A place to share your struggles and concerns about supporting and caring for a person you love diagnosed with breast cancer with others who understand.
Posted on: Oct 30, 2015 08:43AM - edited Oct 30, 2015 09:31AM by warrrior3
My sister died July 2014 after an 8 year battle with BC. Let me start by saying her husband was by her side every step of the way, going to each and every appointment. This past July my BIL planned a special event dedicating a horse race in my sisters name. That day, without any prior knowledge, I met his "friend"
Who he had met many months ago. She had lost her boyfriend unexpectedly. That day I truly tried to understand their connection. Although he stated they were only friends I saw them numerous times alone very touchy feely. To make a long story short, later that day I over heard him on a the phone talking to a woman about the day. Later that week I learned the woman on the phone was his girlfriend and the woman I had met was now just a friend but he had had a relationship with her a few months prior.
Fast forward to now. My niece is having an engagement party and my BIL responded that he would like to bring his girlfriend. Logically I do understand that he has every right to date and fall in love again. I know he deserves to be happy. My mind keeps going back to the fact that 2 days after we buried my sister he invited me to his house to go through her belongings because he was cleaning out and discarding all her belongings. Which he did a week after her funeral. They were married 35 years.
As you can see my thoughts are all over the place. Any and all responses are welcomed.
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Oct 30, 2015 10:44AM SelenaWolf wrote:
I work in the death-care industry and what I have learned over the last decade or so is that everyone grieves differently. Some can't bear to part with their loved ones things; others can't bear to have them around. One man who came into my office to arrange for the burial of his wife never went home to the house he shared with her; he drove to his daughter's house after making the arrangements and stayed there. He never did go back; his family sold the house for him several months later.
I, often, see in the historical records that some people marry again very quickly after losing a loved one. This is, often, because it was a very close and happy relationship and they not only miss the deceased loved one, they miss the relationship. Others do not; some women and men remain widows/widowers far longer than they were ever spouses. The thought of re-marrying is unthinkable. One man, who was a friend of mine personally, lost his wife to cancer (she was only in her late '30's). He met a woman at a bereavement group who had just lost her husband to cancer, and they connected immediately. They understood on a very deep level what the other was going through and it brought them closer together. They've been married 15 years now.
People, also, go through the various stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance - differently. Some do the stages in a different order; others skip a few steps; and few go right to the last stage. This is, especially, true if the spouse/partner has died of a debilitating/terminal illness because they've already done the first four stages watching their loved one die.
I'm so sorry you've lost your sister, but I also understand your BIL's need for human connection. It's a primal need which, often, becomes stronger when one has been touched by death. You feel an urgency to get out there and live because you've discovered just how fragile life can be. Another thing to consider is that your BIL may be terrified of being alone. After all, he was married to your sister for 35 years; that's a very long time. Half of him was ripped away when your sister died and he could be afraid of the empty space she left behind.
These are just suppositions on my part, but - perhaps - they'll help.
Oct 30, 2015 12:12PM warrrior3 wrote:
Thank you Selena. Logically I know every word you wrote is true. I have a hard time accepting the reality of it though. Why he is choosing our family's event to bring her to or not come if we feel uncomfortable meeting her. His own sister has not met her yet. I have a BFF of 40 years who lost her husband 5 years ago and immediately needed to start dating. We had spent many hours talking back then about how lonely she was and the grieving she did during the 2 yrs he was ill. It doesn't explain how I feel
Oct 30, 2015 02:54PM SelenaWolf wrote:
That's because you are still grieving, as well and it's hard to see past that. You haven't reached acceptance yet. And that is perfectly all right. Your feelings are completely valid even if they are different from your BIL's, and vice versa.
Are you close with your BIL? Enough so that you can be honest and say, "... it's really, really hard for me right now to see you with someone other that my sister, so please understand that I am having a great deal of difficulty with this?"
Oct 30, 2015 03:16PM warrrior3 wrote:
I agree I am still grieving. My other sister (we are estranged) is hosting the engagement party so I feel it will be up to her to let him know. For the last 35 years I have hosted Thanksgiving, so if he wants to bring his girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner, I am prepared to say I am not ready. My 2 nephews have said they were planning on coming, but I guess I will find out more as time nears. Again, thank you for your reply.
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