Post # 1
I just need to vent.
My mom passed away 7 months ago. Everyone grieves differently and I think that is one of the hardest parts of losing someone is having to “deal” with everyone else. I have a sister who is 18 months older than me and we have always had a kind of rocky relationship. We’re like night and day and get on each other’s nerves. She moves at a snails pace no matter what she is doing and she is one of those people who calls you every single day even if she doesn’t have anything to say. She would call my mom, she calls my grandmother, anyone every single day! I am not that person. I would speak to my mom every 2-3 weeks and my grandmother maybe once a month. I get stuff done, I don’t lollygag.
I’m engaged & planning a wedding, buying a home (and a short sale at that!), very busy with work…I’ve got a lot going on. I humor her and answer her phone calls every single day so she can vent about work (the job that I got her) or about the chicken she bought at the grocery store that smells funny or the fitness class she is taking, etc. Well, last night, she forwarded me a text from my step father which was ironically the exact same text message he had sent me. It went something along the lines of ‘Just wanted to say I love you. I’m not sure what I’m going to do next weekend…it’s going to be very hard.” He’s talking about Mother’s Day. My stepdad has played this “victim” role since my mom passed away. I lost my mom too. She won’t be at our wedding, our kids won’t have a grandma (my fiance lost his mom too). Yet, the past 7 months have felt like my sister and I have had to be there for him rather than him being the adult and being there for us. It’s like “oh [step dad] really needs us, he’s taking this really hard.” And it’s a cake walk for us? Hardly. So my sister asks me if I planned on going to step dad’s city for Mother’s Day. I said no. Why would I? So we can all sit around and stare at each other and be depressed? Then she gave me a guilt trip last night because I haven’t been there since Christmas Day. I haven’t had a reason to go! My step dad hasn’t been up to visit my fiance and I….as a matter of fact, he hasn’t asked me a SINGLE thing about our wedding…nothing! My sister has gone “home” probably 10 times in the past 5 months. Then, when she leaves she calls me (duh) and complains about how their house is a mess, how there wasn’t any food in the pantry, how he had some friends over and they were drinking, etc etc. So ask me again why I would want to go there? My step dad isn’t sitting around being depressed in a dark room. The DAY MY MOTHER DIED, he had probably 30 of his friends come over to the house (which I realize is normal) however what isn’t normal is the fact that they had the radio blaring, they were taking shots of crown (I mean WTF….WTF!) until midnight. Back to my original statement…….everyone morns differently. He apparently needed to drink, I wanted to be at my own home, left alone, and my sister just has to be difficult.
As a side note, I have a younger brother who is a train wreck. My mom and step dad never made him do anything so he dropped out of high school, has been arrested a bunch, does drugs, etc but my step dad denies any of it is happening. I tried to help him before it got this bad and when that didn’t work (and my parents didn’t enforce anything) I said whatever. My sister still tries to intervene and gets mad when I don’t want to drop what I’m doing to go have some (pointless) heart to heart with my step dad about my brother. I have LONG since been over all of the drama and dysfunctional garbage that has come out of that house- my life with my fiance is very different than that and frankly, I’m tired of dealing with their crap.
My fiance and I actually have out of state plans next weekend (something house related that is crucial we get done) so we won’t be driving hours in the opposite direction to sit around and sulk with my step dad for Mother’s Day. And apparently that makes me an awful person because I don’t want to go do that.
Post # 2
MouthOfTheSouth: As you said, everyone mourns or grieves differently. That includes your stepdad.
Don’t let our sister define who or what you are.
Frankly, I would let a few of her phone calls go to voicemail.
Post # 3
julies1949: Very good advice.
Post # 4
When my mom died my dad shut down for 5years. We were still in college and I wound up taking over his business and running it. He could not function. I was ANGRY, thinking that I never had the chance to break down or even cry. Things had to get done and no one else was doing anything.
She was my mom, she was his everything. His best friend, his companion, lover, and had been for over 30 years. I can see both where you’re coming from but have you thought about what life would be like if your spouse passed? Once I met DH and we got engaged my anger went away, I could see what happened to my Dad clearer. Your sister sounds like she needs some friends. Maybe let some calls go to voicemail but maybe see her a little more often? She sounds lonely. We tried doing brunch for mother’s day, it was Brutal, but after the first one, my older brothers came around with us and we just spent two hours together and it was fun. Maybe you all could try getting together.
I’m so very sorry for your loss I know planning for your wedding during this time has to be hard.
Post # 5
im sorry for your loss. I lost my mom 3.5 years ago in a pretty traumatic (to me) way And. I know how hard it can be. I had to take care of most things as my sister was nine months pregnant, and my brother shut down (he found her). there were times my brother would not talk to me about it, and times where it was all my sister wanted to talk about (even if I didn’t). All I can say is that I think you are being a little unfair to your step dad. You have to remember that he lost his wife, probably the love of his life And is reacting the only way he knows how. I don’t think you should be holding his grief again’t him. It almost feels to me as if you are saying “why is he being this way! Does he not recognize that we are hurting too? He’s making it all about him”
i dont think he’s trying to do that at all. I think he’s just genuinely sad he lost his wife. whenever I think about the day I might lose my husband, I know I would be devastated. It might be nice if you tried to visit him, it might not be so bad. It might even help him move forward , and help you guys come to a common place. Even though he’s your stepdad, he’s still family. Maybe if you did talk to him he may even be able to make you feel like your grief matters too and thatyour wedding matters too. Just remember, your sister isn’t going to get all those things either in regards to nit having her there at the wedding, and her kids not having their grandma.
i think your sister calling a lot is her trying to maintain a relationship with you. Especially after your mom died, maybe she just wants to be close to you .. You never know. I know how hard it is, but I think you are being awfully closed off towards your family.
Post # 6
I understand that this is a vent and I apologise if you aren’t really looking for advice but here is some anyway: It sounds like your sister and stepdad are starting to grieve the loss of the family rather than just the loss of your mother. You guys haven’t been together since Christmas and in hard time families need to make a bigger effort to spend time together to help each other pull through.
Why not make plans for say, a months time, to go out to lunch/dinner/whatever with the four of you (you, FI, sister and stepdad, brother too if that is easy to do). Offer to pay if you can. That way you don’t have to see the messy house, you force your stepdad to come out and be part of society, your sister gets some real quality family time which she seems to desperately need and you can start to include them in your life a little. Talk about the wedding, talk about the house, they want to be included, they want to feel like a family again. Not trying to make you feel guiltly but I’m sure that they are both feeling a little left behind by you, everything seems to be going so well. I’m not saying that it is your job to drag them along with you, to fill his pantry or clean his house or answer everyone of her phone calls – but perhaps spending a few hours together, away from the house and memories and starting to create new ones as a family will help them to heal and begin to stand on their own again.
Good luck, it will get easier with time.
Post # 7
I’m going to make this short: I lost my mom a year ago. I hear you, I do. Sometimes other people will just drive you nuts.
But everyone feels/deals with/expresses grief differently, and if there’s one lesson loss should teach us, it’s to love each other while we have each other.
Your sister and step dad are reaching out because get need you. Be there for them if you can.