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Estranged Adult Kids and Funeral Arrangements: Making Difficult Choices

Dealing with the loss of a family member is never easy, and when you’re an estranged adult kid, navigating funeral arrangements can be an even more challenging experience. The mix of emotions, unresolved issues, and complex family dynamics can make this time especially difficult. In this blog post, we will explore the unique challenges that estranged adult kids face when a family member passes away, and offer guidance on how to navigate these difficult choices with grace and understanding.

The Impact of Estrangement on Grieving

When a parent or a family member passes away, it’s natural to grieve their loss. However, for estranged adult kids, the grieving process can be complicated. Feelings of guilt, unresolved conflicts, and ambivalent emotions may arise, adding layers of complexity to the mourning period. Understanding that your feelings are valid and allowing yourself to process them is crucial in this journey of grief and healing.


Communicating with the Family

During times of loss, family members often come together to plan funeral arrangements and pay their respects. For estranged adult kids, this can pose a significant challenge. Deciding whether to attend the funeral or memorial service requires careful consideration of your emotional well-being and boundaries. It’s essential to remember that you have the right to make decisions that prioritize your mental and emotional health.

Coping with Guilt and Regret

One common emotion that arises during this time is guilt. Estranged adult kids may feel guilty about the decision to estrange themselves or harbor regrets about unresolved issues with the deceased family member. It’s essential to recognise that feelings of guilt are a natural part of the grieving process and are not an indication of wrongdoing.


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Setting Boundaries with Flying Monkeys

In the aftermath of a family member’s death, you may encounter “flying monkeys” – individuals who try to pressure you into actions or decisions that are not in line with your needs and boundaries. Learning to set firm boundaries with these individuals is crucial to protecting your emotional well-being during this vulnerable time.

Deciding on Funeral Participation

The decision to attend a funeral or memorial service is a deeply personal one. As an estranged adult kid, you may feel conflicted about whether to participate. It’s essential to remember that there is no right or wrong answer. You should do what feels most comfortable and supportive of your emotional healing process.

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Seeking Support from Like-Minded Communities

During times of grief, finding support from others who have experienced similar situations can be immensely beneficial. Consider seeking out online forums or support groups specifically for estranged adult kids (like Breakaway’s r/EstrangedAdultKids), where you can share your experiences, find understanding, and gain valuable insights from others who have walked a similar path.

Coping Strategies for Grieving

Coping with grief is an individual journey, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, there are coping strategies that may help ease the emotional burden during this time. Engaging in self-care activities, seeking professional counseling, or expressing your feelings through creative outlets like writing or art can be effective ways to cope with grief.

Honoring Your Emotions

It’s crucial to honour your emotions throughout the grieving process. This may involve allowing yourself to feel a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, or relief. Remember that there is no “right” way to grieve, and it’s okay to take the time you need to heal.

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Dealing with Inherited Assets

In some cases, estranged adult kids may be faced with dealing with inherited assets after a family member’s passing. This can add another layer of complexity to an already challenging situation. Remember: there’s no right or wrong way to deal with this and no one has the right to judge you for the decision you decide.


Navigating funeral arrangements as an estranged adult kid can be emotionally demanding and complex. It’s essential to remember that you are not alone and that your feelings are valid. Give yourself the space and grace to grieve in your way, and don’t hesitate to seek support from like-minded communities or professional counselors. Remember that healing is a journey, and by understanding and honouring your emotions, you can navigate this challenging time with resilience and strength.