Se­crecy has its place in some funeral plans

Montreal Gazette - - FEATURES - AN­NIE LANE

Dear An­nie: My mother mar­ried my step­fa­ther, “Skip,” af­ter my fa­ther died 19 years ago. My step­fa­ther had eight chil­dren be­fore they got mar­ried, so I have eight stepsi­b­lings. My mom passed away a few years ago.

Three of Skip’s sons won’t speak to him or visit be­cause he gave his daugh­ter power of at­tor­ney and they were very up­set by that. Any­way, the prob­lem now is that Skip doesn’t want his sons at his funeral at all. Be­sides th­ese three sons, he has an­other son and four daugh­ters. And he has told all five of them to make sure the other three aren’t there.

My ques­tion is: What can be done to get them to stay away at the funeral with­out caus­ing a prob­lem and with­out get­ting the law in­volved? Please help me to tell them how to fix this. — Very Un­happy

Dear Very Un­happy: You can try keep­ing the lo­ca­tion of the ser­vice a se­cret and let all in­vited guests know to keep the ad­dress to them­selves be­cause it’s a pri­vate event. If the ser­vice is be­ing held on pri­vate prop­erty, you can ex­plain the sit­u­a­tion to the own­ers and ask for their as­sis­tance in keep­ing out un­wanted guests, who would tech­ni­cally be tres­pass­ing.

All that said, the onus is on the three broth­ers to re­spect their fa­ther’s fi­nal wishes. Should they man­age to at­tend the funeral, keep the fo­cus off them and on re­mem­ber­ing and cel­e­brat­ing the life of your step­fa­ther.

Dear An­nie: I just read your col­umn with the let­ter from “Sad and Over It, With Empty Pock­ets.” It was about a dead­beat son’s not pay­ing his par­ents back for a stu­dent loan. That is al­most the same sit­u­a­tion I am in.

About nine years ago, I cosigned a stu­dent loan for my grand­daugh­ter. She said she re­ally wanted to at­tend this ex­pen­sive school. Af­ter about seven months, she quit. She has not made a pay­ment in al­most two years. The bal­ance owed is a lit­tle over $10,000.

I get col­lec­tion calls daily. I tell her to call the agency and ar­range to make in­ter­est pay­ments. She re­fuses.

I thought about call­ing an at­tor­ney but was wor­ried that her mother (my daugh­ter) would be up­set with me. Well, af­ter read­ing your re­ply to “Sad and Over It, With Empty Pock­ets,” I will be call­ing an at­tor­ney this week. Thank you, An­nie. You have been a great help to me.

— Empty Pock­ets, Too

Dear Empty Pock­ets, Too: I’m proud of you for stand­ing up for your­self. I hope the at­tor­ney’s let­ter straight­ens your grand­daugh­ter out and you’re made whole. Re­mem­ber that as­sertive­ness is not cru­elty; it’s merely self-re­spect.

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