Setting up funeral arrangements for a loved one can be like juggling flaming bowling balls. One thing is already hard enough without the added difficulty of the other. On the surface, you need to appear calm for those around you suffering through similar pains, but on the inside all you might want to do is cry. It all leads to the gathered love and reflection from everyone the day of the funeral, which can be a supportive beam everybody leans on. However, when a relative or close family friend begins making the funeral all about them and their issues, it can make a hard day even worse.
Reddit user, u/angrywidow, had an issue regarding her husband who passed away and an old "friend" who just couldn't let go. So she turned to Reddit to ask for help:
My [28F] husband [36M] passed away, and now his "best friend" [33F] is trying to control his services
I'll try to make this brief. My husband, Jonah, passed away unexpectedly a month ago from a stroke. I don't want to get specific about that part, it's the worst pain I've ever felt in my entire life, and I'm still not sure how I'm ever going to move on.
We were married for 5 years, together for 7. The past 2 years we've been trying for a baby, but were just getting to the point of considering IVF when he died.
Jonah had a close friend in high school named Marjorie. Marjorie also ended up going to the same university as he did, and they spent a lot of time together during those college years. Jonah said that he liked Marjorie's company, but never felt anything beyond friendship with her -- which I totally believe.
Jonah dated other women during that period, but told me that several times Marjorie hinted that she wanted him to ask her out. She also "joked" about wanting him to be her "plan B" in case she didn't meet someone and get married by 30.
By the time I'd started dating Jonah, he had moved a couple hours away from his hometown (and Marjorie). Despite this, Marjorie immediately began finding excuses to come to our town and "hang out" -- which usually involved her encouraging us to go drinking, and then her passing out on the couch at Jonah's apartment. I didn't mind her for the most part, but she had a habit of saying things like, "you know you ruined our marriage pact, haha!" and pointing out all the things that she knew about him (like what he took in his coffee, his favorite bands, etc).
Over the course of our relationship, and especially after we got married, Jonah definitely put some distance into his relationship with Marjorie. He confided in me that he felt he had "outgrown her" and that they really had little in common anymore. He stopped responding to her invitations to hang out as often, though he would occasionally call to catch up out of guilt (especially when she would text him or leave messages saying she was "so sad he was ignoring her" and the like).
But now he's gone. I had him cremated, like he wanted. We haven't done the memorial service yet -- it was too hard for me to even imagine the first couple of weeks, and I also wanted to give time for some out-of-state people to make travel plans. The memorial is this weekend.
However, two weeks ago, I received an email from Marjorie -- sent to around sixty people, including Jonah's family -- saying that she was holding a memorial service for Jonah in the town where they grew up (the day before his memorial here). I was completely blown away, seeing as she hadn't mentioned anything to me or even attempted to call. Along with the details, the email said that she was "planning the memorial in light of the fact that no other service had yet been held in his memory, and he deserved to be laid to rest with honor". For the record, she was invited to the memorial which I've been planning, and knew it was happening.
I called her, of course, and told her that while I appreciated her willingness to help with Jonah's goodbye, I was already planning a service for him that would involve all of his family and friends. She immediately went on the defensive, and said that she had "only started to plan a service when she realized I wasn't willing to do it in a timely manner". I told her that the timing wasn't her choice to make, but that if she wanted to have a memorial of some kind, to please just add on the invitation that his "official" memorial was going to be held this weekend. She said fine.
I sent a message to all of Jonah's invited friends/family to make sure that they knew the real service with both of our families was going to be here, and then just washed my hands of the whole thing.
This week I received a message on facebook from Jonah's cousin, saying that Marjorie (who has apparently blocked me on facebook) created an "event" for Jonah's "official" memorial service (her memorial) and invited everyone she possibly could. I've been getting blown up with emails asking which day the memorial is, and where. I'm honestly furious -- I don't have the emotional energy to deal with this.
I ended up putting a post up on my wall, reiterating the date of his service here, and asking people to please share it. Thankfully I think the older members of the family don't use facebook or email very often, so most of them haven't been confused, but a lot of people now think that Marjorie's service is the real one.
I called Marjorie again, asking her to add an addendum to her event saying that his actual memorial was going to be here. She told me that "Jonah would have wanted it this way" and that "if I couldn't appreciate her efforts, I wasn't invited to say goodbye to Jonah." I told her that was fine, seeing as I'd already said goodbye to Jonah when I held him as he died. She hung up.
Apparently she's now spreading information to her mutual friends with Jonah, saying that he was planning on leaving me because I wasn't able to conceive. She also said that we had approached her to carry a baby for us -- all absolute lies. His cousin sent me a screenshot of a text where she said that "Jonah always thought we would have the cutest baby together" and that "AngryWidow doesn't understand how much he wants children".
I'm at a loss as to what to do. I don't care what she says about me, but she's now tarnishing my husband's memory -- especially saying that he wanted to divorce. Jonah would never have left me, and anyone that knows him at all knows that we were committed to each other above all else.
I need to figure out how to tell this woman to f-ck off without encouraging her to spread more lies. And I also want to just forget the whole thing and crawl in bed and never get up again.
Help me, please.
tl;dr: My husband's former "best friend" is trying to plan his entire memorial service and is tarnishing his memory. How do I get her to stop?
Ask For Someone To Step In
Can you deputize another friend or family member to take over Marjorie-handling for you? Someone to text and facebook everyone, set the record straight when she sends out some message, show up to her memorial and talk to people, etc? Basically, someone to shield you from her?
The best way to deal with a Marjorie is to tell people close to you the truth, and let them disseminate it. The people that matter won't believe her.
If nothing else, I think that people will realize that her memorial isn't real when you're not there. That sort of detail sticks out.
Seriously, Find Someone To Handle Marjorie
Do you have any friends or family members who are mean and clever? Could you ask them to take over handling all of the Marjorie bullsh-t?
Draw The Line In The Sand
First off, sorry for your loss. You seriously need to tell this girl to go f-ck herself. Say in no uncertain terms that YOU are his wife, YOU are his family and her actions are disgusting. Call all your family and friends and let them know that YOU, his WIDOW will be conducting this memorial service. She is out of her mind if she thinks that anyone will believe her story about him leaving you.
HE HAD A ZILLION OPPORTUNITIES TO HAVE THAT GIRL AND TURNED DOWN ALL OF THEM AND MARRIED YOU. She sounds mentally unstable, seriously so. I would hire an attorney and threaten to sue her for libel. If someone did this to me, I can't even tell you what I would do. She'd be sorry she ever opened her mouth.
People Who Matter Will Show Up
I'm so sorry for your loss. This is truly tragic. I would think that most people would understand that the memorial is where the wife says it is and where the remains will be buried. Contact the hometown newspaper and do an obituary with the correct information. Don't fool with this meddling woman again. If half the people show up, so what? The memorial is for you and his family; to help you let go. Again, I'm sorry for what you are going thru.
Get The Law Involved
I am not a lawyer but you should contact a lawyer. As the executor of your husband's estate (unless he left someone else in charge as the executor) you are well within your realms to file cease and desists saying that people cannot use his name in ways that you do not approve of. Your husband wasn't famous, but for example, Terry Pratchett's widow could tell websites or book publishers that his name is not allowed to be used unless it is cleared with the executor of his estate.
You are the one who has to protect your husband's name now. If she wants to hold a memorial she can do so but she's not allowed to call it his official memorial service without your say so. This is similar to if she printed something slanderous or libelous about him in the newspaper, you as the executor of his estate would be within your right to send her a cease and desist and sue for any damages.
Have the cousin save a screen shot of her memorial event on Facebook. Save the physical invitation from the memorial service she was planning. Give these to the lawyer. Pay your lawyer out of the estate your husband left you (if he had any life insurance policies, investments, assets that you are selling because you no longer need a second car or need the house you lived in because you don't want to and you don't need that much space anymore). Then tell the lawyer to pursue a civil suit for the damages caused monetarily by her actions, namely the money you're spending on the lawyer to get her to stop.
Most likely you will have to take her to small claims and a mediator but you can get her to stop and get your lawyer fees paid for and maybe even a little more for the emotional distress of having to do this.
Don't confront her. Just call a lawyer first thing Monday morning. You might want to call an estate lawyer.
A Little Bit of Hindsight Advice For Everyone Else
This is just a message to everyone in this thread: Please make sure that you have a will in place.
Guard The Memorial
First, i am so terribly sorry for your loss. I do not have the right words to express how sorry I am.
Second, I became enraged reading this. IDK if you have anyone who can help you stand up to this woman, but if you're in FL and need some help this weekend, it's my weekend off and I'd be more than happy to stand "guard" at your memorial service to make sure this whacko cannot enter. Or even if you need someone to handle other things in regards to her. I have a very mean nurse b-tch face I can put on at a moments notice. I can handle crazy. PM me if I can assist you. I know I'm an internet stranger, but I am so angry and upset for you. You don't need this on top of everything else.
If this escalates, you need to seek legal guidance. Try not to respond to ANY of the crazy she's spewing. Let her make herself look crazy. She doesn't need much help. I promise you that. You keep your head held high. Redirect anyone asking for which memorial to go to, to your own. And if you need help with that, please don't hesitate to ask.
You are a strong, brave women. You can do this. Do not let her effect you. She's nuts. You are his wife, everyone knows that. The more crazy she talks, the more crazy she looks.
Hold Your Head Higher
I must say I've never heard of a weird case like this. When you're trying to provide a dignified memorial, this yapping little runt dog of a woman (regardless of her physical size) is turning it into a circus.
I think the best you can do is to act dignified yourself. You don't have to invite her to your memorial if you don't want, after all she's the one diminishing it. And if someone mentions her to you, just say that she seems very jealous and you are disappointed she is acting like this. Cut her no break, but don't be drawn into it. Be superior. You were and are his wife.
She is the one who wanted him so much she couldn't even let go after he married you, practically a stalker. You should barely deign to notice her.
I am sorry for your loss.
Make A Whole Thing Of It
Publicly announce that this person is trying to make a competing memorial, it is not the 'official' one, won't have his remains, that she is trying to take people away from the real one to attend her's, and this is causing you great emotional distress.
Should The Police Get Involved?
I, like so many others on this post, am straight up pissed off by what this psycho batsh-t crazy woman is doing to you, OP. I don't know you from the next person but if you are in Ohio, feel free to contact me and I will help you any way I can.
Also, I don't think it would hurt to call the police and at least give them a heads up on her psycho behavior. Clearly it is escalating and it will continue to do so, especially if she doesn't get what she wants (attention and acknowledgement from others that somehow her place in Jonah's life was greater than yours). I wouldn't be surprised if she goes batsh-t crazy if the "turn out" at her memorial isn't what she expects. Protect yourself in every way you can... share with those you trust the communications and proof you have about her behavior. And then give her the rope and let her hang herself with it. Crazy can pretend to be normal for only so long.
The more I think about this the more it concerns me... what is she capable of later, after the memorial? Like will she do annual memorials, what will she continue to say to others or do to you? This chick is psychopath of epic proportions. Please protect yourself on all fronts.
Call Everybody One By One
First of all, OP, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you're going through.
Secondly, I'd like to praise you for the calm and the restraint you've shown so far. You're a much more patient woman than I, especially under the circumstances. As you already know, everything she has done and said so far has been completely uncalled for, and you are in the right.
My suggestion is to reach out personally to as many people as possible and let them know the truth of the matter. It's exhausting, but the way the information flow is going, it might be the best way to get people the real information about where the real memorial will be. You know, the one held by his real wife. I couldn't imagine anyone who really knew/loved him taking her word over yours, and if they do, f-ck 'em. True colors shown.
Reach Out To Those Closest To You Both
I would contact those you know were close to him and tell them that she's being a nut pretty much. How disrespectful of her. She should be working WITH you not making a second memorial because yours isn't good enough.
She really does sound like a psycho making up the baby rumor. WTF?
Follow The List And Be Constructive
I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine the pain you must be in right now.
Marjorie sounds completely f-cking insane and malicious. If I were in your shoes I'd be very tempted to go scorched earth on her a--, but that wouldn't be the most constructive approach here. So here's what I'd do instead:
- Send an email to all of the guests you've invited to attend the actual memorial service stating, "Just to reiterate, the service will be held at [location] on [date]." Do not mention Marjorie, her lies, or the second service.
- Contact the funeral home per /u/ThomasBeckett's suggestion and see what can be done to pull the plug on Marjorie's service.
- Delete and block this woman on all forms of social media, email, your phone, everywhere.
- UNLESS AND UNTIL somebody comes to you asking about Marjorie's lies, resist the urge to set the record straight. If you try to publicly address her claims on Facebook or elsewhere, it will almost certainly get back to her and she'll be even more fueled by the attention and the knowledge that she's getting under your skin. Cut off her supply by ignoring her.
- If she crosses the line into character assassination against you, contact legal aid.
- Content yourself with the knowledge that if any of Jonah's and Marjorie's mutual friends have half a brain, they'll understand she's out of her f-cking mind or at least being outrageously inappropriate.