Author Topic: A new problem in my life...in-laws  (Read 1382 times)

Kater

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A new problem in my life...in-laws
« on: July 21, 2016, 06:43:22 PM »
I'll try to keep this a readable length....:)

I did not know any of my husband's family.  His dad was gone before we met and he didn't have a relationship with any of his remaining family during the 20 years we were together.  I never met his mom before she passed, and still to this day have not met his sister.  But now there is his brother....

I had met him a couple of times while LH was alive.  They were brief encounters and happened about 18 years ago.  Although he lived in the same city as us, LH did not have any contact with him.  The reasons LH gave me at the time was that his (younger) brother was a "goof" and he did not like his wife.  I later realized the real reason was probably more to do with a secret LH had been keeping from me that his brother would have known about (LH fessed up about it, and after that said he'd invite his brother over, although that never happened).  Long and short of it - I didn't know his brother for whatever reason(s).

Fast forward to LH's final days.  There was about 36 hours between when LH had a heart attack and his passing.  In that time, I thought I should reach out to his brother, and so I did.  He and his family attended the funeral.  He was really upset and I was glad that I had given him the opportunity to see his brother's body and to get some closure.  All that was fine (other than a couple of really stupid things the wife did and said.  It clarified to me why LH didn't care for her).  In the seven months since LH has been gone, I have met with "brother" a few times.  Our visits have been nice.  He is nice and "normal" enough, but I can see the "goof" thing, and his wife can be OK but can also be brash and abrasive.  I feel like he is trying a bit too hard with me - trying to be a brother and give me support - but I really don't need it from him.  Honestly, I'm keeping the relationship going more for him than for me.  I've had to create a bit of space with him, but it's OK.  Nothing I can't handle.  Also, I found out that over the years LH had had some conversations with his brother, had attended some of his nieces sporting events, etc.  Not exactly sure why he kept all that from me, but whatever.

But now today....I am organizing a golf tournament in LH's memory.  I had coffee with one of LH's golf buddies today and the topic of the brother came up.  He said he had no idea LH even had a brother.  Most people (everyone?) were surprised by that fact when they met him at the funeral.  I mentioned to his golf buddy that I was wondering if I should let brother know about the golf tournament, and the friend commented that he thought I probably should. 

Haven't talked to brother in over 3 weeks, but he phoned me today, and with some trepidation, I mention the tournament.  He said he would be honored to be there and would see if his wife would also come.  Now I'm doubting I should have mentioned it.  I had posted it on Facebook and his wife is friends with me, so it wasn't exactly a secret.  My hesitation is in the fact that nobody knew he had a brother.  LH was very private, so it is not exactly a surprise that he didn't talk about him. (as an aside...my LH worked with a guy, Dan, for about 15 years.  I asked him one day if Dan was married and LH didn't know.  His response was "I guess not.  He's never talked about a wife."  Basically, if someone didn't talk about it, he wouldn't ask.  That would be "prying" ::))  I know LH would be rolling over in his grave at the thought of all his buddies being exposed to his younger (ie. annoying) brother, and so I'm wondering if I've done the right thing.  There is really nothing wrong with him.  He is a bit of an "over sharer", so if he comes, I will need to make it clear to him that he does not need to share any details of his brother's childhood, etc. with these people. 

I guess in my mind, I am trying to take care of the living but still trying to honor the dead.  I'm not sure I can do both in this case.

How did I avoid any hint of in-law problems for 20 years and now they are surfacing???

 

Portside

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Re: A new problem in my life...in-laws
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2016, 07:59:50 PM »
I'm not sure there are any problems here. Okay, the brother is an 'over-sharer' and the wife is an ass. But everyone has their special little 'things'.

I'd just go with the flow. Your LH had his reasons to keep his birth family at arms length - and he did. But, that was then, this is now. I think you've done the right thing by reaching out to them all.

To be a healer is a wonderful thing!

Best wishes, Mike

The war is over for me now. But those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.

Nuggets

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Re: A new problem in my life...in-laws
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2016, 12:05:13 AM »
Agreeing with Portside --- LH kept these people at arms length, he died .... you can include, dismiss or keep these people at arms length at YOUR choosing. LH doesn't get a vote anymore.

I think it was kind of you to reach out when LH was in his final hours, I think they responded admirably.

I'm having a hard time seeing much of a problem unless you're hoping to protect co-workers and golf buddies .... and to be honest, you worry about that less and less as times passes.

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.

Isaac Asimov

Kater

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Re: A new problem in my life...in-laws
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2016, 12:56:13 AM »
Thanks Portside and Nuggets.  I have had some of those same thoughts.  I get that he isn't here and doesn't get a vote, and frankly his buddies are unlikely to care about any of it, if they even notice he is there.  I just know it is so not what he would want and I can see the look of disgust on his face.   I'm still pretty early in this journey and still want to honor what his wishes would be.  My family has much the same perspectives as me for the same reasons, so I greatly appreciate the objective points of view that it isn't a big deal. 

My mom told me she was very proud of me for how I included his brother at the end.  I thought it was a no-brainer, but appreciate the kind words.  I knew the distance was because of LH, not the brother.  I was a bit concerned about what I might have been getting myself into, but in fairness to him, he  handled himself perfectly.  He didn't try to insert himself into the funeral arrangements, or impose in any other way. I know he very much appreciated it.  They had a tough childhood and LH was his big brother through it all regardless of the distance later in life.  So I suppose he has proven himself.  Now his wife on the other hand.....oy.  Another story for another post.  :o 

Kate

Chopperette

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Re: A new problem in my life...in-laws
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2016, 08:41:59 AM »
I think you are over thinking it, which is very usual at first.  I agree with the class. Go with the flow. No one it's going to be upset with you.  You are going beyond your "duty" with your brother in law and that shows your good heart. If he over shares, so be it, that's what he needs to mourn the loss

nonesuch

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Re: A new problem in my life...in-laws
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2016, 12:46:51 PM »
Off the top of my head, I know two men, no three - who were or are very very private people.  My own Dad never, ever talked about his first marriage, (I have a brother from another mother, raised in our home since my Dad got full custody. His mother wasn't in the picture)  Everything I know about that came from Mom, most after dad died.  Another was my husband's co-worker, who just didn't tell anyone at work anything about himself, including the fact that he was married.

The third was a man who did much like your husband.  His wife and children found out after he died that he wasn't an only child.  There were uncles and cousins they'd known nothing about.  This probably happens more than we realize

I'm sure bro and wife will try to be on their best behavior.  I hope your tournament is successful.

Kater

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Re: A new problem in my life...in-laws
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2016, 11:18:22 PM »
Tournament today was fabulous.  Everything was great except....brother.  Not a huge issue, nor the one I was worried about, but there was an issue that my closest friends and family and I were aware of.  Luckily, I have a friend that is very gifted at containing problems so he stepped in.  Oh well.  Didn't ruin my day, but was a blemish to it all.

I need to think a bit more about the extent to which I want him in my life.  It was nice to meet him and hear some of LHs past, but it has sort of run its course for me, I think.  Just another day in the life of widda hood :)