Should SIL be forced to bring DD to graveyard?

(164 Posts)
CoupDetat Sun 14-Jun-15 16:51:15

Posting on behalf of my SIL, my DH's brother's wife. When BIL was a toddler and DH wasn't born PIL had a stillborn DS and of course after he was buried they visited his grave with BIL and then DH, this tradition has continued until the present day. SIL has just had her first DD and PIL want her and the baby to start coming up to visit the grave with them, BIL and DH.

The problem is SIL doesn't feel comfortable bringing her DD. her reasons are that she doesn't feel comfortable enmeshing her DD in this tradition as she feels it is spreading and sharing the grieving process to a baby and isn't needed. She doesn't mind if DD is told about her uncle or anything else, she's just not comfortable with the tradition itself for children. BIL wants to bring his DD to please his PILs as he doesn't really care personally if his DD is brought so SIL feels backed into a corner and feels like she is being made to feel guilty.

Is she BU?

RandomMess Sun 14-Jun-15 16:52:35

How often do they go?

CoupDetat Sun 14-Jun-15 16:54:24

They go every year on the oldest DS's anniversary, Random.

pictish Sun 14-Jun-15 16:54:39

No she is not bu. I wouldn't go along with it either. If your in laws feel the need to visit the grave then that is fine and understandable, but your sil has no connection to this baby that died a very long time ago, much less their young daughter. It's a selfish and outlandish request.
It would be a firm no from me.

CoupDetat Sun 14-Jun-15 16:55:10

Typo! *Second oldest DS's anniversary. blush

pictish Sun 14-Jun-15 16:55:14

OP are YOU expected to attend?

chairmeoh Sun 14-Jun-15 16:56:02

Couldn't this be the time to start a new tradition? DPIL, DH and BIL visit the grave, followed by lunch out with wives and DC. Marks the occasion, includes new generations, but avoids the DC being involved in the actual grave visit.

Presuming this is a once a year event.

oneowlgirl Sun 14-Jun-15 16:56:12

I've never lost a child so it's very difficult to comment from that perspective, however I don't think your SIL is being unreasonable - if she doesn't want to take her baby to a graveyard, I don't think she should have to.

That said, how often do they go? If it's once a year, then is it such a big deal? I'd probably go to keep the peace if it was very infrequently, but still don't think she's BU.

The5DayChicken Sun 14-Jun-15 16:56:17

The DD is a new born I take it? I wouldn't have gone if I was in that situation. I would probably go along when DD was older and able to understand why we were there, then allow her to make the choice.

If it's very important to the BIL, I might have made an exception but as 'new mum', I wouldn't be pressured out of my comfort zone.

CoupDetat Sun 14-Jun-15 16:56:56

Pic, that's exactly how she feels but SIL is very quiet by nature and has zero self confidence so she finds standing up for herself very hard.

oneowlgirl Sun 14-Jun-15 16:58:48

I think Chairs suggestion of new traditions is a good one.

MissDemelzaCarne Sun 14-Jun-15 17:00:13

Once a year? I thought you were going to say every week.
Obviously she shouldn't be 'forced' to go and you haven't said how far away the grave is.
I'd visit a local grave grave once a year to make a close relative happy, it's not to harm your SIL's DD in any way but I guess it's up to her.
Can't your BIL take her? Do you go?

Amummyatlast Sun 14-Jun-15 17:00:31

I find it a bit morbid and wouldn't have wanted to either.

pictish Sun 14-Jun-15 17:01:13

Do your dh and bil want to go? Do they think the wives should be active participants?

CoupDetat Sun 14-Jun-15 17:03:33

One, They go once a year on their DS's anniversary, though sometimes MIL will go up at random and bring DH or BIL or both.

Pic, I was 'asked' to attend along with DC by MIL and while this is an incredibly painful thing for PIL I refused on the basis that I didn't feel comfortable with it.

Chair, that's the problem. They want their tradition of visiting the baby's grave to include the GC. When I offered a solution I.e what you said a lunch out after they refused on the grounds that it wasn't the same.

The, that's the thing, it's not important to BIL, he wants to bring his DD to please MIL which isn't doing SIL any good since DD is just a week old.

Longtalljosie Sun 14-Jun-15 17:03:35

If this helps your ILs cope, then why add to their pain by not respecting it? With a new baby in the family it will be a doubly emotional anniversary. I can see why you might want to decouple a slightly older child from that tradition, but going at least once with the baby would mean a lot to them

vvega Sun 14-Jun-15 17:04:42

Once a year doesn't seem 'outlandish' to me, I'd do it but then I'm not sil and if she doesn't want to go, then that's her choice.
I agree with pp a compromise may be best, meet up later perhaps. It's just sad that something that clearly means a lot to pil once a year is being called selfish and morbid confused

Bunbaker Sun 14-Jun-15 17:05:07

OH had a sister who died at 19. MIL used to go to the crematorium every year on the anniversary of her death and OH used to take her. I have never been expected to go with them and neither has DD.

MIL now has alzheimers and doesn't go any more.

Itscurtainsforyou Sun 14-Jun-15 17:06:26

Grief is such a personal thing, what's right for one person is not necessarily right for another.

As a bereaved parent (less than 2 years) I would not expect my child to visit their siblings' grave with me. I have taken him once, told him that it's a special place where we remember his brothers, then if we're passing I point it out. Only once has he asked to go and we took him.

Personally I can't imagine having a regular family outing (& roping in new family members) but maybe it's their way of hanging on to the memory of their child, because they have nothing else to remind them of him.

If I was your SiL, despite my history, I'd be tempted to do as a previous poster has suggested and meet them for lunch or similar after a grave visit. That way you're still acknowledging the family without subjecting a child to ritual they don't understand.

RandomMess Sun 14-Jun-15 17:08:07

Part of me thinks it's once per year and it means a lot to them but a bigger part of me thinks make a new tradition.

They go to the graveside as per usual and then follow it up with a family get together to celebrate what you do have as well remember the son they lost. Obviously as the grandchildren get older they may express more interest and understanding and may choose to go.

DixieNormas Sun 14-Jun-15 17:08:28

If she doesn't want to then she should tell them no

RandomMess Sun 14-Jun-15 17:09:51

A week old - er nope, in MILs day she'd probably have still been in hospital!

pictish Sun 14-Jun-15 17:11:28

I wouldn't like to judge anyone's personal grief, and if they take comfort in marking the date with a graveside visit to their lost son then that's totally okay.
However, it strikes me as morbid and narcissistic to expect the whole family to attend.

I'd feel massively awkward in your sil's position standing at a graveside trying to look suitably grief struck for a baby I never met that died long before I was on the scene and for whom I would have no connection.

You can't force people into doing stuff like that.

chairmeoh Sun 14-Jun-15 17:13:55

Well, in an ideal world your SIL would say to them that while their lost DS is an important part of their family, the baby would not know anything about the visit and would only be going for their DG's benefit. It isn't the role of grandchildren to be part of their grandparents grief.
It sounds as though you and SIL are happy for their fathers' sibling to be talked about and remembered, but anything over that is, in my opinion, inappropriate.

AnyoneForTennis Sun 14-Jun-15 17:14:50

random her mil might only be in her fifties! Don't assume that was the norm in 'her day'

Op, yanbu.

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