A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
I am looking for information on how to relate/handle/cope with changes with/in the relationhip with the in-laws after a person's spouse dies. I am struggling with mine as are some of the people I work with. Information (books, articles, etc,) ancedotes, advice, opinions, etc would all be helpful!
Tamtunka, I'm sorry you're going through this and I'm sorry I can't help you but I want to thank you for posting this discussion, I will be watching it closely to get answers for myself. I have been a close part of my husbands family for 20 years. Jeff spent 5 days in hospital before passing, his family there all day everyday. The day Jeff died I went home alone and have had very little contact with most of them since that day, august 18, 2011. I am from Australia and have no family here at all.
Hi Kate, I'm an Aussie too.
I will watch with interest. Have only had contact from my husband's eldest brother and his wife via a Facebook comment where I was tagged in a friend's photo - that's since the interstate memorial service over two weeks ago (which was three weeks after the funeral, because a sister had just gone overseas when he died).
Nobody else has bothered to get in touch in any way since the memorial service.
After the service I handed out DVDs of John playing in the family band on his 65th birthday and also playing with our social band.
No feedback on whether they all worked or not. No feedback at all.I'm thinking of asking the couple who did respond (it was a comment on a beach art work, nothing about me or John) if they could view the DVD. Was wondering if I should say I've not heard from anyone else but that would seem like I was feeling sorry for myself.
Would like to write a cynical post about "thanks for all the support from John's family" in recent weeks but will refrain from that. Ann
Thank you for your response, it seems that with each person's post...I see what is going on with my husband's family... there have been several times when I have been tempted to post on FB thoughts about my husband's family and their involvement, or lack there of...but I have refrained, and instead complained to my best friend... how do you "process" their lack of involvement? if I may ask...
Kate.... I understand the position you are in. I live in the USA but am from Canada...and I have no family here either. I decided to stay here so that our children could have a connection to his family... they rarely call, they never visit ( I "joke" the road only goes one way). What bother's me is the hypocracy (sp?)...they all talk about how family is so important to them...
and my son has told me that it helps him to talk/visit with his grandmother when he misses his dad... I am a grown up.. I can understand their issues, their behavior's, but the children don't, and I have no answers for them as to why they don't have sleepover's anymore... and why no one visit's them...
Kate, thank you for your response. It is comforting, if you will, to not feel so alone with this issue...
Kate, I can identify with you, I might as well be in Australia. I felt abandoned and lacking any support structure I am starting to create a new one. During the holidays its been tough but some time ago I decided I would surround myself with loving, supportive, and positive people. I have found that loving who I was and understanding that I had such a great love as I am sure you did. I have done what they call Meetups here and found some amazing people maybe not exactly like me but share a common goal to be surrounded by active and positive people. I am blessed but at the same time there is this void and when I come in contact with negativity it is bolstered and swells and then it turns into rage. For me I find putting that energy into something constructive like working out or hiking extremely beneficial.
Today I started out with a lot of anger and working hard to find that joy and will be going hiking hoping to get a bit more positive balance. Its not like that pain and hurt is going away any time soon but by trying to over come it with a few good things that this life has to offer I may be able to quite it down some.
Right after Mike died his brothers made small attempts to stay in contact, but really, we were never close, so it seemed artificial to me, and I was probably pretty unapproachable. After the first sadaversary, the only contact has been if I initiated it (I'm at 27 months out) and frankly, I'm tired of trying. Two weeks ago, Mike's brother's mother in law passed away. I found out via facebook, after the visitation, a few hours before the funeral, and only because I was looking to see what Mike's niece was up to. I would have made the 4 hour trip to support my "family" but ...... They know how to get ahold of me and my sons, if they want to. We live within 30 minutes of them, so if they call, I'll have supper with them or whatever.
As for Mike's sister who lives out of state, she sent a Christmas gift and that was very kind, but there has been no phone call, no letter or card, and the last emails I sent were not responded to. But whatever she needs to do is really fine, as I said, we have never been close.
I don't think it is always like this. When my dad died, Mom and dad's sister became very close, both were widows and maybe that made the relationship easier, stronger.... I have to admit, I'm not as close to my sisters since they have husbands and I don't. I'm sure it is my doing, not theirs, but I don't like being with most married couples.
Thank you for your response....I completely understand the 'tired of trying". there have been several times where the "family" has had family events, and I (we) were not invited, cook-outs, mother's day dinner's, birthday parties, etc...and I am tired too. I stayed in the USA for the children to have a connection to my husband's family ...and they don't seem interested.... and it is so hurtful....
And I completely understand the difficulty being around married couple's...that is so tough. I don't think it is your "doing" as much as you know what you need...and don't need right now...please...keep me posted on how you are doing, or anything else you want...
"Tired of trying" is starting to be my new song on this front also. I would have never imagined that his family would have acted this way before his death. It seems my input and opinions are not wanted. Very painful stuff. My therapist asks why I need their validation. I guess I would write them out of my life if I could... there is still so much work to do on my husband's estate.
Oh my gosh! Just reading all these posts on this subject......it is like *(sadly enough), we are all living the same thing. I honestly did not think this was so common a sad problem!!
Yes.....Tired of Trying is a good statement. I realized the ONLY time I was hearing from my Stepdaughters was when they wanted $$$$$$, or things that amounted to $$$$$$$.
My Mother in Law was a HORRIBLE one, the entire time we were married. I have heard snippets of things she'd been up to, since my Husband died and it was the "Same Old....Same Old...." with her, so she hasn't changed. I do NOT miss her ONE LITTLE BIT!!
But, I do miss my Sister and Brother in Law and that has made me so, so sad. My daughter (wise young lady!) asked, "Mom, you KNOW if you were to keep contact with your Sister and Brother in Law, it will never get you out of the 'loop' of your Mother in Law and Stepdaughters. You keep saying you want to put distance there. Well, keeping in touch with anyone in that family is not going to accomplish that." I thought long and hard about that and realized she was saying a truth. On the other hand, I have not heard a word from that same (loved) Sister and Brother in Law, since last February. Until July of this year, I left calls and no replies. So, I am DONE. It is better. I just have to let my heart heal. They were a toxic bunch!
I thought I was the only one having this problem. My hubbys family left one hour after we made arrangements for him and haven't heard anything since. Except in the obit in the paper there is a guest book...the "loving parents" who never had time for my hubby or us as a family (two grown sons) have paid to have the guest book left open permanently...I think it is to ease their guilt. They made my husband feel bad in the end and because they paid for the obit they can do this, without regard to what it does to myself or my sons. I said to the company who runs the guest book, so any idiot with a credit card can do this? I as the widow, legal next of kin, person who spent 27 years with him cannot do anything. Seems like not.........
I don't really have in-laws per se, but I do have his family such as sisters, nieces etc. and I just don't have anything in common with them except my husband. So I really don't want to continue the relationships with them and I'm pretty much in the dog house for that.
I have the opposite problem from most people. my monster in law never liked me ( married 23yrs) and had even gone so far as saying to my late husband that I was never a good wife to him.... she live in Fl we live in NY... almost every vaca was spent visiting them ( i would smile and make nice) when my LH became ill I called she came up stayed with her friend, not spending any time with her granddaughter ... now she wants to be in our lives and I really don't want to bother,but keep in touch for my daughter.