I am less than 3 weeks post losing my husband to cancer and am very disturbed by the intensity of feeling I am having around a relationship issue that was never completely resolved. Feeling a little angry with him about it, most mostly angry with myself...really feeling shame about it. It's as if all the sadness I feel is taking the shape of shame right now.
He was very close to his adult daughter. They worked in the same profession and talked at length almost every day. My husband and I were married almost 7 years and I was disturbed about it from the beginning. It got somewhat better into the marriage, but when he was diagnosed with his terrible aggressive cancer 2 years ago, it got bad. I wanted to cling to him, and I think she did too. I felt resentful of her but I also wanted to have peace, clarity and loving feelings.I suggested to my husband that we sit down together and talk about it, maybe with a therapist, but he didn't want that. I'm angry about that. He was the only one that could really make a difference in the dynamic and he chose not to. I hate myself for my feelings of jealousy/possessiveness.
The daughter and I are getting along well now and are planning his memorial together. Actually, she's doing most of it and that's okay with me. It's going to take place in the state where she lives and where he lived most of his life, not where I am, the place we moved to for jobs.
Have any of you had similar experiences?
At this stage, just about any feeling is valid! We all have unresolved issues no matter how much we loved our spouses and even if we had advance notice that the end was near. I'm sure that when you knew your husband was terminally ill, the last thing on your mind was trying to work through issues with his daughter! I can think now of a few of Ron's shortcomings (nothing serious) and wish now I'd gently confronted him BEFORE he was seriously ill, but never would have asked him, "Why didn't you do a better job at X?" in his last months. Your whole focus is on their care and keeping them as functional and comfortable as possible.
There's another discussion here among those of us who regret not being there when our spouse took his/her last breath, or casually saying "Goodnight" not knowing they'd be gone in the morning...I was in the kitchen writing Ron's obituary when he died. IF I'd known I would have been lying there beside him and holding him... I knew the end was near but had no idea how long it would be. I don't think any of us felt we did it "right".
Maybe you're trying to protect your husband my blaming yourself. Please don't do that. You did the best you could with the hand you were dealt.
Thank you Athena53. I truly appreciate your response. I'm going to try to be a little gentler on myself.
Thanks for sharing your story about writing the obituary while your husband took his last breath. It's that finality that is so hard to deal with, no chances to go back and do anything differently.
I'm glad this forum exists. It really helps to have the understanding of others that are experiencing similar things.
Blithe, please don't beat yourself up over this. Yes, I have over 30 years experience with daddy/daughter enmeshment. It's much more prevalent in step situations than people like to admit. It was only in the last years of his life that my husband started to get a clue. Your husband is the only one who could have fixed this by setting appropriate parental boundaries with his daughter. You only tried to claim your rightful position as his wife and were met by resistance from both your husband and his daughter.
May I suggest you search for the term "mini-wife". I didn't realize until a few years ago that there was a term for what I was living. I think if you read up on this type of relationship, you will find validation for your feelings and some comfort in knowing you did all that was in your power to do.
In grief it is so very easy to feel guilty. All the woulda/shoulda/coulda things surface. A good friend told me to take a trip -- any place, in real time or in my imagination
--just do not take a guilt trip. I had to remind myself of that often in the earlier years of my grief. I was so very angry with my husband for some of the things he did when we were married and then dying without getting some of those things resolved. Thankfully, we did not have problems with children or step-children and that must make it even more difficult for you. Be patient and kind to yourself.
Hi Blithe without going into a whole lot of detail, I had an unresolved situation (with Jerry) and after 5 months I talked to my step-daughter about it. (She's 34) I didn't know what to expect from her but I needed a resolution and she is the closest thing I have to getting into Jerry's head. So, anyway, while I didn't actually get what I wanted, I did get the blunt truth from her. I'm sure she was right too.
I agree that there will always be shoulda, coulda, woulda's. They will drive you crazy if you let them!
If she's the type that will open up. Why don't you try complimenting her on being a "good daughter" and saying something like being proud of the close relationship she had with her father. Perhaps that will get her to open up and talk to you about it without her feeling attacked or threatened.
That being said, Jerry and his daughter were very close and spoke at least every other day. I had/have jealous feelings too. However, I do keep them in check. Jerry's daughter is a wonderful woman and daughter, and more than feeling jealous, I'm happy for Jerry that he raised such a good person and had a close relationship. I'm happy for her that she knew her dad so well. :) also, I have to keep reminding myself that it's a good thing they were close!