My husband’s family has an extremely bizarre set of rituals surrounding death and funerals. They’re from Wales, but I don’t think this is a cultural thing and I haven’t been able to find a basis for it or even anything remotely similar from a cultural/religious background. I think they might just be a bunch of weirdos.
So here goes. In my husband’s family, before a corpse of a recently deceased family member is buried they will have all of the teeth of the deceased knocked out, and will give one tooth to each of their living relatives to keep with them in a fabric pouch which they’re meant to keep with them. They even have a system for how they decide which family member gets which tooth based on their proximity to the deceased. Any teeth that the deceased has collected themselves over their life is added into an ornate chest which is literally filled with thousands of human teeth (apparently this goes back many generations).
I found out about this tradition about a year after I got married to my husband at his grandmother’s funeral when my MIL gave me a pouch with one of her molars.
My husband got very upset when I told him I didn’t want to participate in this ritual. At the time I was only talking about not wanting to carry around his family member’s teeth, but evidently it’s expected that after I die they’ll knock out my teeth to be distributed to the family members. He asked me whether I would really deny my children the ability to have something to remind them of me after I pass away or to feel left out from their cousins.
I’m trying to be understanding and polite, and other than this his family is lovely, but to me this whole practice seems completely F insane. I don’t want my teeth knocked out and distributed to a bunch of random relatives, and there’s no way in hell that my side of the family will understand or accept this. Am I A Jerk for not accepting this, based on how our last conversation went I think he’s considering divorce.
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