Dad is gone - Mum and sister are distant

I lost my dad on 25th of February 2016. I have a complicated and distant relationship with my mum and sister. My dad’s ashes are still at the crematorium as my mum can’t face dealing with them. I want to collect them so that I can bring him home and try to move on. I am angry with my sister which is preventing me from grieving properly. It all just seems to be a mess.

Hi Jane,

so sorry for your loss and the mess you feel you are in at the moment…

there must be a lot of very strong emotions attached to a lot that is going on in your life right now.

i do know that when i’m feeling emotional i don’t always make the right choices nor do i care of the consequences - this has landed me in a lot of trouble and hurt.

i find that it takes a lot of effort to calm down and see things for what they really are. but don’t despair, there is always a way out of every situation, it’s just a matter of asking the right questions and choosing the right answers.

so a few questions if you don’t mind, you can answer to all, some or none at all…

  1. is there anything stopping you from collecting your Father’s ashes?
  2. what are you planning to do with it if you could retrieve it?
  3. why are you angry with your sister?
  4. what has being angry with your sister prevent you from grieving properly?
  5. what do you personally think grieving PROPERLY means?
  6. what would help you to grieve properly?

Hi Jude, thank you for your reply. I can’t collect the ashes as they are in my mum’s name. I am not sure what I want to do with the ashes - I just don’t want my dad left abandoned in an unfamiliar place. My sister has become very distant over the years and encouraged my parents to move from Suffolk (where I live ) to Kent (where my sister lives ) I moved 23 years ago to be near them. They decided not to let me know they were moving until the house was up for sale so it was a huge shock to me and my husband and my daughters. This was complicated by the fact that my dad did not want to move - he was 94. I am full of rage with my sister as dad became seriously ill during the weekend of the house move and never fully recovered to the sprightly and fully coherent man that he was. He spent 7 months in and out of hospital and died a shadow of his former self. He felt he’d betrayed me and his grandchildren and I just feel like he’d given up on life.
During the funeral I was so angry that I couldn’t cry. My sister organised every detail of the funeral so it felt distant to me - if that makes sense.
Not sure what grieving is meant to feel like but rage was not what I was expecting.

Dear Jane,

i don’t envy your current predicament but it does sound that there are a lot of unresolved issues, a lot of pain and resentment and much anger. all these combined with grief can be very detrimental to your wellbeing and i genuinely hope you can and will find some solace soon.

i cannot provide the answers to your problems but I would like to recommend you read the article below and i hope you might find something useful…

good luck and hang in there…

Thank you so much. The link was useful. I will refer to it when feeling low. Thanks again for taking the time to respond,


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Hi! So sorry to hear that! I lost my dad to bowel cancer in January and I’m so lost one minute I’m numb next hurting like hell! My mum hasn’t helped at all as the day or so after he died she told me to pull myself together! Even at the funeral she pushed me and my family aside and carried on as normal with everyone else! My dad’s ashes are still at the crem while waiting for their plot but I’d bring the ashes home if that was me and sit him with us! Haven’t spoke to my mum sister or brother since funeral as they haven’t bothered to get in touch so why should I do all the running! I’m hurting as well but just been left to deal with it myself! Dad wouldn’t have wanted this and I can’t understand why she’s being like this! It’s a very crawl world but I’ve got 2 boys 8 & 16 & a lovely husband! Their my family! Unfortunately you can’t choose your family but friends you can! Just remember your not alone! Xx!

Thanks for expressing how you feel - frustrated and confused like me. I appreciate not feeling alone.

Also you’ll find out who your real friends are! Xx!

Hi, I hope your situation has eased more since you posted. Family can be difficult after loss, I know for ages I kept telling myself “people grieve differently” when some of my “family” members started acting distant. I found myself taking the carer role and trying to look after people after my dads passing, being a 20 year old at the time looking after people over double my age. I didnt let myself grieve and then when I finally cut myself a break his girlfriend (the one id spent 6 months looking after and fighting to protect) committed what felt like the ultimate betrayal and contested my dads will without even mentioning to me that this was a plan. Baring in mind I spent those months before giving her money that my dad would of been paying towards the house so she didnt feel the financial shock of him being gone whilst she was grieving, which left me without much money myself and the cherry on top the cake was she had money all along and bought herself a car with the money I gave her.

I’m sorry that kind of turned into a rant about me, but it kind of took a weight off of my shoudlers, which by the sounds of it you need too. feel free to rant away in this safe environment, no one will judge because we are all here for eachother. Just remember your grieving process is just as important as theirs, two years on from my dads death i still feel like I havent grieved/mourned and wish I’d of let myself feel those feelings earlier on. I’m here if you want to talk, or even just to blow off some steam.


Thanks for your advice. It makes me realise that families are complicated and behave in extraordinary ways. I certainly don’t feel like I am the only one struggling. Thanks again x

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