I'm not sure how I should feel...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by trinityroyal, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    We just got the news today that my sister in law died from liver failure. This is the sister in law who has been drunk for the last 30 years, and stopped drinking last summer, after receiving a warning from her doctor that if she let one more drop of alcohol pass her lips, she would (not might, WOULD) die.

    Now, I don't know yet whether she actually took a drink, but I do know that she didn't go to AA, or therapy, or take any of the steps she needed to understand why she drank or to get sober. She was a dry drunk, and a mean, bitter, nasty one at that.

    mother in law, brother in law, and my other sister in law are devastated. mother in law has cancer and she's turning 84 years old on Saturday, and she just doesn't need this sort of grief when she already has so much pain to deal with. husband kept away from sister in law for the most part, so we weren't that close. And dead sister in law lit into difficult child like gangbusters on Christmas day, to the point that my full-grown 18-year-old man-child wept like a baby in the corner for an hour.

    I feel so sad that she never managed to find and fight the demons inside her, angry that my difficult child will be haunted by the cruelty from his favourite aunt, with no opportunity for her to mend fences now...but mostly I just feel numb.

    What a terrible terrible waste.

  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member


    I'm so sorry for your loss. Is there a pastor or priest that your son can talk to? They are often very experienced at helping the living make peace with the unfinished business.
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    {{{Hugs}}} I'm so sorry for the pain your family is feeling. Could you maybe call someone from Al-Anon and ask for advice and the names of counselors that may help difficult child process what he is going through?
    My mother is an alcoholic and drug abuser and mentally ill. She tends to treat her family with indifference or outright hostility. The only thing that has helped me with this is that I received a very consistent message from the other adults in my life that
    #1 It was not my fault
    #2 It was her illness at the root of her behavior
    The net result of this is that I've been able to have a pretty clear and healthy view of my mother. Perhaps your difficult child needs to have someone impartial help him come to understand the facts of his aunt's life and death.
  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    {{{trinity}}} Sending some hugs for you and yours. I'm so sorry that you had unresolved feelings for your sister in law. It's unfortunate when timing is so off like this.

    I agree that you should seek out some counsel for both you and difficult child to help you deal with what must be very mixed emotions. I'm sorry.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Counsiling is a good idea.

    Sending hugs to you and the family.
  6. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    So sorry to hear of your sister in law death. I feel bad for difficult child who got a tongue lashing from her last time he saw her.(((((((difficult child)))))))

    Wishing your family as much peace as possible as you work your way through this.
  7. SaraT

    SaraT New Member

    So sorry for all you are going through now.

    Counsling sounds like a good idea to me. Getting information from someone other then mom tends to sink in better for difficult children.(At least for mine)

    Hugs for you and your family.
  8. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Sorry for the loss your family is experiencing.

    Sometimes death has a way of erasing the bad memories. In this case, since Christmas is so recent, your difficult child will carry that memory of his aunt whenever he thinks of her. Hopefully he will be able to resolve that she was an unhappy, sick woman who lashed out due to the saddness and unhappiness in her life. He should carry no guilt. There is also no guilt for not feeling a tremendous sense of loss and sorrow. We feel what we feel. No explanations necessary.

    If he wants to think anything now, he should hope and pray that she has moved on to a place without suffering and saddness.

  9. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry. Death of a family member is difficult no matter what. I'm sending you some strength...
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone. I will definitely be talking to my therapist about this, and I will raise it with difficult child's therapist too, so that he has a safe place to talk about everything with someone who's not grieving too. Al-Anon might be a good option as well.

    We were at difficult child's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) when we got the news, so I was able to fill the staff in on the situation while husband and difficult child were having Dad-and-Son time. I imagine his behaviour will be erratic over the next while.

    Thanks for all your advice and support ladies. It helps a lot that I can lean on you, while my family needs to lean on me.

  11. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Aw Trinity,

    I am SO sorry about that news. Sorry I am late getting to this thread.
    Sending prayers of comfort your way.
  12. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I hate what alcohol and drugs do to people even before it kills them.

    I'm sorry for your family.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    I don't know if I'm sorry or not. And before anyone throws sticks - hear me out first.

    Your sister in law spent most of her life - dying. She did not spend it living. I think the sad part about anyone that is an addict of any kind is that they lack what some of us have, a gift we take for granted - being able to say no.

    So maybe in a way I'm glad that she's gone because now she is able to live. For the first time in 40 some years - she'll actually know what it is like to have a life. She won't hurt, she won't say ugly things to anyone ever again. If anyone here on earth could have given her the gift of sobriety - they would have moved mountains. She gotten her gift - it's just that none of you could give it to her.

    So in dying, she actually gets to live. Finally. How bitter of a road she must have journeyed, how awful it must have been for her to have to exist every day miserable, and unwilling or unable to do a thing about it. And how ugly her insides must have been to berate a young man who thought the world of her.

    I would tell your son that we are all responsible for our actions. I know she made your son cry. But he should be thankful, because the very last thing she did for him was teach him a lesson about how not to behave. And how words CAN do damage. Without knowing it - she's left him with a very great gift.

    So in her dying - I know you mourn the loss. But praise the life that she's finally getting to live. It's been a long, long road for her.

  14. PersonalEnigma

    PersonalEnigma New Member

    That is so sad :( I know that I worry about my BILs. Both are heavy drinkers and the one has already been warned to stop drinking as he is doing himself serious damage :( I can't say that they are not living their lives - in fact that's the problem they are REALLY living their lives *sigh*. My father in law's mother was an alcoholic and was a terrible case from what I understand - she may have died from it (there is some controvery on that point that I won't get into...). I hope that my BILs grow up before they do too much damage to themselves. Now that they are hitting 30 they should grow up at least a little bit...
  15. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I am so sorry for your families loss...
  16. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    This thought gives me comfort Star. Thank you for giving me the words to express the niggling feeling I've had inside about this. sister in law was terribly troubled her whole life, and never found the insight to deal with it while she was here.

    I am going to print these words and put them in a card for difficult child. HE too struggles with saying and doing hurtful things, that can't always be fixed with a simple "I'm sorry". Maybe this is his opportunity to learn this life lesson before it damages him.

    Poor Jackie. Life handed her so many gifts, and she just didn't know what to do with them.
  17. Scent of Cedar II

    Scent of Cedar II New Member

    I loved what Star had to say.

    We each are responsible for our actions. They cannot be prettied or made right by anyone else.

    The rest of us can only make sense of the death of someone we should have loved, could have been closer to, if we can tell ourselves the truth about why we chose as we did when the person was alive. After a death, there is such a reluctance to speak honestly about the patterns of a person's life.

    I wonder if hearing more about what addiction does to the personality of the person trapped in it might make the difference for some of our kids ~ not my son, he is too set in his ways already. But for our younger kids, whose paths are not yet set in stone?

    Personality change is one aspect of addiction that we never hear enough about ~ but it is the natuire of personhood that changes first in any addiciton.

    Then, the spirit seems to crumple and become forever malicious and only then does the physical body finally succumb.

    It's such a horrible, devastating thing to watch.

    When we first understood about our difficult child, we likened it to watching helplessly while he was targeted, attacked and devoured, piece by piece, by some mindless, reptillian something that would never let go.

    It could be Trinity, that your son's pain over this favorite aunt's behavior and death will be responsible for helpiing him see his own path more clearly.

    I am sorry for your loss Trinity, and for your pain. I know what it is to believe, to be so certain things will change that we disallow any other possibility.

    Wishing courage and strength for you as you go through this time.

  18. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Trin, I am so sorry for your loss. I do like the way Star looks at this. We need that reminder that at times of clouds there can be a silver lining.
  19. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Sending hugs....

  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry for your loss. I hope that your difficult child can get help with this, it is so hard to have a fav relative be outright cruel to you. Maybe the funeral home has a grief support group, here they have a wonderful one.

    I think that whatever you are feeling is just right for you. Glad you all have tdocs to help with this.