Family in the kitchen, over the holidays

lavender_lassOctober 7, 2013

This is a Conversations question, so sorry for posting it here...but I wanted a few responses, before it's moved.

I know some people don't get along with their families and holidays are difficult. But has anyone thought they had a good relationship, only to find out, when times are difficult...that they really did not? How do you deal with the holidays?

I don't want to see any of my husband's family. I can't imagine chatting in their kitchens and acting like everything is fine. Their behavior during his illness was very disappointing...and I have not gotten past it. I am not a difficult person to get along with (I'm pretty optimistic) but they acted like I was invisible, during the last year. They didn't treat my husband much better.

So, is it forgive and forget...or go to see my family and not his? While I want my husband to be with his family, if we go...I have to go with him, until he gets better. I need some advice. I'm too close to this to be objective.

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Does he want to see his side of the family? I would let him guide you through all of this and since it's his family, let him decide when, where and how long. For me, in family troubles it helps me to stay close to my spouse, discuss everything, and keep family at a distance, meaning being cordial but no need to be friendly and act like everything is fine. Share info on a need to know or desire to share basis. Keep the visit short and try to remember that people in life will disappoint you, but most people have good intentions and are doing the best that they can with where they are in life at that time.
I know how it feels to have to be around family when you don't want to go. My husband's family STILL gives me stomach aches after 23 years of marriage. But it sounds like this is for him and it's only one day. You can do it for him. You still have time to mull it all around before the day arrives and then just get through it for him.
Thinking of you...

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 1:24PM
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Sometimes I need to take a break from family, and when I need it, I take it. If I don't feel like being around family at the holidays, I just tell them we've made other plans. The more often you do this, the easier it gets. Life is too short to socialize with people out of a sense of obligation. Let enough time pass and maybe you will feel differently about your husband's family. This might be a good holiday to spend with your side of the family.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 1:44PM
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Lavender - I hope you don't mind me asking, but what happened to your husband? I've been on these forums for a long time, but I somehow missed your posts where you talked about his illness. If you don't want to talk about it, I understand:)

Anyway, to answer your question: I would plan a small, short get together with his family (if he wants to) to fulfill your "family obligation", and leave it at that. Say you are busy the rest of the time. Do they live nearby?

If they are coming from out of town and want to stay with you, I would tell then that because of his illness it is too hard to have houseguests, so they will need to stay in a hotel. That deters most people:)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 2:18PM
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Rosy- He got really sick and the doctors didn't know what was wrong. At first, it looked like a liver problem, and then turned out to be some rare virus that attacked his liver and nervous system. He was misdiagnosed and given the wrong medication the first few months, which made things even worse. He went into the hospital in August 2012 and didn't come home until June 2013.

In that time, his family never offered to see if I needed any help with the house, the farm, the volumes of paperwork needed to cover his stay when insurance ran out (although four of his siblings work in this field) or any assistance with his coming home in a wheelchair. (One brother-in-law is a contractor and builds custom homes.)

My husband is now using a walker and getting better each day. That being said, I have no desire to see or interact with people, who told me the day he went into the hospital that I should sell our farm and move into town. Better yet, bankrupt everything and get a little rental somewhere. So I took care of everything myself, with some much needed help from my brother (my only sibling) and I really don't want to see most of his family or talk to them in the near future.

That being said, they're still my husband's family and anything that makes his recovery a little easier is something worth trying. So...that's my dilemma. And to make it worse, I thought his family really liked me...big Italian family with lots of holiday activities. At least, they won't want to come here...they all live nearby and host everything at their homes.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 2:31PM
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Wow, that's hard.

My sister's husband was in the army in Afghanistan and his truck was hit by a roadside bomb. He lost one leg, almost two.

During his stays in various hospitals my sister was by his side doing everything for him. His family was also there, but they were always focused on him. There was a lot of sympathy for him. My sister was the devoted and loving wife, and kind of fell by the wayside in light of his monumental injuries.

Thank goodness she had our family to help her and look out for her emotional well being. Being a caregiver is one of the hardest things a human can do for another human. Despite our support, she had a nervous breakdown two years after his accident.

Being in your situation must have been so hard. I can see why you are bitter. When someone is sick or hurt, the spouse often gets overlooked. They need support too!

Maybe you need a break from them this year. What does your husband want?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 2:47PM
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Sorry, I had to take a call.

Joanie and Jellytoast- Thank you for your responses! You both are saying the exact things I keep telling myself. Either it won't be that bad and just stay for a little while....or stay home or only visit my family, this year.

Maybe it will snow and we'll be stuck at home. Here's wishing for a white Christmas :)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 2:50PM
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Wow, how awful for your sister and her husband! That's got to have been rough. I'm glad you were there for her and I hope she's doing is her husband.

In our situation, it was more that this brought up a lot of old problems, IMHO. The family farm (where we live) was owned by my husband's grandparents and then my husband's father. There was a messy separation (not actual divorce because of the family being Catholic) and some of the kids seem to view the farm as a remnant of this time. I really think a few of the brothers saw this as an opportunity to get us off the farm and put it in the rear view mirror, for themselves. I didn't know it was this bad, until recently.

Sorry if I sound bitter, but I guess I am. Part of the problem is that my husband's mother still does NOT know he was sick or wasn't able to walk for months! Two of his older brothers and one older sister were adamant that she could not be told...and tried to keep other family from initially finding out. His mom is over 80 and I can understand their concern...but what if he had died? There were concerns that might happen, those first few months. She would not have had a chance to even see him...

My husband was on the wrong medication and off and on for a few months, didn't even know who I was. That was the worst. Just a really tough time and driving back and forth to see him (between 30 and 60 minutes each way) almost every day to see him was difficult...especially in the winter. Also tried to keep our business going and the farm. It was crazy!

So, here I am a year later...and every holiday and event, reminds me of what it was like, last year. It's getting better, but it will be some time, before we recover, financially and emotionally. I guess I just needed to say this...without being told "Don't say anything...what if his mom finds out?" Does that make sense. It's like living under a 'gag order' during the most difficult time of your life.

Anyway, I've got to go move the horses into another pasture during lunch! Never a dull moment...thanks for letting me vent! :)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 3:10PM
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Holly- Kay

(((Hugs))) LL. I am so sorry that you had to go through all that on your own.

IMO, it was very wrong for them to not let his mother know what was going on and even more wrong for them to expect you to not mention anything going forward.

You are an amazing lady to have cared not only for your DH but the farm and all that comes with it. You, dear lady, need to do what is right for you. If your DH wants to see his family maybe you could just pop in for dessert. If any one gets on your case you could use the excuse that you fear letting the cat out of the bag.

I wish you and your DH nothing but blue skies for many years.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 3:59PM
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I am so sorry you have had to go through this on your own. That is no way for family to behave! It is so disappointing when the ones who should care the most seem to care the least. If your DH really wants to see them, I would just make a quick "we can't stay more than an hour, DH is still recovering" trip and call it good. If it were me I would beg off completely. Just because people are family doesn't mean they get to treat you like crap and you have to take it.
How does your DH feel about not letting his mother know.? Maybe he can be the one to "lift the gag order" so you all can freely talk about this and get some of these emotions off of your chest.

Sending good thoughts your way.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 4:08PM
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I am so, so sorry to hear about the situation and wanted to send you some (((((HUGS))))).

I'm a bit slow on the uptake sometimes, but, I just don't see how your husband's family thinks they are going to keep his mother from finding out. If your husband is using a walker, and you will be going to family gatherings, isn't she going to notice? If I were your MIL, I would be furious that my children tried to keep this a secret.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 4:32PM
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Stand proud, LL. Stand proud, by yourself and next to your husband. Your line: "Yes, we are so happy we are together and he is doing so well. Great isn't it that he had the family farm to come home to? Glad I could keep it going for us."

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 4:59PM
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LL, you are such a strong lady. Really glad your DH is getting better. I am sending lots of good wishes your way.

I had a good friend in college, and always thought she was my best friend. However, a few years after we both graduated and started our own career, I found out that I was merely a disposable friend. It felt like someone stabbed me in the chest. Because of this, I haven't attended any class reunions since.

That being said, I think family is a little different. It might be better to let your DH decide to go or not. I know my DH would resent me if I try to prevent him from seeing his only sister, even though she is quite difficult to get along with. Now my DH is a message-man between his mother (who is easy-going and wonderful) and his sister, as the sister stopped talking to the mother over a year ago over some trivial matters.

I don't know if your DH's family lives nearby. If not, and if your DH really wants to see his family, I guess you and your DH could consider staying in a hotel for a night or two, instead of staying with the family, "because your DH requires some special care, and it would be more convenient in a hotel room".

That way, you can have some control over how much time you spend in the family kitchen. You could pop in for lunch and/or dinner, and leave right after, "because your DH needs to rest in the hotel", "because you feel exhausted caring for your DH on the way here and really need a good nap", something like that.

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Mon, Oct 7, 13 at 18:00

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 5:31PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I'd be tempted to send holiday cards early, with a nice little newsletter updating them on DH's progress. At the end I'd include something like, "And I'd like to thank each and every one of you who offered help, kind thoughts and prayers. DH and I couldn't have weathered this without our loving families."

That will leave them all wondering what the other family members did to help. :P

Just keep your chin up and show them that you're still standing. (((Hugs)))

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 6:37PM
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robo (z6a)

I have a few thoughts, first of all, that stinks for you. It's awful not to have family come through for you. Second, it's no wonder you're not feeling objective after such an incredibly stressful year. Third, this may stink even more, but I think as your husband recovers it might be best to be guided by his wishes. He may feel like he needs the family cradle, or not! I'm not one to be guided by the notion of family above all or anything, but for now it may be less stressful to go along and smile fakely rather than initiate a Cold War. Unless he also doesn't want to see anyone, in which case you have the perfect excuse....he's just not up for it yet!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 7:17PM
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LL, that is a very sad story. IMHO, you are showing remarkable restraint in your dealings with your husband's family. I'm not sure if I believe that "coddling" the elderly by sparing them truths is good for anyone involved. I sure hope that if I ever get to be that age that people treat me with respect and dignity rather than trying to "spare" me from things that others feel I am too weak to handle.

I do hope that you will elect to do what is best for YOU and your husband during the holidays.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 7:32PM
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I like mama goose's idea.

Actually have a long talk with your DH. Is he aware of all of this? Maybe he doesn't even want to go anywhere for holidays.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 7:36PM
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Lavender Lass, my heart goes out to you and your husband. I hope that he continues to progress with his recovery and you and he are able to find respite/relief from this long, difficult journey.

As others have said, it would be a good idea to ask your husband what he'd like to have happen during the holidays and what he feels up to doing. And, what are his feelings about his Mom being kept in the dark?

Since you've indicated they all live nearby, perhaps showing up to one get together at one of their homes (for a limited period of time) will be enough for your husband to see his family (and manageable for you). If invitations are initiated, just say "if DH is feeling well enough, maybe we can stop by". That will keep them guessing if you'll show (which I guess is a little passive/aggressive payback). Sounds like having anything at your farm brings alot of family baggage for your DH's clan...although if they can see him at your home, they may get a better picture of what you and he have been dealing with.

It never ceases to amaze me the behaviors people have during a time of crisis. Sometimes the people you expect to be there for you just disappear (due to their own fear, issues, selfishness, etc), and they never will recognize or acknowledge their behavior. Then, there are other "everyday angels " who do wonders when you least expect it. I hope those angels are there for you and your husband.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 8:15PM
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Oh boy. LL - What a year you and DH have been through. Thank GOODNESS he is there next to you.

It is amazing how family and near family can impact you. Has anyone read Stephen King's 'Black House'? That is how I used to think (I'll admit, dramatically) of the beautiful house in which DH #1 was raised. Part of this dislike is human nature I think. I seem to always have things which I dislike doing, whether it's on my side of the family, or DH #2's side. To be totally honest, I usually have a nice time at whichever location, and come home and say so. But for some reason, I always dread going to certain things.

DH #1's mom - who was, as I used to like to joke, the reason I married him - always talks about the power of secrets to destroy. I've raised my kids with the concept of - there are no secrets. LL - I can't imagine how hurtful that must be, to pretend that you and DH haven't gone through what you have this past year.

I do agree with others that it's important to get DH's feedback on what's important to him. If it were up to me, I might want to do things on my terms. Going to the family? Put together some really creative dishes which will wow the family. (Post for recipes, I have a few and would love to see others). Take control and host your own get-to-gether. The house gets decorated early (something I stress about).

Thank you for posting. A lot of us have been worrying about you two this past year. Best, oldbat2be

P.S. - rosylady, I'm so glad you asked :)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 9:37PM
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How often and what types of interactions have you had with them in the last 6 months?

Does your husband have a complete understanding of exactly how shabbily you (and he ) were treated by them?

Can you both pay a visit and be objective and detached enough from their passive aggressive drama to add joy to your day?

I think that if you feel that the time spent will be something that you say the next day, week, month, I'm glad we went, then you go. If you can't imagine how that could happen, then it's time for a different tradition this year.

(and devil on the shoulder says...)
Maybe this is the year to send out one of those Christmas letters where you tell what you have been up to all year.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 9:57PM
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Once you take off the rose tinted glasses (or in your case they're ripped off), it's practically impossible to put them back on if you're not a false person.

I've seen (and benefitted from) many of your posts LL. You're thoughtful and kind, and take the time to help people you don't even know. I'm sorry you're feeling so low about your DH's family.

My suggestion would be to do whatever you feel strong enough to do. It sounds like you've been a rock through this, but even a rock can crack. You could leave the decision to the day if you wanted. Stomach bugs are very sudden and very contagious.

Just don't allow yourself to become more distraught (I know, easier said than done). Life's too short to become this distressed over people who have proven they won't be there in your time of need. Seems like your energy is better spent elsewhere.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 10:22PM
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I have some very difficult members of my husband's family. I have felt the pain of realizing they did not feel about me the way I thought they did. If in your position I would do as joanie38 and FalParsi suggested... for this year at least. I think that when your husband is very healthy and the stress of his illness is more of a memory I would have a conversation with him about your feelings and how the relationships should be handled in the future with a show of unity as a couple.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 10:25PM
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I have nothing to say, but sending lots of positive energy.
I can't even imagine a family that pretends to be close and acts this way.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 10:35PM
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LL, I admire you greatly for being able to keep it together. Taking care of your husband, keeping a farm going that has animals that need care & feeding, some would have given up and let it go. You are a strong woman. Your husband is awfully lucky he picked you to be his life partner.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 11:38PM
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Life's too short to waste time on people that don't have time for you, too. It's more complicated here since it's DH's immediate family, but that doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of time with them. Between the way you and DH were treated, and the way their mother is treated, it sounds like there are a lot of issues in that family.

I wouldn't blow them off completely unless DH insists he doesn't want to go. Don't give them a reason to make -you- the problem when clearly it's their behavior causing problems. But it would be perfectly acceptable to duck out early. It will be more tiring than usual helping DH function in a home not adapted to his needs in any way. Plus if DH gets too run down, and exposed to many people, his risk of getting a cold or the flu goes up, which could hit him very hard (don't forget to get your flu shots!).

They may feel slighted, but that's their problem. My guess is your family would be thrilled to see you both even for appetizers, and pack you a dinner to go before you even had your coats on if you had to leave unexpectedly. So glad you have your family behind you!

You have so much on your plate, don't give them the power to make you feel guilty. Not only do they not know what you are dealing with on a day to day basis, they have actively opted out of your daily challenges. They have moved themselves down on your list of priorities, it was not you.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 12:02AM
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Thank you all for the wonderful comments and support! I got busy after closing off the pasture...and just checked back on my post.

I'm going to read through all these tomorrow, but I appreciate all the thoughtful responses. I'm pretty tired, but at least no homework due tonight, so I'm going to get some sleep. Hope you all have a wonderful evening :)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 12:03AM
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LL, I understand what you are going through. When I went through my ordeal of major surgery, two people (one a cousin and one a life long friend) were just not there for me. So hurtful and so disappointing.

I think your husband's family did not expect you to manage as well as you did. Their way of getting you to see it their way and sell the farm. Well, you showed them.

You have every right to feel how you are feeling. Have you had a discussion about how you were treated? Also, your husband must have realized that his family did not visit him in the hospital?

If your husband is still using a walker by Thanksgiving, then that can be your easy out! Since MIL doesn't know, "Don't you think it best that we take a pass on this years festivities?"

Sending positive thoughts to you.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 12:10AM
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Wow. Talk about sucks. My first, second, and third reactions are pretty much these people are not worth your and DH's time, but then I think they are his family, so it's not so easy to blow them off.

One thing I wanted to check was if there is any way this is a cultural miscue? I ask because a newly married couple we knew when we were all young had multiple misunderstandings that had to do with differences in their backgrounds. She came from a military family from Texas and he came from an immigrant family from China via Mexico. His family ignored her birthday, while birthdays were a big deal where she came from. She thought it was a comment on her (not being Chinese or Mexican), but it was actually because culturally they didn't make a big deal out of anyone's birthday. You say this is a big Italian family - is hear no evil (sickness), etc. just the way they normally operate? Seems unlikely, but you never know. Maybe these people are just incredibly self-absorbed and have no excuse.

Regardless, they are DH's family. If he wants to see them and he can't without you, you really have to go. You can and should limit your exposure, but you need to do the minimum. You have to be polite, but you don't have to have any heart-to-hearts with the wretches. My daughter has an extremely difficult MIL (!!!) and I tell her the same. As time goes by the situation may change, but for this year do what you have to do. You've done so much for him in the last year, you can do this one thing more.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 1:22AM
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I'm also so sorry to learn about this special hurt piled on top of all you've had to bear. This forum has never had anything but kindness and generosity, and of course enthusiasm, from you. I actually find myself really doubting that your husband's family does not like you and care about you, though you yourself are not a blood relative...

When people have hurt me, the most helpful thing I've done was to set out to learn why people would act that way. I don't mean asking them directly to provide their rationalizations. I'm sure yours have whomped up plenty amongst themselves to "justify" abandoning family in need. Rather, learning more about the psychology of people in general and of family and other interpersonal dynamics. You obviously have a lot of complex stuff going on here that's not about their feelings for your husband and you, as you note with the family farm issue and your mother-in-law.

In any case, how about reading up on what happens when people like all of you get in these situations? Many excellent books cost little more than the $3.99 postage to have them delivered.

We're all whackadoodles, sometimes more, sometimes less, but always not nearly as rational, independent, or competent emotionally to deal intelligently with life as we imagine we are, and that's individually, much less than when we're under the influence of groups. Much less when that group is family.

Understanding why families behave as they do makes a world of difference. I'm guessing that with each new bit of insight into the behaviors of whackadoodles you'd find yourself forgiving this set a bit, until eventually you could once again appreciate what is good about them. Someday.

For now, the holidays? Maybe imagine what a perfect LavenderLass would do if you were her and go on from there? Just another task, and you're used to handling those. :)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 8:00AM
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Lavender Lass~
You need hugs!!! Congradulations for being a strong person, even when it doesn't feel like it. You have been strong for your husband and thats awesome. You could probably post your location and get more casseroles, house cleanings, help with the horses (I'm in for that!), grass mowing, field mowing, and friendship from your friends on here than from family. I've learned that family is not always what it should be. Divorces in my husband's family has skewed their views on life. There is bitterness that runs so deep I can not understand it. Forgiving is not forgetting. Its letting you release the anger so that you can live a full life and enjoy each day (with or without those who hurt you). You have my hugs, thoughts, and prayers.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 8:51AM
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You won't recognize me because I have been reading, and not posting, but I had to respond as I feel that I know you. I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I understand the hurt and the anger, but you know what? people like that are not worth your time and energy (I say that from a position of being there as well). Every day we deal with people that are not our friends or people that we don't like, but must interact with. And we do it without any expectation from them. Make these people part of that group. It's hard, because we want more from family, but sometimes we just need to lower our expectations in order to keep our own sanity and happiness.
Follow your husband's lead on this one and comfort yourself with the knowledge that you did indeed find the diamond in the pile of glass.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:47AM
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I'm so sorry that you have been through such a stressful year. Your hubby is one lucky man, to have you by his side as support, and also to take over the running of the farm. Not many women could do so much.

If I understand correctly, you reached out to his family and were rejected?

Does DH want to see his family for the holidays? Will his mother be present? Let him spill the beans about his illness to her.

I certainly would not be generous with food or gifts. In fact, I would request that we not be included in giving or receiving, as we are recovering from a financially stressful year. It seems that DH has a large family, so the giving would certainly outweigh the receiving. I'd also have a hard time buying gifts for the adults who proved how miserly they were with time and money.

just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:48AM
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My prayers are with you as you sort out your plans. Family difficulties are a "specialty" of mine as ours has seen so many, nothing surprises me anymore.
Please discuss this openly with your husband, even though he is still on the mend, he may want the chance to show support to you now that his crisis is abating. No doubt he knows his family. If he was too ill to realize, you must tell him now. He should be the one to tell his mother how ill he was. He should be the one to also let his siblings know where he stands.
We are also a farm family and I understand completely the special dynamics that go into the livelihood, economics, landholdings, inheritance; etc. Your issues of holiday plans are just a diversion my dear. Of course this year is the year to go to your family. But the other family issues should be dealt with, maybe by your husband going to visit his mother before any holiday. Just because she is over 80 doesn't mean she cant deal with it.
Again my prayers for you and your husband.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 11:19AM
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I suggest that you let your husband decide how to relate to his own mother independent of his siblings' feelings. This is between your husband and his mother, no one else, not even you. Then you decide if you want to honor your husband's wishes. Leave your in laws out of this so that you don't add fuel to the fire.
About 10 years ago, I was very ill and and was at near death door. During that time, my husband and my parents did not get along. After I recovered, my father refused to talk to my husband. My mother was very distraught about this decision on my dad's part and hid that fact for several years. I did not know why but I saw only my mom very rarely.

Fast forward few years, both my parents are dead now.

Most of our family conflict arose because all parties were extremely worried for the well being (live or die consequence) of someone that was dear to them. Everyone wants to be RIGHT and they don't want their world view challenged when they are at the edge of their comfort level.

What i am trying to say is that even though you may not agree with your in laws, they are coming from a position that tries to protect someone they love.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 11:42AM
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You are a warm caring person. Do discuss with your DH about his wishes but I also feel you have a independent relationship with your husband's family. I think that it is going be healthier and provide some degree of closure to express your feelings to your husband's family. Families need some honest communication occasionally to clear the cobwebs. There was a situation a few years ago where I felt that DH's family did not care for me personally. I rationalized in my head and tried to brush it away but it sat there silently like the elephant in the room. I felt my interactions with them were not honest. I finally took an opportunity to have a frank conversation with my MIL and SIL and they were genuinely contrite. I also realized that my "Strong Woman" approach made it harder for people to offer support and sometimes asking for support is opens the door for greater closeness and sharing among family. After my experience another relative who had married into the family like myself suffered a personal loss and the family openly trooped around her. She later told me that she had me to thank for having that conversation with my MIL to make them more sensitive and proactive about helping. Even if your conversation is fruitless, you would have gotten it off your chest and can move on to whatever degree of relationship seems doable on both sides.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 1:15PM
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Thank you all for sharing your own experiences and offering such thoughtful advice. My MIL is a wonderful woman and I know she will not be happy, when she finds out they've kept this from her.

My husband's oldest sister was also not told, until recently. She was furious, with the two brothers and sister I mentioned earlier. She took her kids aside (all in their 20s) and said if they EVER do this to her, she will disown them. She's actually pretty cool.

So, the problem is that the BIL I'm not happy with (sell the farm, etc.) hosts the Christmas Eve party each year. I talked to my husband and he doesn't want to spend Thanksgiving with them, anyway. We usually don't drive in every year, so that's not going to be a problem.

As for his mother...she might not even go to the Christmas Eve event, since she has not felt well and didn't go last year. My husband is hoping he'll be doing well enough by Christmas that he can stop by her house and visit. I'm sure she has to know something is going on, but she did this same thing to her mom, years ago...and that's where the kids got the idea.

I just don't like all this lying. The brothers were freaking out and begged me to 'stay with the story' when my husband was out of it. Now, it's taken on a life of its own. She's not my mom, so it's not my call...but during this same time, she knew her SIL was fighting cancer, her DIL was also fighting cancer and her first great-grandchild was born very premature. She took all this in stride...but my husband's condition has to stay a secret.

The other frustrating thing...if she did know, she would have an absolute fit, over the way some of the kids have behaved, not only how they treated me, but that they didn't visit my husband that often and she was kept out of the picture. When she does find out, I'm going to be out of town! LOL (Okay, I do live out of town) but you know what I mean...

After thinking about all this and reading all your posts...and talking to my husband last night...I think we won't go, unless his mom is going to be there. If she is, he'll have to tell her before Christmas Eve. When he does, it might be kind of fun to go. Is that terrible or what? :)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Is that terrible or what? :)


    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 3:21PM
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Thanks, Suzanne :)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 3:38PM
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(((hugs for you)))

I'm glad too that your DH is on the mend, good heavens what a nightmare that has been for you.

Doesn't it hurt when you you get a reality check like this? I've had one of my own in the last couple years and it is so painful and hurtful. But. You now know who you CAN'T count on and there is some value in that, at least.

Lavender, as much as you can know anyone on the web, I feel confident in saying that I think you are a class act and however this works out for the holidays, I have no doubt that you'll handle it gracefully.

(((another hug)))

p.s. I'd love to have someone like yourself in my family!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 4:05PM
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LL - I say CONGRATS...on being strong enough to weather the storm and come out ahead. Also, congrats on holding your tongue. I agree with ppbenn and kaismom... you should have a frank and open discussion with DH regarding your feelings towards the in-laws. He should have the conversation with his family and be the one to dictate the next interaction - if any.

Whenever I have my feelings hurt, I try (this can be hard to do) to imagine the story from the other side to see if this changes the way I feel - some times it does...or not, but there is always another side. It sounds like there are some deep seeded family issues that are still unresolved. Does that excuse them - no, but it can help to explain their treatment.

Perhaps now is a time to make new traditions and plan happy events that will bring both you and DH lots of joy. As hard as it is to do the best advice I have is to move on, let it go and know in your heart and mind that you are a better person and they don't deserve your hurt.

So....did you paint the kitchen yet...or did I miss that update?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 5:56PM
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Well it seems that DH's mom isn't so frail after all if she could cope with all that other stuff!

If she's likely to find out at a holiday gathering, that could turn ugly. Maybe DH might want to tell her soon, "now that things have settled down" following all the other health crises, since it "recently came to his attention" she still has not been told.

Sounds like a complicated situation! As long as you stay a team, you will be fine. I hope you can settle on a plan that let's you enjoy the holiday season together guilt-free. You have a lot to celebrate this year!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:10PM
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Strong MIL and SIL kept in the dark, DH ill and out of it. It sounds as if the whole family dynamic was altered and ended up being guided by ones who weren't up to the job.

I'm so glad you're together on a decision. Just as Williamsem says, as long as you're a team you'll be fine. I hope you are able to spend Christmas Eve in league with your MIL, though, looking those foolish guys in the eye together. :)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 12:07PM
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Deedles- Thank you, that's very sweet. I wish I had someone like you, too. Holidays would be a lot more fun! :)

Mgo- I have not painted the kitchen yet, but hope to soon. My mom is painting her back bedroom...and we share the ladder. Hope to start weekend after this. This weekend, my husband and I are going to do something fun, since it's our 16th anniversary!

William- If we tell her, it will be before Christmas Eve or we won't go. Good point.

Rosie- :)

Thank you all for the great advice and support! I feel much better about the holidays and wish I could see you all and give you a big's so nice to have so many friends. I don't care if we ever meet in person. You are all the best and I wish you all happy holidays!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 2:21PM
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LL, I feel really glad things are working out for you. It's comforting to know your MIL and SIL are great people, unlike the ill-behaved BIL.

Happy 16th Anniversary! Hope you will have lots of fun together!

I totally forgot our 3rd anniversary is also coming up. Oops. It's the weekend after yours. You reminded me just in time, thanks a lot!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 3:11PM
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