Closure and the death of JW family/friends
A few threads recently made me think of how cruel Jehovah's Witnesses are in shunning around death. I don't have much experience with death. I lost my non-JW grandpa when I was 12 (?) and I remember being devastated. I was close to him. I wanted to stay home but my mom insisted I go to the viewing for closure. Damn, I had no idea how much I needed that. It was tough, but I remember the outpouring of emotion and how much lighter I felt afterward. Then we went back to his house and sat around with family, including grandma, and just told stories. It was so therapeutic.
Fast forward to a couple years ago. I've been shunned for 6 months officially, over a year unofficially by family. My dad dies and I'm not invited to the memorial service. No time with family to reminisce. No final viewing or anything. My dad and I had a VERY complicated relationship but it would have been nice to reminisce, to see his spot on the couch at his home empty, those things that signify loss, that someone is missing.
I did see him in hospice once. It was weird to be un-shunned for 40 minutes or so to visit. I was in the middle of a workday and was caught off guard by it all. Told my dad that I'd come spend more time the next day if I could. Mom made it sound like he was to die that day so I rushed over. That wasn't the case so I figured maybe tomorrow I'd have more time to process, more time to spend.
I decided against going back because it ended as well as it was going to. I told my mom that we probably couldn't make it back that next day to which she let me know "oh honey, you weren't to come back, that was it", one last little hit at the end. So confusing emotionally in such a weird time.
Jehovah's Witnesses are such a cruel breed of human when shunning even around death. Inhuman even in the most human of moments. They will rob you even of ultimate closure. They just disappear, vanish like ghosts. Closure is hard to ever get from such situations.
I am disgusted by the way JW's treat DF'd people during funerals and memorial services. It is one of the most unloving, unkind things one could possibly do to another- not give them the respect that another human deserves during the grieving process. It's just plain ugly behavior on the part of the JW's.
I'm happy to hear that you were able to visit with your dad before his passing. Sorry for your loss.
Lovely thread Dubstepped!
Yes, the Society creates such a tragic dehumanising culture....it is truly emotionally toxic....
Like all situations, each family practices things in the JW world according to their own dysfunction. My mother's memorial brought out a softness in the family towards my disfellowshipped brother, who is a truly evil person. He was allowed at the home afterwards as well. This I know is not typical, but it happens. Its the one time I wished they kept the disfellowship rule, oddly enough.
I recommend that those of you who are barred from your families memorials, have your own. Do it the way that brings closure (if that's possible) and peace of mind. Invite those who shun you. Send them a certified letter about your love for that person and how you will miss them. This whole shunning even after death is the most cruel, evil thing a human can do to another.
dogisgod wrote: I recommend that those of you who are barred from your families memorials, have your own. Do it the way that brings closure (if that's possible) and peace of mind.
My JW sister never even called me to tell me our non JW father had died. I heard about it from a friend of my father's who was invited to the his service which of course wasn't even at a KM.
"By their love you will know them"
Dubstepped, I'm so sorry for your loss and how inhumanely you were treated by your family. Our situation with myJW in-laws is just beyond bizarre. Honestly, I wish my father-in-law would go back to the "necessary family business" model. My father-in-law didn't even have a memorial service at the Kingdom Hall for my mother-in-law. He believed that because she stopped eating and drinking that she chose to commit suicide, committed the unforgivable sin and is not going to get a resurrection. Isn't it nice that he has decided that he is God and has judged her as unworthy. He had her cremated and said, "Well that's over with. I guess I need to learn how to cook."
My husband just came home from a visit with his dad, and I can't even begin to talk about the sheer absurdity of the situation. Perhaps I'll be able to gather my thoughts and write a thread about it soon.
I do agree with dogisgod that we need to have our own personal way of grieving the loss of a loved one when we are not allowed to attend any services or be with family at the time of death. I had to do that with my daughter-in-law. She loved and celebrated spring, so I wrote her a letter and buried it with a newly planted flowering tree. It's what I needed to do.
Thanks for the kind words everybody. I like and second the recommendation above to memorialize people as you need for closure. Honestly I see no way to do so myself, nor do I care to with my father anymore, but the ways that people typically do so are through community. There is no community of people other than JWs that likely knew your dead JW loved one. I wasn't really looking for ways to fix anything, more just shining a light on how messed up they are and how they steal so much from people.
@SailAway - I'm so sorry for your loss, and the drama that followed. Your FIL is either a piece of shit or he's just hurting badly and doesn't know how to feel so he's just acting out. I've seen that before. My dad had a moment with me like that. He was a broken person.
Anyway, I like your tree memorial. That's a beautiful tribute.