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Difficult feelings following DM's death

(55 Posts)
Appleparty Tue 09-Jun-15 03:56:00

My DM and I had a difficult relationship but I loved her. My brother, I have come to understand, seems to have hated her and I am finding it hard to feel understanding rather than very angry. For example, he told me shortly after she died he felt much happier now she is dead as he doesn't have to worry about what she will think about things. I get what he means but also feel upset because she would be heartbroken to hear that is his view. When she died I was there and it was terrible, not pleasant or peaceful at all. He knew when she was dying but went out shopping with his wife and child. I could have done with some support and my mum would have wanted him there, more than she wanted me, actually.

Another tivial thing which hurts- for the funeral, My DM had left a letter about her funeral arrangements that mentioned getting sandwiches or food from somewhere like Waitrose or M&S. My bro and SIL found this hilarious and laughed at her for not wanting 'any old butties'. I would have thought someone could specify what they would like cor their own fundral without being sneered at. That seems quite basic to me. Even though I was the one who bore thebrunt of caring for her when she was dying, they kind of swooped in and did all the funeral arrangements, even though they were openly disparaging of her at the same time. I wish I had been more forceful but it is too late. I feel I mucked it all up and let DM down, although she would probably side with DB about this anyway, so what I am feeling is pointless.

The whole situation feels just horrible. As I said, I had a very, very hard relationship with her latterly, but when I was a child she was nice. I find it hard that they seem laughing and happy about her dying. It is making me feel ragey. Could anyone offer any advice?

redcaryellowcar Tue 09-Jun-15 04:07:57

I'm sorry I'm not quite sure what to say for the best, but didn't want to 'read and run' and I think you are justifiably hurt, I agree it's perfectly reasonable to put together funeral suggestions and sandwich selection seems a simple request? Probably from your mums point of view geared at you not having to make them?
I'm sorry your brother is behaving like this, I often think a death in the family brings out the worst and best in people.

Appleparty Tue 09-Jun-15 04:17:00

Thanks for replying, redcar. The things I have said seem so trivial, my anger at DB/SIL is dispoportionate I think. When someone dies people could try to be a little bit kind. Death can bring out the worst, it certainly has in me.

Heyho111 Tue 09-Jun-15 04:17:20

Big hug. Your poor head is spinning with all the emotions. Regardless of your relationship you've lost your mum and that hurts. You also saw her go in a difficult way. The grief you feel over that is hard enough. Now throw in your relationship you had with her and that hurts more. What your brother is doing is simply horrid. But what he can't see is that his lack of respect for your mum and how he feels is not hurting her. It's hurting you. His lack of empathy is so great he cannot understand that it may hurt you hearing what he says.
You did nothing wrong. If you'd have stood up to him it may have made it worse. So I think you did the right thing. I find it odd that his wife is in on it too. Horrid. Next time he says something perhaps say - I appreciate that you disliked mum but I find it hard to hear. Would it be ok for you not to say these things to me.
At the moment your grief is focusing on your B as he is there. Let yourself grieve your mum and believe in yourself. You did everything you could for her. She was very lucky to have you.

Appleparty Tue 09-Jun-15 04:20:27

Thanks, heyho.

Optimist1 Tue 09-Jun-15 05:09:49

Apple, both you and your brother appear to have had a difficult relationship with your mother. Whilst you have that in common, you differ greatly in the way that your loss is affecting you.

For you it was the pitiful end for a woman you'd been caring for without a lot of support whilst knowing that your brother was still the favoured child - a very emotional event.

For your brother it was the end of whatever difficulties he experienced with his mother. On the face of it that sounds cold, but I have to admit to knowing how he feels. At some stage in their relationship he could have decided to go NC emotionally to protect himself from further hurt. He probably prides himself in being an honest person which is why he's not displaying grief. I can imagine myself saying the comment about the funeral food as a reference to how she was in her life; provided they didn't cater from Asda I don't see that this was disrespectful. As to taking on the funeral arrangements, I'm guessing that he saw that as an opportunity to do something practical since he wasn't involved emotionally. All of this is speculation on my part, of course, and I could be entirely wrong but it is an interpretation of how things might be for him.

You each coped with a difficult woman differently when she was alive and now you are experiencing your loss differently, too.

Appleparty Tue 09-Jun-15 05:39:01

Optimist, the thing is, I think he would say I was the favoured child. My DM was manipulative.

That is good, if that is the end of the difficulties he experienced with his mother. Great. I am happy for him. I am still angry for me. I would not have expected him to display grief, that would have been ridiculous.

I think choosing to cut off emotionally is fine and necessary, I did that too. More than my brother, in some ways.But it should be with some awareness of impact.

I would not give a shit if the sandwiches came from asda, my point was that it was unkind to be sneery about whatever it was she wanted at her death. I am struggling with the feelings of anger to her, anger to brother, anger generally.

Optimist1 Tue 09-Jun-15 06:02:59

Is the anger you feel because she was a less than perfect mother? Or because you had an unfair burden of care? Or because although you managed to give that care to her, you couldn't do it with a willing heart?

(I know the sandwiches aren't the crux of the matter, but just to explain that I saw the joking as acceptable if she was known for liking "naice" things and I would have seen Asda sandwiches as deliberately going against her wishes and therefore not right.)

Homebird8 Tue 09-Jun-15 06:05:24

Oh Appleparty I am so sorry for your loss. flowers

I too lost a DM who I had a difficult relationship with but was nonetheless someone I loved. This is nothing like your situation, as fresh as it is. No family is like the next one but some of the issues are similar.

The anger you're talking about I do understand, although it took me nearly 5 years to be able to acknowledge it and I'm not sure I've expressed it properly even now. My DSis is expressing it and aiming it at me. It hurts. I feel like I've lost a DSis too. Lost a frame of reference, lost a family structure, lost a past.

people could try to be a little bit kind

We tried to be kind to each other but that often meant being a little unkind, in humourous terms, to our DM's memory. A little unkind meant that we could avoid the gloom of reality and stay true to our feelings that we didn't want to reinvent her in death. A little humour drew us together and allowed us to avoid the open honesty of our true memories of unkindness. That knowledge and those memories held us apart and are the reason why now DSis and I never discuss anything but the trivial and she wants to know nothing of my life.

Perhaps there are chasms between you and your DB but that is something you will work out, and change if you both want to, over time. Please don't be angry with yourself. You did what you thought was best for your DM in life and at her death. Allowing others to do what they thought was best, even if that was shopping as she died, or catering for the funeral in their own way, is the kindness in this. Pat yourself on the back. You have done a great job.

Appleparty Tue 09-Jun-15 06:11:06

Thanks, I completely have not done a great job, I completely screwed up her death and dying. Thanks DB and I will never speak again, I think. It is that kind of family.

Appleparty Tue 09-Jun-15 06:31:16

I understand about laughing when someone has died. When my dad died we laughed about a co-op funeral. That might have seemed irreverent to some people but it was funny to his family, us. What I was trying to explain was not like that.

Homebird8 Tue 09-Jun-15 06:35:51

I'm a bit worried that you are holding yourself accountable for some sort of perfection in this. You are not responsible for everything, though I suspect you often make it look like that. Your love in the face of imperfection, your attention to your DM at the end, those are great things.

As far as not speaking to your DB is concerned, I might as well not be speaking to my DSis for all that is truly said. What I want to scream at her and what I actually say are poles apart and exchanges (I can't call them conversations as she never asks anything) are painful and need days and weeks to recover from before the next inevitable 'polite ten minutes'. If you and your brother make communication noises at one another but don't communicate you are probably better off not to talk. Sad as it is, it's another loss. I'm so sorry.

Appleparty Tue 09-Jun-15 06:39:16

Homebird, thanks, your words are comforting.

Appleparty Tue 09-Jun-15 06:47:29

There is no kind of perfection going on with me and that is not what I am trying to achieve. I hated my DM at her end. I am comfortable with never speaking to my brother again.i am grateful for your comments.

Optimist1 Tue 09-Jun-15 06:59:24

I hope you overcome the anger in time.

Appleparty Tue 09-Jun-15 07:14:26

I hope so too. At the moment I think I am angry because they were/are all a bunch of arseholes.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 09-Jun-15 07:18:34

I was going to write similar to what Applebird has written.

You perhaps feel like you are in mid air stuck in the pain of your own grief.

I think you have both acted in the ways you thought best at the time and what you have written is not an untypical scenario, infact its typical when a complicated parent dies.

If anyone has messed up here its your mother; not you or your brother for that matter. Your mother chose to act in the ways she did; it was neither the fault of your brother (is he older than you?) or your good self that she acted in the ways she did. Her own family of origin did that lot of damage to her. She was not a good mother to either of you during her life and likely put her own self first at the expense of her now adult children. You both need to properly acknowledge the other's pain and that can only be done by talking to each other.

Your brother's wife has likely seen her H become very upset by the behaviours of his mother and has taken his side. Her reactions are understandable if not seen to be totally correct.

You need to let your mother go; grieve too for the relationship both you and your brother should have had with her but through no faults of your own did not.

You were also the golden child in that dysfunctional family dynamic; a role itself not without price as you have seen. People from dysfunctional families end up playing roles; his was likely one of scapegoat but your mother may have interchanged these between you as siblings as well. She damaged you both and the undercurrents from all that continue to this day.

You do not mention your dad; I was wondering if he still around?.

I would certainly consider counselling for your own self re your late mother, you need to address the unfinished business that surrounds the relationship with your late mother.

A word on forgiveness. Forgiveness isn't about saying, 'It's OK,' or that you 'accept' or 'approve' what happened. Forgiveness is the acknowledgment that what happened, happened, and that you are now ready to set down the baggage, the pain and the fear.

sandgrown Tue 09-Jun-15 07:19:21

Just wanted to say I hope you feel better soon flowers

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 09-Jun-15 07:23:40


I've subsequently read that your dad has also died. What was he like in life?.

I would advise you both not to be angry with either yourselves or each other. Your experiences at her hands were and remain equally valid ones.

2fedup Tue 09-Jun-15 07:25:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Homebird8 Tue 09-Jun-15 07:42:32

Anger and hate are strong emotions. Sometimes they subside, sometimes they are experienced and set down into memory as we choose to focus on something else. Use them if they are useful. Remember it is only you they must be useful to though. If they are not useful then seek to lay them into memory. Nothing wrong in feeling what you feel. It was obviously a longfelt, long lived situation that gave rise to them.

Appleparty Tue 09-Jun-15 09:05:09

Thank you for your kindness.

Homebird8 Tue 09-Jun-15 10:47:17

It sounds as though you are grieving for so very many things Appleparty. I wish you peace.

Appleparty Tue 09-Jun-15 11:00:54

2Fedup is right I think and thank you for the flowers sandgrown.

Dontunderstand01 Tue 09-Jun-15 11:09:48

Appleparty, I too have a complex relationship with my dm, but I know I would be devasted when the inevitable happens. I too, would be very upset at your brothers attitude and would find it disrespectful.

I do think that when someone die we have a tendancy to romanticise them and only see their good points, but it sounds as though you are quite objective in your view of your late dm, and simply do not like unpleasantness or rudenes.

I guess I am trying to say, your feelings are valid, your db is very insensitive. But, the funeral has happened now and you can't turn back the clock. To move forward, try anc let it go, and take something from this; next time oyu feel as though your feelings are being disregarded, stand your ground and insist a little.

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