The death of a stepparent can be as challenging as facing the death of a biological parent, especially if they had a strong part of raising you. Wondering what you should contribute after a death can add even more stress to this difficult time. Here are some tips for how to handle the cremation service of a stepparent.
Tip #1: Defer to the Person's Biological Children
Oftentimes your parent will handle the decisions of the cremation service, but sometimes that is left up to the "kids." If so, no matter how close you may have been to your stepparent, you need to defer to the biological children of your stepparent when it comes to decisions about their cremation service as well as how the person's ashes will be handled. The only exception to this would be an instance when the biological children were not involved in your stepparent's life at all. Although you can and should speak up when you have a strong opinion on an issue, try to focus on what the stepparent's children want.
Tip #2: Speak as a Child
Although you do want to keep the focus on the stepparent's offspring, it is perfectly okay for you to speak about the stepparent as though they were your own parent. When sharing or giving a eulogy, speak openly about how they treated you and the type of relationship you had. You may share stories about bonding moments you had with the stepparent or how they parented you. It's alright to speak from your perspective, and you can still turn the attention and sympathies back to the stepparent's children.
Tip #3: Take Care of Yourself First
Being a great help to your loved ones in their time of need is very rewarding. However, you won't be able to last long if you are depleting all your inner and outer resources for the good of your family. Offer only what you can handle giving. For example, if offering to cover the costs of the cremation service, you need to first make sure that it won't put you in the red. The same is true for emotional sacrifices. Ultimately make the decisions that you will be happy you made and take care of yourself first.
Finally, keep in mind that it is possible to mourn the loss of a stepparent while still offering support to your step-siblings who may need you. Follow these tips to navigate the sometime blurry lines that come along with the cremation service when a stepparent passes away. For more etiquette tips, contact a company like American Cremation Society.