?

Log in

No account? Create an account
In grieving I struggle - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

In grieving I struggle [Aug. 23rd, 2011|01:13 pm]
Zoethe
Erin just called me. She was sobbing so hard she couldn't get words out, but after a few moments, she was finally able to tell me that her grandmother has been moved to hospice and is only expected to live a few more days.

The grandmother she mourns is my former mother-in-law. A woman for whom I will also grieve.

I'm finding myself feeling selfish and imposing to feel this much grief for her when I voluntarily left that family. It's like I shouldn't have a right to the pain. Like in leaving that marriage and severing the ties, I don't deserve to mourn. I've only seen her once in the last 12 years, at Erin's high school graduation 6 years ago.

And yet she was a huge part of my life for almost two decades. She was the one who came and stayed with us when each of our babies was born, and who came when I had a devastating miscarriage between the two girls. She visited at least once if not twice a year, staying for two or three weeks at a time, to spend time with her granddaughters, in addition to our annual trips out to their country home where we sat on the screen porch and drank coffee until the wee hours of the morning, talking and visiting and playing cards.

She drove me crazy at times, but mostly I enjoyed her company and her willingness to take on almost any adventure, even if it was with a bit of a moue about her small mouth and a rising eyebrow. We cooked and cleaned and shopped side by side, and losing her as family - losing all of J's family - was one of the hardest things about the divorce.

She understood why I was leaving him. She was always kind to me. It broke J's dad's heart far more, and he has been less forgiving (and yet I still love him dearly for all the kindness he showed during the years J and I were married, and it will be hard losing him, when that time comes). But she got it and was never cold to me.

Now she is dying, about 30 miles away from here. The girls are making arrangements to come back and go see her - a rather sad revisit from them, I fear. I would like to go see her, but I'm not sure she is still "with it" at all, and I don't want to stress out John's dad, so I'm not sure what to do about that.

And I'm not sure what to do with this grief. I feel selfish, like I am stealing something I have no right to. Part of me is scolding: if I cared so much, I would have stayed in touch. How dare I indulge in grief I don't deserve to have.

Then I remember her supporting me through the first days of nursing and Erin's bout of jaundice, and all the laundry she did without complaint. I recall the way her cooking style drove me crazy, and the way she was always at the dining room table to talk, and all the things that she is never going to do again, and I can't hold back the tears. She's leaving 5 great kids and their spouses and a dozen grandkids, all of whom love her dearly. It's a hole in their hearts.

And, even if I have no right to it, a hole in mine.
LinkReply

Comments:
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
[User Picture]From: nex0s
2011-08-23 05:16 pm (UTC)
You have a right to it. She is part of your life. Nothing takes away the history you had together.

I would visit her, if it were me, to say goodbye.

But it is not me. My second choice would be to write a letter similar to what you've written here - of your memories, of how much she meant to you, and to send it to her husband, after she passes, or to your girls. To share your grief, and the love you so obviously feel for her.

A lot of time has passed since your divorce. Most people are glad to know that their loved one was loved by many.

My condolences.

N.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-23 05:49 pm (UTC)
I talked to my ex to offer whatever help with transportation, etc., is needed. He's flying in today and is going to convey my desire to visit to the family and let me know how they feel about it. I feel fortunate that he and I get along so well, because no matter what they say he will at least tell his mother that I love her.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-23 05:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lothie
2011-08-23 05:26 pm (UTC)
You have a right to it. Go see her, even if it's just once.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-23 05:53 pm (UTC)
John is arriving today and will talk to his family and then call me. I will try to make arrangements to see her that cause the least possible stress for everyone.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mysteri
2011-08-23 05:26 pm (UTC)

You do have a right to your grief.

She became your Friend as well as your Mother-In-Law. Due to circumstances you fell out of touch. That does not negate your right to feel grief and go through the grieving process any more than if you had fallen out of touch with a different friend and they were passing. Don't feel like you shouldn't feel grief. Any and everytime we lose someone we are or were close to we grieve. It's okay.

I would ask one of your daughters to find out if it would be okay to come see her. If that is not possible ask them to tell her that you love her and will miss her. Even if nobody thinks she will understand we don't know that.

((((Hugs)))) You and your family have my sympathy.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-23 06:08 pm (UTC)

Re: You do have a right to your grief.

Talked to my ex, with whom I have a very good relationship now. He is on his way there and is going to at least give her my love and try to arrange for me to visit.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sacramentalist
2011-08-23 05:33 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. I can sympathize. I felt the same way when my former brother-in-law passed away last Winter. I felt like I had no rights to my grief. I was actually selfishly relieved they didn't have a public funeral and felt guilty for that.

You Do have a right to your feelings.


Edited at 2011-08-23 05:35 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-23 06:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks; the empathy is greatly appreciated.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: roadnotes
2011-08-23 05:34 pm (UTC)
She was part of your life; you have a right to mourn her. I'm sorry for your loss.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-23 06:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: wednes
2011-08-23 05:37 pm (UTC)
Wow...I'm sorry this is happening, and hope you can find a way to not be so hard on yourself. You are entitled to feel however you feel about this. The fact that you haven't kept up with someone (for reasons that sound quite valid to me) in no way negates the impact they had on your life.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-23 06:21 pm (UTC)
It was comforting to talk to my ex and have him confirm that she always liked me and always understood. He's going to try and smooth the way for me to visit.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: sapphirescarlet
2011-08-23 05:40 pm (UTC)
I could echo the words already written here, or tell you of my own mother's issue with this same situation. Don't beat yourself up, and don't deny yourself the right to grief. Do what you can, and what the family will allow you to do, and know she understands.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-23 06:22 pm (UTC)
I like your icon.

My ex is going to try to make it work. I'm glad we get along.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: aiela
2011-08-23 05:43 pm (UTC)
I'm very sorry, sweetheart. You have every right to your grief - grief and love do not care about marriage bonds, or the severing of them.

If you're up to it, finding out if a visit from you would be welcome or not would probably be a good thing. If not, I second what someone said above about writing down those sorts of memories for your girls.

Know that you're loved. *hugs*
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-23 06:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks, dear. John is arriving there today and is going to sound out the situation for me. I'm so grateful to have a good relationship with him.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: firebirdgrrl
2011-08-23 07:10 pm (UTC)
Thinking of you.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-23 07:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: roaming
2011-08-23 07:37 pm (UTC)
poppycock, "no right"and "don't deserve." (Wherever do we get these self-torturing notions?) It's totally right that such a lovely lady should be mourned and missed by all who knew and loved her. We should all be so lovingly remembered and held in people's hearts when it's our time to go: that's our only immortality, pieces of us in the people we've touched. Love and caring stand on their own, without labels or limits or "rights to."

Not visiting so you don't make things awkward for the dad is another dilemma. I would hope he'd get over it after all this time, and welcome you with open arms to the circle of grievers waving farewell to her at the station.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-23 07:56 pm (UTC)
You make a good point. My ex is sounding out the family for me.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: anonymousalex
2011-08-23 07:52 pm (UTC)
Feelings are. At the risk of negating my own statement, the idea of one having a right to one seems a bit silly. What one does about feelings may be right or wrong, but their existence?

As others have said, this is a person who was important to you. The loss you feel is a testament to that importance, notwithstanding the distance that came later.

What you do about it may be more about your consideration for the feelings of other family members. For yourself, you are experiencing grief, and should mourn.

My condolences on your loss.

-Alex
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-23 08:03 pm (UTC)
I think it's patently untrue that feelings can't be wrong. I've known people who massively ruin their lives by misplaced or overly-indulged feelings. They can run wildly amok.

It's my worry about that that gives me pause. But it's true that she was important to me.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: ba1126
2011-08-23 09:10 pm (UTC)
You will miss someone who was good and kind and loving to you. You have a "right" to respond with grief that she is dying. My condolences.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-24 12:17 am (UTC)
Thank you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: hooloovooo
2011-08-23 09:10 pm (UTC)
I think I would experience the same dilemma that you are. I hope that John finds that a visit from you would be welcome, but regardless, I hope that your grief passes quickly into fond memories and you can find peace. My heart goes out to you and your family, Gini.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-24 12:19 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. I do find comfort in the good memories.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-24 12:20 am (UTC)
This is beautiful. Thank you; you have touched my heart.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: dana3
2011-08-23 10:26 pm (UTC)
Just lost my (truly spectacular) MiL this past weekend; funeral's Saturday. Spent last night trying to arrange The Kid's transportation in from the left coast. So I hear you on a thousand levels -- and want to share some thoughts.

Life is too short not to let the people you love know you love them. I'd rather you go visit, whether she's "with it" or not, to tell her the three (sometimes four) critical things that dying people need to hear: I love you, it's ok to go, I forgive you, and I ask you to forgive me.

After some years of hospice nursing, I gotta tell you -- I've seen too many or too jangly visitors wear out my patients, yes. I doubt you'd be one of those. But what tears up this hospice nurse, what makes good dying turn into suffering (and yes, there is such a thing as a good death), is when the dying person hangs on and hangs on waiting for a touch or a voice from a loved one who doesn't come. Sometimes for days, until their body just can't wait another second. And watching my patients suffer just tears me up inside, makes me mad at whoever the asshole was who made them suffer like that.

It's important that the people we love know that we love them. Let the rest of the BS go -- she was good to you and you're coming to thank her for that and tell her you love her. If the rest of the famdamily can't deal, they can not-deal outside of her room and away from her hearing.

And sometimes hospice means hours or days, but I've had to graduate more than one for 'extended prognosis' that turned into years ... people are funny critters. Go give her some loving, you'll never regret doing anything from a place of love.

Two cents for your consideration, with empathy for your loss(es) -- :Dana
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fallconsmate
2011-08-23 11:59 pm (UTC)
i want to thank you for being a hospice nurse. the ones who took care of the late Mate were SUCH good people, it would have been much harder if they hadnt been there to support both him as he died and me as i let him go.

thank you. its got to be horribly hard. thank you for doing it anyway.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: pachamama
2011-08-23 10:42 pm (UTC)
There is no "right to" or "deserve" in grief -- you honour her by grieving her passing, and all who love her will appreciate everyone who honours her thus. I was deeply touched by the number and variety of people who expressed to me their grief over my father's death.

Be guided by your ex's advice with regard to his dad, but never for a moment feel that you are doing anything but a fine and honourable and right thing in grieving the passing of someone who was a good person and touched your life.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-24 02:12 am (UTC)
Thank you. You make a really good point.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: dsgood
2011-08-23 10:58 pm (UTC)
My sympathies!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-24 02:12 am (UTC)
Thanks.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: longtimegone
2011-08-23 11:03 pm (UTC)
I do hope it works out that you can see her. I'm very sorry for your and your daughters' loss. :(
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-24 02:13 am (UTC)
Thank you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: naamah_darling
2011-08-23 11:11 pm (UTC)
You are as entitled to your grief as much as you were entitled to your love, and as none of us here would ever say that you should not love, neither will any of us say that you should not grieve.

*hugs*

I am sorry. I hope you get to see her. She sounds like a truly good person.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-24 02:15 am (UTC)
She's a very wonderful person. We didn't agree on everything, but I always knew that she wanted the best.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: corvaxgirl
2011-08-23 11:26 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry for what you're going through and I'm thinking of you and your family.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-24 02:16 am (UTC)
Thank you so much.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: tfcocs
2011-08-24 02:29 am (UTC)
Go see her, for both yourself and your children. You might have divorced her son. but you are still family. Some part of her likely would appreciate hearing how much she helped you become the mother you are today.

By the way, this is a lovely written tribute to the woman you knew.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-24 12:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I will be talking to my ex about it, because I think you are right.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jumpinfool
2011-08-24 02:37 am (UTC)
I sincerely hope J. is able to arrange things so that you can express your love (and sorrow and anything else that needs to be expressed) in person. I once had that opportunity (when E.M.'s mother passed away), and it still hurts to this day that Death beat me to the house by 12 hours or so.

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-24 12:36 pm (UTC)
He is going to try. He will at least convey it.

I remember the suddenness of that. I'm sorry it still pains you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: elf_fu
2011-08-24 03:54 am (UTC)
Everyone has the right to love. There are no rules to the heart. I'm so sorry. ::Hugs::
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-24 12:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: cyan_blue
2011-08-24 07:43 am (UTC)
*hugs* She touched your life... I am sorry for your coming loss.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-24 12:43 pm (UTC)
She did, very much. Thank you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>