need support - a visit from the under toad

<p>Hi all,</p>

<p>MIL passed on this am. Lots of stress. We have a rather poor situation with SIL. She went incommunicato a while back (year or two) and will speak with no one. One of the other relatives who she supposedly liked in the past said that she never returned calls etc, and neither did my niece, who has barely ever met these folks. There is no reason not to call back the other relative regardless of the imagined wrongs that her parents did to her (as well as I and everyone else here apparently). FIL is fragile himself, and DH rather in shock.</p>

<p>She was ill, and passed in her sleep in her own bed. At least she did not suffer too much (she had alzheimers and as far as I know was not in pain).</p>

<p>Thoughts, prayers, etc. will be greatly appreciated.</p>

<p>For those not familiar with the under toad, cf, The world according to Garp by John Irving.</p>

<p>I am so sorry to hear. Can you perhaps just leave a voicemail, and/or an email, for those who are incommunicado?</p>

<p>I'm very sorry for your loss.</p>

<p>I think voice and email are too easy to ignore. If you have a mailing address, send a telegram or certified letter with the facts.</p>

<p>My sympathies also.</p>

<p>Update re SIL - we left messages, emails, etc. and no response. We had the funeral yesterday per religious desires of FIL, so she was not there.</p>

<p>The stress of the whole situation is high. That SIL ignored it, bad, but predictable in my opinion. It still hurts.</p>

<p>FIL is fragile, and his home is an hour from ours. He refuses to move closer to us, even though he really has more home than he needs or can properly attend to. Without spilling all the difficult situations that he has instigated over the many years that I know him, this mourning period is turning out to be a doozy. Part Woody Allen, and part E.M. Forester tragedy. My D had to go back to school today, but my H is stayed with FIL. Per tradition, a whole week of mourning is to be observed.</p>

<p>When my mother died, I knew that I could not take a week of the traditional mourning. People come to your house, and even though as a mourner you are not supposed to worry about serving them food etc., it would have been impossible for me to not attend to things. I stayed home, but I limited "visiting" to two days at discreet times. </p>

<p>For MIL, it will be the whole 9 yards.Not that they were such believers. To me, it is mostly a for show thing (mostly but not completely). H is going along 99% because of his father. Along with the fact that after the last 2 days of nonstop going, and that I am exhausted, I am having to worry about feeding people etc. H is staying with FIL, and this is stress to him for a number of reasons. I had to notify many people for the funeral, and now I am having to deal with what closing our office for a week on no notice means. I will also be driving back and forth each day to FIL house. (2 hours)</p>

<p>FIL really does not care as to what his needs or demands do to us. This is the main reason that I think his daughter has dropped him out of her life. I personally find his demands unreasonable. His house is not comfortable for visitors. We have 3 pets, and they can not stay there with visitors in and out all day. The beds, towels, sheets pillows are totally depreciated, shall we say, and to stay in his house would mean no sleep for all, and D would not be able to get to her school (75 min drive each way).</p>

<p>I have to somehow put up until next Sunday. I am not sure that I can physically and mentally take much more. I sincerely feel that FIL feels that I am a doormat for his to use as he wants (this is based on years of things that he has done), and he does not even think of how his treatment affects his son (who is an angel to be so nice to him despite all the rough treatment he has received.)</p>

<p>If anyone is listening, thanks.</p>

<p>My sympathies. What a burden. Does he have savings? You could hire a housekeeper for this week. If it would not cause marital strain, I would stay home for the daughter. Hang in there.</p>

<p>I am so sorry for the difficult situation. Take care of yourself and your family- whatever that means ( a hotel? missing a day at FIL's house? do what you need to do).</p>

<p>OP,
If FIL is sitting Shiva for a week, is anyone coming? Are there prayers nightly? In my experience, good friends & relatives order platters of food to be delivered to the house. I can imagine your husband staying with his FA to share their loss. I don't see why you have to be there every night. You are allowed to stay home and care for daughter, attend to daily needs, freeing your husband to mourn.</p>

<p>My best to you</p>

<p>I'm sorry to hear of your loss. While I'm not of your faith, I can totally relate to family dynamics and expectations which can be so stressful at a time like this. I'm concerned that you have to do so much driving during this time when you're stressed, exhausted, etc. Is it possible to have the other relatives bring food to the house when they visit? Would it make sense to board the animals for a few days and stay in a hotel closer to your FIL's place? Is your D a child or a college student?</p>

<p>Dear Mom--you are doing the best you can under the circumstances. You are gracious and polite. Keeping your home life going makes it easier for your husband to be with his father during this week, which will certainly be long. When my MIL died, I "gave" my husband the freedom to do what HE needed to do. Sure my FIL probably wasn't happy, but I had 4 kids ages 3-15 to care for and we also lived about an hour away. Time has healed it all. This is all very new for you and there has been no "rehearsal". I am so sorry for your loss.</p>

<p>Make just a little time for yourself--warm bath, a chapter in a good book, special tea. You can't change the in-laws family dynamics. SIL will eventually find out or perhaps she already knows and chose to stay away. Be there to support your husband and don't try to change too much of FIL's life right now. His home is his comfort zone and once the mourning period is over, he will be very lonely. Best to be in familiar surroundings. (This assumes he can care for himself.)</p>

<p>Hugs, sympathy, and prayers your way.</p>

<p>First, I'm sorry for your loss, and the pain that is occuring in your life. Take a deep breath, hang on and get a cup of tea.</p>

<p>I, too, have a "difficult" SIL. Not the same as yours, but I get it. Send a letter, with proof of mailing to the last address. Then move on. It's on her that she is ignoring the situation. It's sad, it's adding to the stress, and it's a mess. Let it be her mess. If FIL mentions SIL, you have done all you can to contact her. Same response to all inquiring relatives/friends/etc.</p>

<p>Staying with FIL for a week might work for your DH if he wants to stay, let him get through this the way he needs to...but your D has to go to school. Some things have to be handled at the office (I get it, when my FIL died we had to oversee two business--ours and his. MIL did not understand why we could not be there every minute, but that was just the way it was...and we juggled to be gone for short periods while others could be with her. We are all in the same town, so it was easier.) Can you go back and forth every other day? Is there a friend D can stay with for a night or two? People are wonderfully helpful in these circumstances, but it would depend on how your D is dealing with the whole situation. Less travel means less stress.</p>

<p>Are there friends/relatives/etc that you can contact to see if they are avaliable on any particular day? That gives you the chance to be home that day, go back to FIL's the next day. Gives everyone a break. Take sheets/towels with you. Call the grocery store and order trays of snacks. It might not be what you would prefer, but it will do in a pinch.</p>

<p>I learned in a hurry that setting boundries with MIL is mandatory. Otherwise, DH was "needed" 24/7. It took a while to get things ironed out, but it happened. While you are at FIL's scan the local paper, listen to the neighbors, etc. Locate local vendors who do things that need doing (grocery delivery, yard work, whatever). Check out Senior Assistance options. If you are there, you might as well gather information to help yourself in the future. A phone call in the morning from your DH can do a lot to help out...it generally helps my MIL.</p>

<p>My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.</p>

<p>I am sorry for the loss in your family. While not of your faith I understand first hand your troubles with SIL and things falling to your husband. I know it must be so difficult on you. Just do the best that you can do to support your husband and your D in this time of loss. Try and carve out some time for you, and help your H to carve out time for himself.
If you have to feed people keep it simple.. order in what you can. And please be careful with all the driving back and forth when tired. </p>

<p>sending you a virtual hug...</p>

<p>So sorry to hear about the baggage surrounding your family's grief. I've seen some weird things over the years when it comes to funerals and how people grieve. I have decided not to judge how anyone grieves, or judge the depth of their grief based on how well they supported the relationship (or their religion) while people were alive. (I'm not saying you are at all). I'm just saying, for me, I would become OK with how your FIL wants to grieve, and try to separate that from how I handle the week. In other words, if he wants the traditional all-week home visits, that's absolutely fine, But it doesn't automatically require YOU to make it all work. If there aren't nice towels or enough food for the guests, that's OK. They're there to support a grieving spouse, not to be waited on. </p>

<p>In other words, you should decide how YOU want to grieve, and what YOU can do to support your FIL, and draw your boundaries. Of course you need to take your H's feelings into consideration as well. If he really wants you to be a martyr and drop everything to host the week long wake, then you can decide if that's a gift you are able and willing to give your husband. If you choose to do it, try to view it as a gift to your H in a time of need and make it work as well as possible, still drawing limits where you need to. No, the food doesn't have to be perfect or even adequate. Towels and sheets? They don't need to be prefect either. Family coming together and being able to support eachother? That's the only thing that matters. If your FIL expects you to make the amenities something perfect, that is NOT the thing that matters, and if it were me, I'd let go of perfectionism and let towels and food be just OK. If your H doesn't want/need you to shoulder all of this, then YOU need to decide how you want to grieve your MIL (you've had a loss too, don't forget!), and how much time and energy you can put into it all. Don't forget - you are modeling family relationships for your daughter. If you can find a way to navigate this in a way that works for YOU, you are teaching her to respect her own needs and not be a doormat.</p>

<p>Bottom line - I'm so sorry for your loss. Love your family members and be kind to each other, help however much feels right to you, and let go of feeling that you need to break your neck to make sure everyone has a bed & breakfast experience with the whole thing. Be loving and patient and gentle with your father in law. But figure out what you want to give to this and feel comfortable limiting your involvement to that.</p>

<p>No words of advice, just my heartfelt sympathy for what you are going through right now. </p>

<p>If you can just put on foot in front of the other for this week, you will look back and be able to say that you and your DH did all you could for your FIL. And that thought will comfort YOU. As for SIL - I agree with others who say, send letter and then forget about her. You did everything possible - think of your DH as an only child.</p>

<p>I'm so sorry you have to deal with the loss and the funky family situation. </p>

<p>My thought - sil is not for you to worry about. She has chosen her level of interaction, you attempted to reach her, she didn't contact anyone, end of story. Sad, but really you can't fix that.</p>

<p>It's not your job to make it perfect for your fil. His home is what it is, people will deal with whatever the situation. I would not have your dd staying there - 75 miles is too far for her.</p>

<p>I own my own business and simply could not shut it down. So I'd say you continue working, caring for your daughter, let your husband deal with his father.</p>

<p>Make no attempts to make any decisions on where he should live at this point. Give everything time to settle down. Just because he demands something doesn't mean he gets it at any cost.</p>

<p>Thank you guys for your thoughts and sympathies. I will keep rereading so that these ideas sink in and get a chance to take hold. It really does help to read what you have written and to know what you think. I am off to my office now, and won't be back on this website until later tonight.</p>

<p>I decided to go to FIL house this afternoon for a few hours and be home for dinner with D this evening. They will talk about me for missing the evening minyan...(Yes, this is a jewish shiva for those who asked). D is in high school, and even though much of it in reality is moot at this point (graduating senior), you know the drill - must do school work, take tests etc. </p>

<p>I think it is good advice not to judge (and to ignore those who do - but sometimes it really hurts when they do judge). I think a judgmental attitude is really at the heart of a lot of the problems underlying this particular tragicomedy. This hits one of my hot buttons, and I get first really angry, and then I usually cry. As if.....</p>

<p>Thanks again. Will post updates.</p>

<p>Keeping you in my thoughts. Don't worry about the talk-it shall pass. Keeping your life going and juggling those demands is nore than enough for your to deal with.</p>

<p>"I get first really angry, and then I usually cry."</p>

<p>You are crying because you don't feel that you have a right to be ****ed off. Well, you do have a right to that. On that long, nasty drive over tomorrow, set your car radio to a country station and sing along with the songs about getting even with the baddies in your life. Very therapeutic in my experience.</p>

<p>I really don't have anything to add--just my condolences and a virtual hug as you go through this situation. The aftermath of a death is never easy to deal with and is different in each situation. Given the title of the thread, I'm going to assume that literature is an important part of your life. I would suggest that, at some point, you might enjoy reading "This is Where I Leave You," by Jonathan Tropper, a very funny, somewhat dark, somewhat John Irving-esque novel about a (not too observant) family coming together after a death. It may be a little too close to your situation to read now, but perhaps you would enjoy it later.</p>

<p>I'm so, so sorry to hear this, anothermom....it sounds SO familiar. My family has the same dynamic-- a few who will take, take, take....a few who have shut themselves off entirely...a few who give way beyond anything that ought to be expected. I think this is why I married a man with NO relatives! </p>

<p>I hope you can find a place where you feel comfortable drawing a line-- and draw it, and stick to it. Don't feel guilty for not doing every little thing. Your husband can be responsible for the food, and it can come straight from the supermarket on platters-- or he can ask friends to bring a dish. (I feel most people would almost naturally show up with something to share.) If people sense you feel guilty, they'll gossip. If they sense you're doing what you feel is right, they're more likely to accept it. Your H can always say, "My wife is kindly taking over all domestic responsibilities so I can be here." That is perfectly true. </p>

<p>Send a telegram or registered letter to SIL and be done. She's put herself where she is, and whether its for good reasons or bad it's her choice.</p>

<p>I would be a basket case if I hadn't adopted these strategies. (Oh yes, given your literary bent, try taking notes. It really helps!) Much, much sympathy to you--</p>