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How do I handle this one?

Posted by AnnieDeighnaugh (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 20, 13 at 20:05

My brother's son has contacted me for the first time in 3 years and wants to pick up pictures of my brother and my mother. He says he doesn't have any. I figured after I gave him the money from my mother's estate, it'd be the last I'd see of him, especially since he got married over a year ago (which I found out from his facebook page) and I had no notice, invite or anything else.

Long story and many reasons as to why we are estranged, but among other things, he so often broke my mother's heart, including never coming to see her after he found out she was terminal though he said he would. Also that the only time we ever hear from him is if he wants something...like now. (DH wants nothing to do with him.) I called him to invite him to Mom's memorial service and he just said he couldn't come, and he didn't.

So any advice? Try to leave myself open to a relationship with him? Keep my expectations low? Keep it formal and cordial as with a stranger? I truly believe that the only things I could gain from a relationship with him are negative. He really loved my mom, but abandoned her when she needed him most. There's no way he would treat me any better than he did her.

I don't trust him and as he is my closest blood relative, I fear that should anything happen to me, he'd be the person others would assume would step in and manage my affairs. He hasn't proved able to handle his own, and I'd rather have nothing to do with him and let professionals take care of me. DH and I have done what we could in advance to appoint professionals for handling our affairs and have cut him out of the picture.

Yet part of me wants to perhaps try to understand, heal old wounds and make amends and hopefully get him to understand family relationships from a different perspective. Especially since I have so little family left. But, just like with his mother, I'm sure only a few minutes with him and I'll be climbing the walls with anger and frustration and conclude that no contact is best.

So call me stunned and confused and conflicted.

Any suggestions?

This post was edited by AnnieDeighnaugh on Sat, Jul 20, 13 at 20:09


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How do I handle this one?

From what I see above, I'd mail him the photos and avoid the personal interaction.

'... I'm sure only a few minutes with him and I'll be climbing the walls with anger and frustration and conclude that no contact is best. '


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RE: How do I handle this one?

You don't have to have a relationship with him...but, it would be nice if you would give him the photos that he is asking for.

I know a few people who completely shut down when a family member was ill. Some people can't handle illness. They might think they can, by saying they will visit. But can't when its time.

Same thing with funerals, just too hard to be there. They, more thing likely, regret that they were not strong enough when its too late.

I would leave the relationship door cracked, give him the photos. Don't slam it till he wants more then you want to give.

ML


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I would probably have copies made of the photos, assuming you want to retain the originals, and then provide the copies to him or you could send him a digital set of the photos. You don't have to have a relationship with him to honor his request. I don't like closing doors completely. Who knows what changes the future might bring?


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RE: How do I handle this one?

People mature at different rates. Now that he is married, he might be letting himself feel things he never felt before.
Other than the photos, why do you think he wants anything more from you?
If he lives close to you, I would let him stop by and pick up the photos. See where this short visit leads.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I am so sorry. :(

I would second what Ellendi is saying, only suggest perhaps meeting in a public place like a quiet coffee shop. That way, you have an "out" to leave whenever you want, and will feel less intruded upon.

I also don't think we can make people understand. BUT, we can model. I know we've talked about Les Mis before together (and I still have not read the book-- DD is begging me to do it so I think I will), but in the little bit I've read so far, that priest is really the kind of person I want to be. I suppose the idea behind it is to give without any expectation. That's pretty tough.

I'll be thinking of you!


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I haven't read any of the responses but that won't keep me from responding. I've plucked children out of the dregs of society and declared them my children.

People with baggage have their own story. Be open to it. I suspect damage but my instincts might be off.l


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Well we are all damaged, are we not?

I never got along with my brother and never understood why he hated me so much until I was older. I never understood how much he hated me until I read his suicide note. My brother had serious mental wiring issues. It wasn't until after he died that I realized he likely had a mild form of aspergers having been extremely anti-social from a very early age.

My brother spent a lifetime of filling his son's head with how evil my father and I are... N (nephew) never asked for pictures of his grandfather. So a relationship is unlikely. He'd have to overcome too many lies he's been told all his life and I doubt he has any incentive to do so...just as he has ignored his own experience of his grandfather in favor of his father's version of him.

I have my own separate reasons for my anger with him and it comes out in ways that make me behave controlling and condescending when he's around...probably as a way to protect and control myself. (Control myself about telling him the truth about things that would only end up hurting him...and while I may feel a need to do that, he certainly doesn't need to hear it...or does he if it helps him grow and change? I don't know so I don't go there.) So clearly, the person he sees in me is not one worth spending time getting to know. I don't know if I'm strong enough to let myself be open to him and forgive the past. And if the payoff of a relationship with him is to be abandoned when in need...like he did to my mother who so loved him, and whom he so loved...then it's not worth it.

I never liked his mother, brother's first wife. (Their marriage lasted less than 5 yrs.) Her personality always grated me...which is saying something as I manage to get along pretty well with all kinds of people from all walks of life. She is a pathological liar. She would lie to me about things that I had first experience of. And her level of insensitivity to other peoples' experiences and feelings was stunning*. (She was remarried a few days after the divorce was final.) N is very, very close to his mother, and genes and experience aren't going to let him land far from that tree...actually from either of those trees.

Yet part of me says this is an opportunity to create some good, heal some wounds and maybe make things better for him .... hard though it might be.

I'm telliing you, there's nothing that cuts your heart open like family issues.

--------
*My poor Mom...can you imagine having lost your son to suicide, mourning his loss, helping your grandson settle the estate (brother left everything to his son) and having his mother in the car say, "We're rich! We're rich!"


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RE: How do I handle this one?

The woman you have just described sounds pretty damaged by past baggage, too. She also sounds pretty judgmental in the present. Nephew needs to grow and change, does he? Why? So he can fit into a "wonderful nephew" mold?

If she desires a relationship with her nephew, she may just have to be the one modifying her attitudes and making the next step. And if she takes that step, she'd better dump any expectations for they will only set her up for even more disappointment. Expectations are judgments, aren't they?

If she doesn't desire a relationship, she could copy and deliver the pictures. Be done with it. Move forward.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Yes, jmc, you are right...I have been damaged by the past. And maybe this is an opportunity to try and heal. N needs to grow and change, not to fit my mold of him, but because at my core I believe we are all living life to grow and change and learn lessons and that is hard to do if we don't face our truth...harder for him if he doesn't even know it. But you are right... he will never fit my expectations and if I go into this having any, it will lead to disappointment. Thank you for your insights.

my3dogs, I hadn't considered just mailing him the pics...some how that seems a little too cold since I know it probably was a struggle for him to even call me in the first place. And the least I can do is to try and honor that.

ML, thanks for that. I think you are right that he didn't know how to deal with illness...but there were so many times even before she was terminal that he hurt her in the same way. Perhaps he never learned the importance of his presence in her life.

Fun 2B Here, I agree. I'm not one usually for burning bridges...

ellendi, there is something to what you say as it his father died in 2007 and his grandmother in 2010 and this is the first he's approached me about pictures of them.

anele, thank you for bringing up les mis....and the ability to give completely without expectation. But more importantly being a model. Not easy to do for sure, but worth the effort.

golddust, no doubt lots of damage all around...and I believe that at his core he is well intentioned, if not always so good at execution...who is?


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RE: How do I handle this one?

In reading your post again Annie, I can relate a similar although not as deep story.

My DH's sister was married to an alcoholic. As a result, we had little contact with them throughout the years although we did visit from time to time. They have three children.

About five years ago, both DH's sister (she had a terminal illness) and her DH died within five weeks of each other. He had throat cancer, but his death was unexpected.
We got involved in helping them with estate issues and the sale of the house. That is when it cam out that DH"s sisters husband brainwashed his daughters to not trust my DH. Really have no clue why.
Oldest daughter is my DH's goddaughter. Slowly they have started to build a friendship. She saw clearly that my DH's advise and help was for her own best interest and came to terms with the lies that she was brought up with from her father.
All three daughters live in California, so our contact is limited to phone calls, and emails and a very occasional visit.

Just shows that things can work out. Yours sounds a bit more complicated.

I think part of you is torn because you have so few relatives, and family is important. That said, having him in your life in a positive way may not happen.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I'm thinking maybe a written contact would be better than a face-to-face one. If he has any capacity to reflect or think, a note or letter would give him the best and longest opportunity to do so. A conversation is quick, and body language goes straight to our well-established bad habit paths. But words alone can touch us in different places at different moments. Like the photos he's asking for, your written sentiments could spark some kind of enlightenment. I wouldn't make them heavy or preachy, though. Just a piece of you to hold in his hand and come to the next step with.

The letter could include an invitation to visit. You would then know if he wants/is ready for anything more than the pictures.

I feel for you, Annie. My only remaining brother is the closest blood relative I have. I never really feel heard or understood with anyone else like I do with him, yet he didn't come to my wedding or my mother's funeral. When I talk with him I feel healed. I don't think he feels the same way. By the way, this brother made good strides in maturation and relationships after the age of 40. It is possible.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks, ellendi and jamies for the helpful and hopeful comments. I'm not sure I'll ever be ready for any real relationship with him in my life or vice versa...but it would be nice to be cordial and less strained at a minimum. (And of course, I'm doing this work, but DH is not...that's a whole 'nother thing.)


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Perhaps his new wife has something to do with him contacting you? A spouse can sometimes offer a fresh perspective on situations that we feel are set in stone.

I would meet with him, see if his "reaching out" has some merit. You never know . . .


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I think that perhaps copying the pictures, together with writing a narrative of what you remember about the occasion that they were taken would be a positive and cathartic experience for you. Perhaps also write a couple of positive memories of you and his father and of him when he was small. Small nuggets of a shared family history that was pleasant. Mail the package to him, perhaps with a small keepsake of some variety beyond the pictures (if you have one). Include an invitation for him and his new wife to visit, "when he's ready". That will be a positive step for you, and it puts the burden of next contact firmly in his court. If he is striving for a change, he will take you up on it. If not, then it lets you discharge some emotional energy in his direction without risking anything further from that personal contact experience.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

kelly, I hadn't thought about his wife playing a role...you may be right.

GreenDesigns, I'll have to think about your suggestion...that may be more positive and proactive than I'm willing to be at this point.

It would be worthwhile to talk to him as I have no idea what, if anything, he ever did with my brother's body. My SIL died several months earlier and I took care of everything to have her buried at sea, but never received any notification from the Navy as they would only notify next of kin which at the time was my brother, and of course, he never told me. I assume they took care of her.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I'm wondering why he wants the pictures. I would probably just give him copies and not the originals. As far as creating the beginnings of a relationship with him - just remember that wishing doesn't make it so.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Blfenton, the thing is, I'm not sure I want a relationship with him. I certainly don't trust him.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

People do grow and change and like others have suggested maybe your N is gaining new perspectives on his own now that he's married and moving forward with his own life. I suspect he had a difficult time dealing with the illness and subsequent death of your mother, especially if she was the most stable person in his life. I've never been in your situation so I can't really relate to what you are feeling, however, I believe in following my gut and you should listen to whatever that little voice is telling you; our instincts seldom misguide us.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

It appears that your nephew's parents both had some "issues". It seems probable that their issues have affected him in a major way. I am not trying to excuse him, just understand him. Other posters have suggested that he may be maturing. He has contacted you so take it for what it is --a beginning, a conversation. You have the opportunity (power) with the photo exchange to make it a pleasant, comfortable experience. This will probably never be the relationship YOU imagine, but perhaps you two can meet in the middle. Good luck.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

ratherbesewing, you may be right that this is a beginning and a conversation. I spoke with DH and he is fine with making it a cordial get together and exchange. I figure I could show him the same courtesy I would a stranger, as in many ways, he is a stranger. I don't really imagine a relationship with him at all...but would just like any interaction to be less strained.

lukkiirish, I'm sure he's had a difficult life in many ways...as have we all. Following my instinct is a good suggestion, and right now my instinct is telling me that, just as in the past, he is contacting me now only because he wants something. He, of course, showed up to get his distribution from Mother's estate. When I called him to invite him to her memorial service, he said he couldn't attend even before I told him when it was. In the meantime he got engaged and married. The only way I found out about it was he changed the cover photo on his facebook page. I received no invite, announcement, nothing. And now I hear from him out of the blue because he wants pictures. I suspect it will be cordial if strained interaction and I won't hear from him again until he wants something else from me.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Maybe it's not so much the nephew, but all the memories and feeling that are now flooding back to you.
I think at this point in time, your gut is saying that you are are not ready to have even limited contact with your nephew.
I am wondering too, if you want to clarify, justify or just be able to tell your nephew YOUR side of the story? Get it out in the open, once and for all?


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I'm thinking maybe his wife is having an influence on him in a good way. She may want the pictures for their children and perhaps she's even pregnant. I'd respond with a date and add, looking forward to meeting your wife. Then see what happens.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Here is my advice.

Pondering the ins/outs of this situation is draining you. It is likely that YOU are investing a lot more time in thinking about the right course of action, while he just wants the pictures. He probably asked you and then went about his day, not giving it a second thought.

There is a man who is a Buddhist monk in Japan. He made a big effort to reach out to those who are considering suicide, since it is much more prevalent and even acceptable there. He would go to great lengths to help them. Finally, he said-- enough. I am here for them, but if they REALLY want help, they need to show it and make the effort. Then I know they are sincere and can actually be helped.

You are a good person. You are a wise and introspective person. Do not doubt yourself. Honor where you are and what you need. Leave guilt aside because it serves no positive purpose.

Note-- the article listed may have triggers for those who have dealt with the issue of suicide.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ittetsu Nemoto


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RE: How do I handle this one?

ellendi, you are right about his contact roiling up emotions that I'd rather not have roiled.

yayagal, yes maybe his wife...maybe they are expecting, though I think he would've said if they were...maybe they are thinking about trying....

anele, thank you so much for your wise words. I have taken them to heart. I found the article very interesting too...and decided I don't think I want to try and become a buddhist nun!


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I love what Anele said, such good advice. She's right, you are a very kind person, you can see it in your advice and common sense. God bless.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks, yayagal. I appreciate it.

But it's so much easier to dispense advice when you aren't personally involved, and so much harder to see clearly when you're loaded down with baggage. That's why I so appreciate having a forum like this one full of wise and caring people who are willing to listen and advise.

Thanks so much, everyone!


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Hee hee about becoming a Buddhist nun! My mom is the one who passed the article onto me-- I told her how amazed I was that everything he went to train as a priest was truly a lesson for him. I still haven't figured out if that is because he finds deep meaning more than most, or if the lessons are so precise/people are predictable that they are designed to work that way for anyone willing to endure them.

My mom was a former (Catholic) nun. I don't get the same feeling from her stories as his regarding her training. Seems like what she went through was more punishment vs. enlightenment.

Hope you feel a little lighter yourself regarding the original issue! :)

Hugs from afar!


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I found it very interesting as I always thought buddhism was about alleviating suffering through kindness, compassion and generosity. Yet this monk seems to think that it was specifically suffering that led him to his enlightenment and that you can't get there unless you suffer enough....like being up and working without sleep for 7 days! Yikes.

Yes, thank you, I am feeling better about the situation....I will do my best to leave the past in the past, live in the present moment, approach the encounter with no expectations and focus on being cordial...if he chooses to come into the house at all. He may not...he may just take the pics and run.

Who knows? I'll just let it be.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Sounds like a plan.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Update:

I went through a bunch of old pictures and realized there was no way to know which ones I had duplicates of or not, so I created an on-line album of scanned images and sent him an email to share it with him, which he cordially accepted. I'm glad I responded as I did.

My instincts were correct.

I suspect it will be cordial if strained interaction and I won't hear from him again until he wants something else from me....

Today I received the dunning email from him....he's in financial trouble, needs money and I'm probably the only one in a position to help....and to think he inherited a significant amount of money when my brother died only about 6 years ago. The money went like water through a sieve. My Mom was so wise to leave him nothing but a pittance...she knew his mother would get ahold of it and it would disappear.

I'm still so disappointed in myself for holding out even some shred of hope, however slim, that he wanted me for something other than my money. What a waste of my emotional energy.

As I suspected, the initial contact was a set up for asking me for money....he was so insistent on coming over, I was very suspicious. The only thing I found impressive was that he waited almost 3 months before he hit me up for cash. That's more restraint than he's shown in the past. He must be growing up!

I guess it takes all kinds....


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Don't be hard on yourself for having hope, AnnieD. Hope is what fuels the soul....be thankful you still have it, and in the face of so many disappointments. I find it admirable.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks, kswl, I needed that.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I'm sorry, Annie, that is disappointing.

When faced with people who I care about but who I know in my head are bound to disappoint, I always tell myself the same thing: take the high road. In other words, be courteous and kind and helpful, even if not deserved, so that you can never have any regrets about your own behavior, or be assailed for it. That doesn't mean be a pasty and give money to a n'er do well, but it does mean to do what you did. Exactly what you did. So, kudos to you, and no reason not to keep hoping.

All my best.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

thanks for posting the outcome, how disappointing for you. You gave him the benefit of the doubt for a while, but your guards were up and rightly so.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks, guys. This is so disappointing on so many levels. I appreciate your support.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

The nerve of him to try and manipulate you like that. Your Mom was a wise woman, even though she loved him she knew not to enable him. I'm so sorry you're feeling disappointed but, by not helping him, he may one day come to the realization that he's the one that's causing his own problems. Hope is my favorite word.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks yayagal, yeah, his behavior is very nervy, but not surprising.

Hope...a difficult word as it is both optimism in the face of daunting odds, yet can be so painfully deceiving when it's false. I always thought it was interesting that the last thing to fly out of Pandora's Box was "Hope". Was that a good or an evil?

I'm drafting an email response and letting it sit...I keep adding paragraphs at the end for my sake, which so far I have been successfully deleting (snark and sarcasm keep showing up!) ....I'm trying to choose kindness (taking mtnrd's advice to heart) as he is in a difficult situation, regardless of how much is of his own making. I know it won't be perceived as such...all he'll see is that I'm not shelling out the bucks. But I'm an economist, and the begging that he's doing right now is not what I consider to be a solid business plan to get out of a financial mess.

What's so frustrating is he had so many advantages over so many people, and rather than making the best of them and building upon them, he ran them all into the ground.

Sigh.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Short and sweet response would be what I would do, you are holding on still to your resentment and disappointment.

He's not going to learn anything no matter how you word your email and what he did with the $ in the past is a done deal . The exercise of your extra paragraphs is therapeutic for you no doubt but I believe you should focus on letting this go for your own peace of mind. Fire him a short and business like refusal, possibly that will help you bring some closure in this matter. Good luck with that, this is a hard one.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I sent him a note and surprisingly he responded. So I replied, correcting a misstatement of events he made concerning his father and my parents. He will no doubt stop when he realizes it's a fruitless quest no matter how he tries to engage me or spin the past or deny responsibility.

But if he doesn't, it definitely will get short and sweet, as mitchdesj suggests...

Thanks!


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RE: How do I handle this one?

For all who have followed along on this saga with me, I thought I'd give you an update.

The last I heard from my nephew was just after thanksgiving...he wished me a happy holiday and I replied wishing him the same.

I just found out today from an obit in the paper that he passed away "peacefully in his sleep" last Friday at the age of 33. I don't know what he died of. I suspect suicide...following in the path of his father and grandfather before him, but I don't know. I guess DH and I will go to the wake...not sure if we'll be welcome or not....frankly I'm in a state of shock, but I feel a strong need to go, even if only to give my condolences to the family. I know what it's like to lose someone too soon...in fact, several someones, and it's not easy. I'm sure his mother is devastated as they were so close.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Oh Annie, how sad. Just awful. I'm so sorry.

Beth P.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks, Beth.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Annie, I am so sorry. That is so incredibly heartbreaking.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

So sorry to hear that you have had so many struggles with your families and end with this outcome.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I have a chill reading this, Annie. I am incredibly sorry for everyone.

I read an article recently about a woman who lost her husband to suicide. It is heartbreaking, especially because, as you said, it seems to start a "tradition" in the family. The pain continues.

I appreciate that you will be going to the wake. Please let us know how we can support you.

Many hugs going out to you and your family.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thank you so much for your kind words, Marlene, Kellie and Anele. That alone is so helpful to me.

Yes, Anele, isn't that the way? Unless the pain is dealt with, it continues to operate in destructive ways in many people. Somehow the path laid out by one seems to become more acceptable to others...and yet, I don't understand it because, if you have lived the devastation of losing someone to suicide, how can you want to visit that upon anyone else?

Of course, I don't know if that's what happened. Perhaps at the wake, I will find out...


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RE: How do I handle this one?

What a sad thing, Annie.
33 is so young; too young to die.
I'm really sorry that things happened this way.
I don't guess "condolences" is apropos, so I'll just say Best Wishes to you.


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Oh Annie, that is truly sad to hear. I found myself holding my breath as I read about your nephew. How devastating to his family. I can easily understand your desire to attend the wake, you feel a need to be present. It's such a difficult time- I'll be thinking of you.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

What a sad outcome indeed, you must be in shock. All the best to you in this hard period.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thank you, melsouth and maire-cate. Condolences are perfectly welcome. He was the last member of my immediate family, and while he and I weren't best buds in later years, I do remember him from when he was a child, holding him as a babe in arms at his christening, taking him to the children's museum, birthday parties, family holidays together and other happy events.

I miss my Mom badly, but for once, I am so glad she is already gone. It broke her heart to lose both her husband and her son...she would've been beyond broken hearted if she was here to lose her only grandchild too.


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Annie, I just read this whole saga. I'm so sorry for you and for his mother.
His mother may not be the nicest person, but this loss is just devastating. And for you, the loss of potential is as heartbreaking as the real loss.
Please accept my condolences.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thank you mlweaving...Marji. I'm still shocked and stunned, and of course it stirs all those same emotions from when I lost Dad and my brother. It's not easy.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I am so sorry you are going through this. Yes, you need to attend the service and extend your sympathy and I think it will also help you end this chapter in your family struggles.

I just have to say though I find it unsettling you were not called and had to read about it in the paper. You are a family member, not a mere acquaintance, and you had had recent contact with him. I sincerely hope it was an honest oversight and not intentional.

Please let us know how everything goes. We're all thinking of you.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I'm so sorry this happened, annie. I'm sending my condolences and best wishes to you.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks, joanie and nancybee. Whether it was intentional or an oversight doesn't much matter. I know his family is in pain and if my presence helps them in any way, I'm glad. If it causes more distress, we'll just leave. But hopefully it won't. My brother was king of blaming me for everything that went wrong in his life and I'm sure my nephew adopted that attitude too. If his family is in pain, they may choose to lash out and I can be a convenient target for them. Not my intention, but it could happen. Or perhaps I'll just be ignored. Who knows? I'm trying to go with no expectations except to bring sympathy and compassion to people who are hurting.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

So very sad. I'm so sorry Annie.

tina


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Tragic. Hugs to you Annie. You are going with pure motives, I hope it turns out as well as something like this can.....


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks, tina and boop. Your kind wishes and everyone's thoughts and expressions mean more to me than you know.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

To whom will you be bringing comfort? You earlier said : I never liked his mother, brother's first wife. (Their marriage lasted less than 5 yrs.) Her personality always grated me...". And later said, " And her level of insensitivity to other peoples' experiences and feelings was stunning*. (She was remarried a few days after the divorce was final.) N is very, very close to his mother, and genes and experience aren't going to let him land far from that tree...actually from either of those trees."

More than likely, the feelings of dislike are mutual. Your mother and brother are no longer living, how would your presence bring peace to anyone especially if this was a suicide and you were correct in stating they usually revert to blaming you?

I am truly sorry for whatever loss you may be feeling, but I don't understand the good that will come from you going to the funeral?


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Deaths and funerals are strange things. You don't know what your presence can do for another person. He was Annie's last remaining blood relative (I dislike that term, but nevertheless). That alone is reason to go to the funeral.

And if his mother is as critical as described, Annie will avoid the criticism that would be leveled for not showing up.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Gray wings I honestly meant no disrespect. I just question what harm it may do to the mother, her grief should trump those not in the immediate family. Perhaps a call ahead to feel out if ones presence would be welcome would be better than ambushing the grieving immediate family. Not calling Annie may have been a choice of that family as a subtle hint her presence was not welcome or maybe it was unintentional oversight. A brief call expressing condolences may be the most compassionate move to see if her presence would be comforting.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I have to agree with Nash. This situation is very complicated. Let's just say that if they wanted you there they would have made sure to call you. This doesn't mean that when they compiled the list, your name was suggested and then they intentionally left you off the list.

You feel upset for many reasons. But when I review your past relationships with these relatives, like Nash, I too can't see who you would be a comfort too.

In a perfect world, the remaining family should let by gones be by gones. But I don't think this is the case here.

I agree that a condolence phone call might be the better way to go.

So sorry you are going through this sadness.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Nash, I'm stunned to find your critique here.

I just returned from the wake. I was immediately welcomed by the mother, she apologized for not calling me saying she couldn't find us in the book (we've only been listed with the same phone number for the last 36 years), accepted our condolences and went out of her way to introduce us to her family. Whether I personally liked her or not, I never want to see someone have to suffer the pain of losing a child, especially so suddenly. I also was able to give my personal condolences to my nephew's wife for whom I could feel nothing but the most intense compassion for her pain and sorrow. It must be awful to be widowed after less than 2 yrs of marriage.

It was difficult, but I'm glad I went. When you are hurting as badly as they are, it helps to get as much support as possible, even from unexpected places. And it helped me turn that page.

Thanks, graywings.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Annie, my heart is aching even more after reading your last post. It's such a tragic loss, especially for your nephew's wife and mother.

You handled this with such grace and dignity.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Ellendi, see my comments to nash above.

Relationships are complicated and can't be summarized easily in a few paragraphs on a web page. So while your critiques may be with the best intentions, they are made with incomplete information.

I had to go, and am glad that I went.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks Marlene, I appreciate your kind words and thoughts.

Life truly seems so unfair at times.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

It's good that you went...it was absolutely the right thing to do, even if not calling was intentional and they hadn't welcomed you. I am glad it all worked out and they were gracious. Times like this often serve as a catalyst to forgive and forget and let the past go. You may never see his mom or wife again, but I'm sure it meant something to them you were there.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I'm glad it worked out Annie.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Annie, I'm glad it worked out. I apologize that my post came off as a critique. It was just a suggestion that a call first to see if your presence would be welcome was more appropriate. It is good to read that you found comfort in going and believe your presence comforted the family. Again I'm sorry for your loss. I never meant to offend.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I know, Nashville. Thx.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Wow, so sad. Thinking of you...


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks, loribee.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Annie, was your nephew's death a suicide, as you thought?


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I don't know...I may never know.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Dear Annie, I am just now reading of all this and am so very sorry to hear of your loss and your pain. So glad you did go to the service. As many have said, funerals and wakes are more for the living, to bring comfort and closure of some sort (if there is such a thing). You do seem to be so sensitive and caring, so I can imagine this whole ordeal was a dilemma for you. But I am sure you are glad you tried to reach out to your nephew in a small way last year. I too admire you for standing your ground. No amount of money could have prevented the eventual outcome, so I hope you rest easy knowing you did your best. Hugs to you.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks, outsideplaying, you are most kind.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

And so it goes.

We've had a friend staying with us this past week from out of state. I feel so badly for him and his family. His 23 y o granddaughter committed suicide. I think it's harder on grandparents than anyone, because not only do they suffer the loss of someone they aren't supposed to see die, but they also suffer seeing their child in so much pain.

I'm telling you, there's just too much sadness in the world...

And so it goes....


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Oh goodness, Annie, I was travelling when this update first hit and I missed this horrific news.

That is terribly terribly sad about your nephew. I am so glad you followed your instincts to reach out, choosing to hope for the best rather than protecting yourself from vulnerability by using cynicism. You can only control your own actions, and they were exemplary (both times).

With so much family tragedy, I am glad you had such a wonderful relationship with your Mom (I remember you writing something once about how "pretty" she was to you, though she didn't think so) and still have a wonderful relationship with DH (baggy jeans and all).


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks mtnrd. I appreciate your kind words.

It's funny how when I start talking to people about suicide, how many others are brought up....oh yeah, remember so and so? S/he committed suicide too.

While not scientific, anecdotally, it would seem to be epidemic. There's something not right about a society that breeds so much despair and fails at providing the tools to gain perspective on situations so that that irreversible choice isn't made. Then throw in what I call "brain drugs" into the mix with suicide as a known side effect of anti-depressants that are supposed to prevent just that. Then we have the Ft Hood shooting which just raises the issue again of how many of these rampagers are really about suicide. It is not a healthy situation.

From there, the pain just multiplies as the loss ripples through the family and friends. Unlike, say, fatal disease where the survivors have an external evil to blame...cancer, heart disease, stroke...the survivors of suicide so often blame themselves and each other...

In the case of my family, I believe my father's path laid out the road for my brother and his son to follow...just like so many abused who are fated to become abusers.

So sad.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

You're so right about the path of suicide but, in my mind, I think they're may have been a genetic disposition to depression as I've known two families where the father committed suicide and then the child and their child. You'll never know but know that you are the one who suffered terrible blows and went on to make people happy and calm. That's your gift and your a sensitive, sweet, downright lovely person. Your Mom knew that and so did you Dad as well as your nephew. You took the high road and now to let it all go and get on with your life with the knowledge that you made all the right choices. Nothing could have changed the outcome. May you go on in peace and love.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thank you, yayagal, that is so sweet of you to say. Much appreciated!


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Oh Annie, my heart breaks for you, his mom, wife and others close to him. And your nephew himself, in the end. Coming to that conclusion means he was to the point where he could no longer see there is still good in the world. That had to be so scary for him. Do you know if he was getting any counseling at all? Such a sad, sad situation. I'm so very sorry.
I'm glad you went to his service and was welcomed by his mother.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks, justgotabme. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Hi Annie, I’m glad you are getting so many kind words from those here. I know that even though you have done all the right things you can still be a bit haunted by family with dragons in the attic so to speak. Even for those of us who are strong the emotions can still confuse and befuddle us at times. Your mirror reflects good and that is something to be very thankful for.
My best,
Terri


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RE: How do I handle this one?

You're welcome Annie.

Very well said Terri. Annie has always been kind in anything I've seen her write here on the GW. I would be happy to have her as a friend in person that I could go to lunch, shopping, or just sit on the front porch chatting with.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thank you so much, Terri, I appreciate your compassion and understanding.

Justgotabme, the weather's getting nice...we can sit on the deck and watch the geese go by over some coffee or tea...sounds like fun! Or I'm always up to going shopping!
:)


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Oh, I love watching the geese fly overhead. I may have missed them here as I was in Hawaii most of the last two weeks.


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RE: How do I handle this one?

I just saw your update. So sorry for your loss, but I agree with all those who say you took the high road and the path to no regrets. Sometimes that is the most we can do.

Your deck sounds delightful. Enjoy!


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RE: How do I handle this one?

Thanks, lascatx.


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