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Struggling with the death of my non-birth mother, no language, no recognition

(16 Posts)
AlternativeMoniker53 Thu 12-Dec-13 23:45:48

My co-parent of two lesbians, the non-birth partner, died last week. I'm struggling so much just to explain to people, they don't understand. I'm so sad but I can't seem to easily make people understand. There is no language. What do people say? Am I just missing the words? I don't want to have the discussion every time but I feel my loss and her value is not acknowledged. She was a wonderful parent and I'm very proud of her.

MadameDefarge Fri 13-Dec-13 00:01:16

How awful for you.

Can you perhaps say one of my parents has passed away/died?

And if they ask, you can say your mother. After all, she was one of your mothers.

I don't see that you really need to explain anymore than that.

AlternativeMoniker53 Fri 13-Dec-13 00:12:50

I've tried that kind of hedging my whole life, sorry Madam, I don't mean to be dismissive, people just look confused, it's not a natural expression for many people. It inevitably leads to The Discussion which is not what I want at present. Language is such a powerful tool and it makes things so hard when it's not clear for people who have no idea what's being implied. Close friends know who she was of course but there are a lot of others who need to know why we, as a family, are in mourning.

primigravida Fri 13-Dec-13 00:18:52

That sounds very difficult for you AlternativeMoniker. I lost my mum recently too and it has been difficult enough without the added problem of lack of acknowledgement. I wish you all the best in this difficult time.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Fri 13-Dec-13 00:22:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AlternativeMoniker53 Fri 13-Dec-13 00:25:40

Thank you, that's lovely, she was a really, really good parent.

MadameDefarge Fri 13-Dec-13 00:27:25

Sorry Alternative, didn't mean it in a hedging way. Where I live there are so many same sex parents/co-parents etc that nobody blinks an eye. I guess I forget that not everywhere is the same.

Rotten for you. Being deprived of an accepted societal language for life events is very hurtful.

MavisG Fri 13-Dec-13 00:28:17

I'm so sorry you've lost your mum.

I don't know if you want suggestions. I hear what you're saying about language and recognition, and I'm sorry you have this on top of your grief. Wonder if saying that your mother has died would be enough, and then any follow up questions, from people who know your other mother, could be answered with very simple language like 'I had two, a two-mum family instead of a mum and a dad'

HerrenaHarridan Fri 13-Dec-13 00:28:52

Perhaps referring to her as your adoptive mother to outsiders may bridge the gap for now.

You are 100% correct, language fails us here

Mothers girlfriend/wife/partner suggests a step mother rather than an equally important mother.

Perhaps one of my mothers has passed away followed by one of those 'just you dare glares' if they seem inclined to query it

Still not there I maybe at least give you some room.

I'm sorry for your loss

AlternativeMoniker53 Fri 13-Dec-13 00:37:09

Thank you, I like the "one of my mothers" suggestion although people are so bloody ignorant and insensitive that questions will follow. I live between London and Brighton so you really would think it might occur to people but it is outside of most people's experience. They don't mean to be unkind but I think they just speak before they think. I've just told the schools that the children might be upset because their grandmother has died, makes you wonder how many they'll lose in their time at school!

HerrenaHarridan Fri 13-Dec-13 00:51:46

Unfortunately some people will always put their foot in it.

It's frustrating when you have to deal with it a lot and at times like this you just don't want to.

My dd has complex medical issues and often when I've had yet another piece of bad news I'm trying to talk to someone about how I feel about it (after bottling it up around dd) and rather than just let me pour my heart out and ask questions later they will constantly stop and interrupt me and ask me to explain complex neurological things I barely understand.
99% of the time I'm happy to explain and broaden people's knowledge sometimes its just too much.

Allow yourself to be short with them, forgive yourself for being rude.
Abrupt yes or no's followed by I'm not willing to discuss this at the moment.
Yes they might look offended but so what? They have offended you why pussy foot around not offending them? It may even make them think twice next time hmm

armsinjumpers Tue 17-Dec-13 14:48:04

So sorry for the loss of your dear mum.

I agree that it can often be the language that just doesn't match the feelings we have, however there are so many people out there who cannot think outside the box if convention.

I'm a non bio mum to 2 children under 3 and get sick of having to out our family and explain how we have managed to breed.

It really heartens me though to hear that a non bio mum like yours is still so important to you and so sorely missed.

Best wishes

BadlyStuffedWalrus Fri 07-Feb-14 21:44:40

When my partner (who was non-bio mum) died, I was horrified by the fact that several people tried to comfort me by saying that it wasn't as bad for the kids as losing me would have been. There is a huge gulf in understanding out there and people do not understand that a parent is a parent regardless of biology. I am so sorry for your loss.

RandomMess Fri 07-Feb-14 21:48:08

Sorry that you've lost your Mum. BadlyStuffed I am just shock that people think that let alone voice it!

HerrenaHarridan Sat 15-Feb-14 20:14:33

Good grief, people say the most stupid things sometimes.

I would say that it is worth trying to be patient about it (if you know that no malice is intended) as many people struggle to know what to say (there are no words) and end up repeating stupid platitudes or saying upsetting things.

When my dd was antenatally diagnosed as quite disabled my best friend of 11 years and a thousand ups and downs said "I couldn't have happened to a nicer person"

We were both horrified but she clumsily explained that what she was trying to say was that she knew I was strong, capable and could handle the million battles ahead of me whereas if that had happened to her she would have crumbled and failed (in her opinion)

I'm so sorry for your loss walrus being a single parent is hard enough, trying to deal with adjusting to that while grieving for the other parent, I just can't imagine how much that must hurt.

LoveAndDeath Sat 15-Feb-14 21:17:09

Alternative, I'm so sorry about your Mum. I know what you mean about "not wanting to have THAT talk"
My sort-of similar situation is that my dd died two years ago and the question I hate is "How many children do you have" I could say four but then I feel like crap because I left dd out and then if I say five, I have to have THAT talk about how she died.

In the end I decided to keep saying five and keep explaining because it hurt too much to leave dd out. My other friends who are bereaved Mums found that telling their story over and over again hurt too much so they would leave out the child that died .

What my bereavement counsellor said was to in your head, pre-plan what you will say. I think that if I were you I would probably just say "My Mum died" because she was your Mum in every respect apart from the biological and biology is far less important than love.

Again, I am so sorry about your Mum. Losing a parent is so hard xx

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