Jen­nifer Anis­ton mourns her estranged mother, Nancy Dow, in an un­usual ser­vice

In Touch (USA) - - Sad news -

Nancy Dow looked at peace. Two days af­ter Jen­nifer Anis­ton’s estranged mother died at 79 “af­ter en­dur­ing a long ill­ness,” as Jen an­nounced on May 25, a small group of about a dozen friends and rel­a­tives gath­ered at the for­mer model and ac­tress’ non­de­script North Hol­ly­wood apart­ment com­plex to say good­bye. “Nancy’s body was propped up in her bed. She was dressed nicely and had makeup on,” a fam­ily in­sider ex­clu­sively tells In Touch of the scene at the evening fu­neral. “There was a blan­ket up to her waist, and her hands were crossed and rest­ing on top of her chest.”

Jen qui­etly took it all in with hus­band, Justin Th­er­oux, by her side. Also pay­ing their re­spects, says the fam­ily in­sider, was Nancy’s sec­ond ex-hus­band and Jen’s fa­ther, John Anis­ton, as well as Jen’s half brother, John Melick, Nancy’s son from her first mar­riage. And dur­ing the un­usual ser­vice, the 47-year-old star — who’d been estranged from her mother on and off since 1999 but saw her for the first time in nearly five years dur­ing a short, strained visit on May 12 — strug­gled with her emo­tions. “Justin was com­fort­ing her,” a sec­ond source who was there tells In Touch, while a third says: “She cried a lot, but she’s OK.”

The fu­neral was brief and, for some, un­com­fort­able. “Nancy’s bed had been moved from her bed­room into the liv­ing room, so that’s where the ser­vice was held,” ex­plains the fam­ily in­sider, not­ing that a ca­su­ally dressed fe­male min­is­ter led the ser­vice. “Although [Nancy’s son] John said a few words, there were no fun sto­ries shared about her, no laugh­ter to tem­per the sad­ness. It was odd,” says the fam­ily in­sider, adding that the min­is­ter did spend some time de­scrib­ing an un­ex­pected rit­ual: “She dis­cussed shroud­ing Nancy’s body — wrap­ping it,” says the fam­ily in­sider.

Shroud­ing is nor­mal for this type of ser­vice. “It’s what you might call a ‘green fu­neral’ be­cause the body is usu­ally not em­balmed and there’s no cas­ket,” ex­plains Minnesota-based home fu­neral con­sul­tant Dan Han­son, who did not over­see Nancy’s ser­vice, adding that it’s com­pletely le­gal but “far from com- mon.” The fam­ily in­sider ex­plains that plans called for Nancy’s body to be cre­mated af­ter­ward, but notes, “The whole thing was strange.”

And not nec­es­sar­ily what Nancy would have wanted, claims the fam­ily in­sider. “I don’t know whose idea this was,” says the fam­ily in­sider. “A me­mo­rial ser­vice in her apart­ment is just plain ghoul­ish. Nancy wanted a nice ser­vice held in her church.”

It’s un­likely Jen had a chance to dis­cuss Nancy’s fi­nal wishes with her. “Con­trary to what Jen is putting out there, Nancy wasn’t sur­rounded by fam­ily and friends in her last days,” the fam­ily in­sider says of Jen, who first stopped talk­ing to her mother 17 years ago, af­ter Nancy wrote a mem­oir about their re­la­tion­ship. “Her mom was in the hos­pi­tal alone, with care­givers.” Still, af­ter not see­ing Nancy at all since she had a de­bil­i­tat­ing stroke in 2011, Jen seem­ingly made her peace when she vis­ited just 13 days be­fore Nancy’s death. “Jen knew the end was near,” says the fam­ily in­sider. “They had a very rocky re­la­tion­ship, but at the end of the day, she was still her mom.” ◼

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