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When Things Go Very Wrong

(9 Posts)
mzwp Sat 30-Jul-11 06:11:17

A apologize for not providing the most positive thread on this site but my wife use to be on Mumsnet all the time which seemed to have a therapeutic effect on her so I thought I would give it a try.
So where do I start...
On the 11th of April 2010 our little daughter arrived into this world. It was a slightly dramatic experience as my wife crashed in front of me a minute after delivery while i was holding the little new born one, but the doctors acted quickly and we managed to get through it. The joy was unfortunately shortly lived as my wife 4 weeks later was diagnosed with breast cancer that has spread to the lymph-notes. Needless to say that our world fell a part ... all our dreams and goals was just swept away in one heartbeat. Anyway, we started treatment and when we reached the second week in January we got the all clear that my wife was now cancer free. This was something to celebrate so we had planned to do a 5 week road-trip in the US but 4 days before departure bad news arrived ... The cancer was back and had spread to the lever, lungs and bones sad.
We started treatment again and things were looking promising ... reduction in the cancer on all fronts due to the fact that our insurance were able to give us exceptional private care and access to treatment that was not available on the NHS. The positive news were short lived as the drugs had an adverse effect on her heart and she had to be taken off the treatment for a while ... In early June she was then admitted and it became apparent that the cancer had spread to the brain. In a few days the woman i loved (well still do) disappeared in front of my eyes ... The last thing she managed to do when she effectively was no longer able to communicate was turn her head slightly and say ?I am so sorry? sad. She got peace on the 26th of June sad.

So what now ... Left in London with a 15 months beautiful girl and a demanding job in the city. So far I felt I had managed okay but reality is starting to hit. I guess if you think you have hit rock bottom and keeps falling ... you haven?t hit the bottom yet.
This week however took things to another level ... My wife was African and I am Danish. Her family have so far been very kind and supportive but things are turning a bit ?unclear?.
Tomorrow a memorial is being held for my wife in Kenya ... and as part of the Kenyan/ African culture a fundraising has been put together for the cost associated with all of this. However, I was not told about the fundraising by the family, but simply heard through the grapevines ... It may be me that are seeing this from different perspective, but considering a memorial is simply a gathering of people in church ... and potentially a few refreshments afterwards ... would it not have been more appropriate to pass on whatever was raised to me who is sitting back with the 10K-12K plus bill from the funeral, legal fees etc? (In all fairness they did chip in and gave 1K ... (in a humiliating way where i was handed the money as a little schoolboy begging for money in front of the whole african side of the family) ... and it is also worth mentioning that they are loaded with 5 cars and even more properties). In any event its probably not going to be a lot but would it not have been appropriate to at least tell me that this was happening? News appeared yesterday as well that my father-in-law received 300 pounds from an aunt who specifically said that this should go to the funeral costs ... However, I was never told about that and they money was never given to me. The whole thing is heartbreaking ... I kept being told that there is an element of ?cultural differences? etc. ... but honestly, there is only so much you can blame on ?cultural difference?. The 300 pounds is purely theft in my book ... and the fundraising ... I don?t know. I keep thinking that if my wife was here and she knew that money was being raised in her name ... what would she have wanted would happen with the money. I think the answer is pretty easy ... it should go to our daughter. I still cant stop feeling that the in-laws are profiteering on their daughters death. I am of cause going to confront them with this, but have decided to wait until after the memorial tomorrow. However, I think it is going to be difficult for them to explain this ... and i can honestly say that this has ruined so much that i can?t see you we can ever have a normal relationship.
The problem is of cause my little daughter ... I really hate for her to be a piece in this horrible puzzle but I don?t want her exposed to people that steal or lie but at the same time they are her grandparents and her direct link to Kenya. The whole thing is ... in lack of better words ... FU....!!!! (sorry for the intended profanity).
I guess there is no right or wrong answer to this, but simply have to see how things are developing over the next couple of days.....

StealthPolarBear Sat 30-Jul-11 06:40:43

I am so sorry to hear about your wife

Marshmallowflump Sat 30-Jul-11 07:08:19

Jeeze you have not had it easy , sorry for your lose and complications, my heart goes out to you and to your beautiful daughter caught up in the cross fire of all of this, I think you would need to seek independent advice, I mean maybe from a lawyer?, just so he/she could help with this very difficult situation, and ease the burden for you, good wishes to you both.

ohmeohmy Sat 30-Jul-11 07:32:11

Very sorry for your loss. No apologies for swearing necessary here, profanities are definitely allowed and often encouraged. I am no expert but I would focus on your daughter and what she needs now and in the future. If you can provide for your daughter without the money perhaps it is enough to state your thoughts to the family and not try to recover the money then let it go. do you have any bereavement support for yourself? Winston's wish can help you with your daughters grief if you don't know them already. What they are doing seems wrong and unjust and is causing you stress. Weigh up its importance against what you and your daughter really need.

howabout Sat 30-Jul-11 09:27:49

I am so sorry for your loss and can hardly imagine how difficult it must be to hold it all together for you and your daughter far from home.

With regard to your wife's Kenyan family I would say don't do anything hasty. You and they are all grieving and feeling very raw. African attitudes to extended versus nuclear family and thus who holds onto the money are very different to North European attitudes and culture. I do not think it will alter the outcome any no matter how strongly you make your feelings felt and you probably would be wise to let the dust settle before doing anything to jeopardise your daughter's relationship with her African family. Do you have any Kenyan friends outside of the family (perhaps mutual acquaintances of your wife) who could advise you?

ensure Sat 30-Jul-11 10:08:00

Very sorry to hear about your terrible tragedy. My colleague died of cancer quite soon after being diagnosed a few weeks after her son was born. It is an awful thing to happen. I can't imagine what you must be going through.

Be aware that after a death is an easy time to fall out with family, because everyone feels so raw. Don't burn any bridges now for the sake of your daughter and her relationship with her extended family.

ZillionChocolate Tue 09-Aug-11 08:17:04

I wonder how you're getting on OP? In the absence of advice from someone who understands African/Kenyan culture, I would have thanked in laws (faux naive) for the fundraising and tell them you intend to put the money in trust for your daughter. That would clearly set out your expectation and I wonder how they would respond.

mzwp Sun 21-Aug-11 07:06:16

Hi all, and thank you for the input from all of you.
I did confront them and they seemed a bit shocked ... but appreciated that i brought it up. Regarding the 300 pounds they thought the money was intended to help them for the expenses they had (travel cost etc.). They decided that the 300 pounds and any money raised for my wife will be kept until I return to Kenya next. The whole thing still seems a bit ... "shady" and I don't think i have the same trust in them but I have decided to just leave it for my daughters sake. I also appreciate that they lost a daughter ... and was likely not in their right state of mind and probably not as attentive and on the ball as normal.

I guess this is the best possible outcome from a very bad situation.

ZillionChocolate Sat 24-Sep-11 23:31:14

Glad you've found a way to deal with it and hope you are coping.

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