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ILs blame me for MIL's death

(146 Posts)
YetIWill Thu 25-Apr-19 08:31:56

MIL died last year after catching the flu. She had smoked heavily for 40 years, and her lungs just couldn't cope with illness. It was all very sudden and sad.

However, in the course of conversation at Easter, it came to light that my ILs (DH's siblings) think I gave her the flu and therefore caused her death.

I had flu about a fortnight before MIL caught it. She looked after our DCs for a couple of days while I was ill, but I didn't have direct contact with her during that time. She also seemed to have a completely different strain of flu to the one I had - totally different symptoms. Hers was only diagnosed as flu after hospital tests, whereas mine was very obvious stuck-in-bed can't-eat-or-drink-or-move flu.

It came up in conversation when We were talking about flu in general, and I mentioned having it last year, and SIL said "Yeah, and then you gave it to Mummy and that was that". Everyone else nodded. I didn't feel like I could say anything in response.

There have been a couple of other comments over the past year that suggest they think it was my fault that she got flu and died ("She died after YetIWill gave her the flu", "Yeah, YetIWill got her to mind the kids and passed on the flu").

I don't feel remotely guilty, to be honest; there's nothing to suggest she caught flu from me, and even if she did, it wasn't done deliberately. But I've noticed my SILs becoming quite distant with me... little things like I'll make a comment and they'll just kind of ignore it; they never acknowledge photos or comments I post online (I wouldn't normally care, but they are all really into FB and they like and comment on everything each other posts, so it's quite obvious).

I'm not sure whether to say anything or not. Obviously they're all still grieving, so I don't really feel I should cause tension; on the other hand there's a definite coolness towards me that I hate.

What are my options here? I previously had an ok relationship with them; we don't have much in common, but we'd have enough to chat about at family events etc.

Singlenotsingle Thu 25-Apr-19 08:35:46

What does DH think about the way they're reacting? Obviously it's completely irrational, and they're just using you as a scapegoat, but can't he put them straight?

Strugglingtodomybest Thu 25-Apr-19 08:37:23

Personally, I wouldn't say anything, I can't see a way it would end well.

ItStartedWithAKiss241 Thu 25-Apr-19 08:38:38

Oh my gosh this is horrendous in-law behaviour x

BonnieSeptember Thu 25-Apr-19 08:38:39

They sound insane! Does you other half ever weigh in when they make these comments?

AnotherEmma Thu 25-Apr-19 08:39:38


What does DH say?

I would unfollow them on Facebook. Stay friends but stop interacting with them on it.

StrongTea Thu 25-Apr-19 08:40:05

Can't you just say No, it was a different strain of flu? Very difficult though.

Chilledout11 Thu 25-Apr-19 08:41:05

I actually think it's horrendous and cruel but I they don't sound that intelligent. For her to pass away from the flu it's obvious she was already ill. I would avoid them as much as possible.

ItsAGo Thu 25-Apr-19 08:41:53

You may or may not have given her the flu. You did not do it deliberately with the intention of killing her! You did not go and see her deliberately for your own benefit.
She cold have just as likely caught her flu from a shopping trolley, riding the bus, touching a door handle etc

OverMoon Thu 25-Apr-19 08:42:59

Was there any occasion during that time period that, say, SIL saw you/your husband/kids and then went to visit MiL? I’d be tempted to say “or maybe you gave her the flu after coming to my house then going to hers!” Just insist that you think it was them, see how they react.

Ridiculous to suggest that you gave it to her, she could just as easily have picked it up from any human being she came in contact with. I hope your husband is standing up for you.

Babdoc Thu 25-Apr-19 08:45:36

It is definitely not your fault that MIL chose to smoke heavily for years, and then, knowing she was at high risk for complications, refuse to have a flu immunisation.
She will have been exposed to flu infection anywhere she went in public during the flu season.
When relatives are grieving, there is often a phase of anger, of looking for reasons, of scapegoating. Don’t allow this false narrative (of you being to blame) to become embedded in the family folklore. The more they repeat it among themselves unchallenged, the harder it will be to shift.

MarthasGinYard Thu 25-Apr-19 08:46:28

'You may or may not have given her the flu. You did not do it deliberately with the intention of killing her'

Surely you felt slightly remorseful at the time?

I'd leave well alone though

opinionatedfreak Thu 25-Apr-19 08:47:24

Any adult who still calls their mother Mummy is a loon.

Do not engage.

You won't change this rhetoric.

BertrandRussell Thu 25-Apr-19 08:48:34

Do you get anything out of this relationship? If not, I’d just quietly let it fade. People can be very irrational while they are grieving but you don’t have to put up with it

You do have to have a very open discussion with your dp though and find out what he thinks. Because if he’s thinking the same, even a little bit. it will be very destructive.

Fairylea Thu 25-Apr-19 08:49:02

They sound insane.

I don’t think I would want to be around them again. Your dh needs to put them straight.

BertrandRussell Thu 25-Apr-19 08:49:45

“Any adult who still calls their mother Mummy is a loon”

Or Irish. Or a member of the English upper class.......

PerfectPeony2 Thu 25-Apr-19 08:51:11

*It came up in conversation when We were talking about flu in general, and I mentioned having it last year, and SIL said "Yeah, and then you gave it to Mummy and that was that". Everyone else nodded. I didn't feel like I could say anything in response.*

Oh my god! I couldn’t have just sat that while she said that. I would have had to stand up for myself. Did DH not say anything?? Next time someone says something please don’t let it slide. That’s awful behaviour.

Teacakeandalatte Thu 25-Apr-19 08:52:18

Your MiL sounds quite nice if she looked after your dc when you were ill. I'd hold onto that and let the others go.

BogglesGoggles Thu 25-Apr-19 08:53:55

They clearly don’t want to blame their mother for her death and are looking for someone else to be pissed off at. You need to tread carefully here but I don’t think there is any way out of this for you unless they go and have some intensive therapy.

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Thu 25-Apr-19 08:54:03

I think you have to say something, or get your dh to because this could spiral out of control. Was it even you who asked her to look after the kids or did DH?
I think this has to be dealt with immediately tbh. They are not thinking logically right now and you don't want this to become established 'fact' in the family. Be clear when you talk to them that her flu was a different strain, that even if you had given it to her it was hardly deliberate and that this nonsense has to stop. They must know, in their more logical moments that her smoking and therefore weak lungs were more a cause of death than anything you did.
Your h should really be dealing with them since they will take it better from him.

WhentheRabbitsWentWild Thu 25-Apr-19 08:54:29

"Any adult who still calls their mother Mummy is a loon"

Or a grown adult whom, in depths of mourning , called her lovely Mum , Mummy for a little while . Any adult who criticises , I think is a prat , but there you go !!

HelloYouTwo Thu 25-Apr-19 08:54:49

Wow. That’s awful. I don’t know where you go from there. No matter how much information, timelines, logic, medical reasoning you push their way right now they’re not going to take it on board. And it will look like you’re trying to “defend” yourself against something, which is unnecessary as you are not responsible.

I suggest you get your DH to tell them that you are devastated that they are blaming you for this, and that he doesn’t hold you responsible and that he thinks they are being idiotic.

And then I would steer clear of them, unfollow them on FB and try to avoid their toxic ignorant nasty selves for as long as possible. Grief is no excuse to lay the death of someone at someone else’s door.

BogglesGoggles Thu 25-Apr-19 08:55:12

@opinionatefreak that’s normal in Britain. All English people I know use mummy at least some of the time.

SleepingStandingUp Thu 25-Apr-19 08:58:09

What does DH say?

I certainly wouldn't let have have unfettered access to your kids - your Mummy killed Granny!

I think you need to confront it directly - that it's very hurtful etc and whilst you know they're understandably heartbroken it isn't fair to keep making digs. At the very least they need to say it outright and you will adjust your relationship accordingly. I would then stop socialising with them be asue honestly why would you keep seeing them, for either of your sakes

WhentheRabbitsWentWild Thu 25-Apr-19 08:59:47

As for OP , you done nothing wrong , apart from get Ill . They sound horrible .

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