Dear Beloved Fiance's Mother,

How dare you cut me out of his funeral arrangements? How dare you demand his phone, car, business, and account information so your friend can deal with it? YOUR FRIEND? I was his FIANCE.

How fucking DARE you?

He loved me. He was going to spend his life with me. Not his cheating ex-wife.

That’s right. Your sweet daughter-in-law, the mother of your only grandchild...is a sloppy fucking whore. Why do you think he left her? Why do you think he didn’t want to live next door to you? Why do you think he let her stay there? He was DONE!

You were blind when it came to our relationship. You saw what you wanted to see and what you wanted to see was him back with his ex. Their happily-ever-after. Well guess what? It was all bullshit. He loved me and we were getting married. We were going to tell you after our wedding this spring. He'd wanted to go to the courthouse, to make it official. I said no. I wanted a special ceremony, including the kids in our vows. I wanted to marry him in front of the world; to yell it from the rooftops!

How I regret that. If we'd been married, I would be next of kin. I could have handled the funeral arrangements.

I had every right to go to the initial arrangement meeting, but I had to beg. You made me beg. I was heartbroken when you said you "had to think about it." Your son was also my beloved fiance and he died in my arms. You only "allowed" me to come after your sister told how cruel you were.

I showed up with my dad. I could barely stand. You brought two friends, your sister (the only sane one) and her husband. You sat at that conference table and yapped like a bunch of school girls: What cemetery? Should he be buried under a tree? What about plots next to each other? Blah, blah blah.

With an encouraging squeeze from my dad’s hand, I finally spoke up:

"He did not want to be buried. He told me when we went out East to see his dad’s grave that he never wanted to be buried. He wanted to be cremated. He wanted his ashes spread at Nubble Light. He took me there ...to Nubble Light on that same trip. He had so many wonderful memories of you and your sister, and your mom taking him there as a child. He would go into the crevasses and look for crabs and other small creatures."

I continued, "His face absolutely lit up when he talked about it."

"He told me a story about when Nana, your mom, took him there and he swam out WAAAAY too far. He was a strong swimmer even at 4. Nana had to yell and yell before he finally heard her and came swimming back. (Nana didn’t swim). We spent almost a whole day at Nubble Light. Me and him and our dog. It was wonderful. He went into the crevasses, caught crabs and other little creatures. The dog bounded on the beach. We walked hand-in-hand. We were so much in love it almost hurt. We made love smelling the cool ocean air."

After telling you this story, your sister (the only sane one) looked you dead in the eye and said, "this was the way it had to be done."

I think you were overwhelmed.

We proceeded to the casket/urn/picking shit-out room. All seven of us. I stayed in the background. I had said my peace and you would do whatever the hell you wanted. Your sister kept putting her arm around me, pulling me up next to her. It was nice to feel like she thought I was important. We got the information we needed and we left.

On the way home, I broke down. I'd never felt so shut out before. Your half-assed effort to "include" me was pure bullshit. I was angry and frustrated and so damn hurt. SO hurt.

You went back to the funeral home the next day and made all the arrangements without me. Just you and your two friends. Your sister had gone home. I didn’t even know you went back. You didn’t say ONE GODDAMNED word to me until everything was arranged. Yes, you decided upon cremation and for that I am grateful. At least I had fought for and gotten his wishes. I tried to tell myself that this was enough, that I was okay, but the truth of the matter is that I was still REALLY FUCKING PISSED.

You decided to have him cremated after a short “private family” viewing. I’m glad you didn’t go with a full visitation.

The “private family” viewing started at 4:00, you told me. I got there at 3:50. You, his son, your two friends, his ex-wife, her new boyfriend, her son from her first marriage and HIS GIRLFRIEND, her parents, her brother and his wife had been there for OVER AN HOUR. The ONLY people that should have been there were you and his son.

HOW DARE YOU? How could you do that? You lied to me. At least I was the last person to see him and say goodbye.

A few days later was the memorial which you chose to have in a meeting room of a QUAKER CHURCH! Really? A Quaker church? Did you know your son at all? I know your best friend is a member there, but still! You told me how lovely the room was and your friend would preside over the service and afterward, everyone could say a few words or share a story about Beloved Fiance. There would be a violin player. Huh? ...a what?...(crickets). When you told me the size of the room, I warned you that it wouldn't be big enough but you insisted.

The day of the memorial, I woke up in a daze. I showered, got dressed, held my shit together as best as I could. Service started at three, you said, so I got there at 2:45. There were already dozens of people there. All your friends co-workers and neighbors, most of whom didn’t even know Beloved Fiance. As soon as Beloved Fiance's “people” began to pour in, you realized I was right. There was no way everyone was going to fit in that room. It felt like everything you did was a deliberate act to shut me out.

Even with the people standing in the hall, the service, to be fair, was lovely. Your friend did a great job presiding, she simply guided it along. My wonderful father broke the ice. He joked that an Italian boy should have asked him for his daughter's hand in marriage before asking me. After that icebreaker, lots and lots of people spoke. It was glaringly obvious who knew him well and who didn’t know him. It was odd sitting next to his ex-wife and her boyfriend in the front row. I belonged there, but the cheating whore? Really? Their son was there. He switched spots and sat snuggled against me almost the whole time.

I hadn’t planned on saying anything at the memorial. I didn’t think I’d have the strength. I woke up that morning though, and inspiration took over so I started typing. I wrote a long, lovely eulogy for Beloved Fiance. There wasn't a dry eye when I was finished. What I said was absolutely from the heart and everyone knew it. After I spoke, his son looked up at his mom and asked if she was going to say anything. She replied quietly, but juuuuuust loud enough for people around her to hear, that she had "written Daddy a letter," but she "wanted to keep it private."

His cousin was another highlight of the memorial. There were close in age and close in heart. Beloved Fiance often joked that he didn't want us to meet because we would get along too well; we'd ignore him while the two of us talked until we were blue. Cousin is a wonderful, strong woman. I hadn't gotten to meet her before his death, but we have become quite close since.

It brings me no small amount of glee knowing this chaps your ass! Simply put, she’s awesome and you guys never knew what to make of her. His ex was jealous of their relationship which I find quite amusing. How stupid is that? They grew up together for cripes sake! I know she in particular HATES that Cousin and I are friends.

At the memorial, it took poor Cousin a couple of tries to read her eulogy. Once she found her strength and started, the whole place was captivated. It was beautiful. She spoke of their childhood together and the silly phrases they would use. She told everyone that Beloved Fiance was happier the last two years than he'd been in a long, long time. That meant the world to me.

She was the only family member that knew him. They talked for hours. About problems and happiness, about stresses and good things, too. She got him. They were very important to each other. It’s like you were blinded to any relationship he had with a woman besides his ex.

After the memorial, you had a get-together at your friend's house. You really wanted me to come, so I did. I brought some of my friends and my two oldest kids. My youngest had a breakdown, so she went home with a dear friend. You told me how “comfortable” her home was, how “welcoming." It felt weird because it wasn't full of people who really knew him.

We sat for twenty minutes, had a snack and did not mingle. No one came up to offer condolences to us. No one even looked me in the eye. It was awful. We ran into you outside as we were leaving. You had gotten there. You asked me "what I thought" and "if the service was okay with me?" Like it mattered now. You didn’t ask me before when it could have made a difference. I said it was fine because that’s all it was: FINE.

Your car was full of flowers from the memorial. You did not offer me one damn bouquet. NOT ONE. I know it shouldn’t hurt, but it does, it really does. I said I had to get home to my other child and took off.

The relief was palpable. We were done with the bullshit part of the day. Thank whatever it is we thank! We went home to a rousing, great party. THIS is where the real memorial to Beloved Fiance was! There were so many people in and out of my house that night. There was laughter and crying and drinking and eating and stories and songs and happiness and sadness. It was beautiful. It is EXACTLY what Beloved Fiance would have wanted. I wish Cousin had been there.

Unfortunately, she was bound by “family obligation” to stay with you. When the last people left at 2:00 AM, I went to bed where I cried and laughed at the same time. I cried over what I lost. I laughed because it had been a wonderful evening. I cried because I wasn't "next of kin," so I couldn’t give him the memorial he deserved. I laughed because, in the end I did exactly that.

I’m still mad at you. You treated me like shit; like I was less important than his ex-wife. I know grief does weird things to people, and maybe that's what this is all about. Believe me, I’ve had my share of both grief and weirdness; I know you have as well. I let a lot of things go. Partly because I was still in shock, partly because I’m as non-confrontational one can be, and partly because there were still things I wanted from you.

Despite letting some of the major things go, I am still very angry about others. You refused to let me pick up his wedding ring from the funeral home. You insisted upon picking it up. I really, really wanted it before the memorial. It meant something to me. You waited a week AFTER the memorial to give it to me. I asked you for a small amount of his ashes. I have yet to receive those. I was his fiance and I loved him.

I know you lost your son, but you could have gained a daughter. I'd have been a reminder of his happiness. We could have bonded like Beautiful Cousin and I. In a way that is stronger than any casual friendship. It's unfortunate that you choose to alienate me and Beloved Fiance's closest friends. We could have shown you who he really was. He was bright, dedicated, beautiful, caring, generous, a wonderful father, and a shining light that touched everyone around him. Sadly, you choose to live in denial, shunning those who were most important to him.

How dare you?

Sincerely,

The Love Of Your Sons Life

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