Question for you with respect to something you brought up:There are two issues here that I will try to express my thoughts on. That of the dying N parent, and the issue of their funeral. These are my personal decisions based on my circumstances. Adjust as necessary if your circumstances call for it.
" 'Your mother is dying and in the hospital. She wants to see you.'
This is something I haven't really allowed myself to think about too much yet. But as our parents age, this is an issue that we are going to have to contend with.
You intimated that you still would remain no contact. This is a weighty issue that I would really appreciate hearing your thought process on..."
The chance of a narcissist being changed on their deathbed is the stuff of fantasy. Your fantasy. Not the narcissist's fantasy. Do not be enticed to the deathbed on the basis of some dream you have of receiving a true gift of an apology or some kind of "closure". You will get neither.
Because I believe what I just said down to my DNA I will not be vulnerable to vague promises of "making things right before I die" coming from narcissist family members. There will still be an iron fist hidden inside the silken glove. I have read many accounts of ACONs being lured to visit a dying N relative, or a funeral, only to find themselves caught in a crucible. I haven't heard anyone say they would do it again had they another opportunity. They consistently regret their decision. I respect the collective experiences of others and try to learn from them. I have listened intently to their testimonies and determined I will not repeat their mistake.
If I ever received a directive from my sister to visit my dying mother in the hospital I would immediately know something to be true: that my sister is there taking care of matters. This would prove that my presence would not be needed to deal with the decisions being made about my mother's care which is the only thing that could possibly make me feel obligated. In other words, my mother wouldn't be in need of my help. The same would be true if it was my father who called me. If he called, he is the one taking care of matters. The chance of my father calling is about the same as a snowball's chance in hell.
The other things I have to consider when anticipating whether or not to attend my mother's death bed is that I will be confronted with dealing not just with her. I will be dealing with my father who very likely will be blaming me for my mother's illness and pending death. Being all too well acquainted with the level of rage he is capable of I feel the need to protect myself from him in that circumstance. And my sister may see this as another opportunity to attach herself to my life. Or she may choose to use the circumstance to get some payback in and I would have to deal with the haughty, snotty version of her. I am not willing to take on the three of them just to go through the motions of giving my mother some kind of death bed absolution.
If my mother called me on the phone in an effort to "make things right", I would likely let her say her piece, give her all assurances that my life was not ruined by her and call it a day. I would not be opposed to her gaining a shred of peace of mind just prior to dying. I'm not into torturing people. If I consented to talking to my mother on her death bed it would not be something I would do for me. It would be something I allowed for her sake.
This probably the most important point when deciding whether or not to allow contact when you know the N is dying. Do not be enticed by your imagination and your hope to allow contact in these circumstances. If you on any level feel you need something from the narcissist then you are perfectly set up for another jab into the center of your heart. You will be handing power over to the narcissist to get you one more time. Don't be gullible. They are unchanged; they are not sorry. If you consent to some contact while being fully aware that you expect nothing from the narcissist then you are better situated to avoid being vulnerable. If you give anything at this juncture, do it for them not for yourself. In other words, if you know you are in the position to give a gift rather than hoping to receive one then you are not set up for exploitation or abuse. Remember, a true gift is something given with no expectation of reciprocation or remuneration. Don't show up with a gift of concern or compassion and expect anything like that in return.
Another problem that can come up with being lured to a "death bed" scene is that it isn't their death bed. They may be feigning to be much more ill than they really are just to lure you by your compassion to their bedside so as to gain an avenue of access back into your life. I've heard those stories too. Once the door is cracked open by you attending their pretended "death bed" they will then pretend you have given them carte blanche to come back as if nothing ever happened and no estrangement had ever occurred.
If circumstances developed leaving my mother completely alone without my sister or father alive to tend to her then my choices would be different. I would feel obligated to make sure her basic needs were being met. Shelter, food, and basic medical care. One of her basic needs is NOT companionship. She has no claim on me for that even if she is utterly alone. Her basic needs would not require me to be in constant direct contact with her. I would use surrogates for everything I could. I would be behind the scenes. There would be minimal direct contact with her. I would discharge my filial duty and not get entangled with her emotionally.
I know there are people who have much more evil mothers than I have. I can completely understand leaving a N parent to rot if they had been sexually abusive, or allowed sexual abuse. In my estimation there is nothing that proves a person to not have been a parent in any true sense if these things happened with their knowledge and approval. My sense of duty to my mother doesn't have to translate to how you deal with yours. You get to decide how much to give in their final days on their earth. Only you know if they deserve to be considered a parent in any sense of the word.
My decision about attending the funeral of narcissist relatives seems like a no-brainer to me. There is no point whatsoever is attending my narcissist mother's funeral. As they say, funerals are for the living. My father would be distressed and angry and vengeful if I were to show up. So, obviously, I wouldn't be doing a kindness for him by going. My sister will have her own self-serving agenda, whatever it may be. I feel no need to comfort her at the loss of her mother. She is the one who has complained the loudest and the most about her mother. I will assume some part of her will be happy Mommy Dearest is gone. There is no other family who will attend my mother's funeral that I have any connection with. My attendance would be superfluous. No one will be there who needs me to be there. I feel zero obligation to go to my mother's funeral. Or my father's. My sister is younger than me, so I don't think about her funeral. Same rules apply though.
These are some of my thought processes as it concerns your question, NNL. I hope there is something in there that you can use. To sum up what I think should be the guiding principle for making decisions on these matters: only give what you are willing to give and do so with no expectation of reward.