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by Abigail Van Buren

Siblings Disagree Over Final Wishes of Their Dying Father

DEAR ABBY: My mother died two years ago. Both of my parents traveled extensively before their declining health prevented it. They purchased a prepaid cremation package that included shipping the cremains back to their home.

My mother was cremated, but we had to wait more than six weeks for her cremains so we could have a funeral. Waiting for the funeral devastated my dad.

While he was able to communicate and make decisions, he stated that he did not want to be cremated. So I took Dad to a funeral home and selected a funeral package that included a traditional burial, and called to cancel the cremation package. My sibling, who is the power of attorney, talked him out of it and reactivated the package!

Now my father has been diagnosed with severe dementia and cancer. We don't know how long he has, but I'm concerned that his final wishes won't be followed. If he is cremated, I am considering skipping his funeral. How can I get through to my sibling that this was wrong, and I won't be a part of not following his wishes? -- NOT WHAT HE WANTED

DEAR NOT: Your father appointed your sibling to be his power of attorney for a reason. I will assume that your father was in his right mind when he decided that he wanted to be cremated after all. I think it would be in your interest to calmly discuss this with your sibling and find out why your father changed his mind after telling you he preferred to be buried. Could the reason have been financial, that burials are expensive and he wanted to leave more to his children? You won't know until you ask.

If you do not attend your father's funeral service, I am concerned that it will cause a permanent rift in the family and be something you may regret for the rest of your life.

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