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ClareA | 23:12 Tue 13th Sep 2011 | Family & Relationships
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On 22nd August my 87yr old uncle died, my Dad's elder brother.
Neither his brother nor sister are still alive, my Dad having died on 19.07.11.
My cousins and I (in the UK) have tried to get in touch with his daughter in Australia - our other cousin - and have been met with complete indifference.
Our only contact by e-mail is via that Aus cousin's daughter.

Friendly and conciliatory e-mails elicit nothing - the only response we've had is when I was, frankly, rather blunt (and not to say rude) about their lack of response. Then the reply was a bizarre mixture of 'Who the hell do you think you are?' and 'I'd have thought you would have had more consideration for a relative'!!

Well, they can't have it all ways. We in the UK are still left wondering whether the Australian contingent have made their own arrangements - which we doubt - or whether our Uncle is still 'on ice' in the Surrey hospital where he died.
We don't even know whether anyone registered his death.
Because my father (his younger brother) died only a month before, I am well aware that the law requires a death to be registered within five days, other than in 'exceptional circumstances' (yeah, like a body found in the woods, not one whose Antipodean relatives couldn't care less).

I am so angry about this.

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Some practical points:

Contact the local register office to see if the death has been registered:
http://maps.direct.go...ction.do?ref=grolight
(If no relative comes forward, the registrar is permitted to allow someone else, such as a hospital official, to register the death).

Contact the hospital to see if they have been contacted by a funeral director (and, obviously, ask who that director is).

Remember that nobody is ever OBLIGED to arrange a funeral. Your cousin is entitled to refuse to do so (but, clearly, it would help you if she told you whether she intended to do so or not).

Remember also that anyone CAN arrange a funeral. (A complete stranger can arrange someone's funeral, without any consultation with the relatives and with complete disregard for the wishes of those relatives or of the deceased person. He who pay the piper calls the tune).

Further remember that, in most circumstances, the costs of a funeral can be met from the estate of the deceased person. (So, if your uncle left money or property, you can probably arrange the funeral - if necessary- but claim against his estate).

All of the foregoing relates to the practical (and legal) situation. However your question clearly also addresses more personal issues. You need to recognise that the parent-child bond is extremely strong in some cases but almost (or totally) non-existent in others. Some people feel strongly about 'family ties', whereas others (like me) couldn't care less about them.

You clearly had a strong bond between you and your father but you shouldn't assume that such a bond necessarily existed between your cousin and her father. (I only attended my parents' funerals because 'of appearances'. I couldn't have actually cared less about them. I've deliberately removed the markers from their graves. Similarly, my will makes it clear that no member of my family will get a penny of my money, and that I want to be cremated with nobody present).

I'd rather have an honest cousin who freely admitted "I couldn't care less about my father's funeral" than a hypocritical one who bothered to arrange it.

Chris
Question Author
This is the thing, Chris - we have had no indication that my Uncle David's next of kin have any regard for him whatsoever.

I have no compunction whatsoever about naming the Mangetouts. I only hesitate in case they might take out a lawsuit.
Question Author
I see that an expletive of mine is rendered as 'mangetouts'! Pretty accurate, considering the desirability of such vegetable. At least I wasn't catpeed!
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Please may my expletives be rendered as Sugarsnaps, as I like them much more than mangetouts?!
Thanks for your reply. (I quite like the way that AB's 'language filter' works. Someone among AB's techies obviously has a sense of humour).

I suggest that you start by assuming that your cousin couldn't care less about her father's death. (She might, like me, see no point at all in 'family ties'. I care about my friends but not my family). Then contact the register office and the hospital, as above, to find out if there's any evidence to the contrary.

Remember that if nobody comes forward to pay for the funeral, the local authority is obliged to do so. (They can then seek to recoup their costs from the estate of the deceased person but, if that person left nothing, the council must meet the costs). However the council can't take over any arrangements made by someone else.

Chris
Question Author
In all seriousness, Buenchico, I know of nothing that estranged my Uncle from his daughter. There just seems to be indifference. My other (UK) cousin seems to be making a little headway.
I even went on a Google search about embalming last night, just so I might know what may be happening. I have to know what's going on.
Question Author
Chris, we're all really cross (tee hee).
Why not respond, even coldly, until someone (ie, me) goads them with a provocative message?
Lazy mangetouts (I chose the epithet this time!).
Not really expecting any answers - just sounding off!
Question Author
Anyway, enough of me - how are you?
I was never 'estranged' from either of my parents. (I always got on extremely well with them). I simply have no understanding of the concept of grief. (I've never grieved for anyone, and I know that I never will).

To me, everyone dies and when you're dead, that's it. All of my friends could die tomorrow and I'd simply shrug my shoulders and say 'OK, so what?'. That doesn't mean that they're not my friends and it doesn't mean that I didn't care about my parents when they were alive. I simply stop bothering about people from the moment that they die and I regard all funerals as totally pointless.

I'm not saying that my view is either 'right' or 'wrong' but you might have to accept that your cousin might have a similar view of life and death to the one which I hold.

When typing these posts I've done my best to avoid offending you. (While I have no real concept of grief I can, of course, see that others do experience it). I'm simply trying to say that, whatever you think your cousin 'ought' to feel about her father's death, you have to work within the limitations of what she really does (or doesn't) feel about it. Not everyone is the same!

Chris
Oh, crossed posts!

There was me trying to delicately craft a post on a sensitive topic while, at the same time, you seem to be in a more light-hearted mode ;-)

I'm fine, thank you. I hope that, despite your current problems, you're 'bearing up' (or possibly even 'baring up' - now that would be really interesting!)

Hang on, perhaps I'm (hic) too far down this bottle of wine to be posting here!
;-)
Oh Chris that is the one thing I love about you, your unshaking honesty and never wanting to offend with it either. I have often thought when I have read your views on grieving whether I wished I felt that way too - but although I have been through the process quite recently losing a husband I adored, I think not. The whole process has seen me grow in a way I never thought possible, develop new and necessary strengths and made me so happy to know how special a life I have had thus far.

Also to know that my life is not yet over and there are opportunities out there for me too, who knows I may even find a new soul mate?


ClareA I hope all this is resolved and put behind you soon so you can remember your happy times with Uncle and forget any rancour.

Mamya xxx
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Oooh, my much fuller reply went AWOL.
Thanks to both Buenchico & mamyalynne.
To Liverpool tomorrow, to give a good account of myself to the probate people, and swear an oath. I could give them many oaths...
(I expect that's where the term 'swearing' comes from).

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