Posted by: chlost | July 19, 2010

If bad things really come in threes, I don’t want to know what is next

The past few days have been awful.  My husband’s 86 year old aunt Grace died.  To say that my husband’s family is difficult for me to deal with is an understatement.  Dealing with the family just four months after my sister’s death is overwhelming. Dealing with all the issues which are involved after another death in the family is beyond my abilities right now.

Grace was never married.  She lived in the same house where she was born for her entire life.  She was my father-in-law’s sister.  Her family never truly respected her, or appreciated her kindness.  She quit her job and cared for her mother until her mother’s death at age 99.  She never truly recovered from that experience. 

Grace’s house would have been described as a garbage house.  It was full of “stuff” in piles 3-4 feet high, with paths for walking (on top of more stuff).  If you have seen the television show “Hoarders” you have an idea.  She was afraid to let anyone into the house.  My husband and his brother finally intervened and helped clean it out a few years ago, and removed 6 tons of stuff-literally, it was weighed at the city’s landfill before being dumped.  At that time she did not have a working bathroom and she was using space heaters as the furnace was not working, as she was afraid to let repair people into the house. She slept in a little “nest” amongst the piles, as she could not get to the bed. She continued to struggle to keep the house cleaned out after they removed the tons of garbage, but she did a fairly good job these last few years.

It is not the reality of her death that has been so hard for me these past few days, although it is always sad to see someone you care about in the hospital, dying. It is hard to think of her being gone. I will miss her.

What is so very hard is dealing with my brother-in-law.  To describe him as a jerk is being kind.  He treats my husband disrespectfully, he is mean to his wife and children, and is a control freak beyond measure.  He has not worked for many years, living off his investments.  Money is his god.  We spent most of the day yesterday discussing final arrangements, most of that discussion was his attempt to do it as cheaply as possible.  A discount memorial service.  Not in the sense that we should do as much as we can ourselves because there is not a lot of money or because we care for her so much, but in the sense that let’s not spend much on this so there is more to split up between the heirs.  I had to leave the room during these discussions. I was in tears by the time we left their large expensive suburban home.

I can only hope his children will return the favor at the time of his death.

In any event, this is going to be a very long, difficult week.  I will try to grit my teeth and get through it without losing my cool, for the sake of my husband.  He does not want to make waves at this time. I will try to respect that-he deserves to be respected by someone through all of this.

I may have to be gagged and tied down.

And I know whom I might nominate as #3.



  1. I’m so terribly sorry that you have this to deal with. Its feels worse somehow when I’m having such a good time.

    The only blessing is that your husband’s aunt does not know about it. But I would be in tears too and finding it almost impossible not to say what I thought. My mother always said “what goes around comes around”, meaning that “as you sow so shall you reap”! Cliches of course, but cliches often contain truths. So that horribly selfish and self centred brother in law may yet live to regret his actions.

    This is especially hard so soon after your sister’s death: any chance of you going to see the grandchildren for a day or two to get some youth, energy and optimism for the future injected into the current situation? Somehow you need to balance the emotional scales I think.

    And would writing about Grace’s life in a short story help at all, or just make things more real and earnest.

    I’m sending lots of positive vibes your way and masses of sympathy.

    • You are so kind. I did go to see my granddaughters the evening that she died, and it was quite helpful. The writing about it would be helpful, the experience has given me a wonderful idea for a book/story. I will have to get that more put together in my mind over the next few days. But the bil is one who can suck the life out of a room, and set even the most wonderful people on edge. I have never met anyone else like him. I don’t know how he and my husband came from the same gene pool.

      We’ll be fine. Writing the post actually helped release a bit of the anger and frustration I have been feeling.

      Again, thank you for your thoughts. I hope that your summer program is going well. It sounds so refreshing to immerse yourself in something that you love.

  2. Sounds like Grace was blessed to have YOU in her life. Hold your head up! Wishing you all the best! 🙂

    • Thanks-I hope she knew I cared about her.

  3. Even with Grace’s hoarding ways, she sounded like a sweet lady; and obviously you are upset with her passing. I can’t help but think Grace would have hated to see how your brother-in-law is handling things and treating people. It’s the hardest thing when family members turn out to be people you can’t stand to be around. I truly hope you can keep your cool through all of this ch….yes, for your husband’s sake; but for yours too. Somehow the people that are at fault don’t always seem to benefit from a blow-up; but so often the person who loses their cool and tells it like it is ends up feeling shitty…and guilty, even if it is totally justified. And remember, you still have many emotions regarding your sister’s death….cut yourself some slack ch. Good luck sweetie… ~Joy

    • She was a sweet person. She just was never really able to feel comfortable in the world. She knows how the bil is and would not be at all surprised. He took over all of her financial stuff a few years back and she had to deal with him on a daily basis. Thanks for your note.

  4. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. I’m always amazed/disgusted at how some people behave after the death of a loved one. I’ve seen it bring out the worst in people (greed, bickering, selfishness). Absolutely shameful.
    My prayers are with you and here’s hoping that the 3’s is only a myth…

    • Yup, it’s disgusting, and I have seen it many times as well. I am also hoping for the myth of three.

  5. I am so sorry you have to go through this with your in-law family after going through a loss of someone dear to you. We do not choose our in-law family or some of our family for that matter, we just endure them. I believe in karma and thinks that somehow your jerky brother-in-law will somehow get was he deserves. But in the meantime it is a difficult time for you I can imagine. When this happens to me I just lose myself in a good book.

    • Smart lady. I am working as much as I can this week. Keeps me busy and out of the mess of the final details. But I feel bad for leaving my husband high and dry. We’ll make it through all of it.

      • May Grace’s memory be only for a blessing. Am glad you are able to work and stay out of the insanity this week.

  6. Sometimes we wonder how we can even get up in the morning and face the days. We find a way, though. I guess there are little alternatives.

    Nancy is the family social worker, her two sisters live below the poverty line and her brother’s family are a right-wing ulta-religious Tea Bagger nuts. They have made unkind accusations against their father who is a kind and sensitive old man with failing health.

    Sometimes the brunt of the drama falls on the most competent of the players. It can be a burden, as I know it is to my wife. But we take it one day at a time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: