Wednesday, July 20, 2022

An obvious play for sympathy

 Dear John,

Your family has been...your family.  C has been in contact with me the most.  She texts me whenever she needs comfort.  Your SIL reaches out, but I haven't spoken to your brother since the day you died.  K has some regrets, I think, but is her usual self.  Unless you're directly in front of her, you don't really matter.  E has expressed some sorrow that there was distance between you.  I have completely blocked S, and will never speak to her again.

There was, as usual, a clear division of my family vs yours at the funeral.  Not one of your siblings spoke to any of my family.  My family would have been receptive, if cool.  My sisters told their kids to surround our girl and make sure she was never without one of them.  She and I sat with your mom.  The rest of your family sat together on the opposite side of the aisle.  I know you didn't want a funeral.  And I wouldn't have done it at all, but I felt bad for your mom for a minute.  She needed a ritual to say goodbye - I think our daughter sort of did too, even though she hasn't been raised in church.  It rained so hard that day until everything was done - I said it was you expressing your disapproval of the proceedings.  On the plus side, I applied for, and received, additional burial benefits from the VA, so it brought down the cost of the proceedings.  Your mom paid for the mass and the musicians - I didn't offer to do that.

So, why am I never speaking to S again?  I stopped by your mom's a day or two after the funeral to drop off some cards.  S was there and they were asking me questions about you.  I told them that you had been struggling for a long time.  I didn't want to violate your privacy, but I thought they needed to know that I had mentioned your issues.  Your mom saw it as me making an excuse for your behavior rather than as a signal that she needed to get closer to you and try to help.  That may seem like a harsh judgement on her, but I think it's true.  Anyway, later, S texted me for more information.  I gave her a slightly longer version of how you had withdrawn from everyone.  It was a fairly neutral response - I am not here to absolve anyone of their guilt, but I wasn't blaming either.  She replied with the following:    

    "He did speak to M and D the weekend before.  No one noticed anything unusual.  I know John is         private but I can't believe you wouldn't want to tell us that he was suicidal.  He's our brother &             you're his wife.  If you cared, you would have told somebody, that he was talking about it, even if         he didn't want you to"

Let me tell you, I was HEATED when I read that.  I replied very coolly, though, reminding her that her actions were a main factor for why you were distant from your family.  I told her that saying anything to her or anyone else would have been a major violation of your trust.  I told her, more or less, that I didn't owe her anything, and she should not pursue that line of thought with me.  So, of course, she doubled down and told me that other people were hurting too.  BLOCKED.  She's still on the family group text, but I don't see what she says.

In true (Your Family) style, though, I have sent a few passive aggressive messages out.  I may have married in, but I have the name and I will use some of the traits when it suits me.  To E, I send an occasional picture of the many drawings or notes she sent you when she was younger.  Am I deliberately reminding her that you adored her and were very hurt when she pushed you away?  Yes.  Yes, I am.  I send C photos of you and her and D having fun - a little reminder that she also withdrew from you.  I'm mostly avoiding your mom - still waiting for her to follow up on her idea to come up here to see us.  I think it's going to be a long wait.

Your daughter has inherited the worst of us, though, as far as grudges go.  She has no interest in seeing any of her aunts/uncles, cousins, or grandmother.  I think she was really hurt that your mom forgot her both for her last birthday and for Christmas.  So, now, as far as she's concerned, they don't really exist for her.  When I mention any of them, she sort of sneers.  I can't blame her.  I will probably try to attend some sort of family gathering and drag her along.  She may need that connection someday.  We shall see.  We did go to see A when we were in Chicago.  She continues to be a delightful person.  Cousin K had a major faceplant bike accident and did some serious damage to his cranium.  I sent him some Legos for entertainment, because he has to take it easy for a while.  D had surgery for Deep Vein Thrombosis - that's kind of scary.  C says he's doing well, but has to wear his compression socks all the time.  E just posted something very curious on FB, that appeared to be an ad for an orthodontist.  Weird.  That's all I know for now.




  1. Wow. Just wow. Are all families just crazy?
    Without a doubt, John’s family IS.
    I am with Little Miss on this. Who needs their careless whispers?

  2. Passive aggressive is an great strategy when used knowingly and with intention. Is it aikido where you divert a person's energy coming at you to instead return to them? I'm in favor (fwiw).