Dealing with the In-Laws

Morna - posted on 02/02/2010 ( 36 moms have responded )

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Since my husband's unexpected death (1/29/09 - heart attack, 48 YO), the relationship between myself and my in-laws and brother in-law have become strained. We were married for 22 1/2 years. At first we kept in touch, as we had discussed immediately after his "first" memorial service. As my mother in-law was planning the "second" memorial service and I tried to convey my husband's wishes, our relationship became strained and the phone calls and e-mails became fewer and fewer from them. Then after the "second" memorial service (6 months after his death), the communication has all but stopped. They have only initiated the contact with me twice, either by phone or e-mail. The sad thing is that of their two children, my husband and I were the only ones to have a grandchild for them (my brother in-law - who is the first born - and his late wife never had children). They don't send cards, except for x-mas and birthday. I've gotten to the point where I'm tired of being the one who always initiates the contact. I still have to work full-time and they're all retired. My son is 19 and away at school, which my brother in-law is helping with, but I'm financing all the living expenses, etc. I know that they are on the computer all day long, but still I receive no e-mails. Any suggestions on how to handle this situation.

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Cynthia - posted on 04/16/2013

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Hi Morna!

I am widowed, too! I was widowed in 2001. I was left to raise three young children who are now young adults.

I relate to your story. It sounds so similar. My late husband's family retreated from us, too. His brother helped raise my son after high school.

The truth is, your late husband's family probably can't deal with their loss. They may even have deep rooted resentment to you for being a survivor. At least that's what I learned in grief counselling. If you have never tried counselling I would highly recommend it.

It's very difficult accepting that your husband's family has turned their back on you. I know first hand. For years, this working single mom paid for all of the trips and visits. His family only took my children alone-- one time. It was very frustrating.

I would recommend the counselling now, before the situation gets out of hand. I turned a blind eye to the problem until I could no longer financially afford plane fare and hotel accomodations. I would not just confront the family about this. It is a no-win without professional help to guide you through your grief and ultimately helping you develop the strength and tools you need to deal with others.

Please, deal with your healing first. I did not do that. I became bitter and withdrew altogether. My bitterness drove others further away. Once you become whole and you learn to deal with the pain of your late husband's family your perspective will change.

I wish you the best! You are in my thoughts and prayers!

[deleted account]

Sometimes the best thing to do when it comes to in-laws is just let go. They can become toxic people even if they're good people. If they are not contributing to your or your child's life in a positive way, let them go.

I have had many difficult experiences with my brother-in-laws and mother (now deceased also) and have found that they were just upsetting me more and my daughter could sense my anxiety. Since I have let them go, I feel a lot less stress. I actually feel like a burden has been lifted and there is actually some peace in our lives.

Love & Light to you and yours. ~;~

Donna Pino - posted on 09/02/2012

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I was widowed in 2009 and remarried Nov 2011. My husband lost his wife in 2008. We both still grieve the loss of our longtime best friend and spouse. We are blessed to have found happiness with each other and we can still keep the memories of our beloved first spouse. Wendy, I don't think people who have not lost a spouse can understand what it is like. It's not something to "get over". It's so much more. I have many more happy days than I did before I remarried but I still miss my first best friend, lover, father to my children and spouse. I know I always will. And I know my new husband will miss his first best friend, lover, mother to his children and spouse. No jealousy here. We both get it! I explain it as love growing to include a new child. I can love my first and my new at the same time. Cause love doesn't have boundaries.

Morna - posted on 04/11/2011

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For the longest time, I felt that no one else understood me. Then when I found "Widowed Moms" on FB, and it was so reassuring that I was not alone! No one else will ever understand us until they go through exactly what we have gone through! To have your family's income cut in half, raising you child(ren) on your own, the aftermath of dealing with the death of a spouse, just to name a few. I also found a book that helped me when I had questions I could not find answers to anywhere else "I wasn't ready to say goodbye" by Brook Noel & Pamela Blair. Helped with some of the things that I had to deal with for my son and also what else I could expect in the future. Know that I'm here for you!

Heather - posted on 04/09/2011

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I find your post to be so on the button. that is how I feel that we all lost the same person but everyone gets to go home at night and get some repreive from the clean up. the parent left does not get that repreive and never will. You feel it when you get that phone call from somone that didn't know, or your kids asking questions, living in the same house, ect ect ect. I so got what you said and it hit home.

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CJ - posted on 01/12/2014

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I experienced something similar when my husband of 20 years died by suicide. The day after, I phoned his brother and sister on the opposite coast to inform them of the death, and they were very supportive. We exchanged daily phone calls and emails over the next few days, which was very comforting. I told them that my late husband's mistress might be contacting them, and they awkwardly brushed off my comment, saying they hadn't yet heard from her or any of my husband's friends.

Immediately after that conversation, the phone calls and emails abruptly stopped, and went unreturned. A few days later, I received an overly formal email from the brother. Speaking on behalf of the family, he informed me that they needed to grieve in private. That was the last I heard from them, and it's been over 5 years now.

As I was soon to learn from mutual friends, these very traditional southern folks had all the while been cultivating a friendship with my husband's mistress and several of his friends, exchanging old family photos with them and grieving together. They continue to maintain that connection through Facebook and other social media.

I was stunned to discover the lie. To this day, I cannot fathom why such very traditional folks would suddenly do such a thing, let alone banish me from the family using the excuse of needing to grieve in private while choosing to grieve in concert with others. I felt so abandoned and betrayed, and to this day cannot fathom why they would do this, as relations had always been friendly between us.

When I recently moved, I stumbled across a box of vintage family memorabilia including large photo portraits of long departed parents and grandparents, as well as several framed sketches made by my late husband's mother. I have no use for these items and have considered returning them to his brother and sister. However, after the way in which they banished me from the family and lied to me, I hesitate to make contact with them. My friends have urged me to toss the box and not reopen the door with these people. I'm still debating what to do.

Wendy - posted on 08/05/2012

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Well, I'm late in finding this but I am a widow and began looking to see if I am alone in having my late husband's parents and sister; having many issues with me. It's been hell since he died on Jan. 8, 2009 (21 days before Morna's husband). We were 33 and had an almost 4 year old at the time. He went into the hospital to have what was told to us to be a "routine surgery" and it was. 1 hour long and only longer if they ran into anything fibrous. I have to be vague so I'm just skimming over some details. I took a pic of him b/c I actually was/am the unhealthy one; I have many severe health issues that cannot be diagnosed b/c it's all reprucussions of surgeries that were needed but have left me disabled, on a pain pump and getting tube feeding. My husband cared for me from when it all started for me in June '06 until my first major surgery Aug '07 and in '08 I had at least 3 more major surgeries and many hospitalizations. My husb. came always took pics of me before going back to surgery. It was my turn to be behind the camera and wait. After a few hours a nurse ran out and my mother in law was there and I in the bathroom and something said "go NOW" and I ran out and saw the nurse and the blank look on my MIL's face. I budded in asking WHAT??? "Come back now, right now or you'll miss him being rushed to the OR". OR? Wasn't he just there? "He is bleeding out and they have to open him up...." We ran, my sister and son included but I yelled for her to stay back w/ my son. In a nutshell, they fixed a huge hole that was made in a very large artery but he was w/o oxygen to his brain for over 20 min. I knew at the moment it was done. No one else did but I did. Next day they did a test on his brain and no stem function, no breathing over the machine, next day the same. It was the hardest thing I ever did but I knew what would happen if I made the decision to remove the tube on my own, so I called a mtg. There were around 50 family and friends and church people there but I had to ask some to leave this large room b/c it simply wasn't big enough and I only wanted the ones who I thought my husb would want there. It was unanimous, his own dad saying that it should have been removed earlier. 1 friend said they wanted to wait to see but his temp was 105.7 and he was mottled and packed in ice, kidneys they kept watching; I was almost a nurse until I dropped out but worked as an aide for a long time and cared for my grandma for a long, long time until she died. His organs were going to shut down soon and I wanted it to be peaceful. He died to a song on the radio, from start to finish, that is about dying and when it says at the end "fly to Jesus", both his arms went up and his eyes focused straight forward. He hadn't moved, talked or looked that whole time so I knew this was a miracle for all to witness and when it ended it said "fly to Jesus and live", the monitor at that moment went ---------------------- My highschool sweetheart, best friend, soul mate and a man who was so deep in thought and giddy in spirit and expressive with his love in poetry and writing a short book of us titled "The Amazing Story of Us"......I knew not only was my health bad still and I had no clue how much worse it would become, I had a child w/ no father and said I'd never remarry and expect a guy to really understand why my love for my deceased husband go on; which I knew it would. Although it was just a breakup after we graduated and it lasted for 6 years, we knew we were soulmates. We planned a day in the future to meet, which was 5 yrs out. He had gotten a girlfriend pregnant but he was not happy, her attitude was so mean and just angry and he said he never thought of suicide but actually knew if he married her he would likely kill himself. That was not something he ever said or thought like but when we married and I got to deal with her; it all became quite clear. So I had a stepson who was 11 at the time. I don't get to see him b/c his brain has been tainted by his mom but I kept all the emails that went btw his parents and one which my husband sent to me where he was at work crying that he felt that when his son turned 15 or 16, which he is now, he'd be so tainted by his mother that he'd turn his back on his dad. I hope someday I can share that w/ him b/c this son wants to literally forget my dx husb. I also lost all his friends who I had known too since my teens and it was b/c no one wanted to view me as the wife/widow. I heard eventually that a friend who considered himself a "Best Friend" to my husb. was angry at me b/c of me having the tube removed, yet 23 were in that room and I was one of the last 3, the first being my Fath. in Law, Pastor, my father, another Pastor, all around the table but I did have that wrong, it wasn't his family to hold me resp. but a friend. Then the rest started dropping like flies b/c of the fundraiser that some wanted to do to help me pay off medical debt but when I came out of the hosp. and I had to make a final food choice and give a cc# for the event, I picked a big buffet that was cheaper but good (my husb's sister had got married there) over a steak dinner yet I didn't know how many nerves it would hit in people. So I now was sitting with a fundraiser on my hands to put on. My husb. had a best friend, true BF who lived with us for 3 1/2 yrs, I knew since 1 year after he met my husband and this friend came to all our family functions and we always invited him for dinner. My husb. on 3 occasions asked this friend to please make sure my son and I are ok, in case anything happens to him. It was due to my horrible health. He moved right back to the basement he rented and after a year I wondered if I was wrong about no one being able to understand my love for my husband and our history together. I saw him grieving his BF but happily watching my son grow b/c he was acting more and more like his dad, a tear jerker and smile maker sometimes all at once. We married in a bit of a weird way, as friends who shared a common thread in their lives which brought us together and we each had each other b/c my husb. had given his blessing already in a conv. I had with him 2 mos b/4 he died and right b/4 my last big surgery, when I asked him about who he thought he'd marry 'if' I died and he came up w/ no one then he asked me it back and I said "never would I marry again as no one would be him" and after some more conv. he eventually said "you'd marry (name out) " " . I said no way and then after saying yes and yes again he told me he would want it that way. No one knew he'd die so I find that talk interesting. As I shared, we married b/c we realized we had more in common then just our deep love for who we both lost but actual things like food, movies, how our brains worked and much more. I feel I got the blessing from my dx husband and even God (way, way more things that happ. up to a year prior which were working in play to draw me closer in friendship w/ my husb's BF. But the point is, I did everything by the book that my dx husb. wished for. It's been a long drawn out hell of almost 4 yrs, to see the real personalities of people change when there's a death. From money to things they feel they can just give away w/o asking me to being told that since I'm remarried no one wants to hear about my sadness or memories and to focus on who I'm with now. Fact is, I have struck what seems to be a good balance of still feeling the loss but when I'm married to his BF now; we both get it. We've talked about it and only thing he was concerned of was if I'd ever love him like I did w/ my dx husb. I gave a long explanation but ended with "YOU got the BEST me". I needed to read that others have lost that side of their family. Me and him were very happy and that whole family pushed us together b/c of what they wanted (ultimately they knew I could carry him financially, motivate him into a career and pay for it as opposed to him being a janitor and as his mom said many time "he needed a wife to take care of him"). He was shortchanged by his family w/ an uninvolved dad who never could say he was proud of his son, an enabling mom who when we were married would stick cash in her son's hand and tell him not to tell me b/c at that point I made so much $$ that all believed he didn't have to pay bills. He knew better and he came full circle and when the illness hit me, he said it was his turn to be the one to do it all as I've been doing that for him and he was selfish. But none of that defined our love for each other and he always said "we were meant to be" and wrote a poem when I was first ill and it said "no matter what happens, our love for each other will go on for eternity and stand as a bastion for all to look upon and envy....." Can't recall the rest. My current husb. did a great message back to a recent person harassing me about my health and she knows nothing since she's not ever around but his response was full of love and protection and also stating that it's up to us how we go about grieving the loss of someone we both deeply loved and it's between us and not for a person to stand at a distance and judge. Who I lost was a great man, a great father and fabulous husband, a goof-ball, and someone who wore their emotions on his sleeve. Do I not grieve that? Is it wrong to still grieve him and maybe forever since my son will eventually graduate, marry, have a first child and knowing his daddy missed that? Who I am now with is a deep thinker, very generous and willing to give of his time and strength and patience is his virtue. I love him but from books I read to widows I've spoken to, you never stop loving the one you lost to death. So to ask the question I think no one can answer.....why do our relationships w/ our inlaws change? Are any of you not called a widow when speaking of your deceased husb? What are we called then, can't say ex wife or ex husband as someone tried that on me. Ex means to me, divorce. Deceased sounds better but it stirs up emotions for me. Why does the family we once spent all holidays and birthdays with, leave us? To make my situation even more twisted, my sister is married to my dx husb's brother. They have 1 girl and 1 boy and w/ my boy it's 3 grandchildren. They live 4 min. away from us, on foot. 20-30 second drive. Now my enabling MIL who used to be my sister and I's friend since 1991 and esp. since 1994 and until the 2 week apart wedding we had.. Guess who the best man and maid of honor were in each wedding? But 'our' MIL now is entertwining herself into my sister's marriage and it's not for good things. Just to find an area of conflict and chip away at it and talk to now only 1 son about leaving the marriage, turning small things into big things that at the end of the conv. bear the asking of the ? "Do you want to divorce her? You can move right back into our basement if you need to." This happened w/ my husb too? Like marriages don't have issues. My current husb. said something I found true and astounding at the same time "She's not getting what she needs at home from her husb. b/c he's always in his office (and has been all the way back to when the children were babies and growing up-came out only to dish our discipline and go back to the cave), so she's creating drama and wanting to feel needed by what was her favorite son (she admitted this) and now since he's gone, her other son and since he has not ever had it, he doesn't know he's eating it up and fallling in". My husb. always thought his mom was overly protective, and even got a little uneasy about certain things they discussed so he thought/said she liked him a little too much. Am I just in a really weird situation now since he's gone and am I right in feeling that it's like she's arguing w/ me of who is grieving more and who loved him more?? Sorry, this is so long but I had to get the details out to hopefully hear a response where all the info. is known. Has anyone else remarried? Has anyone else ever said to you at the funeral or wherever "you loved each other so deeply and not many women experience that so I'd be thankful you had it at all. I appreciate any responses to help me deal w/ the (ex??) inlaws.

Roseanne - posted on 05/06/2012

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I can understand completely. My inlaws blame me for my husband's suicide, claiming I drove him to it. So much so that i wonder if i did sometimes. I have been harassed to the point where i thought i would lose the baby. I just dont understand the ugliness in people, you would think this type of loss would make people care more about each other.

Morna - posted on 03/30/2011

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I know how you feel! I guess the best way to describe how my in-laws are treating me is as if we got divorced! Well that's not what happened! And you would think that since I am the mother of their ONLY grandchild that would make a difference. They do keep in contact with my son (he's in school in Denver right now, but will move to Texas and be with me again starting next March). They barely send me e-mails any more or respond to the ones that I send them. The only cards I get from them now are for x-mas and my birthday (they use to send cards for every holiday and our anniversary). They invited me to the summer cottage this year, but did not offer to pay for my plane ticket (it's still so hard getting by on less than half of my family income was for so many years!), but did pay for my son's ticket. So I'll do what I have to do to get my son through school (my husband's brother is helping with some of the tuition) and make sure that my son stays in their will. You would think that after being married for 22 1/2 years that things would have been different -- their loss, not mine! I'm the one that holds all the memories and photos for the last 25 years of Doug's life. Thanks!

Jennifer - posted on 03/29/2011

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I know im a year late responding to this but I went through the same thing...i lost my husband 2yrs ago I was 26 and he was 34yrs old and he was was overdosed with methadone by the VA. He and I have a daughter who was 11mons at the time. A year after his death i started to notice that his family in Virginia never sent a card to my daughter for any of the holidays never asked bout her...i always went out of my way to let them know how she was doin, sending them pictures ect...so one day i stopped to see if i was just over reacting and sure enough 2 months went by and nothing. So aft i confronted them they started attacking me like i was the bad guy so I finally cut all communications with the family in Virginia cuz me and my young child (who has no idea whats going) dont deserve that treatment....and its been a yr now since ive heard from those people and its been awesome..no more stress!!!! I just had to share!!

Ginny - posted on 03/27/2010

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I guess I'm lucky. I had a better with my Father- in- law & his wife, who happened to be my 7 cousin removed, Than I had with my Mother- in- law & her husband. His parents were divorced in 1960. Now the only in-law, who is alive is my Father- in - law. I talk with him, when I can catch him at home. His wife, my cousin, passed away in 2003, My mother-in-law, his mother, passed away in 1981, & his step-father passed away in 2004. We didn't have any contact with my husband , Mother & step Father since we were married. But his Dad & step mother talked with us all the time.

Morna - posted on 03/26/2010

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Thanks! And with what everyone from this group has said, I'm now ok with the lack of communication, etc. from the in-laws. I just needed to know if it was just me or a common factor. Thanks so very much!

Morna - posted on 02/25/2010

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Thanks for all your words of encouragement! It helps to discuss things like what we've both been through to someone to understands. Keep in touch -- I'm here for you too!

Rachel - posted on 02/23/2010

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I'm so sorry that you had to go through so much in such a short period of time. I really do believe that what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, and although we may not ever realize it, everything happens for a reason. God will provide, and all the obstacles and heartbreak He places in our path will eventually be rewarded ten fold for not giving up. Faith is the radar that sees through the fog. There will always be tons of support for you if you look in the right places! I am here to talk and listen also if you ever need to!

Morna - posted on 02/23/2010

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Thanks for the suggestion of CC. I'll look into them. I know what you mean about not being able to listen to the radio or music. When songs come on that were "our songs" or groups that Doug liked, it's very hard for me. And for the kid that has no remorse, that's just wrong!!! Something should be done so that when a horrible accident like this happens, they too should have to go through a day in your life to see how they have changed everything! Keep your chin up! I'm here to chat when you need to!

Morna - posted on 02/23/2010

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Rachel -- Thanks for your words of encouragement! I think that no matter how old or young we are (I just turned 50); how long or short we were with our husband (22.5 years for me), being a widowed mom is a completely different place for all of us to be in. My son was only 18 when his dad passed away unexpectedly. It was the middle of his Sr. year in high school, but we got through it, through graduation, through his Sr. prom, and him starting school in September and moving out. I'm working on starting over -- lost my house, my pets, a job that I loved (with a promotion in the wings), dear friends that were with us for the nine months after Doug's death and contact with the in-laws. Which I have made peace with the lack of contact with them. Don't get me wrong, it still hurts, it's like a whole other piece of me or my family has died. But I still have my son, my family, my friends and the new friends that I'm making at work and here too! Thanks! Keep in touch!

Rachel - posted on 02/22/2010

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p.s, it's made harder by the fact that he was only 21...our lives were just beginning, our family just beginning, so i've found i just have to herish and appreciate the short, but amazing years we had together. I have alot of sweet memories to keep in my heart forever, even though God didn't give us much time, but I hope you all can do the same, and look back at what you had and smile

Rachel - posted on 02/22/2010

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It is very hard to lose a spouse, and you just have to try all kinds of resources available to you to figure out how to cope with it. There is no getting over it, and when people say time heals all wounds, that is not true. Time only helps with finding more ways to deal with the pain. Whether it be a sport, work, your children, friends, anything you can find a little piece of comfort in should not be taken for granted. Anything, or anyone, who causes you stress should be cut from your life no matter how much you want to try and stay in contact with them. So as for your inlaw, if they don't care about you as much as you clearly do for them, they aren't worth it. I'm sure you have plenty of people in your life you love you dearly, so take as much comfort from them as you can.
Brandi, I read you story, and am in a very similar place. My husband and I were high school sweethearts and had a daughter right after I graduated, and he was the passenger in his friend's car who was drinking and showing off, while it was raining, and lost control of the car and my man was brain dead as a result. Our daughter was 16 months at the time. I've stayed very close with his family, which helps sometimes, but als really hurts sometimes. He had 2 younger brothers who looked up to him very much, and his parents are always telling me storys and giving me pitures and videos which half the time result in us in tears. I love them deeply, but sometimes resent going to visit because it's so painful, whih makes me feel guilty, and sometimes being around them isn't the best thing.

Brandi - posted on 02/22/2010

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I am so pissed that that stupid lil 19 year old punk had to be so damn selfish. UGH!!! He was out this past weekend at Mardi Gras and a local bar partying. Does taking someones life not matter?? He has NO IDEA what he has done to this family. And obviously doesn't care. I have friends and family I could talk to I just feel more comfortable talking to a counselor I guess. You are in TX right?? Look into Christian Charties. That is who I am going to. I will look into that book. I hope this helps me as well. I should invest in waterproof mascara. I don't know what I was thinking. The radio is what gets me. He loved rock and knew every rock band and their histories. So listening to rock is very hard. There is a band called Staind. Their lead singer Aaron Lewis named his daughter Zoe Jane and wrote a song about her. That is where we got our daughters name. I haven'e been able to listen to the song since Mikey died.

Morna - posted on 02/22/2010

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I know!!!!! I still get mad -- at my husband, at the whole situation, at being alone (so scary after 25 years of being in a single relationship), but that's ok it's part of the process. I didn't go to a counselor - it would have cost $250 each for my son and I. We just had each other and our friends (when we were in Colorado, we had no family there with us). I did get a book called "I wasn't ready to say goodbye" by Brook Noel & Pamela Blair, which explained a lot of things for me -- feelings, firsts, etc. You might look into getting a copy. And then joing Circle of Moms, Widowed Mom has made a big difference too! To actually discuss feelings with other moms who have been through what we're going through has helped a lot (and just since January for me!). I just finally last month stopped carrying a hanky with me. I still cry, sometimes over the craziest things and sometimes the littlest of things too. But that's ok. Hang in there! Send me a message whenever!!!!

Brandi - posted on 02/22/2010

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I am SO thankful that I have her. I don't know where I would be without her. Yes, exactly. That is ridicoulus. I don't understand why they have to be this way. You would think they would WANT to be a part of their grandchilds life. It is a part of him. The only part any of us have left. I know I have the best part of him, but I want him!!! I miss his laugh, smile, hugs, kisses, everything. The way he looked and me and Zoe. UGH!!! It just pisses me off. Why did he have to be taken like that??? We had our lives ahead of us and planned out!!! Everyone tells me I am strong, but I am a complete mess!!! I am actually going to see a grief counselor Thursday so hopefully that will help some. I try not to cry and maybe that is what the problem is. I know we will get through this. Just not looking forward to the questions my daughter will have. Unfortunately she will be older when we go to court, etc and I just wish that wasn't the case. I don't want to do any of this. I'm 28 and shouldn't have to be going through any of this!!!

Morna - posted on 02/22/2010

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I understand where you're coming from! It is as if "I" also died when my husband died through the eyes of my in-laws and brother in-law. We were married for 22 1/2 years, I was a part of his family for 25 years. We have their ONLY grandchild/nephew. I was involved in a car accident 16 years ago, so I know how hard and drawn out the legal battle can be. But to add the death of your husband only makes it a hundred times worst! Just know that you'll be a stronger person for going through all of this and that you'll be able to say that you can do things you never would have thought of doing! It's not always going to be easy, but it will hurt a little less each day, just give it time. I've made it almost 13 months now -- wow! Remember to count your blessings! Hug your daughter often and be thankful that you have her!

Brandi - posted on 02/22/2010

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It is amazing how many people have gone through what I am dealing with. My husband was killed by a drunk driver in November. He was 25. We have a now 6 month old daughter together, have been together for 2 1/2 years and I was a big part of his family for just as long. We were not "legally" married, just common law, but referred to each other as husband/wife. I took care of EVERYTHING!!! It was my way of dealing with losing Mikey. I stayed at my in-laws while our daughter stayed at my parents house during the week after his death. He was cremeated. And after his service, I went to my parents house a few days to stay with our daughter, and things went down hill from there. All hell broke loose. I was then know as a money-grabber and was to have nothing to do with his family. I was supposedly "rejoicing" over his death and running around town bragging about how spoiled my daugher was from her daddys money. First, I did not ASK for any of this. Second, I would GIVE ANYTHING to have my husband back. I miss him so much every day. It seems to be getting harder, not easier. I was a beloved member of their family for 2 1/2 years. They said I abandoned them. I felt like they abandoned me. At the service during the prayer they never touched me. And how could I go back since I was being talked about. They said our common law status was not recgonizable by the state and that I needed to quit referring to myself as his wife to get money, which I did not do. His sister wrote the obituary and listed me as his wife. On the death certificate, I am listed as his wife. His mother blasted me on Facebook, saying our love was not the kind of love you get married for etc. I was so hurt. Not only did I lose my husband, I lost my family that I have known for 2 1/2 years. As for my daughter, if they wanted to see her it had to be on their terms. They wanted her to spend the night and I told them no because she hasn't been there in awhile or been around them and didn't know how she would act. They did not want her. It has know gotten a little better. They see Zoe on my terms. She still has not spent the night. Not because I don't think they can't take care of her, I don't want to be alone. Mikey is no longer able to sleep with me, I don't want her not to be there either. This is getting harder and harder. I was not employed at the time adn have now started working, but have to drive an hour to and from work and that drive is very LONG!!! His mother and I talk very frequently about Mikey, Zoe and life in general but as far as lawsuits etc we don't say anything. We have seperate lawyers and you would think we would go after this guy together, but that is not the case. Thanks for listening!! Sorry this was so long and kinda off the subject. I have figured out peoples true colors defiently show after a tragedy!!!

Morna - posted on 02/10/2010

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Do what your heart tells you to do!!! Do what is right for YOU and your family. There are no easy or black and white answers. It's just comforting to know that we will survive and that others have been through it and come out stronger for it. I've said it a lot to myself and to MY family members for the past few months, but until last week, I don't think that I really meant it -- I can do anything for the next two years (keeping in touch with my in-laws and brother in-law; living with my parents; working at a job that makes me crazy but have to because of the benefits) until my son graduates from technical school, Sept. 2011. You see, my brother in-law is helping with tuition while I'm funding his living expenses, books, etc. But at least now I know that this is the normal thing that tends to happen with the in-laws, I had just hoped that we would have all been closer for my son. The good news is, when Nathan and I got the phone call that Doug had unexpectedly colapsed, we were together; we went to the scene together; we went to the hospital together; we made the decision to stop life support together; the list goes on and on. I know it was a lot for an 18 year old to handle, but he was and is a trooper and is always there for me and vice versa. My son and I share the same birthday (best b-day present ever!) and what we shared when we lost Doug, no one can ever take from us!

So hold your head high, know that you'll come through (as will I), we'll all be better and stronger women because of what we've experienced. And know that it is a great thing that we have a place to chat and share via Widowed Moms. It's not a club I would have ever thought I would belong to 13 months ago, but I'm thankful that it's here for us!

Launie - posted on 02/10/2010

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Hi,
After reading some of the emails I just had to write. I lost my beloved husband a little over a year ago after a very long illness. Although our family members lost the same person and are going through the pain of losing someone it isn't the same thing. They can still go on with their daily lives and not have it "in their faces" at every moment of the day. Although its only been a little over a year I know that our grief will be in some sense for the rest of our lives.
I am thankful at this stage that my in-laws haven't changed the way they keep in contact with us. My late husband and I had a child together and he raised my oldest as his own.
We all have something in common here and that is we are survivors...widows...
Yikes! I have to run and grab a shower!

Beverly - posted on 02/09/2010

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You would think that it should be so much more straight forward. When a loved one dies I always assumed that families pulled together for help and support. We are all hurting. We are all sad and angry and upset. We have all lost a person we loved.
I know that feeling of discomfort, being around someone who has had a death in their family. I understand that people don't know what to say. They feel bad for you, but feel very helpless. I just didn't expect it from my husbands mother. I guess that once she knew her son was dying, she no longer wanted or needed to put up with me. I guess it's better that she no longer pretends to like me. I didn't agree with everything she said. I liked Mark and I to make our own decisions regarding our family. I guess I don't fit into her neat little family where everyone jumps whenever she says they should.
One of the most difficult things to deal with is the loneliness I feel. During the time that Mark was in hospital I felt almost invisible. He was the one dying, going through all the pain and procedures. I was healthy. I felt guilty for feeling sorry for myself when I was fine. I felt guilty for dreading that drive to the hospital every day. I wanted to be with him of course, but it was so painful to see the changes in him, the deterioration that happened so quickly.
It wasn't until almost two weeks after his death that I realized that my best friend was also gone. We talked about everything. I no longer had that person who I could tell all of those boring, mundane details of daily life to. All of those little things that no one else would care about. I no longer had the one person who was always there for me, no matter what. So...at the moment I feel very lonely. Before Mark, I was very self reliant, so I know that will come back eventually.
Morna, thank you for your kind words. I wonder if our mothers-in-law are related? :)
You should feel very proud of yourself for trying to maintain a relationship with your in laws. I don't think I have the strength or desire to try to have a relationship with Marks mom. But then I think of our son. Perhaps I should just go back to keeping my mouth shut and just give in. In some ways it would be so much easier to just let her run things. I don't think I can be that subservient though.
It's still early days, and obviously I have a lot to straighten out.
Thank you all for telling your stories. It helps to know that others have been there too, and have survived.

Morna - posted on 02/09/2010

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Until finding Circle of Moms - Widowed Moms, there really wasn't anyone to discuss my feelings with who would had been through what I am going through. Since starting just last week, I now feel better about knowing why my in-laws are doing what they are doing to me. My mother in-law was/is also a control freak, I knew this before my husband's death (and he did too). And because my husband was the second born male, we always came second (to the point that at his first birthday, she did not take a picture of him, but of his brother and everyone else who was at the party). It didn't matter that we were married first, had the first and only grandchild, etc. The first few months, the words out of her mouth every time was "poor first born son" not the fact that I had lost my husband and my son his father. At the second memorial service, when my father in-law was talking about my husband and mentioning everything that he was, he never once mentioned that he was a father and husband. So now I choose to move on!!! Hang in there! I've done it for a year now and it does get a little easier each day. It's great to know that you will get through all the firsts -- holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Know that you'll have a meltdown or two -- no telling when or where, but just let it come. You'll find that you have more friends than you ever expected -- I did! Welcome them with open arms. Just know that talking about everything is sometimes the best thing that you can do. Go ahead and cry (it will happen a little less each day -- I finally have stopped carrying a hanky every day just last month). And if you need a should to cry or lean on -- e-mail me!!!

Beverly - posted on 02/08/2010

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My mother-in-law will have nothing to do with me. It started even before Mark's death. He was diagnosed with cancer last February and died on October 16th. She is an extremely controlling person and I had stopped letting her walk all over me and our family. I had stopped playing by her rules and she blamed me for the fact that she was no longer able to get her son to jump through her hoops like usual. Her daughter is almost 40 years old and I'm sure will never get married because no one will ever be good enough for her. If she doesn't call her mother by a certain time every evening, her mother makes her life miserable until the daughter apologizes enough times for her to finally be forgiven.
We used to get along really well and she always referred to me as her 3rd child, perhaps she made too big of a deal of it. She didn't really feel that way but was perhaps just trying to convince herself?
Before he died Mark asked his mother and I to try for his sake to get along. I said that I would try to do whatever I could but I would not let her control our lives. She didn't even say that she would try, instead she came up with excuses for why she was unable to, all my fault of course. He asked her to think of it as his dying wish that we try to get along and still she only made excuses. That was one month before his death.
Since then things have only gone downhill. She paid for Mark's funeral and when I tried to thank her, she told me not to thank her, that she was only doing it for him. After the funeral she came up to me and hugged me, but that was only because there were other people around and she wanted to show them how "loving and caring" she is. I had tried to hug her before, in private, and her whole body stiffened and she just stood there waiting for it to be over. Once when she was sitting in the car she practically climbed over the gearshift to get away from me. Again, there was no one around for her to put a show on for, so she showed me her true feelings.
If it weren't for the fact that we have a 7 year old son who loves his grandmother, I would just not bother with her.
I was very hurt and sad at first. I thought we were both loosing someone who we loved and that it would be comforting to have family who understood. I foolishly thought that we could perhaps help one another through this terrible time. I suppose that everyone deals with things in their own way, but I do wish that she hadn't felt the need to make me her scapegoat.
My concern now is how to allow my son to spend time with a woman in whose home I am not welcome. He loves her and I don't want to deny him a relationship with his fathers family. I believe that it is extremely important to not loose more family members, especially now. But I'm worried about the things she will say to him about me. She is very intelligent and can be very subtle and sly about saying nasty things that a 7 year old may not fully understand. He has already lost his father and I cannot allow her to undermine me. I think it will be difficult enough to now be a single parent without her interfering.
Sigh, I guess I'm mostly venting. As you all know it is so difficult. If I didn't have a child I don't think I would get out of bed most mornings. Some days seem to be a little easier and I don't cry at the drop of a hat anymore, usually. I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but I now believe that there will be light there one day.
I wish we could all get together for a good cry because I do think that it helps a little. So does being able to talk about it, even if it is to people I don't know. I guess it helps me to get some things straightened out in my mind.
Thank you.
I wish you all peace,
Bev

[deleted account]

"At first I was upset but after talking to other in the family have found that it is not me personally, just the fact that it is still too painful to him and talking with me or being around me just brings it all up again." - Carmen

I hear this a lot. Today I saw my primary health provider. Her husband died unexpectedly of a heart attack 3 mos. ago. I had not been in to see her since, and I was nervous and apprehensive about being with her and her potentially raw grief. Granted she is the utmost professional but I could still see it in her eyes. I also noticed she had already stopped wearing her wedding rings. (funny the stuff we notice.) Anyway, my point is, here I was an experienced widow and I felt kind of reluctant to be even reminded of that intense pain of the early days. I don't know if that makes any sense but I have a little more compassion for the people who dropped me like a hot potato when I was a total mess. It was just too painful for them.

Carmen - posted on 02/08/2010

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After 13 years of marraige I still have contact with my mother in law, I am blessed that she is such a supportive person in my life! But have lost all contact with my father in law (they are divorced). At first I was upset but after talking to other in the family have found that it is not me personally, just the fact that it is still too painful to him and talking with me or being around me just brings it all up again. Also, because my husband died suddenly (a heart attack brought on by other health issues which my husband had told him he was dealing with) I believe that there is a little bit of blame involved - that maybe there is something I know that I was hiding or that I could have somehow made him do things differently... Like Susanne said earlier, everyone deals with there pain differently. It has been almost 3 years in my case and I have just finally decided to let things go. The hardest part is trying to explain to my school age children why we don't hear much from them. I now initiate contact the same as I do other "long distance relatives" ie: birthday cards and Christmas cards, and then I just don't sweat it. If he wants to respond fine, if not that is fine too. I love and appreciate the in-laws that I do keep in touch with and just let the rest be... interrestingly enough, this last year his wife has initiated e-mailing with the kids. Not me, but it is encouraging. Only time will tell!!
Hang in there!
Carmen

Morna - posted on 02/07/2010

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I've moved to Denton, TX -- am currently living with my parents. My brother and his family live about 5 miles away and my sister lives just south of Houston. My son is going to school in Denver right now. We were married in Houston (where we met) and had Nathan there, then transfered to Denver, then Pagosa Springs (southwestern Colorado) for the past 12 years. I miss seeing the snow, but not dealing with it!!! My husband was from Mass. and his family has a cottage just north of Portland, ME (with our son, it is a 5th generation cottage). Enjoy what you can of the snow. Thanks again!

[deleted account]

Now that it's been a few years, I kind of get why people shun widows, but back then it was very confusing to me. I still think (of course), it's very wrong but I also think it shows the true character of the person. I had a similar conversation with a member of my husband's family about 3 mos. after he died. This man had helped us a few times with our rent and whatnot and he felt it necessary to take me to lunch and tell me, "I will always be available to you for financial ADVICE." I was humiliated. First, I was never the one to ask him for money. We were in desperate straights (another long story), but needless to say, if you are a freelancing artist of any kind (regardless of level of success), if you get a terminal illness you're screwed.

What part of Texas did you move to? I lived in Austin for 15 years with my first husband. Now I'm back up in the Northeast. We got two feet of snow yesterday.

Morna - posted on 02/07/2010

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Thanks! It nice to hear that we will survive! And I think that my son and I have proven that point. I guess I should have known that when my mother in-law had made arrangements with my son, while not in my presence, to keep in contact with him, that should have been a signal. When I found out and suggested that we also keep in touch, including my brother in-law, they both just looked at me like I had lost my mind. So I tried -- my brother in-law dropped off about 6 weeks after my husband's death (including no contact with my son -- his only nephew); and my in-laws about 3 months. I had even asked them both for some advice, and the response I got was “sounds like you have some big decisions to make and we know you’ll do the right thing.” Since I moved to Texas in September, they have only initiated contact with me twice; otherwise I have initiated the contact. The same with the brother in-law. It's just sad that after being married to their son for 22 1/2 years, being a part of their family for 25 years, and having their only heir, it's not important enough to keep in touch with me. I've gotten to the point where I'm tired of always being the one to initiate the contact and try to keep it going (either via calls, e-mails or cards). Thank you for your insight and wisdom. It’s been hard, but I’ve made it through the first year, with my head held high and very proud of the things that I’ve had to do, all on my own.

[deleted account]

Hi, I'm not sure exactly what your question (if any) is, but I just wanted to reach out. About a year after my husband died in 2001, his people stopped all contact with me. We did not have children together but it was still painful. As I've had a few years to reflect, I can see that everyone deal's with their pain differently and to the extent we're able, it's better to just live and let live. It took me a long time to get to that place. Not so much because they dropped me like a hot potato, but I was just so sad and angry for so long. It takes awhile. For some crazy reason, people who are not widowed seem to think a year is adequate grieving time--well, I'm here to testify this is a bunch of BS. I didn't even START to really grieve until he was gone 2 years. My husband was also 48. His death was not sudden, but I've come to realize that whether we lose them suddenly or to illness (my hubby had cancer), they are still gone and there is not much difference in the level of pain.



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