Advanced search

To feel like this re mourning dead family member.

(201 Posts)
Feelawful1 Sat 06-Apr-19 00:00:50

I have nc for this because I know I'll get flamed.

DP lost a close family member, about twenty years ago. It was very sudden. They (DP and the rest of the immediate family) have understandably never quite got over it,and I think they feel a lot of misplaced guilt over this person's death.

My issue is this. Every event - and I mean every event - has to make some mention of this relative and their absence. I don't just mean a "thinking of those who are missed today" reference, for example DP ended up very upset at our child's christening because a sibling started the usual conversation "ah, X will never see the baby, do you remember when..." which is still OK, reminiscing and all, but then this leads on to "I'll always wonder if we could have done anything differently, if only X had gone to the doctor that Thursday, I lie awake thinking how they must have suffered...." and then this obviously upsets DP.

Every year around the anniversary of the death, DP becomes morose and takes the day off work to have some quiet time to think about X. Ditto birthdays. Christmas usually has DP or another member of his family needing extra support as "they are finding it hard without X this year" this involves the family rallying around to the house of the upset one, which is lovely and supportive but it has often been at the expense of other things - I sat on my own with a newborn one Christmas Eve as the family had an emotional hours long discussion in the next room after BIL arrived at the door "needing to talk"

Recently an important event happened in my own life, something that had been years in the making and which was a big thing for me. DP was very quiet over this period of time and when I asked what was wrong, it was to do with thoughts about X. So then I felt I couldn't be happy or pleased, at least not showy about it

The children in the family are told stories about X, which again is lovely only again it sometimes seems to go that little bit far- being encouraged to kiss a photo of X at bedtime every night for example, and lots of attention is paid when a child of the family has a dream about X- this happens quite a bit. None of them ever met this relative. I have discouraged this in my own children as it makes me feel really uncomfortable. There are always comments about how a child looks like X, and when this is said there is a hush, dabbing of eyes etc. Every child in the family looks like X by this point.

I know I'm being horrible and people grieve differently, but sometimes I just want to have a nice time and celebrate family events without everyone ending up in tears over X. It's not like I haven't experienced loss in my own life, but my family don't behave like this so I'm not used to it.

There is another event coming up soon, which I'm very much looking forward to, and I just feel tired at the thought of it being dominated by this again - they are a big, close family, so there really is something every few months, if not more frequently, and it always means DP being more quiet and withdrawn for a few days before and/or afterwords.

I know how all this makes me sound, but honestly sometimes it makes me feel steeped in death and grief. There's so much talk of angels in heaven and meeting again that I feel like death is always just round the corner, or waiting in the wings even when celebrating a birth/marriage etc. I have developed quite bad health anxiety over a health scare I had a few years ago, so I'm not sure if that's why I'm finding it harder to handle. Then of course the more I feel fed up and uncomfortable with it all the more I think what a nasty person I must besad

TheGrey1houndSpeaks Sat 06-Apr-19 00:04:43

You’re not unreasonable at all. Twenty years?! Whatever the circumstances of the persons’ passing, it sounds like the family are stuck in a loop that’s doing everyone a disservice.
No idea what the answer is though flowers

CastleCrasher Sat 06-Apr-19 00:07:18

This person died twenty years ago? Yanbu. Of course the family will continue to remember and miss them, but this sounds more like an obsession, and a very unhealthy one at that. It sounds like your dh and some other family members would benefit from therapy to help them process their loss and remember their loved one without it dominating their lives like this

OldAndWornOut Sat 06-Apr-19 00:11:07

I would say you're a very patient person.
I'm not sure I could be so accommodating.
It sounds as if they've all built it up to an unhealthy level.

Feelawful1 Sat 06-Apr-19 00:13:38

A little under twenty years, to be fair, and the person's passing was shocking and unexpected, but yes. When I met DP it had only been three or four years, so naturally I expected it to be at the forefront of things still, especially as DP and his siblings moved through various life stages and had "firsts" without X, but quite a few years have passed now and I can't say that the focus has changed or lessened, it's all gone on in much the same way and the same level of intensity. One sibling in particular I know has really struggled with feelings of guilt, and when there is a danger of another of them being distracted away from X, the sibling (in my opinion) starts it up again. For instance DP and I lived abroad for some time and I was pregnant when we moved back home - DP's mourning over X lessened hugely over that time

Nearlythere1 Sat 06-Apr-19 00:13:46

This actually sounds incredibly narcissistic to me, strange a sit sounds. Everybody wallowing in their grief, passing the attention around and indulging each other, to the extent that your normal happy family life is being affected. Like pp said though, I'm afraid I have no answers. I certainly wouldnt say what i've just said though...

chocolateroses Sat 06-Apr-19 00:16:03


I imagine that in those shocking cases like Millie Dowler, James bulge etc the sadness would be this consuming after 20 years. It doesn't sound like this is one of those.

Although this was a very sad and unfortunate death, 20 years to still be so consumed with grief does not sound normal in most circumstances - especially to affect the children who have never even met them.

BrokenWing Sat 06-Apr-19 00:16:07

20 years! I'm sure x will always be fondly remembered but this really sounds like competitive wallowing.

What would happen if you tried to say X would have wanted us to be together enjoying the occasion we are at and concentrating on each other..

Persimmonn Sat 06-Apr-19 00:17:24

YANBU. My mum died 20 years ago. I hardly ever talk to my kids about their grandmother and what could have been. She’s not here, and she’s not part of their life. Why the hell would I make them feel my pain, when I know how much it hurts for her to be gone? I sometimes have a moan at dh about not having a mum, but it’s not something that makes me take days off work. Baffling your in laws are making the kids kiss X’s picture goodnight confused.

20 years is a life time. Not sure what advice I have to give you, but it’s nuts what’s they’re doing.

OldAndWornOut Sat 06-Apr-19 00:19:14

The obsessive behaviour is being constantly fed by everyone in the family.

Feelawful1 Sat 06-Apr-19 00:21:53

It's not a murder or anything like that - nobody's "fault" - but tragic and unexpected, yes. Think car coming off the road due to ice, that sort of thing (though that wasn't it) so it was awful for them and a terrible loss. But they are just consumed by it. DP is wonderful, but I do feel at times as though the loss is "the" defining event in his life, not meeting me, or having his children, or achieving career success. And that does cast a shadow.

Haworthia Sat 06-Apr-19 00:23:36

It does sound like a very unhealthy/toxic dynamic within the family that they all perpetuate, so it’s almost impossible to break. Don’t envy you there, because it sounds a bit much. The encouraging kids to kiss photos and getting excited when they dream about X is pretty messed up.

DIZZYTIGGER87 Sat 06-Apr-19 00:23:59

To a lesser extent I have this with my FIL who died 17 years ago. Not so much DH or DMIL, but SIL and her daughter especially.

DH wanted to name DS after his Dad, However I said no because I didn't want him constantly compared, or having to deal with SIL/neice getting emotional constantly.

I have told DH I really don't get it, that they are unhealthy in how they idolise FIL. I am sorry I never got to meet him, and DH does have (understandable) moments where he really misses his dad (our wedding day/birth of DS).

No advice, like you I have lost family members and miss them but just don't get the way IL cling to's like they can't move on.

Feelawful1 Sat 06-Apr-19 00:24:14

And I know it sounds shallow, but frankly I just want to enjoy myself, appreciate what I have, and be grateful for my life without talking about X at every big occasion

dudsville Sat 06-Apr-19 00:24:33

Isn't this the plot of This Is Us? Powerful show but it would have been hard to live.

OldAndWornOut Sat 06-Apr-19 00:25:23

Could you suggest to your partner that he may find counselling useful?
It sounds as if the whole family could do with it.

TheGrey1houndSpeaks Sat 06-Apr-19 00:26:39

Was it your dh’s mum, or some other Matriarchal figure? It almost sounds as if they family felt leaderless on this person’s death and have transformed them in their memory into some kind of deity.
So very unhealthy.
Is your dh able to stand back from it, even a little bit?

Feelawful1 Sat 06-Apr-19 00:28:42

The dreams are nuts. That's been the last few years too, since the oldest children are old enough to really verbalise, and is probably another factor in my having had enough. It's usually "I was worried about my spelling test, but X came and told me it would be OK". Then this is passed around the family - they will actually visit/phone each other to relay the latest dream about X as narrated by a nine year old. And you are expected to listen solemnly, and then there is a moment of hush, and people dab their eyes. Oh, now I'm being petty. My fabily have lost people in equally tragic circumstances, but our way of remembering is to take the piss out of them even post mortem blush

Feelawful1 Sat 06-Apr-19 00:30:04

Dizzytigger yes that's it exactly. I had a similar issue with names and I said no for similar reasons. My children's cousins almost all have derivatives of the name as middle names as it is.

Shadesorsunnies Sat 06-Apr-19 00:30:29

That’s not grief, it’s guilt.

TheGrey1houndSpeaks Sat 06-Apr-19 00:30:50

I have to admit, I would begun to lose respect for my dh if he couldn’t be shaken out of this nonsense. No offence.

CoolCarrie Sat 06-Apr-19 00:32:09

It’s definitely over the top, wallowing in grief to that extent is odd, it’s overshadowed every thing especially after that length of timeand you have been very patient, and not unreasonable in any way.

Feelawful1 Sat 06-Apr-19 00:34:29

DP can stand back when it's just him, it's when the rest all get together and all sort of rake it up again. I have no idea what's fair to expect of DP really, it's not like he checks out of family life to grieve, and what on earth do you say? Stop banging on about your tragically dead relative?
I did draw the line at romanticising X to the children and he agreed with me there and we've stuck to that.

OldAndWornOut Sat 06-Apr-19 00:35:15

You could say that x came to you in a dream and told you that everyone must move on...

TheGrey1houndSpeaks Sat 06-Apr-19 00:36:26


Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »