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Upsetting topic, sorry - if you lose a sibling, will you still have a relationship with BIL/SIL?

(50 Posts)
joanofarchitrave Tue 28-Oct-14 23:31:16

I'm afraid to me this is still thankfully a theoretical question. Very sorry if it's upsetting; I'm sure it will be to some.

I saw both my siblings and their families this weekend - unusual, although we are all on good terms. It struck me that although my BIL and SIL are very nice to me, I can't really imagine them wanting to spend time with me if their partner weren't around, and I wondered if people ever manage to keep these relationships going.

Strokethefurrywall Wed 29-Oct-14 01:54:32

I lost my darling younger brother 2 years ago. Both myself, my parents and older sister remain very close to my sister-in-law.

She and my brother were together years and were engaged only a few weeks before we learned he had cancer. She was his rock, his soulmate and his everything and the way he looked at her was beyond moving. He loved her to his last breath and she him.

I still live overseas and gave birth to DS2 in March. She was the 3rd person I called after my parents and my sister. She is still my sons' auntie, still belongs at our family dinner table discussing useless subjects.

She was and still is a very calming influence in our otherwise wonderfully crazy family. She sees my parents very often and we skype as often as we can. She still attends family events (cousin is getting married Thursday and she'll be there).

It totally depends on the relationship you already have with that person, but my sister-in-law is my sister. My brother loved her for a reason and it's because she's a wonderful person. Keeping her in our lives also keeps him alive and we love her.

Totally soppy but sorry, I've had some wine!

nooka Wed 29-Oct-14 02:12:19

My aunt (my father's sister) died when my cousin was very small. My cousin was my best friend growing up, and her step-mother and half brothers and sisters were/are as much a part of my family as any of the 'full' relatives.

Staywithme Wed 29-Oct-14 02:25:18


My brother loved her for a reason and it's because she's a wonderful person. Keeping her in our lives also keeps him alive and we love her.

That has actually made me well up. I'm currently sitting in hospital, beside my husband, as he fights yet another infection and often wonder if his family will still remain as 'my' family when this bastard cancer eventually steals him from me. I know that, at the minute, I couldn't cope without them and would feel as if I have lost another part of him if we lost contact. I know that I shall want to keep in touch with them, particularly some of his sisters (6) and our wonderful nieces and nephews. I just hope they feel the same.

Thumbscrewswitch Wed 29-Oct-14 02:31:35

I am also in the extremely fortunate position of not knowing the answer to this - but I would say that, were anything to happen to my sister, I can't believe we'd lose contact with my BIL or my nieces.

OTOH, if anything happened to DH, while I'd stay in contact with MIL, I'd make damn sure I never saw or spoke to BIL again (but there are many issues there - we barely see him now as it is and frankly I doubt he'd give a shit).

Stroke - sorry to hear about your brother, and glad that your SIL Is such a lovely person.

Staywithme - no words, just thanks and (((hugs)))

DancingDinosaur Wed 29-Oct-14 02:48:55

I've wondered the same thing staywithme. My dh is also very sick and its just a matter of time. And I have no idea whether the inlaws would stay in touch with me or not. Or the children for that matter. Sad eh. Hope your dh is ok tonight.

lunar1 Wed 29-Oct-14 03:24:12

I lost my first husband before we had any children. I still feel like his mum and brothers are my family. I see them once a year and we are Facebook friends. They have met my children, which I know must have been hard for them.

I talk with his mum on the phone quite often, she is my friend to be honest. If I needed anything his brothers would be there for me.

Staywithme Wed 29-Oct-14 03:51:41

Thank you Thumbscrewswitch.

DancingDinosaur I'm sorry you're going through this too. thanks Isn't it strange the thoughts that enter our heads when in this situation? DH came in with a temp of 39.2 and his 'cancer pain' is much, much worse than usual. The staff are lovely and, as you know, that's a great help. There's no immediate danger so I haven't contacted his family as they would just worry about him all night. I'll phone a couple of them in the morning and they'll tell the rest. His DP's are dead, but his family is close and have been very good.

I hope you're getting support from your pils.

Staywithme Wed 29-Oct-14 03:53:24

I'm sorry about your first husband lunar1. thanks I'm glad you've a great relationship with your inlaws as that must be a great comfort.

magpiegin Wed 29-Oct-14 05:20:26

I'm still in touch with my bil even though him and my sister were separated when she died. He is like a brother and will always be a part of the family.

highearth Wed 29-Oct-14 06:33:48

I'm not very close to my SIL or BILs now, and I generally only spend time with them when my siblings are there too. So I don't think I'd have much of a relationship with them if we lost one of my siblings tbh. Although my two sisters have dc and so we'd have continued contact with my BILs through them. My brother and SIL don't have dc and so I can't imagine I'd even stay in contact with her much.

Whatdoiknowanyway Wed 29-Oct-14 06:38:06

I wasn't that close to my SIL before my brother died but we are very much in touch with her and with her children. She's family and always will be. Plus we want to make sure that she has someone to call on if she needs family support. We do things like celebrate birthdays that we never did before as my brother isn't there to make a fuss of her so we do our best.

LaPetiteCoccinelle Wed 29-Oct-14 06:53:55

Pre DC Id have said no, cos we're not close. It would have been just christmas/birthday cards and the odd email.

Now they have a DC a) we finally have something in common so chat without the old awkward pauses and b) Id want to keep in touch with my nephew.

If something happened to DH Id keep in touch with MIL but not his uncle/cousins as they werent close.

If something happened to me, my parents would be a huge source of support to DH (they look after our DC whilst we work so we're close).

DreamingDiva34 Wed 29-Oct-14 07:11:20

I lost my sister 11 years ago, I wasn't close to Bil at all and due to his behaviour immediately after her death (shacking up with a neighbour within a fortnight, being antagonistic with her eldest child to the point where we had to bring her to live with my mum separating her from her little brother who biologically was his, burning her possessions on a bonfire 4 days after her death-to name just a few) we have a minimal relationship with him, my mum did try after-she helped him loads had the children everyday so he could work etc but she couldn't turn a blind eye to his behaviour and he didn't like being called out on it. She still sees him regular when he drops my nephew to her house for contact visits, but the relationship between us all is just polite, distant person you know type. It still hurts thinking back to the level of disrespect he showed my sister after her death-although he maintains he did nothing wrong.
If anything (God forbid) were to happen to my partner I would like to keep in touch with the majority of his family at the level I do now (facebook pleasantries, one maybe two meet ups a year) but his brother I wouldn't go out of my way to keep in touch with as he has been vile to me since I've known him and spent the last few years trying to split us up/oust me out of my children's lives. If he contacted me to see them is facilitate it but that would be as far as it goes.

purpleponcho Wed 29-Oct-14 07:15:09

I doubt it. I'd still see pics of my nephew on Twitter, and that's it. My SIL has never made any secretof her dislike of my family, especially my dear old mum.

Jamfilter Wed 29-Oct-14 07:30:41

Lost my wonderful DH 11 years ago - since then have become godparent to my SIL's oldest, have her kids for sleepovers, and regularly have weekends with PILs. They have been fantastic to me, utterly amazing.

Hippychickster Wed 29-Oct-14 07:43:53

My oldest sister died 3 and a half years ago from breast cancer and we still stay in touch with her husband. Not much, I have to say, he has a new girlfriend (who is really nice) and a job that takes him away a lot. We love our nieces and try very hard to see them when we can, although they are adults now and live all over the world.

My dad died, also from cancer, last year and I struggle to stay in touch with his wife. They were together many years, but when they got together it was an awful awful time (OW, devastated mum who never got over it), and now he is not here, I struggle to feel sympathy for her. I DO see her though as at the end of the day, she is still a grieving widow...

EveDallasRetd Wed 29-Oct-14 07:54:20

I lost my oldest brother in 1996. I still have a relationship with SIL (they weren't married but we all call her that) and if anything my relationship with her is closer than with my other sibs. She put up with a lot with my bro, she loved him a lot and whilst their parting and his death was traumatic, none of it was her fault. I love her and would be devastated if we weren't close. All I wish is that she'd had the option to try again with someone else - I think she does have a 'friend' now smile but she was alone for about 10 years. She is a lovely woman that deserves a nice uncomplicated man.

holeinmyheart Wed 29-Oct-14 08:00:16

I think it depends on whether you have a good relationship with them in the first place. A shared loss can bring people from different backgrounds together, but if you struggled to get on with them in the first place then it probably will continue to be a struggle. My nickname refers to a terrible loss we suffered in my family. It hasn't really brought me any closer to my SIL.

GiantGaspingSatanicCyst Wed 29-Oct-14 08:03:03

My brother died seven years ago. SIL is very much part of the family, she is auntie to my DC (both born after my brother's death), she a lovely and amazing woman who I'm glad to have in my life. She has a partner now and I hope that one day I will be an auntie to her children smile No one deserved what she went through - what we all went through - I am so glad she's found some happiness again.

Bumply Wed 29-Oct-14 08:25:51

When my foster sister died many years ago my mum stayed in close contact with her husband who has since remarried and she kind of adopted the whole blended family.

PrettyLittleMitty Wed 29-Oct-14 08:34:00

I am fortunate to have not been in this position but theortically I would like to think that I would still be considered part of dp's family if anything (god forbid) were to ever happen to him.
One sil I can say for sure I would still have a relationship with but the other I am not sure would ever bother with me if it weren't for dp. Mil would stay in close contact with for sure.
Sorry to all of you that have lost loved ones flowers

dangerrabbit Wed 29-Oct-14 08:41:18

My uncle died in 1995 but my aunt-in-law is still very close to her brothers and sisters in law.

I think it made a difference that she had 2 kids...and maybe also that she hasn't remarried?

cowsareus Wed 29-Oct-14 08:44:45

i dont understand your question. when a couple form a stable relationship, that means they become a part of the family. You don't just kick them out because the initial link is gone

flashfalshflash Wed 29-Oct-14 08:48:58

My husband died seven years ago. I love my sister and brothers in law very dearly, and I couldn't have managed without them. I will always, always see them (and my parents in law, now very old and frail) and would find it devastating if they didn't want to see me.

There has been some slightly unfriendly stuff from one of the nieces but otherwise everyone has been very kind and we are all still close.

The person whose partner has died feels very very insecure and afraid of losing that connection, so they would require some reassurance. Those relationships are so valuable, I can't tell you.

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