Ugh. Well this is better than what I thought might happen but not by much

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
I got the call from my late husband's uncle that my former mother in law is not long for this world. Last week the same uncle convinced her husband to take her to the hospital. She had done nothing but drink wine and not eat for who knows how long. She was dehydrated and weak and had a low hemoglobin count. We thought perhaps she might improve with a time in a rehab facility.

We made a good decision to ride down and visit with her in the hospital on Saturday. She seemed okay actually. Better than she did the last time I saw her when she was slurry and unfocused.

Now she has taken a turn for the worse and is expected to pass soon. I made all the obligatory phone calls to the few folks who are left in the family to call.

I dread the show my former father in law will put on at the funeral. When my husband died, I was absolutely floored. This man, who has never said more than three words to me at a time, stood at my husband's memorial and delivered a horrifying speech for a good 30 minutes. When my husband's younger brother died a few years later, the same taciturn man delivered yet another speech at church, albeit a bit shorter and less graphic. I do not wish to be present for this speech, but I must be.
 

InsaneCdn

Well-Known Member
Hugs, Pigless. Some things just are, as you know. And sometimes its worse if we know what to expect. You have done well by your in-laws, even if they don't appreciate that fact.
 

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
Thanks ladies. I have done my best by them knowing all along that it would never be enough. The only one of them who I had any hope of dragging into the world of happiness was my husband. I gave him that gift for many years. I believe in my gut, somewhere way down deep, that these for people - my former in laws and their two sons - were somehow bonded and entertwined in misery. A negative force so powerful and complete that my pitiful attempts at cracking through were like arrows fired at the Death Star.

I expect father in law to take his own life after mother in law's funeral. He tried many years ago before my husband died. He drove his Lincoln out in front of a logging truck. He walked away from the accident unscathed. I went to the intersection after it happened, and I knew it was a deliberate move. He saw the truck coming.

I will need to find a grief therapist for my children.
 

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I believe in my gut, somewhere way down deep, that these for people - my former in laws and their two sons - were somehow bonded and entertwined in misery. A negative force so powerful and complete that my pitiful attempts at cracking through were like arrows fired at the Death Star.

I believe this, as well.

Not only for your people, but for mine, too.

There is such a thing as trauma bonding. It is hard to break through it.

I dread the show my former father in law will put on at the funeral. When my husband died, I was absolutely floored. This man, who has never said more than three words to me at a time, stood at my husband's memorial and delivered a horrifying speech for a good 30 minutes. When my husband's younger brother died a few years later, the same taciturn man delivered yet another speech at church, albeit a bit shorter and less graphic. I do not wish to be present for this speech, but I must be.

How awful that must have been.

Was the man grieving, do you think? Or just playing to an audience.

Cedar
 

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
Cedar, I think his grief is real. I think the saddest part is that he could not show his family love when they were alive. He visits his sons' graves daily. If only he had talked to them daily while they were alive.
 

Nomad

Well-Known Member
holy cow...you've handled an extraordinarily difficult situation with extreme wisdom and grace and you've been doing it a very long time. so sorry to read all this. (((hugs)))
 

Lil

Well-Known Member
I am so very sorry Pigless. Even if you aren't close, family is family and I'm sure your in-laws have a place in your and your kid's hearts. :group-hug:
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
I think his grief is real. I think the saddest part is that he could not show his family love when they were alive. He visits his sons' graves daily. If only he had talked to them daily while they were alive.
I suffered a version of this after my mother died.

I am thinking now that I should be very grateful I overcame the worst of it instead of bemoaning it went on so long.

Knowing father in law's story, I feel compassion for his destroyed life. Imagine what it would be to believe that you caused the heartbreak and death of a child, which he seems to believe and which seems to be at least partly true. (And the second son, too? I forget.)

How very, very tragic. Do you feel it to be absolutely necessary that you (and your kids) go to the funeral?

I do not believe I would go.
 
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pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
Copa, I hear you. You sound like my therapist. After my husband passed, I completely changed my relationship with his family. When the kids were small, we would spend either Thanksgiving or Christmas at their house. mother in law expected us to spend both holidays with her, but I demanded that one be reserved for my family. Initially, I thought my late husband's family was close. They are from a small town in southern Virginia which shall remain unnamed. This is tobacco country and time has been hard on the area. Jobs are scarce and the people of my husband's generation have all moved away to the cities to work. The elderly generation has remained in the town. My former father in law is a big fish in a tiny little pond. His town is gone. There is no grocery store or pharmacy or hardware store. The railroad shut down the line to this town effectively severing the town from civilization. The town is full of people from my in-laws' generation. There are few young people and almost no children there.

For years I brought my children to their home for holidays, week-ends and events. But it isn't only my in-laws who are steeped in depression and the past. It is the entire town. To go there is like driving into the past. The climate in the town is that of 50 years ago. Attitudes, styles, vernacular and most importantly statuses are all frozen in time. My husband's generation are still called "the children" even though they are now in their 50s and 60s. The children are expected to return to town for all major occurences. My husband is gone. His brother is gone. Now their mother is gone. I may not have warm fuzzy feelings for my father in law. In fact, I detest the man. There I've said it. My personal ugly secret. I detest him but I understand that everyone he has ever loved has died purposefully. If I chose to boycott my mother in law's funeral, I would, in effect be telling the world that he is at fault for these three deaths. Do I think he was a large piece of the problem? Yes. But he was not the cause. The root cause is mental illness.

My therapist and I (thanks, Copa I cannot call her today) have discussed my choices in regards to my late husband's family and their expectations many, many times. When my husband died, I chose NOT to take the kids to his memorial. I protected them from their grandfather's excruciating speech. I snuck a peek around at the other people in the church that day (because of course I was on the front row). I saw what his soliloquy did to the funeral guests; it was horrible. My solution was to have a second memorial for my husband in Richmond. I ran the show. father in law was NOT allowed to speak. My children attended that memorial.

After my husband passed, I no longer attended functions at my in-laws' house. They wanted me to take vacations with them. I refused. I made a break from the abject misery. The in-laws did want to see their grandchildren though. They began to drive to Richmond the first Sunday of every month to take us to lunch. I agree to that. We met in a public place. We had a stilted, awkward lunch and then went our separate ways again. I felt that was the best way to give the grandparents and grandchildren an opportunity for connection. It still was not much of a connection. mother in law was often drunk, and father in law did not say more than three words at lunch. But I did not deny them access to their grandchildren. That seemed too cruel to me.

So, although father in law may deliver another more horrendous soliloquy at his wife's funeral, I will choose to attend. My children are aware that it may be painful. We all feel that we must support him. He is a mean old cuss, but he does love his grandchildren. They are all he has left in the world, and I will not deny him the small joy of having them present for his wife's departure show. The other family members will be around to hug the kids and love them and support them. They will take some love away to counteract the grief.
 

Lil

Well-Known Member
Bless you Pigless, you've more than done your duty as a daughter in law. They've been lucky to have you. I'll be thinking of you this weekend.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
Pigless. It sounds like a Tennessee Williams play or William Faulkner or even Eudora Welty, is that her name?

OK. You sound very clear and the kids very clear, too. You know why you are going. Not because you have to but because that is who you are and more than this, who you choose to be. And the kids are living from that, too.

I decided in exactly this same way as my mother was dying. But it was not one day. It went on years. One day is just one day. But it is an important day--in that it will be remembered for life--and it is part of defining a life. Who I am. To me, these decisions are the most important thing in defining who we are. In that I am an existentialist.

I am thinking here of a story I read about Sartre, the French Existentialist philosopher. A student came to him after a lecture, with a moral question: it was in the early 1940's in the midst of the war.

My mother, he said is ill. Nobody is left to care for her except me. I want to join the Free French Army and go fight against the Nazis. I want to be part of that, to know that I did my part to defeat them, as many of them as I can.

But my mother only has me. If I go and leave her she will surely die.

The young man had already been to priests and to friends and any authority he could find, to help him understand what would be the best choice.

Professor Sartre, what is the correct choice? What is the moral choice?


Sartre, answered something like, just choose. One or the other.

I believe he meant this: There is no right thing except that which we determine ourselves. And that which we decide, as individuals, is everything. It defines us.
If I chose to boycott my mother in law's funeral, I would, in effect be telling the world that he is at fault for these three deaths.
Now, this I do not agree with. Absolutely not. By not going to the funeral you simply would be not going to the funeral. You are not responsible for what others think or do not think.
We all feel that we must support him.
Now this, I agree with. This is a choice.

I choose to support him. Because that is who I am and who I want to be.

The other family members will be around to hug the kids and love them and support them.
And this too. This is strong.

I choose to see life as this. This is how I choose to live my life. Showing up for the good in others, in the face, of sorrow, regret and misery. I stand up for good.

Do you see the power in this?

Pigless. On a more mundane note. I will google tobacco country towns. I want to go to place or one like it. For somebody who loved to read moody Southern novels it would be paradise to step into the past.
 

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Bless you Pigless, you've more than done your duty as a daughter in law. They've been lucky to have you. I'll be thinking of you this weekend.

As will I.

So, although father in law may deliver another more horrendous soliloquy at his wife's funeral, I will choose to attend. My children are aware that it may be painful. We all feel that we must support him. He is a mean old cuss, but he does love his grandchildren. They are all he has left in the world, and I will not deny him the small joy of having them present for his wife's departure show. The other family members will be around to hug the kids and love them and support them. They will take some love away to counteract the grief.

Yours is a balanced and deeply compassionate way of seeing, pigless.

Holding you and yours in my thoughts.

Cedar
 
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