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When you're not chief mourner but still sad

(28 Posts)
expatmatt78 Sat 24-Feb-18 09:25:50

So I posted before about how to tell my kids (thx for the advice I told older first and glad I did - little one still seems to think it's a joke!)
It's my FIL that died (well officially my DH stepdad so not actually anything official to me or the kids). But we knew him as family and the kids called him by first name but j was more their GP than my actual FIL and are sad. we live overseas so DH has gone over to help his Mum I find I'm struggling with stronger emotions than I expected which have come on 2 weeks later and surprised me. Maybe cos also mixed in with worry for DH who is worried for his DM and so far away
I'm really close to DH family and he's been gone 2 weeks but it's only just hitting me
Is hard to explain to others as I guess I'm not "chief mourner" but he was my buddy and I loved him a lot. Not looking for advice just wanted to come on and say despite weird family non official relationship he was my family and I'll miss him so much

Beelzebop Sat 24-Feb-18 09:30:08

I am really sorry for your loss. Sometimes we are surprised by the grief we feel at a loss. I think it shows how important he was to you, official or blood ties are not as important as emotional ones when it comes to grieving. My sister's boyfriend committed suicide, and I was stunned by how sad I was. I hope that you are able to think about some of the good times to comfort you. Xx

expatmatt78 Sat 24-Feb-18 09:39:34

Thank you. I have so many stories about him that when I emailed my own DM to talk to her ended up writing an epic email about all the funny and wonderful things I loved about him! It was cathartic
He and I had a special relationship as both into music in a geeky way and would always talk about it
I took videos of him playing guitar and singing made up songs at Xmas for the first time ever in 15 years I'm so glad that I did this time
MIL sent me a message to say he loved me a lot and that meant so much
He was not married to her so was unofficially part of the family - last year I told him that DH and I considered him family and our kids GP and weirdly he was surprised but touched and so happy and I am so so glad I got the chance to tell him that.

It's weird being far away as doesn't seem real
dh is sad going to the home and feeling his absence I guess I have that yet to come as will the kids
I just never knew how much I loved him til now I guess he was just always there
And he went suddenly (like ok in morning dead by 6pm) so traumatic and shock for all as well

Thx for listening

Beelzebop Sat 24-Feb-18 10:12:55

No problem, I am glad you did the music recording. My friend died on Monday. A while ago he said some dreadful things to me and that was that. I wish we'd sorted it. You did have a special bond , maybe you could do something where you are to remember him? Something musical?

expatmatt78 Sat 24-Feb-18 10:35:20

Gosh I'm so sorry it seems worse when things are unresolved but u have to remember if they hadn't gone and died it would have all been sorted out. It's a shame but I'm sure he knew and I hope you're ok
My uncle died and at the time was in a fight with my DM and they hadn't talked for a month before he died
That kind of thing never really occurs to you until it's significant iyswim
I'm not AT ALL musical but have a text book understanding and appreciation of it really
I did write an email about him which ended up pages long - maybe I'll speak at his funeral if I can get through it.

expatmatt78 Sat 24-Feb-18 10:38:49

It IS weird tho as not the same as saying "my parent died" if I say my MILs partner died
And DH is upset but he came into his life as an adult so never a parent
I never saw the strength of Dh feelings til now either
Just hard to explain why I'm so sad about someone who on paper is a peripheral player but in reality was a family member for 15 years since I met DH

Omalleyshaircut Sat 24-Feb-18 11:37:08

I'm sorry for your loss OP. My FIL has just died and the funeral is Monday. I'm deeply upset by it and not sure how I'm going to cope. We weren't necessarily close but he was my FIL for 17 years and my DD's lovely Grandad and I took such joy in their relationship. I know what you mean, it feels like it shouldn't be my grief but I feel so sad. My parents are not helping either, we are close but they are not good dealing with feelings. I asked them to drive me and DD to the funeral (DH is already there) as I feel too emotional to drive and then they could help look after DD and take her away at an appropriate time meaning I could attend the wake properly. They said no. They 'don't fancy driving on the M25 at rush hour.' So I have to do it whilst managing my emotions and DD's emotions (she is 6.5 and adamant she wants to come) and leave early so I can get her home for bed and school the next day. I feel really let down that they don't want to attend the funeral or help me and DD and DH get through this. I won't be able to support DH or his siblings and MIL properly and will only be at the wake for an hour. Plus the snow warnings aren't helping! I feel like I have to shrug it off when I tell people my FIL died and talk about how DH is coping, and it feels like my grief is hidden and no one is looking out for me. Thank you for postnig OP it has been good to know I am not alone.

Omalleyshaircut Sat 24-Feb-18 11:38:30


JessieMcJessie Sat 24-Feb-18 11:48:53

Gosh Omalleyshaircut your parents sound incredibly self-centred and insensitive. My brother’s inlaws travelled by plane to attend our Mum’s funeral even though they had only met her a handful of times. It was about respect and supporting my SIL, who they knew was very fond of my Mum. So sorry your have let you down like this.

expatmatt sorry for your loss. Perhaps the way to look at is that he was your friend- you may have met via family ties but you clearly became friends and we are all entitled to grieve deeply for the loss of a friend. So glad you got that video. And don’t underestimate the shock of a sudden death. My stepfather died in an accident, so literally went out the door right as rain one day and never came back. It was brutal.

10thingsIhateAboutTheDailyMail Sat 24-Feb-18 11:50:57

so sorry for your loss OP, it must be a human psychological thing to feel "unworthy" of grieving for someone who on paper was quite far removed....

But it is normal to be upset about the death of any person you cared about. You are obviously allowed to feel this way.

I remember being horribly sad when one of DH grandparents died, I sobbed in church. Nobody told me it wasn't my place, in fact everyone was very nice, it was a "good" funeral really, a proper goodbye.

Anyway, hope you are ok...

JessieMcJessie Sat 24-Feb-18 11:51:22

Actually Omalleyshaircut I bet that your parents are avoiding the funeral because they are a similar age and it will bring them face to face with their own mortality. Still selfish but I bet that’s their motivation and nothing at all to do with traffic.

Omalleyshaircut Sat 24-Feb-18 11:56:17

Thank you Jessie. They help out a lot with DD and I see them most days so it's kind of floored me that they have declined to help with this. You are right, it would have shown respect for my inlaws as well as the practical and emotional help I have asked for. I'm meant to be shopping for appropriate funeral clothes right now and going to the florist but I am still in bed.

Shmithecat Sat 24-Feb-18 11:57:19

It doesn't matter how you're legally or blood related OP. Your grief is very valid. I've no advise but lots of empathy. A family member of mine died in Jan 17 and I'm still massively grieving to the point that I still can't talk about it. flowers

Omalleyshaircut Sat 24-Feb-18 11:58:00

Jessie - you may be right, they are very good at burying their heads in the sand.

mrsBeverleyGoldberg Sat 24-Feb-18 12:01:08

You are allowed to feel upset about him dying. Even though he's not a blood relative, his behaviour and actions were in the role of father and grandfather. I've never heard of the expression chief mourner. Your feelings are justified. He sounds like he was a lovely man.

Megs4x3 Sat 24-Feb-18 12:05:29

Its the bond between you in life that matters - the things you shared - much more than the genetic connection. Im sorry that someone important to you died. It sounds as though you loved him a lot. It's understandable that your grief hurts. There is no right ir wrong, should or shouldn't here. ((((((Hugs))))))

expatmatt78 Sat 24-Feb-18 20:04:59

Thank you all for your posts it has made me feel better. It's certainly not anyone telling me I should feel sad I suppose more of an internal jthing wondering why I am SO sad if you see. It's floored me! And yes most concern is right for SMIL and DH .
omalley I'm sorry for your loss. It sounds like you will need help on Monday is there a good friend who would come with you and help with DD? It's worth asking even if u think it's too big a favour you maybe surprised. I would do that for a friend.

expatmatt78 Sun 25-Feb-18 06:46:30

As an update - we're overseas and DH is there now but funeral isn't for a few weeks - he runs a businsss and there's no way he could stay on for the funeral. I offered to go once he came back and represent our family and also be there for DMIL. It's now booked and I'm freaking out about being the one there during such a hard time for his DM

Omalleyshaircut Sun 25-Feb-18 10:05:38

It will be hard, but it will mean so much to your DH and MIL and I'm sure it will help you too to be there. Maybe it won't feel so raw if it is a not for a few weeks, and will be more of an opportunity to celebrate his life. You have the time to go through the initial shock and upset and to plan something fitting to say goodbye.

I have an order coming today of funeral clothes options so feeling a bit more organised for tomorrow. I have reached out to a few friends which has helped, thank you for suggesting it. It seems so obvious but it is hard to ask for help but feels so good when you do.

Take care expat.

ParadiseCity Sun 25-Feb-18 10:16:19

flowers for expattmatt and omalleyshaircut

I think it is hard when you are mourning someone, but your DH was closer as you are mourning plus supporting DH plus being the 'practical making sure life goes on' person too.

When you are in the centre of the bereavement everything falls apart for a while. There is a bit of comfort in being at the bereaved house. When you are at the edge you are still trying to keep plates spinning and it is harder to have time to grieve.

I can only say try to lean on a friend who is further out. You might find comfort from being physically at the house. And I really wouldn't rush away from the funeral for school the next day. Give yourselves a bit of breathing space.

Also is the train a possibility instead of driving?


expatmatt78 Sun 25-Feb-18 10:33:44

omalley pls let us know how it goes on Monday I hope you're ok
Despite response on my other thread I would expect to be the friend you could call upon to ask this favour in a time of need and I hope u have someone xx

expatmatt78 Sun 25-Feb-18 10:36:56

paradise thank u for your extremely astute reply it means a lot that you get it x

expatmatt78 Thu 01-Mar-18 02:15:53

Hi all me again! Just wanted to share I'm feeling so sad. I'm two weeks alone while DH is overseas with his DM and I'm not even sure it seems real to me that he's gone.
I'm going nxt week for the funeral and have been asked to do a reading
Honestly I don't know if I can get through it

Megs4x3 Thu 01-Mar-18 22:19:39

(((((((Hugs)))))) Im sorry you're feeling alone with this right now and so sad. Often a death doesn't feel 'real' until the funeral and it can take a very long time to come to terms with the death of someone to whom you were close. Don't expect too much from yourself too soon and treat yourself kindly. The recent funeral I went to, everyone asked to do a reading was unsure that they could go through with it until the last minute, but they all did, beautifully. Just take that as it comes. You might surprise yourself.

Omalleyshaircut Sat 03-Mar-18 10:30:04

Hi expat. I hope you are feeling a little better today. It didn't feel real to me until I went to their house, I didn't have the funeral red tape to deal with either which I know is difficult to go through but sort of makes it formal if you are the one dealing with it.

I just wanted to share how my FIL's funeral went last Monday, thank you to those who have sent kind words and thoughts. I told my parents I wasn't coping and they agreed to drive me and DD, they also attended the wake. I was so relieved, i think I could have made it there but coming home i was so exhausted with a pounding head and couldn't keep my eyes open. I think they were glad they came and I'm glad they realised it was the right thing to do.

My DD6.5 was such a bright light through the day, she was sad at times but coped wonderfully and enjoyed seeing all her family and has said she was glad she came. She amazed us all by standing up and reading a letter she had written at the service, she had written a letter to put in the grave but having seen DH and her DUncle speaking she just got up and followed suit. It was definitely the right thing for us to let her come. It was a hard day but everything went as it should. I personally found the burial part quite brutal, I've only been to cremations before so seeing the actual burial and how physically hard it is on the pallbearers was not like on tv or in films where it's peaceful and it all serenely slots into place. It was hard work for all involved and there were staff in high vis around us sort of clunking supports in after the coffin. Just not what I'd expected really, a bit more technical I suppose.

We have all been exhausted this week, I had underestimated how tired I would be in the days afterwards.

Expat I think being asked to do a reading is a good thing. I didn't do one on this occasion but have previously and it really focused me as I had a job and I didn't want to let that person down. Is it something you will write or chose or something you'll be given? It might seem daunting but will hopefully be something you can use to get you through it. I have been thinking about you and hope you are doing ok xx

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