last night and was flabbergasted with the story she told me that had been going on in one of our branches of the family. She asked me what I thought she should do. I know what my knee jerk reaction was, but thought I would consult more level heads than mine.
Background: Aunt F was one of my mother’s sisters. She married J and they had one child JL. J was killed in a horrific car wreck when JL was young and several years later F married T. T is Uncle T to all of the cousins and we all love him dearly, some never even met Uncle J, so T is the only uncle on that branch we know. He raised JL like he was his own.
As a teen JL was a bit wild, When he married L she was one of 3 girls that claimed to be pregnant with his child at the time. Yes 3. He denied the other 2 but said it was very possible with L. S was born a healthy baby girl and 2 years later her sister C was born. Those are your players in this scenario.
JL and L divorced after several years of marriage and at his death he was engaged to another woman, but she doesn’t play into this story at all.
Aunt F. died in 2013 and per her wish she was cremated and her ashes were buried next to J and JL remains (neither of them was cremated). At her death and for several years earlier she had been on the outs with L and her girls. S had offered to rent to own a house owned by F and T, but in several years she lived there she never made a single payment on it.
After F death S started coming around to see T, the only grandfather she had ever known since J had died before her birth. Each time she left from seeing T she left with something of value, be it an item or a large check. It became clear to my cousin M who is the poa and rep payee for 90 year old T that S wanted him for only one thing. Yet it made T happy to see her so she let the visits continue.
Earlier this year S came to see T promising him she’d be back the following weekend to see him again. Sadly it was not to be. Like her father and grandfather before her she was killed instantly in a car wreck 2 day later.
Here is where it gets really complicated. No one called T or the cousin M that is handling his affairs for him (her father was my mother’s brother and therefore she is not related to T, but hr loves her as if she was his blood kin and she him) and informed them S had died. T heard about it third hand through the grapevine and the news upset him beyond belief. M tried to get more info and no one had any for her.
Finally L called M and asked what F had been buried in. M told her she had been cremated, and L hatefully said “I knew that,what did you bury her ashes in” M told her a small marble box “(F was a tiny person). Then M tried to ask about the services for S and L basically hung up on her.
M does some more checking around and finds out when the service is and she and her husband take Uncle T to his “grand-daughter’s” funeral. There were a few of our side of the family members there, but strictly the ones M had notified. To say this was strange is an understatement. We are a big family. There were 10 siblings in my mother’s family and let’s just say they went forth and multiplied. When my grandfather died when I was 11 there were 113 of us grandkids. So a small turnout for a family funeral is very strange.
Even stranger, was none of that branch was in the family room. M took T back to speak to L and C and they were very cold to him. To the extent it made all concerned very uncomfortable, so T set with M and our family branch in the main room.
After the funeral they went through the reception line only to have L turn her back on T and M when it was their turn to offer their condolences. M blew it off as the uncomfortableness about the divorce and the years of outs with F. She and her husband took T over to the cemetery ahead of everyone else for the graveside service. They got there and discovered there was no new grave dug.
Here is the really bad part, hang on…After a bit M realized that F’s grave had been dug up! She went to the grave diggers and asked what was going on, they informed her that S was being buried in F’s grave. 90 year old Uncle T dissolved right on the spot demanding to know where his wife’s ashes were. He was casually told that they were on the flat bed truck nearby. He rushed to the truck looking for them and finally discovered them buried under a pile of dirt, digging the tiny pink marble box out with his bare hands.
M did her best Jan stand on a desk routine ever demanding to know what gave them the right to dig up F ashes, that exhumation required permission from the next of kin or a court order. Seems L didn’t want to pay for a plot to bury her own child in and had C, as F grand daughter okay the exhumation. Only C was not F next of kin legally and in fact she had not seen F in over 10 years despite living less than 100 miles from her. T is F’s next of kin and M has his poa. Neither T or M had been consulted at all.
The funeral home director said that she had been told that T had given his permission and so had M on the day they called about how F was buried. Neither was true. All this time my poor uncle T is clutching F’s remains and sobbing.
From what I gathered, the funeral home director went ahead, despite T and M’s protests and put S’s body in F’s grave and kind of tucked F’s ashes in a corner of the grave site. Uncle T is still upset about it all nearly a month later.
The thing is, none of them hold title to that gravesite. M and I do, our parents bought a large lot of those gravesites when M and I were very small. I have the original paperwork on it. Over the years they had either given or sold at the original costs to various family members the plots as they were needed. F had purchased 3 of the plots for herself, J and JL. She had chosen to be cremated and her ashes buried there next to her first husband and son, with the plan that when T. passed his ashes would be put in her grave with her. Now with S there it can’t be done. T can’t be next to the wife he adored for eternity.
M is extremely upset. The funeral director saying that if F had been buried in a plastic bag they couldn’t have placed S there, but since she was in a tiny sealed vault they could legally do what they did.
As if that wasn’t bad enough M’s husband took T to the house S had been living in rent free to retrieve some things that belonged to he and F and to mow, winterize etc to find that the locks had been changed and strangers were living in the house. The house he owned, and had lived in for many years with F.
Needless to say M is seeing a lawyer and I am digging out the paperwork on the titles to the gravesites. Do any of you have any suggestions on how to should handle this, poor uncle T is 90 and he is so angry and sad all at once it is affecting his health.