My father's funeral

by jwfacts 46 Replies latest jw experiences

  • EmptyInside

    Again,I'm sorry for the loss of your father. It was nice that the funeral talk was actually about your father.

    I did hear one funeral talk once that departed from the norm. It was given by a former Bethelite,and he incorporated the man's life throughout the talk and made it very personal. And then,I went to a funeral talk where the elder focused on talking about the annointed,which was strange,because the woman who died didn't claim to be of the annointed.

    And it was nice that some showed genuine sympathy to you. And some,of course,were plainly just rude. I wish they would reflect on the fact that even if,someone has left the religion,they still have feelings,you still lost your dad.

    And I'm glad that you had real friends that were there for you.

    I do hope your mom comes around,and she may yet. We never can tell what the future may bring.

  • jwfacts

    Thank you for the kind comments.

    What's a wake?

    I am not sure that JWs are allowed a wake, but am not sure what else it is called. They hired a function center after and everyone went there after the funeral talk for food and drink.

    I think Mum will struggle in time. She is considering moving states, and so will not have a huge circle of people she knows. It will be very different to being a CO Wife, where people give adulation simply due to the position.

    The shunning is so counter-productive, particularly at a hall. If JWs did not associate with d/f people socially, but acted kindly at the hall, then it may provide a longing to go back for the association. But when people shun you at the hall, it just confirms how insane the religion is and unnaturally unloving the people are.

  • Quandry

    So glad you were able to get through all with dignity, even though some had idiotic comments meant to dig at you.

    I wonder what will happen to mum.

    Oh, I'm sure you'll find out. In the years to come, if mum needs care, they'll be looking for you to do your "duty."

    I remember reading one women's story when I first became a member here. She'd been shunned by her mother for years, but when her mother got old and was diagnosed with demensia, the "loving brothers" informed her that it was her responsibility to care for her. There she sat, caring for a woman that she no longer knew and that no longer knew her!

  • Hopscotch

    Paul I'm very sorry to hear of your father's passing but glad that you were able to find some comfort in the funeral service.

    It is truly awful that instead of being able to go through the normal rituals and grieving processes that come with the death of a loved one, exjw's have to go through all this disgusting shunning, awkwardness, feeling left out etc on top of the terrible grief they are dealing with. It is so very wrong.

    I remember when my mom died of cancer 6 1/2 years ago I was left out of much of the planning for the funeral service (and I was still a JW at the time but becoming inactive). It really hurt me, and the funeral service itself, while attended by over 400 JWs, was to me so impersonal about my mum. Just the usual JW service with a few minutes talk about mum and using her beliefs as a sales talk to the audience. I felt like shouting out "this service is supposed to be about my mum". That funeral service really sped up my desire to get out of that horrible cult.

    My sincere condolences on your loss Paul and I hope you find comfort in the lovely memories you have of your dad.

    Best wishes


  • Quendi

    I once gave a memorial service talk and it was a uniquel experience for me. A JW friend had lost her mother who was Jewish and also suffered from various mental illnesses, schizophrenia being among them. So when she died, Marcy asked me to give the talk which was held at a funeral home. She had issues with the elders at that time and so she asked none of them to speak. Instead, since I was an old friend, I was asked to say a few words.

    I decided to make the theme of my talk the hope of the resurrection and all the scriptures I cited or read were from the Old Testament. I did not know Marcy's mother that well and so I had very little to say about her as a person. But I made my remarks as positive as I could, stressing the fact that the deceased was both a wife and a mother whose children had great affection for her. Now she had gone to her rest and we could look to a loving God to secure her future prospects for life.

    There were quite a few non-Witnesses at the service and they all told me how much they appreciated my remarks. I made no references to Jehovah's Witnesses, the organization, or how people could learn more from a "free home Bible study". Reading about Paul's father's funeral has reminded me that the purpose of a funeral or memorial service is to comfort the living and share as many positive things about the deceased as we can. It is certainly not the time for cheap proselytizing.

    I also want to touch on what Paul said about the deplorable shunning practice of Jehovah's Witnesses and how it is carried out 24/7. During one of my meetings with my judicial committee during the years I pursued reinstatement, I was asked by one of the elders if I loved the brothers. He was dumbfounded when I said, "NO." He couldn't understand this. Why did I feel that way, he asked me. I told him that when I came into the Hall I never heard so much as a "Good Morning" or "Good Evening" from anyone. Nobody would even say my name. Any personal relationship with another human being begins with an exchange of greetings and names. So I felt I no longer had any relationship with anyone in the congregation and so had no reason to love any of them. I remember that none of the elders could say a word in reply after that.


  • Gayle

    So glad, a few exJW friends took you for a drink after................. only exJWs like us truly understand what you went through. You were the respectful one there, amidst some of the coldness, arrogance of some JWs there that are taught such by the GB/WTS.

  • Roski

    Time will tell how it works out with your mum. I will write a little of my experience as it may be useful - it is abbreviated but these basically are the facts as they played out.

    I stayed with my mother for a couple of months after my father's death, until one day the locks were changed while I was at work.

    The elder who was (supposedly) executor of the will and one other came to the house and found a safe that had held a substantial amount of money had been cleared out. They immediately decided I had taken the money so changed the locks and installed a "watchdog" sister. After doing so they called another relative and found out that the money had been deposited in a term deposit at the bank (I did that) but my mother had forgotten. I called Elder A and he squirmed and tried to avoid the issue but said my father wanted him to look after his financial affairs as he couldn't trust my husband (or me). My father had no reason whatsoever to say that and I'm not sure he ever did. The elders revoked my Enduring Power of Attorney the previous day, and elder A's account of that differed from that of the bank manager's. My mother was obviously in no mental state to instigate that change and when she tried to tell me about what had transpired at the bank was not in any way coherent in doing so. Elder A made some pathetic statements about why he tought she understood.

    During this time I saw my mother's doctor and got a referral to a geriatrician - concerned she could have had a slight stroke as her mental capacity was declining. I gave this to the live-in sister but the elders later claimed they never got it - for good reason. The sister moved out after a couple of weeks and my mother was left alone. She wandered the streets and was brought home by a truck driver late one night after getting lost. I contacted the Office of the Adult Guardian and wrote all details that they then investigated. It has progressed to the highest level of investigation but no outcome as yet. They are extremely slow.

    After the investigation started and a number of other visits from community care workers etc. elder A and B returned en force and took over management of all her affairs. This at least saved her life as she was at the point of hospitalisation or worse due to weight loss. At this time I could barely get past the front door (she is a follower not a thinker). After all financial affairs were in order they did see the geriatricain who stated that she was now unable to handle her financial affairs. They claimed at first they did not accuse me of stealing her money but later admitted in a round about way they had thought so.

    Her house (which will become the societiy's and which she and my father would never have had if I had not organised it after 1975 was a fizzer) is now having rooms added for someone to live-in.I was told this is necessary as my potential plans (with her acceptance) to take care of her would not have taken her spiritual needs into account.

    Elder B acknowledged poor behaviour due to misunderstanding and arranged a meeting with A, B me and my daughter. All I can say is that if I were still in any way inclined to believe in the honesty, ethics or spiritual conscience of the elders/WT, that meeting would have finished it. Elder B made an effort to appear contrite while supporting elder A. Elder A simply behaved as any 'legal' person would and said as little as possible apart from his opening words of "I believe there are some things you don't understand and would like us to clear up." His last words were, "we will continue to administer your mother's affairs'.

    I emailed my response of that meeting to them but no reply. When my daughter asked elder A how he would feel if he were in our shoes - being disenfranchised of your family, he did not answer. That man is as cold as they come. I have seen a lawyer who was quite disgusted at their behaviour, although I know it is not generated from them per se. He told me I can contest the will, but that has never been my objective as I tried to explain to A and B - but they seem unable to grasp that. My request is simply that I be one of (the third) part of the Enduring Power of Attorney to monitor what happens to her should either of these two people default on their responsibilities. Interestingly, when my daughter asked elder A that question he said -"Well, she will become a ward of the state." How can one communicate/negotiate with a person who thinks like that? And who is this elder? A previous Australian branch overseer.

    There are many other twists and turn to this story that still leave me (and other people whom I have told) open-mouthed with astonishment. The one positive outcome is that involvement by the AGO probably saved her life, so I guess it is there my responsibilities rest. She barely speaks to me now as my father is not there as some kind of voice of reason. I guess it is her journey.

    As I was unprepared for this situation (although intuition told me something) this account may be of help tp someone else with the same circumstances.

  • discreetslave

    Again I'm sorry for your loss.

    I feel sorry for your mom.

    Did your wife & child go with you? From your writing it seems like they didn't. If so how were they treated?

  • sizemik

    Once again my condolences Paul . . . and thanks for taking the time to post this.

    I guess you always knew it was going to be a bit like oil and water . . . the JW mindset seems so foreign and yet eerily familiar at the same time. Unfortunately the thinking is quite shallow and almost seems afraid to go beyond the pages of a Watchtower . . . and then it often just comes across like a cheap shot, which is the last thing you need at your Dads funeral.

    All said and done . . . it sounds about as good as it get's at a JW funeral.

    Sadly it will probably bind your Mum that much more closely to the "hope" . . . but leave her with profound changes to cope with as well.

    I know the hole it leaves for you personally . . . and you will no doubt feel it keenly for some time yet. You are a good man like your Dad. All the best.

  • Pams girl
    Pams girl

    Thanks for posting Paul, I was thinking about you and how you had got on. x

    You handled yourself with dignity. I would have found it very hard to bite my tongue, especially at certain comments, on that day of all days.

    Be there for your mum should she need you.. Remember your dad.. Be the best person you can.

    My love to you Paul. x

    Paula. x

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