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In-laws wish me happy birthday but not condolences

shellpell's picture

My mother passed away about a year and a half ago and I heard crickets from the in-laws. But they always make sure to send a birthday card or a birthday message on my birthday. WTF? I think telling someone I'm sorry for your loss for something as devastating as a parent's death is more meaningful than an obligatory birthday greeting. Just typing my thoughts out loud. I feel like messaging back, "Puzzled as to why I get birthday greetings but not one word of condolences after my mother's death." I don't think I should, but again, WTF? 


Gimlet's picture

I would venture because birthday wishes are easy and condolences take actual empathy and emotional energy?

shellpell's picture

Since we are estranged from them, I would rather not get anything at all. At least be consistent - no condolences, no birthdays...OR if you feel you have to send birthday greetings, acknowledge someone's passing.

Gimlet's picture

I was not paying attention to the user name, sorry!

They are bizarre.  I would try your best to just not respond at all, as maddening as it is and who knows what happens in their minds.  Ugh.

Hope you're well and I am sorry for your loss, shellpell.   That had to be devastating for you.

Iamwoman's picture

I would say that some people are not good at or comfortable dealing with death or grieving, but...

that is why Hallmark writes the poems for us.

I'm so sorry you lost your mother. That is one of the most devastation losses for most people, and when it happens to me, I don't think I will cope well at all.

That being said, I've heard that grieving does not involve getting over a loss, but learning to live with it. All we eventually have of each other is memories. I hope you cherish those of your mother for all time and try to live a good life on her behalf.

shellpell's picture

Thank you for your kind message. She passed away after a long battle with ALS at only 64. And you are right - I'll never be over it. I carry it with me.

The irony is my MIL does stuff like call DH last week to say it's been 15 years since her mother passed away and she's still grieving. So not sure why she wouldn't send a quick "so sorry for your loss" message even though there's a rift. It's just about being human. My mother was her son's MIL.



tog redux's picture

I'd agree that birthday greetings are easy and condolences are hard for some people (I don't get why, but it's so). 

Sorry about your mother - I lost my dad 3 years ago and I still miss him every day.

positivelyfourthstreet's picture

I don't believe it's an intentional slight or anything like that.  I think sometimes people just don't know what to say.  For example, I have some friends I've known for decades.  They were my children's godparents that's how much I love and trust them.  They are like family.

The male half lost a sibling recently.  I was going to send him a card but no matter what I wrote it seemed empty and hollow.  Losing a sibling or a spouse is very profound.  I felt like there was nothing I could say to properly address such a huge loss.  I tried several times to write something in a card and it just didn't seem like enough...  But I was able to send that birthday card no problem at all!

I did speak with the female half and asked how he was holding up and sent my condolences through her.

Maybe sometimes people just can't find the right words.  It doesn't mean they don't care or feel for the bereaved.

Livingoutloud's picture

I am sorry for your loss. I lost my mother a year ago. If you think my DHs family say much, you are wrong, they didn't bother.