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Not sure what to do...think .. feel...

Stick's picture

BM's mom is dying. She's 83, had another stroke, came home for a bit, and they just readmitted her today for congestive heart failure.

This woman was miserable to me, and hated me, and made sure that SD knew it. Also - the whole family had the "pack" vibe, and used to say nasty stuff to SD about me and make derisive comments about DH. Of course, she let DH mow her lawn and plow her driveway until BM got a new boyfriend, and I was in the picture... but until then.. he was great!

Anyway, I digress. This is bringing out a bunch of weird emotions, as dying does to people... For example..

I'm so wary of SD and her motivations that when she is struggling with her grandma's death, and watching her grandma in the state she is in (which is pretty bad - difficulty breathing, incoherent at times), that I am not always as sympathetic as I would be to someone else. I wonder if she is truly grieving her grandma or is just playing into the drama of it. And I have to check myself because I get frustrated because I didn't like the woman! SD said today that her Nana wasn't that great of a person in life, so watching her struggle in death makes her wonder if there is an afterlife, of if Nana is going to purgatory or whatever. At first I admit, I was not the most sympathetic listener. Between Nana being mean to DH and I, and SD's tendency toward drama, I was just like "Ugh...what are you really mourning??!!" (Not the best response, I know.) But then, like I said, I had to get over myself and try to comfort SD and tell her that I fully believed that Nana would go to Heaven and be with her husband because I think that God looks at a whole life and motivations, and not just the actions. So we talked about afterlife, and what we think it is... and how death brings out so many emotions in us all... anger, grief, relief, jealousies long buried, sadness, happiness. It really is a lot to deal with and we can't always control our thoughts, but we can control our actions. In the end, I tried to get SD to focus on the positive - that Nana had a long life, that she had 3 daughters who she truly loved, and that she lived long enough to see all of her grandchildren almost grown up and all doing pretty well.

BM is hanging on, but I know it is really hard for her of course. And what's worse is that SD told me that BM was listening to a very old cassette tape recently with "To DH from BM" back from when they were together. So I can imagine that BM's mom's death is bringing up all kinds of losses for BM. DH and I discussed that he will call her soon and give her some comfort. We both feel bad for her and want to offer support.

I'm dreading this, and also just wishing it was over, and she's not even related to me. It sucks...


Stick's picture

Thank you naturalmom! I read your last sentence about the virtual lemon ice poundcake and strong cup of coffee and just smiled!! Smile Thanks for a day brightener!

lifeisshort's picture

You are kind. That was a very compassionate way to act.

I'm left thinking how I would react if I heard my XMIL passed... I'm embarrassed to say that I would be relieved. She is a hateful, spiteful and abusive person and I'm glad she is no longer in my life. But she is also a grandparent and my child would be sad to lose her. I will do my utmost to respond with the same empathy and compassion that you have when this situation comes up in the future.

anabihibik's picture

It's always interesting to me when I get patients who have done horrible things in the past. I've taken care of multiple child molesters, sometimes for multiple shifts before knowing that about them. They are often some of the nicest patients. I work with one nurse who says she loves her job but hates our patients. I work with a very specific population of patients, and I can not fathom not loving my patients for what they do and have done. They are one part of my job I just adore. Anyway, I haven't ever been creeped out when I find out this less than thrilling piece of information about my patients when it applies. This other nurse is abrupt and rude to these patients when she finds these things out. She just can't handle it. (I do have a point in here somewhere.) I've talked to my coworker before about her issue with it. We are never able to agree, but I think what makes it different for me is that I believe in a higher power that I won't define here. I'm able to turn that judgment over to my higher power and that enables me to be compassionate when these particular patients are suffering.

Some people just suck on this planet. But, I don't ever think that there aren't any redeeming qualities, and I can't decide if those do or don't overshadow bad (subjective term) things that they do. All I can do is be present. I think that's what you're doing. It's a good thing to be able to do, for yourself and SD. Your SD is lucky to have you in her life, Stick. I've thought that before about you. You do wonderful things. Smile If you need an ear, you know where to find me.

not_snow_white's picture

I think you did the right thing by comforting her.It's hard to determine which part of her is drawn to the drama of the whole thing and which part of her seems to really be mourning.But I think it isn't up to you to determine that,i think your job right now is to just continue doing what you did and just comfort her until this ordeal is over.
I don't know how thrilled I'd be about my husband "comforting" BM on the phone or via any other avenue but if you're ok with that,it says good things about your strength of character.

I would say I hope this is over quickly for you but then I'd essentially be saying I hope the woman dies fast! So I'll just say I hope this ordeal doesn't become any more stressful for you than it already is.

LizzieA's picture

I think you were awesome. Your SD admits her Gram wasn't an easy person and that realization raises all kinds of conflicts, regrets, remorse, etc. She probably also wishes she had had a "nice" Gram so she might be angry, too. I had very difficult relationships with my parents but when I got to the point I could "honor" and appreciate their good points and what they gave me, it helped. Also writing something can be good. I just wrote a prose poem for an 80 plus friend who died. The family loved it.

Chavez's picture

Oh Stick, that must be so hard for you and your SD too. I don't think you could have handled that any better. You are a kind and compassionate person and you are teaching your SD to be kind and compassionate through your actions towards her. I'm so sorry you're all going through this hard time!

Stick's picture

Ladies - I can't thank you enough for the support and encouragement. I truly appreciate the responses... They made me laugh (hope she dies soon!) eek! to.. think (Ana taking care of a sex offender!)... to just feel safe here that others understand and get it, and to not feel judged.

I wish that you each feel comfort you gave me today... Hugs ladies!

wriggsy's picture

My exMIL is a pretty great person. Matter of fact..when I got remarried a few months ago...she was there!! She knows her son was an ass to me when we were married! I loved both my ex-in-laws, but my exFIL passed away just one short month after my own dear dad passed away 6 years ago. I went to the hospital when a friend called me and told he had passed and sat with the family . I was at their house, making guest comfortable and welcome, I was at the funeral, sitting with my exH future wife! I called and checked on exMIL every week for a long time after that. She really likes my DH and from time to time, she comes and hangs out with us for a beer and some conversation. So, I know that I will be torn up when it's her "time". (which, hopefully, isn't for a LONG time!)