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need advice on how to cope with relatives after a loss

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Old 01-09-2009, 08:48 PM   #1
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need advice on how to cope with relatives after a loss

my grandfather passed away recently after six months of illness one month of which was hospice care.

we'll tensions are pretty high between my mother (he was her father) and my aunt/grandmother. my mom takes after GP and is very reserved and keeps her emotions to herself. my aunt and grandma are the exact opposite. i knew this was going to be a problem from the start. i knew my grandma/aunt would expect things from my mother that she wouldn't be able to give. so i made a point of telling my grandmother whenever i would visit grandad, that my mom didn't deal with emotional situations welll and that she kept to herself when upset. well it fell on deaf ears.

when grandad was home that final month my mom spent 4 (18 hour) nights a week there to help my grandma, and my aunt would come up on saturday to stay one night. my mom had major surgery in May and probably shouldn't have been exerting herself so much and it made her feel crappy. needless to say when GP died she was exhausted and probably relieved.

well, let me get to the point. mom never heard "i love" you growing up and while she respects her family its her husband and children who she loves. my grandmother and aunt are wanting from her emotional support she cant give. she never got a thankyou from my grandmother for her help. my aunt has made degrading remarks. now i know what i'm about to say may seem harsh but its what i feel. i feel they are using my grandfathers death as an excuse for their behavior. for the last 6-7 years my grandmother refused to celebrate her wedding anniversay because she said marrying my GP was a huge mistake. now she is holding his memorial serivce on the day of ther anniversary. that was a day that meant nothing to her for the last 7 years. i'm sure she is full of guilt and that has alot to do with it. my aunt is a difficult person and cant keep people in her life. her parents are the only ones who have always been there. so losing her dad is a blow. its hard. i'd be devestated if i lost my mom or dad.

so now the memorial services is coming up and i'm dreading it. im waiting for the masked insults and curt remarks from my aunt and grandma and it makes me sick. i love my grandma, i know her flaws but she has always been good to me. but the way they are treating my mom feels like a personal attack. it doesn't seem to bother my sisters or my dad (they are just angry) but im hurt. i loved my grandpa too! but me and my mom have to grieve our own way.

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Old 01-10-2009, 04:47 AM   #2
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Re: need advice on how to cope with relatives after a loss

Okay Gypsy, you asked for 'advice' and here it is.

Do not give anyone the rights to make you feel a certain way. the only responsible thing you can do is: go to the memorial, forget the day and what it was and hold your head up high.

Tell your mother to do the same but not to change who she is, how she is or what she can give another for any reason. Grieve in her own way not according to the rules of others.

I am concerned because my sister is a needy person. My mother and Sister were at an airport to leave for vacation on our fateful day of 9/11. While they were affected by the airport lock down and eventual evacuation of the facility, they weren't in any danger because they had never gone further than the boarding area. When I got out of work that day, I went home by going in their back door and out their front door into my front door (duplex style house). Walking through I said, well I'm glad you are okay (because all day she kept calling my voicemail to tell me that no one was telling them anything). So I said, Glad you are okay and nothing more. 2 weeks later sister comes over and sitting in my living room suddenly bursts into tears. When I asked what's wrong, she was angry at me because I didn't run in and quickly hug her and my mother saying "oh, I'm so glad you didn't die" or other such nonsense. I said I didn't run in but I at least came through. Whiel I knew they were okay, why would I do anything else I could see they were okay. She replied "yes, but there was a chance we wouldn't have been alright, we could've been on the plane that was hyjacked".

Now i dread when Mother dies. She's going to want hugging and stroking. She's not going to be able to pick herself up and dust herself off. I lost my husband in 2005 and due to life, was back at work in 3 weeks although I took to my bed every night and weekend for the first year.

I will not be able to hold her and comfort her like she's probably going to desire. Its just not my nature. I give hugs and kisses but i don't stroke, coddle, etc anyone and know I have no patience. She wanted to hug me, hold me, cling to me when my husband died. We all lived together in one house --two separate residences under one roof but I didn't need a body clinging to me in my personal space. My kids and I just needed each other. We'd go separately and grieve and then come together and cry over something but we didn't sit together, walk together, hug, and cling to each other.

So in your case the advice is: Just let all the comments roll off. When they find they no longer hit their target, your grandmother and aunt will either decrease it (notice i didn't say stop it,), or move onto something else.

You just move on.


Old 01-12-2009, 10:39 PM   #3
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Re: need advice on how to cope with relatives after a loss

I can empathize with you both...
My dear Grandmother died three weeks ago and I can't get used to the fact that she is gone. To the extent that I've picked up the phone to call her - even to ask questions about grammar and usage/form as I wrote her obituary! I'm embarrassed to admit that to my family for fear they'll question my sanity --
The end was difficult as she suffered severe dementia - very much a departure from her intellectual superiority and life-long mental strength. I can't determine if this bothered me as witness (selfish) or due to my concern for her (she would have hated being seen as "out of it")...
My best to you as you deal with the family politics. I've found a small blessing in that I've been unable (unwilling) to dwell on most of the petty issues because I'm concentrating on working through the mourning.
Another potential grace provided is that I'm so numb; I've been unable to break down over losing my job on Fri. This is exactly the type of situation that would have had me in her living room, up until all hours of the night talking to her and Grandpa... Nothing better to set my perspective than to hear their success over 60+ years of trials and tribulations. How empowering it was to be reminded of the strong stock behind me as well as to have that boost of faith. I know I will make her proud if I pull from those moments and fortify myself - doing it though is a different story.
My best thoughts to you both as you deal with your difficult journey(s)---

Old 01-12-2009, 10:46 PM   #4
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Re: need advice on how to cope with relatives after a loss

Stand close to your mother, and hold her hand throughout. Be her strong back, and anything these women say or do will be less awful for her. Remember, too, that she has has them all her life so it is not as if they are going to suddenly shock her with their issues. Don't explain your mother to these witches - she is who she is and has every right to be, and doesn't need defending for it. Let them have their drama fest, one day you and your mom will chuckle over it. Sera.

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