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Coping with suicide of a family member

 
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Feb, 2007 09:09 pm
I'm sorry, aj, for what your fiancee is going through, but also what you are dealing with. Please open you own thread here - see New Topic at the top of the page, and we can discuss this as you feel willing (know it is hard to talk about).
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cyphercat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Feb, 2007 10:56 pm
Just checking in for a mo'-- lots of assignments due this week, so not much time to say anything, but I did want to thank Slappy for the kindness (I think it's important that we all give Slappy lots of positive reinforcement whenever we catch him making a non-midget-porn related post, you know Razz ).

Olga-- thanks for fending off the inquisitive passer-by-- I want to talk about the whys, once I have the time; but I won't be talking about the hows, just because you just know someone would be getting some kind of salacious kick out of it.

Noddy wrote:
I'm still thinking, "I must remember to tell mother" and my mother died eleven years ago, more than a year after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.


I'm sorry Noddy, that's so hard. I know that's one of the things Mr C is going through, we were just talking about that a little while ago. You think you have finally gotten it through your head, but then as soon as you're thinking about something else it kind of jumps out at you again. I can kind of imagine, because my grandma passed away a few months ago, but every now and then I still catch myself thinking that I'll go visit her sometime soon. I can't imagine, though, how much harder it would be if it was someone you talked to a lot. I guess our brains are just not really wired to deal with something so permanent and unchangeable-- just about anything else can be changed, and it's so hard to accept that this will just never be any different; it's just done. Set in stone.

Ms AJ, I'm glad you posted; feel free to talk about what you're going through here. You might get more feedback from people if you do start your own thread, but if you don't feel like it and you just want to talk here, that's fine with me. (If you do start your own thread, would you post a link here so I can follow your thread as well?)

I'm feeling much the way you are, like I just don't know how you're supposed to help a loved one deal with this. I don't feel equipped for this at all, and I constantly feel like I'm saying and doing the wrong things. I imagine you might be feeling that way too. My husband also feels that he doesn't really need to talk about it, and he just says that that's the way he deals with things best, by thinking them out in his own mind. It's very hard to know if you should push someone like that to talk, or if you just need to believe them that they are dealing with it as they need to. I don't know how to handle that. Has your fiance talked to a counsellor?
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Feb, 2007 12:09 pm
Cybercat--

My mother has her catbird seat somewhere in my psyche and every so often makes pithy comments about the State of the Universe. She also has occasion every so often to churn in her urn.

Out there in Western PA there is frost heave in a certain plot in a certain cemetery.

Memories can be very comforting. Unnatural, untimely deaths make it very difficult to sort out memories.
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Heeven
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Feb, 2007 03:31 pm
cyphercat wrote:
but I did want to thank Slappy for the kindness (I think it's important that we all give Slappy lots of positive reinforcement whenever we catch him making a non-midget-porn related post, you know


now that made me laugh out loud
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cyphercat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Mar, 2007 08:27 pm
Well, I'm getting overwhelmed again, so thought I'd post to hopefully get some of it out and feel a bit less down... For a while things seemed to be a little easier, but I guess it just kind of comes and goes in waves. Mr C has been a bit sadder the last few days; in some ways it gets worse as time goes on, since it starts to really hit home that he won't be talking to his dad again.

On the good side, I'm getting better at just holding my tongue when there's nothing positive for me to say. He says what he needs to and I just try to be there and listen, and I'm not feeling so conflicted about it. Also, he's getting better at being able to accept that he can love his dad without pretending that he was someone that he wasn't. He's getting more able to accept that the depressive side of his father's personality had always been there, so he's not having to come up with all kinds of weird reasoning to account for what happened-- at first he sounded kind of unnervingly fanatical when he was trying to come up with excuses for his dad killing himself; that was hard to be around, so I'm glad that part's over...


Another thing going on lately that's bothering me is that on top of him feeling more down, he's been noticing that his mom never spends any length of time talking to him at all. So I feel like I'm the only one even worried about how he's doing, and of course it makes him feel bad that she does that (although he backpedaled after he told me it bothered him). He says that any time he gets her on the phone, she always has to go within just a few minutes because she's constantly getting other calls that she just HAS to take.

So that was already making me kind of bugged at her, and then last night my mom told me that m-i-l told my mom that she wonders how much me not letting f-i-l stay here had to do with him killing himself. (there was a fairly big argument over this last summer; I know some of you recall my thread about it.) I expected that she would put some of the blame on me, so it's not exactly a surprise, but still, it's just so ridiculously crappy of her. It just makes me so mad if I think about it much. I just can't believe that she's trying to pin responsibility for something so awful on me.

And then she told my mom, "I'm not going to tell them [me and Mr C] that I think so; I don't want to make them feel bad." Like telling other people that it's my fault and not talking to me about it to my face is just the nice thing to do, to not make me feel bad! God.
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cyphercat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Mar, 2007 08:31 pm
I sort of assume that she has to put some blame on someone else because she must be wrestling with blaming herself... He had told her recently that he'd been in an institution in his twenties, and he thought maybe he needed to go into one again; I know it's bothering her that she didn't take that more seriously. But that doesn't really make me feel more inclined to let her put blame on me, although I'm trying to tell myself to be charitable about how she must be feeling...
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Mar, 2007 08:36 pm
Oh, how infuriating...

Are she and your mother friends? Like, separately from being partners in mother-in-law-dom? Is there any chance that she really didn't expect your mom to relay that information? In a friendship situation, I could see that things would be said just to kind of vent, and then talk about it and realize it was silly -- kind of like Mr. C and his attempts to explain why his dad did it. He said it, realized it was irrational, and got over it.

That sucks though, I'm sorry... (Yes, I remember the whole "MY SON" incident... I actually had forgotten all but the broad outlines until Osso referred to it, then went and found it back... sigh...)
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Mar, 2007 08:42 pm
Oof!
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Mar, 2007 08:46 am
Cyphercat--

Your m-i-l is not going to win any Blue Ribbons for her understanding of family dynamics, is she?

You're absolutely right that she's displacing blame that she doesn't want to carry and bestowing it upon you--not only in her own mind, but in the eyes of the world.

All I can say is that grief is not always an enobling experience. Right now your m-i-l is on a coping level of a toddler with a very nasty brushburn and she wants a mommy to kiss it and make it better.

Picking your mommy to be her mommy was really dumb.

Does she have sisters? How does she get along with them?

While it is very convenient for her to decide that you've taken both her son and her husband, remember she's whacky as a jay bird and her universe has some large flaws in the emotional fabric.


Quote:
On the good side, I'm getting better at just holding my tongue when there's nothing positive for me to say. He says what he needs to and I just try to be there and listen, and I'm not feeling so conflicted about it. Also, he's getting better at being able to accept that he can love his dad without pretending that he was someone that he wasn't. He's getting more able to accept that the depressive side of his father's personality had always been there, so he's not having to come up with all kinds of weird reasoning to account for what happened-- at first he sounded kind of unnervingly fanatical when he was trying to come up with excuses for his dad killing himself; that was hard to be around, so I'm glad that part's over...



Remember, grief and the insight that comes from grief, both spiral. Time will bring your husband greater understanding and insight and you'll have to sit there reflectively listening while he processes the same material over and over and over each time finding more connections, more meaning.

Believe me, someone else gaining deep understanding can be a challenge to appreciate from the outside.

This is why therapy takes time. "Ah-ha" moments are all very well, but every "ah-ha) moment has to be fitted into a personal universe (which had structural integrity before the new element surfaced).

Your father-in-law was a possessive SOB. Undoubtedly he insisted on being the Prime Parent for MY SON, MY SON. Now your m-i-l has to figure out how to connect with her son without his progenitor getting in the way.

Your husband has to figure out how to connect with his mother as an adult. When he became of age and married you, the mother/son relationship started changing. Now the change is much more complicated for them both.

Hold your dominion.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Mar, 2007 10:24 am
That sounds right to me...
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cyphercat
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2007 01:52 pm
Thanks for the responses, guys. I'd have been back sooner, but I kind of only sporadically seem to have the energy for putting my thoughts into words, you know?

sozobe wrote:
Oh, how infuriating...

Are she and your mother friends? Like, separately from being partners in mother-in-law-dom? Is there any chance that she really didn't expect your mom to relay that information? In a friendship situation, I could see that things would be said just to kind of vent, and then talk about it and realize it was silly -- kind of like Mr. C and his attempts to explain why his dad did it. He said it, realized it was irrational, and got over it.


Nope, they're not close at all, they only ever see each other if they run into each other at the store or something like that, and that's rare. My mom was surprised that she thought it was appropriate to unload that on her and expect her to go along with it. Confused ( F-i-l did the same thing with her after his big blow-up at me last summer, as though my mom was going to be looking at it his way, jeez...)

I suspect she's unloading on anyone she runs into that seems like they'll be a sympathetic audience (or just an audience at all).

sozobe wrote:
That sucks though, I'm sorry... (Yes, I remember the whole "MY SON" incident... I actually had forgotten all but the broad outlines until Osso referred to it, then went and found it back... sigh...)


Oh, that was nice of you to bother with tracking that down and reading it again, I appreciate you taking the time Smile It does add a weird layer to this whole thing.

Noddy24 wrote:
All I can say is that grief is not always an enobling experience. Right now your m-i-l is on a coping level of a toddler with a very nasty brushburn and she wants a mommy to kiss it and make it better.

Picking your mommy to be her mommy was really dumb.


I'm glad to hear that you pick up on that too-- it's been driving me crazy and I feel mean for thinking it. I mean, I completely understand that in her position, you'd have your weak moments where you just need to be comforted; but as a parent, it seems to me she needs to also have some strong moments where she's giving comfort to her kids, which doesn't seem to be happening. And yeah, my mom was not the right choice for mommy-role, but I don't think she's being at all selective of who she leans on...

She does have sisters; one she rarely talks to, and one she is fairly close to but who doesn't live very close by.

Noddy24 wrote:
While it is very convenient for her to decide that you've taken both her son and her husband, remember she's whacky as a jay bird and her universe has some large flaws in the emotional fabric.


Thank you for that. I tell myself that it's not accurate or reasonable, but in the back of my mind, it bothers me. I feel guilty for things very easily (Catholicism in the genes) so it's hard for me not to take it to heart. I'm always inclined to think that if someone is blaming me for something, they're probably right; and plus Mr C tends to be so protective of her and thinks of her in such a positive light that I feel like I must be wrong to think not-so-well of her.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2007 03:09 pm
Cyphercat--

Grief is exhausting--and you have a double load because you love your husband and you're helping him carry his turmoil.

Boys should think highly of their mothers. This bodes well for the way they will think of their wives.

You know and I know that your m-i-l didn't hang the moon and arrange the stars, but we're not her sons.

As long as your husband doesn't insist that you must reproduce his childhood home, let him have his illusions.

Believe me, this is better than a grown man wandering through the years insisting, "My mother ruined my life."

Are you managing to catch up with your course work?

Hold your dominion.
0 Replies
 
cyphercat
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Mar, 2007 10:31 pm
Noddy24 wrote:
Boys should think highly of their mothers. This bodes well for the way they will think of their wives.


That's true-- and he does think more highly of me than I deserve, for certain! Laughing I've been trying to look at it that way.

Quote:
As long as your husband doesn't insist that you must reproduce his childhood home, let him have his illusions.


Oy. I'm tryin'...I've gotten more practice on holding my tongue in the last few weeks than I'd gotten in the whole six years we've been together...

Quote:
Believe me, this is better than a grown man wandering through the years insisting, "My mother ruined my life."


Huh, I have to say, I'd never thought of it that way-- that isn't a pretty picture... I'm going to hang onto that thought and keep reminding myself of it.

On the schoolwork-- thank you for asking-- actually I have caught up, thank goodness; we have our spring break this week, too, whew! Plus I not only came back from being behind, I've gotten ahead of the game again. Very Happy And despite being singularly unhelpful, my teachers were at least all openly impressed that I got caught up quickly and turned everything in on time, so that made me feel better about things.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Mar, 2007 07:13 pm
I'm glad the school work is now under control.

Congratulations on developing your listening skills. You'll never get public credit for them, but benign interest is a good quality to have.

Hold your dominion.
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