Do You Think She Overstepping?

Updated on September 23, 2019
D.F. asks from Saint Peters, MO
15 answers

Our son passed away in another state a few weeks ago. We had to go have his body cremated in that state and brought back with us. We didn’t tell anybody in the family what funeral home we were using, we left our home at 7 AM for a 2 1/2 hour drive to the funeral home. When we got to the funeral home the director being a very kind gentleman went through everything with us regarding the procedure and what we were to expect. When we were finished he then said I do want to let you know that one of your sisters (My husbands) has called me and would like me to discuss redirecting you on not having cremation done. My husband and I were just blown away we did not know what to say. We continued on with our original plans. We brought him home we had a memorial service in a church for him, my daughters helped to prepare everything. The same sister did not care for what the person officiatingHad to say, so after everything was just about done but right before the closing prayer she stood up and said well I just need to say my part now. She went on to say what was actually going to happen to our son now that he’s passed. She Condemns everybody if they do not believe in the exact religion that she believes in.I was already so emotional that day and she started going on contradicting everything about our religious beliefs. I was so upset I could hardly breathe, my husband was shaking, I got up very quietly and went to the bathroom so I could catch my breath. I did not get confrontational with her at all, after the service everyone was invited back to our home to eat. She cornered me in my kitchen put both her hands on my shoulders as it to stop me from moving and told me we need to talk about what happened at the church. I put my foot down and said no not today not today not today. Calmly walked outside and a old friend was right outside my door and I just started talking to her about something different. My sister in law then comes out the door walks past me and says “Thank you very much Debbie”. . Again I said nothing. Do you think she was overstepping and if so how should I address her. She was not close with my son, had only seen him a handful of times.

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answers from Norfolk on

My condolences on your loss.
Yeah - majorly over stepping.
I would have told her to leave at the church - in front of everyone - and un invite her to your home for later.
If I were you - at this point I'd only talk to her one more time - let your husband do it - tell her she crossed a line and she is not welcome in your life for a long time if ever again.
Then block her calls, take her off your Christmas card list and unfriend her on any/all social media.
If she persists in trying to contact you have a lawyer send her a cease and desist letter.
I've no patience for anyone who tries to shove their flavor of religious beliefs down my throat.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I'm sorry for your loss - so hard. Losing a son must be the hardest thing to go through.

To have this woman make life harder on that day ... so unpleasant.

I would leave it up to your husband to deal with. Nowadays, that's the standard. I think in the past, women felt they had to deal with their husband's families - not so any more.

Men deal with their own families. Women deal with their own. So he sets the boundaries for you as a couple.

On the day, of course you were overwhelmed with grief and that would have just shocked me and I would not have known what to say or how to have dealt with it either. I'm sure she 'meant' well - but it was not appreciated. I suppose if your husband were to say something to her, that's what he would say.

Sometimes very zealous people go off like that, and perhaps she has some mental health issues that caused her to react that way at your son's passing.

The thing is, now it is in the past, I'd just move on. You don't need one more thing to carry around with you. Let that go, so you can just mourn the loss of your son - and grieve and don't confuse this woman's actions with part of it.

Just let your husband deal with her, and forget about her. I would not worry about it. Just ignore her for her now. If she's not someone you're close to - let it go. She totally was out of line - yes, for sure.

I suppose in future if she approaches you (and hubby is not there), you could say something like 'You know Irene, that was a very hard day for me and our private day - to mourn our son and to prepare for his cremation/burial. It had nothing to do with you. You caused us a lot of confusion and stress. I assume you meant well but I just don't want to deal with you at this point in time. I hope you understand that. Please respect my wishes." or something along those lines.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Oh how awful for you. To lose your son is a terrible tragedy. Making decisions about final arrangements is wrenching.

I cannot believe someone as selfish and thoughtless as your sister-in-law would dominate the service that way. I am outraged that you had to put up with it. It sounds like you were amazing and just walked away when you could.

I am sorry also that the church officials or the funeral home director (or whoever was in charge at the church) did not intervene. We had a threatened disruption at my husband's mother's funeral, and we were told that, since it was a public event (obit in the paper announcing the time/location) we could not keep anyone out. But the funeral director said if there was any disturbance that he would have a synagogue official remove the person. I am sorry that your funeral director didn't help you foresee this issue. Perhaps it wasn't blatant enough to set off any alarm bells. But what's done is done.

I think this is between your husband and his sister. I think you should have no further contact with a selfish and self-righteous person who made your moment of grief and tragedy into a referendum on her faith and the supposed shortcomings of yours. I would close my home to this person, as B says, and block calls/emails. Her arrogance does nothing to help you deal with your mourning. Don't put any more energy into her nonsense and attacks on you.

Please surround yourself with good and wonderful people (whether related or not) and take the days, weeks and years that you will need to heal. Your life has been changed forever. Don't give this small-minder person another moment of your future.

My deepest condolences for your loss.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

She majorly overstepped and honestly I would consider cutting her out of my life.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Oh my gosh, how awful for you! I am so sorry for everything you have had to go through with your son and I hope the days ahead bring some glimpses of peace. I just can’t imagine.

As for your SIL, she was WAY out of line! You did NOTHING wrong. And no, I would never want her back in my life again. You can eventually forgive her, if you choose to, but that is only for you. It doesn’t mean what she did was ok. And I do agree with B.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I am so very sorry for you and your husband’s loss. My heart goes out to you both.

I am also so sorry that your husband’s sister is such a witch. Overstepping boundaries is an understatement. I hope that you and your husband will open your eyes to the terrible, awful thing she did to your family. It’s good that you would not let her talk to you at your house after the funeral. Now you need to stand up to her if she EVER tries to have this discussion with you again.

She has no right to have done this. You have every right to refuse to allow her anywhere near you. Her inappropriate behavior is so far beyond any acceptable norms, that if she were a family member of mine and did this, that would be the end of any relationship that I would have with her.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

I'd take great pleasure cutting someone like that out of my life permanently.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Much love to you and your family at this time.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Yes she is overstepping. And I have no words other than that. I am so, so sorry for your loss and you having to go through that at that time.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Wow. First, I am so sorry for your loss. One of my brothers passed away a few years ago and I remember what a terrible experience that was for my parents. I can't imagine a relative being so self-centered and cruel to do what your sister-in-law has done.

YES she way over-stepped a boundary here. I'm going to guess that she's got some issues, but her problems don't need to compound yours. If I were you, I'd limit any time or contact with her (or tell her to take a flying leap). Maybe have your husband address this if that would be more comfortable.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

B said it perfectly!! Read her response again because I share her thoughts.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I am so sorry for your loss. If I were you, I would no longer address her at all. Ever. She is itching to get to you to talk about her beliefs and "what happened" in the church. Do not give her that satisfaction. Give yourself the peace of mind of not having to deal with her again. I would not consider her a part of the family after this. There is no excuse for that behavior and nothing is going to take it back or make it better. I would not talk to her, invite her to things, send her cards or gifts, and I would avoid going to things she is at. She does not deserve a second thought from you. Most importantly, you do not deserve to have to deal with this for one second longer.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Oh hun! I am so sorry! My heart goes out to you, your family and all that knew him!

I give you hats off for not losing it or reacting how I would! That’s not overstepping that’s down right disrespectful! She made a goodbye moment into all about her! That is unacceptable! No one asked for her opinion!

I am actually very surprised no one stopped her or took her outside to shut her up! This was not her moment!

Personally Until she was ready to apologize.. she would be gone out of my life. Regardless of her reason of doing it.. it was not her place.

Again so sorry hun!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

She most certainly DID overstep her boundaries. She had no right to call all the funeral homes in the area to find which one you were using that alone was very intrusive. Then, to make a spectacle at the service, as well as tell you how to bury YOUR son was way out of line. It was YOUR decision and she had no right to interfere and be so rude as to make it all about HER! I'm so sorry you had to go through this, after losing your son. I would keep my distance, or cut her out of my life completely. No excuse for her actions. I hope your husband makes it clear to her how rude it was for her to do this and constantly get in your face and question your choices, during such a rough time. She is free to bury her son, herself and husband as she pleases, but has no right to impose her wishes or beliefs on others. I wish you peace and healing in this difficult time. My condolences to you and your husband.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It has been my experience that in general people are very uncomfortable with death plus it will always reveal the most amazing and most horrible things about people. Your responsibility lies in taking care of yourself and your immediate family. The energy that will take is beyond description and it is critical that you be very diligent about who is allowed in your life. Toxic is different than grieving. Also, I wanted to provide you with a link to the 2019 Grief Symposium being held Oct 1-4 (free access) - it may be of help as 25 of us discuss this very topic. (not sure how to do a link....). My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


I'm truly sorry for your loss. Losing a child is incomprehensible to me. I'm so sorry.

Everyone grieves differently. I don't know your SIL nor do I know her relationship with your son. You say she had only seen him a handful of times. but did they communicate when he wasn't living at home? Either way - her professing HER beliefs at that time were not cool IN MY OPINION.

Was she wrong in standing up and saying something after the officiant? Probably, yes. But no one stopped her. Were they afraid of her? I also understand that should someone had tried to stop her? She would have gotten WAY worse and WAY louder. Best to ignore her.

Have your husband deal with her. I'd wait though. You're both still grieving. I'm not sure you ever get over this loss.

May the beautiful memories of your son sustain you in your grief. May his memory be eternal.

5 moms found this helpful
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