in-laws were her greatest disappointment. They did nothing
to help her through George's death and offered no financial
support. "Nobody came forth and said here's a dollar
bill, and that's okay." Consequently, she severed the
relationship. She told her children her decision was not to
have an effect on them. "I gave them permission to stay
in contact as it has nothing to do with me...At that time
George's dad had passed away and his mother was getting up
in years. His sister and brother were a complete wash out."
Looking back, Sally thinks their inaction may have been based
on ignorance. They did not know what to do so they did nothing.
Looking inward, Sally thought maybe she was unapproachable.
I think maybe I was proud and they didn't feel comfortable
making the offer. I don't know. I have to take some blame
because I'm independent.
Whoever said death brings out the best and worst in everyone
was correct. While many families rise to the occasion and
help the newly bereaved, more often than not, death magnifies
family tension. In-laws and sisters-in-law are often a source
of added conflict and grief. Immersed in their own loss over
the death of a son or brother, they attacked Joan, a third
grade teacher with an eighteen-year-old son. She was told
she picked the " wrong cemetery, used the wrong limousine
service, and bought the wrong food." Other women endure
tongue-lashing, court battles, and endless arguments over
where and how to bury the deceased and what to do with his
- Death is a traumatic occurrence.
- Funerals are stressful events as everyone is grieving
their own loss.
- A mother is grieving the loss of her son.
- A wife is grieving the loss of her husband.
- A sister is grieving the loss of her brother, etc.
- Some widows do have in-laws that offer wonderful support.
- What do I want to do with my husband's clothing and personal
- What items do I want to keep?
- What items (if any) do I want his family to have?
- What items do I want to save for my children?
- What type of funeral do I want to have for him?
Instructions: Some times journaling helps us put into perspective
our lives and feelings. Many of the women that I have interviewed
have found this to be a successful coping strategy. Take some
time to write on the following topics or whatever occupies
- What kind of funeral do I want for my spouse?
- What do I want to do with my spouse's belongings?
- What was my relationship with my in laws before?
- What do I want my relationship to be with my in laws?
- Professional Groups
- Other Widows