your uncle should attend the funeral and pretend that his life with this woman doesn’t exist – which sounds like what you really want.

How close is he to his children right now? If he and they want to bond now that auntie’s dead, they can do that on their own time and in private.


You’d be their cousin and their aunt, the uncle would be their father and great-uncle, and the sister-in-law would be their mother and cousin? :confused:

I would feel very uncomfortable about going to the funeral of someone who hated my guts.

I’m inclined to agree with some of the other posters in saying that I would be very reluctant to go to the funeral of someone who, last I checked, didn’t want me anywhere near her. Then you factor in the fact that half the family in attendance will find my presence uncomfortable/painful… wouldn’t it be better all around to just not go?

Well, I sort of thought that at first, but Auntie is dead. The kids need the support. Some haven’t talked to them for a long time, but others are in contact a lot. His daughter who hasn’t spoken to him in 15 years called him to tell him that her mom had passed.

I also think it would be a way of offering an olive branch after all the pain he caused all of them.

Yeah…and thanking my lucky stars daily that I’m not blood relations in this nightmare.

huh? Uncle (yours)/Dad (theirs) is 78 and the kids need his support?!?!?!

unless dead Auntie/Mom of said kids was about 40 years younger than Uncle/Dad, i’m seeing the kids as being in their 30s to 40s. just how much support do they need at this point, anyway? he’s been living with someone else for 15 years. shouldn’t they be a little beyond the “needing a parent’s guiding hand” by now?

or have i totally lost track of the relationships quagmire here? somehow that possibility doesn’t seem unlikely.

Well, regardless of age, he’s still their father, and their mother died. I’m thinking that this will dredge up a lot of memories from childhood and other stuff that having their father around might help them deal with.

Question-did he and niece have kids together? Or are they kids from other relationships?

I think it’s a good thing that he isn’t showing up.

Funerals are a bad time to tell the family your gay, show up as a woman when everyone always thought you were a guy, bring up the fact you were molested, try to collect on loans, announce that you are voting republican or try to make public ammends with relatives that not everyone is comfortable being around. People need to focus on mourning, and the rest will come later. They probably don’t need even more complications and pain being brought up- especially if it has any potential at all to divide the family at a time when they should be uniting. They probably also don’t want to make explainations to people in attendence that may not know the intimate details of the deceased life.

“Uncle” probably realizes that his presence might cause more pain than it would heal, and feels it would be better to mourn (or not) in private.

The flower situation is pretty complicated, but it seems wrong to shun one sister unless you really do intend to cut off contact with her. It’s not right to make someone- even a black sheep- a “lesser” member of the family and exclude them unless you make this very clear. Unless there is a lot of honesty, you guys are just going to build up a collection of mini-feuds and complicated calcualations of wrongs committed and retributions to be paid. If you want some some peace in your family, you’d take the high road.

Just trying to get all the facts straight… Who ordered the flowers? Did this person initiate contact with all the neices/nephews except for Shacked-Up Niece? When did Shacked-Up Niece ever make direct contact with the Flower Orderer?

If my family is like yours (well, all except for that incest thing :wink: ), it’s first come first serve when it comes to going in on flowers. The siblings (generation 1) tend to all go together but the children (gen 2 or nieces/nephews) will go in familial groups. And if you are too slow calling my sister, flower orderer extraordinaire, you will be sending a little puny arrangement by yourself.

If I were you, I wouldn’t show up.

No children together.

See, we didn’t shun her, just Uncle…and not even shunning him. He has a separate role in this, whether he wants to admit it or not. She could have come on the flowers with us, just not him as his place is not as “one of the cousins” but as the kids’ father. He should have his own flowers. I don’t think the kids would appreciate he and the niece doing flowers together, but she didn’t want to be on ours without him.

Not to mention it just creeps out all the sisters and my husband.

Okay…sister 1 called me and asked if I wanted to go in with her and sister 2 (3 is doing her own thing). I said sure. Then I called Shack-up Sister and she asked if we could all go in together. At first I said yes (because I’m actually quite good friends with her…not so much with Uncle). Then Sisters 1 and 2 said no fucking way. Then the more I thought about it, the more sense it made that if Shack-up wanted to come in with us, that was fine as long as Uncle did his own thing. However, these two are inextricably bound to each other (they are both in failing health and are NEVER apart. NEVER.).