Friday, October 29, 2010

Dear Kellie

Dear Kellie,
I am widowed, less than a year. We have no family in the state where we live. My husband's parents have been divorced for over 40 years. One side prepared to leave and come here on the first call when I told them it did not look good. The other side wanted to think about it.

When the results showed there was no brain activity, I contacted everyone again. I was asked if it would hurt me if they did not come. I stated no but then I found out why they did not even try. According to my spouses wishes, I had included all family members of his and mine. The ones who chose not to come, all his siblings, their families, and his Mother, did not even try because his Dad was here. There have been a couple of conversations since then but nothing to ease the pain of them making it about their feelings rather than my husband's wishes. Add to that I was told his death was at an inconvenient time for travel. None of them called for those firsts, Christmas, his birthday, anything.

With this background, here is my question - Although I do not feel I owe it to anyone to apologize, should I reach out to those who did not come for his service or should I just leave it be....forgive and move on?

Thank you Kellie for your thoughtful response.

Kind Regards,
Recently Widowed

Dear Recently Widowed,
I am so very sorry for your loss. I hope in this time you are finding your moments of peace. I fear sometimes this becomes more difficult when others behavior effects our grieving process.
Everyone grieves differently, having said that, it could be the side of the family who did not show up may have felt too vulnerable with the recent loss of their loved one to face the side who they do not have a relationship with.
As the widow, I think the mature thing would have been to put YOU first. Since that did not happen, it looks as though you have been left to be the designated adult.
My suggestion is to ask yourself a few questions- "Do I have a good relationship with these people?" "Do I want a relationship with these people?" "Are these folks making a positive addition to my life?"
If you had a good relationship before, but are struggling now, then I would say to go ahead and send them a card or letter. If you were never close to begin, then maybe it's time to let them go. As difficult as that may sound, if they are not close to you and not making any effort, then, in essence, they have already made your choice for you.
I encourage you to forgive them. We do not truly know what is in someone's heart. For those of us who want to live in love and compassion, it is best to forgive and wish people happy and peaceful. Hopefully they will come around and see that you are the remaining legacy of your husband.
I wish for you peace and happiness. Know that this time, albeit very difficult, presents the opportunity for self exploration and growth. The lessons in compassion, love and empathy are priceless. You never know when your experience will help someone in the future.

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