View Full Version : Help Please! How to say Goodbye

04-03-2007, 12:03 AM
I've been thinking about this for a while & just not sure of the best way to handle this.
I know you hear of so many sad stories from down here and hate to burden you with another but I am trying to find closure for family members.
My 2nd cousin (my mom's mom's 1st) was MR. He was 68 yrs old and an only child. His dad died 45 yrs ago and his mom about 20 yrs ago. They loved him very much and their way of "love" was to keep him out of the governmental system for mentally retarded citizens. It was meant with love and they saved for his future but unfortunately he had no way of managing his money and was often taken advantage of and left in debt w/ liens on the house etc. Since he was never id's as MR before the age of 18 it's not easy to have that changed. His cousins believed that they were honoring his parents wishes by keeping him out of programs aimed at helping MR citizens.
He became very emotionally unstable and his self care deteriorated. Then came Katrina... his home was flooded and all was lost. A cousin took him with them to Memphis and put him a home- now he has medicare. Anyway he passed away last Feb. My cousin called another cousin and said oh by the way he died a couple a weeks ago, I don't remember when but didn't have services and had him cremated b/c he figured the cemeteries (with his parents, he had a plot) were closed.
Anyway we don't even know when he died and many of the cousins here wish we could have done something for him. No one got to tell him goodbye. One cousin asked about his ashes and the other cousin said he planned to dump them when fishing b/c he loved to fish :( We want him home.
I thought that maybe I could make a religious card with a prayer on it, mail it to the relatives and suggest that everyone say a prayer on a given day and time in rememberence of him.
What do you think? does anyone have any ideas for closure? I'm kind of stuck trying to decide on a day and time to make it easier for all.
I would really appreciate your input. Anyone ever have a situation like this? All help is appreciated.

04-03-2007, 01:05 AM
I'm sorry for your loss. I have no ideas but I like you thoughts about a moment of silence and prayer at a set time. This way everyone can do it, no matter where they are. :pixie: :pixie: :pixie: and prayers on the way for all of you.

04-03-2007, 02:33 AM
I'm so sorry for the loss of your cousin - it must be hard not being able to have said goodbye. If it's really important to you, you could try to contact the government offices in Tennessee that handle the vital statistics to see if you can find out when he passed. I love the idea of the prayer - perhaps a Sunday morning would be a good time. It would be a great way to honor him. If you have enough family locally, you could have a small memorial service for yourselves at your local church. You don't need his body or ashes to honor his memory although I understand that you want him home. Perhaps this other cousin would consider sending his ashes home if you ask. Some other ideas I had: plant a tree in his honor or make a donation to a charitable organization that helps others with MR.

04-03-2007, 08:06 AM
I am sorry for your loss. I think your idea is very nice and a loving tribute.

04-03-2007, 10:39 AM
maybe I can offer a different point of view on this one...
I hate funerals, and the idea of forcing everyone to be around this miserable period of mourning. Not everyone grieves the same way, and forcing everyone to attend a funeral is wrong in my opinion. I think everyone should offer their rememberance in their own way. It can be something as simple as getting an aquarium with a fish or two to help you remember him. (since he loved to fish) Or, maybe you can contribute to a local zoo's aquatics exhibit in his memory. Things like this help both you, and help the memory live on. Be creative, and do what makes you content with the situation. Have a great day!

Here we go again...
04-03-2007, 02:53 PM
Wow Beth, I am so sorry to hear this.

I think it would be a good idea to send out a card and have a selected day for everyone to pay their respects. I aslo agree with kakn7294 about contacting someone to see exactly when he died. That way you could enclude that information in the card.

It is hard when you have a MR person in your family and the parents do something intended to be so loving that turns into something so hard. My sister in law is mentally handicapped and has lived with my inlaws all of her life. They never wanted her to have to deal with the system so they are doing what they feel is best. I have discussed many times with my sister in laws what we will do in the event of their death. We all know that it would be a complete disruption of the family where ever she goes. We all love her very much but do not yet know what we will do when that day comes.

04-04-2007, 07:57 PM
I second the opinion that you find out exactly when your cousin died and how. It sounds really callous the way you found out. I know with certain members of my family I wouldn't have even believed them if they couldn't provide a date and reason, but that's just me.
I know that in the catholic church you can have a mass said for a loved one who has died. Perhaps you could do that in your area. Or just gather for a dinner somewhere and share stories about your cousin and his loving parents. Doesn't have to be a fancy restaurant just a local place to get together in love and celebrate your cousins life.

Keep us posted on your plans

04-04-2007, 09:22 PM
Thank you all for the support.
I know that even the sisters of the cousin who cared for him are angry with him. My cousin's parents were the most loving people and we want to respect what we think his parents would have wanted.
Since I'm a generation away I don't have a lot of voice but the cousin who "took care of him" did so in exchange for his property and the family agreed that whoever took care of him would get whatever was left. You are right to say many of us feel he was callous and disrespectful to our deceased cousin. He deserved more than to be cremated and forgotten and then to let us know as an afterthought. We should have been told right away.
You did give me an idea with the mass. We could do a mass and invite everyone to attend. I might do both the card and the mass as sometimes it takes months to get a mass, then we live apart.
Planting a tree or other memorial is a very nice gesture but I do want the others to feel involved. If we could find something like a brick with his name on it-- that would work.
Thanks again. :angel:
My memories of my great aunt were those of her crying worrying about who would care for her son after she was gone. She worried about it her whole life. I know that many with handicapped or disabled children worry about their child's care and well being after they are gone :( Although she fought to keep him from being declared incompetent, there were many occassions after her death where he would have benefited from protection by the state. Sometimes all the love in the world isn't enough.

04-05-2007, 01:22 PM
I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your cousin. Have his remains already been sprinkled? If not, maybe someone can get them, and you can have a service that way.

Does Disney still do the Leave A Legacy tile? Maybe you could get one with his name on it instead of a brick that might get lost. Also, some of the hospitals in our area have various ways of putting people's names up - one has a tree with names on the leaves, one has plaques on the walls. Maybe a hospital in your area does that.