Dear Snarky – How Do You Keep a Family Member from Attending a Funeral?

Dear Snarky,

I need your help. My father has been very sick for a long time and is now in hospice care. We have been told his death will be very soon. We have all the details of his funeral planned out and my mom has put me in charge of making sure my dad’s youngest cousin, “Susan” doesn’t attend the funeral. 

The problem with “Susan” is that she’s a train wreck and makes every life event all about her. Here are just two recent examples. At my grandma’s funeral she fainted mid church service. She got up to go to the bathroom and “passed out” in the church aisle. She insisted that we call 911 so the funeral didn’t end up being about my grandmother; it was all about Susan. Literally my grandmother’s funeral was “paused” for 40 minutes and after that all anybody talked about was Susan. Is Susan okay? What did the E.R. doctor say? etc. “Susan,” whose maybe 50, was just fine. The ER doctor could find nothing wrong with her.

At my sister’s wedding “Susan” supposedly tripped while finding a place to sit down at the wedding and she said she hit her head and was concussed. She called 911 on her own phone while she was sprawled out in one of the aisles. We had to delay the wedding since her body was blocking where the bride would walk to the altar for 15 minutes. 

She’s also the queen of crying. She’s known for getting hysterical at every funeral even if she was never close to the deceased.

I agree with my mom that it would be great if Susan, who NEVER visited my dad during his illness wouldn’t be at my dad’s funeral but how do you stop someone from attending a funeral?

Signed, Worst Cousin Ever

Dear Worst Cousin,

It totally sucks that instead of focusing on mourning the loss of your father you have to plan some evasive maneuvers to combat a crazy relative.

My first thought is that you could have security at the entrance to where the funeral will be taking place to deny her entrance but that sounds like a recipe for a huge dramatic melt down so basically you would be playing to Susan’s strengths.

This is why I think the best course of action would be to get a friend (or friends) that’s not afraid of spinning some fibs and has a strong personality to be Susan’s babysitter. (I’m currently volunteering my services since this plays to my strengths.) When the time comes, I would tell Susan that you’ve arranged transportation for her to the funeral. Of course, this transportation would be your friend.

 I would then have your friend tell Susan that the family has asked you to run a couple of errands before you go to the church (or wherever the family is gathering). Then just stretch those errands out and maybe even have some car trouble – anything to make Susan miss the funeral or get there too late to make it about her.

I’m not saying this is a great plan or even a good one but right now it’s the only thing I can think of. Basically, you want to have a plan in place that I would call Operation Delay Susan. I suggest brainstorming with other trusted family members and see what you come up with. 

Good luck and I’m so sorry about your dad.

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