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Trouble with In-laws

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My husband unexpectedly passed away 3 years ago. At the time I discussed the details of his cremation and funeral with his mother and ask her opinion since he was her child. I told her that he had told me that he wished to be cremated and our ashes buried together. She was fine with it and wanted me to honor his wishes. Now that I am in another relationship she wants his ashes and was furious when I told her that I was going to honor his wishes. She has talked very bad about me on social media and even thanked someone for cropping me out of a picture of us together and commented that she never wanted to see me again. I have cut off all contact with her but I’m so hurt. I was always good to her and I love her but I can’t continue to try to stay in her life. She’s made it clear she doesn’t want me around anyway. How do you handle something like this? I’m heartbroken. 

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Hi, Kaycee. 


I’m sorry you are having to face this situation. It is difficult trying to navigate the grief of in-laws while managing your own needs, your late husband’s expressed desires, as well as moving forward in your own life. 


I remarried after losing my first husband; however, he was buried according to his family’s religious traditions. He had few desires about what happened after he died, except for wanting to be buried next to me. As I could not be buried in a cemetery for his religious faith, he was buried in the local town cemetery in the east coast state where we lived. I have a double stone on that plot. 


When I remarried, my second husband, who was a widower, decided with me that when we died, we would be cremated and have our ashes split and buried, half with our first spouse and half together. His wife was buried on the California coast. Unfortunately, I lost my second husband as well, and I did as he wanted and buried half of his ashes in California and half in the town where we lived together in the middle of the country. I now have my name on 2 grave stones. 


Perhaps for your mother-in-law’s sake, you can consider burying a portion of your late husband ‘s ashes in a place where she can visit?  


I know that I can feel very possessive of my relationships with my late husbands. I have never been a parent, but I know that both of my MIL’s also had very significant grief with the loss of their sons. My second MIL has since died. She was a very bitter woman for various reasons, and I chose to end contact with her 18 months after my husband died when she started blaming me for his death because I hadn’t been a nagging wife and didn’t make him go to doctors, etc. She lived at quite a distance and we didn’t have a significant relationship, so the lack of contact was not significantly noticed. 


You may not be able to restore a relationship with your MIL. You can’t control what she decides to do, or how she views your decision to move forward with your life. But you can hold your own head up and remain respectful and possibly contribute to what she feels she needs as a mother - which simply might be to hold onto whatever memory she has of her son and a way to have a way to memorialize him with something like a grave to visit. 


Best wishes to you!



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