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My mother died Dec. 20. It was a horrible year for her (and my brother & I) and ended with a fall that broke bones, caused serious complications and excruciating pain for her last 2-1/2 weeks of life. I've been exhausted (along with her) from the year and am still very scattered over her death. I truly thought she might beat the odds and make it.

But, right now I am having a big problem with hurt feelings, to the point of intense anger, because my out-of-state brothers-in-law did nothing more than send an email back to husband expressing 'regrets' when he notified them she had died. Not even one of the 3 bothered to send flowers to the funeral home or even a card of condolence! No, money is not a problem for any of them and 2 are extremely wealthy and all are retired -my husband & I are the poor ones in the family and still working.

My husband and I (both of us over 65) have been married for only 7 years, but they all knew my mother and she was included in family functions when they were in to visit my MIL (here near us in a NH and my husband & I take care of her needs).

Maybe I am over-reacting, but I still can't make myself get past or let go of this. I'm not sure I will be able to be civil to them. I'm so angry I haven't taken recent calls from my MIL who phones ME at work (not my husband) with one or more requests for every freaking thing on a daily basis (mentally she's fine, but has mobility and some health problems). I expected the Facebook only 'sorry' from acquaintances and adult step-kids (his last 2 from his 2nd marriage are really spoiled & churlish), but my husband's eldest drove his family over 80 miles to attend the visitation which was so nice and I appreciated so much.

Okay, I needed to vent. My husband doesn't want to hear anything more about it and frankly acted like he didn't see a problem with them just sending an email to him which made me feel even more hurt. Actually, I didn't know they'd emailed him until a few days ago when I finally asked if he had even told them she died since I hadn't heard word one from any of the families.

It just feels very ugly. There were others I expected to hear from too, but this disregard from 'family' feels much worse.

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So what does an in law do when there was never a "real relationship"..let alone any inkling of communication?" my BIL just died 4 days ago... I am a Christian & for those who turn from this faith need to know that on one is perfect in any way... that being said, although there was no love lost... I offered my condolences and offered my help in anyway needed.... I go to the funeral today in support of my husband, still feeling very uncomfortable through it all... God bless all who grieve, the pain never goes away,  it only eases with time!
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I'm going to offer a possible explanation for inlaws not attending a funeral, something I myself am guilty of (sorry, I'll try to do better). When my sib's spouse's parents died I of course offered sympathy directly to them, but I felt that since they were surrounded by their own families and friends, none of whom I really knew, my presence wasn't needed.
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My father's funeral was yesterday. I have been married 35 years. The longest of all my six brothers and sisters. None of my inlaws called or came or even sent a plant. All of the inlaws of my siblings came and helped in so many ways. My inlaws are supposedly the most Christian and are the most self righteous people you'll ever meet. I am deeply hurt. I'll have to accept that they obviously don't care about me at all. I'm sorry for all the posters here. I feel your pain.
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Every person in my sig-other's family operates on one principle: If it didn't happen to them, it didn't happen.

They are the most exasperating people I've ever dealt with. I used to be philosophical, telling myself, "there's something I'm supposed to learn from this."

I learned that I can model all the good manners and social skills in the world, and none of it will rub off on them. 

I learned that they are best ignored. 

I learned that Caller ID is the most important technology in my home. 
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I understand where you are coming from but....you have to let it go. I let in-laws bother me for years. Not doing it anymore. They r my husband's family. If he doesn't want to visit that's OK with me. Your MIL, tell her if she needs something call her son. If you can't do that, tell her that ur work does not allow personal phone calls. Tell her to make a list and call you at home after work hours. When she does, hand the phone to her son. I hate that the wife is considered responsible for the husband's side. Not when both work.
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Lack of empathy is a very real, very serious mental health issue. So is narcissism. As far as I know, these conditions are not curable. Expecting change in people afflicted with these disorders is unrealistic. Maybe some day medical science will hold out some hope for these disorders. Now, it just isn't there.

Detaching/distancing yourself from such people may be the only defense you have.
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Thanks for your words calicokat.
I guess I always pictured more supportive people being around me when I lost my dearest loved ones. I also wrongly assumed that people who lost loved ones would know how to offer relief to others. That was my unrealistic assumptions caused by grief, I suppose..
My husband helped as much as he knew how..
His parents regularly attended/orchestrated funerals (being a Pastor/wife). I expected they'd behave more sympathetically. They seemed oddly indifferent. My MIL even tried to stop the funeral from being at their church, saying she had an appointment, but, ' (I guess) I'll cancel it..' is what my MIL said. If only I was rich, I never would've asked for their church to use.. I felt so rejected and abused.. Anytime I voiced my feelings, they projected blame back. So saddening.. My MIL behaved like a narcissist at my Moms death/funeral. I've witnessed her planning her own funeral while everyone else was crying for the deceased. She even mentioned to me what song she wanted played when she dies. At that point, I saw a single tear in her eye, and knew she was only crying thinking of her own self being dead. I've only seen her cry talking about how bad she has it.. No empathy for others.. Frightening.. This person didn't even cry at her own granddaughters funeral. I even cried despite never meeting that child, whereas this woman raised that child for a time. How could she be so indifferent to a dead child laying in a casket? That's what I call a sadistic narcissist. I've even heard her make fun of sick and dying people in church, then denies ever saying anything mean, and that others are too sensitive.. I can't, for the life of me, understand this level of selfishness, to be blind to others' pain.. My in-law is a Very dysfunctional person masquerading as an angel. I believe this level of indifference is dangerous for people to be around, emotionally and physically. I've had to cut ties with MIL and FIL ever since my Moms passing, and honestly should've years prior.. FIL isn't much better. No accountability... I told them why we can't socialize with them anymore, but they said I imagined it all.. I guess that's their way of saying, 'We never cared or acted honest in 20 years, Why expect it now?'
Sorry to rant... years of witnessing/experiencing their cruelty has taken its toll on my nerves.. I just keep praying they'll change.
I hope no one else has to go through this while they're already going through grief..
God Bless those who mourn
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"Im coming to realize some people do not have any natural affection in them (aka: empathy)."

Boy, you are so right about this too! And, I think some people are frightened by death and loss as well. Both of these types of people put their heads in the sand when confronted with death, unable to address it in any way.
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My first thought was, that these were BILs, are their wives still living? I know if I were gone, my DH would never even think to send a card or make any gesture when my sister's husband would die. That's just not how he thinks. I do all the social and etiquette things in our household. (actually, my DH sounds like yours - more of the "suck it up, you should be over it by now" kind.)

It is a little bit possible that it was just an oversight - men being obtuse (not really meaning to slander the whole gender, just an observation about those men in my life), especially since one has now stepped up and given an appropriate response.

Sorry for your loss, whether we know it's coming, or it blindsides us, our hearts are broken just the same. And our brains are baffled by a world that just keeps going on as if nothing cataclysmic has happened. Sending [[[hugs]]] your way.
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jeannegibbs and cwillie: What you said meant a lot. It's true, we've all taken the easy road when we shouldn't have when it comes to consoling others. And wearing black doesn't tell others we're hurting inside anymore either. If only it still did. I'm trying to forgive, and get through the grief. Im coming to realize some people do not have any natural affection in them (aka: empathy). My MIL was a shining example at my Moms funeral.
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I think what you are describing, Stacey, is a dysfunctional family. No doubt they have existed since the beginning of time. You are right to distance yourself from that.
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The same thing happened to me, my Dad died, and nothing from my BIL & SIL. then their Mom died, and nothing again! My husband and I did everything in the arrangements of her funeral planning, all the while, my own Mother was dying, and on Hospice. I have never heard one peep, not a card a fliwer, nothing, not even for their own Mom! We then took in their Dad, to live in our home, and they have only caused us grief, and never visited their Dad, in 13 years, not even once! They are both users, only out for themselves. I've cut them from our lives, they are not worth it! My husband and I have My great family, and that is more than plenty!
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I think that the social niceties of previous generations were part of the glue that bound us into communities and the less we take the time to acknowledge births, marriages, death or whatever the more disconnected we become. I have to admit that I have taken advantage of the opportunity to send online condolence notes since I couldn't easily attend a funeral or viewing, but it seems the majority have no real excuse beyond it being unpleasant or inconvenient to attend and total disregard has become the default attitude.
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Suzie and FF, we are very vulnerable when we lose someone close to us -- sometimes even if the relationship wasn't cordial. Our emotions are heightened. We are very needy and sensitive to perceived slights.

A major reason for previous outward signs of mourning (armbands, black clothing, etc) was to signify "this person just lost a relative, and may be emotionally unstable" so others could tread carefully. We don't do that today, and we don't have a culture that formally acknowledges the vulnerability past the day of the funeral or service.

I'm not saying that insensitivity is trivial or not significant. But it is possible the bereaved give it more significance than it deserves, because of the state of our emotions.
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One thing I have noticed since my parents recently had passed that there were more cards and flowers in respect for my Mom who passed in December. With my Dad who just passed, less cards and flowers. Maybe its a gender thing. Or maybe people were feeling Mom is gone and that would have been hard on my Dad.

I've begun to accept email sympathy notes instead of actual cards. It's wasn't easy as I was from the old school where people would send cards, and thank-you notes written by hand. Etiquette has changed with social media.

One thing that really set my hair on fire was a sympathy card from a younger relative who said they were sorry they couldn't attend my Dad's funeral because their 12 year old son had a football game that day. Seriously???
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Same thing just happened to me, except it was my in laws and my church. My mother just died Sept 17, and my Grandfather just died 3 months prior to that. When my Grandpa died the church sent two cards. After my Grandpas passing my church and in laws sent cards, messaged sorry on Facebook, etc. However, my MIL kept humiliating, correcting, mocking, and belittling me and others behind their backs for years prior and continued after my Grandfathers passing. I got sick of it and yelled at her. Since then, she's been slandering me to all the other in laws, and calling me disrespectful... Uh, yeah right, whatever.. Anyway, now my mom dies. No cards. No messages on Facebook. Nothing.. My Mom died suddenly, and unexpected. My Grandpa saw it coming. I need the sympathy more losing my Mom. We talked often. Now, I'm being punished when I'm at my lowest.. What's even more sickening is my in laws are a Pastor and wife, and my SIL works at the hospital where my Mom died... I think they re evil now. My husband is in shock, and torn between loyalties.. I told him I'm ready to move far away. I have no father, he died in 2003 at age 57 screaming in pain, and now my Mom, who was told she'd be all better after surgery, died at age 60, in 2016. My husband has both his parents, and these people have never lost anyone close to them. I know they have no idea the pain they put me through, and when they have someone die, I'll send flowers, etc, even though they don't. Gotta keep heaping on those coals.. Only way to work with h*ll bound folks..
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Sorry that you lost your Mom. My husband's family doesn't do cards or affection in any way (he does, they don't) and it took me a couple of years to realize that my way of being raised isn't the same as theirs. I was raised by thoughfully, loving affectionate parents and his family thinks I am ridiculously sensitive sometimes. My husband is more like my family is, so he sees both sides of the story. He was raised by cold, insensitive, non giving people who think I am gushy and mushy.......I think they are cold.
I have been going through chemo for 12 weeks and none of his family has called to check on us........in that time he and I have been helping them get house in compliance.
People are all different. We will continue to hug them, send cards and call them to check in when the feel bad and help when we can, and they will continue to let us know we send too many cards, call too often and don't help them enough.
Point is, they probably did the best they could at the time and now they are doing it differently after seeing the pain it caused you.
If they didn't care, your pain wouldn't matter but clearly they love you.
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Thank you all so much. It helps to have someone commiserate. And, yes, I have had the thought that I was transferring on to them. I'm sure I am to an extent. I'm hurting and of course that has magnified everything.

Actually, just a few minutes ago one BIL texted (.....) that they would like to send a memorial in 'lu' (lieu -love it) of flowers. Very generous & thoughtful and I will certainly find a Dementia/Alz research org that can benefit. Even so, a sympathy card a little earlier would have sufficed and been appreciated -oops, there I go again... But, seriously, what has happened to common courtesy and manners? Too often anymore so many don't bother with much beyond a text, email or Facebook post and I consider that sad. They're excellent for so much and fine in many circumstances, but insufficient & too impersonal if that's the only contact you get from close relatives/personal friends. Guess I'm old fashioned.

I think I do have a problem being too sensitive over some things (particularly if I've been rubbed wrong too many times before), but I can tell you I was way too raw for my husband to say 'let it go' and 'you need to move on ' to me. That was cold. (MishkaM -You didn't overstep in any way. I totally understand your reaction to your sister! And JessieB, if you're not notified there's not much you can do. And for IL's, I guess it depends on how close you are. My family is pretty close -I had cousins 2 states away come in for mom's funeral...and, conversely, friends across town I didn't hear from. Windytown, you are so right, I will wait out my hurt).

Thank you all for your condolences and your thoughtful responses. It is very consoling to have others who understand how you feel. I know I will muddle through, it will just take a while. And I'll try to behave about the BILs, regardless of how boorish (2 are usually quite nice, one is frequently hard to take).

Thanks again.
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Claire,

I agree with the other posters. You are in deep mourning and it's easy to focus our thoughts on 'other' things than grieving. My dad died over two years ago and I still have issues I struggle with regarding other people's behavior at the time.

That is definitely crass just sending an e-mail. Give yourself some time before you react to the situation.

I send you my sincere condolences on losing your mom. It's so hard, so painful. I wish you a good night of sleep and peace in your heart.
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Claire, your post causes me much shame. When my two SIL's mothers died, no one in the family even told us about it until several months later. I assume because it was ILs, no one thought we would care. I could have attended one's funeral and at least sent flowers to the others.

When deaths happen in immediate families, people know what to do. When it happens in IL's families, the "rules" get a little fuzzier. What does matter is how you love each other and how you get along. Please don't let this get in the way of your family's relations with each other.

I am so sorry to hear of your mother's death. I know that you miss her, but she will always be a big part of you. I hope you will be able to let go of the anger and forgive, so you can grieve the loss of your mother without anything sullying your thoughts. I think your husband gave you excellent advice to let it go.
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Oh, Claire33, I am so sorry for your loss. It sure sounds like you are hurting. I bet you are the kind of person who has always been there for others and reached out when others are hurting and now in your hour of need find the same to be lacking. I don't know why this happens but it does. Your BILs should have reached out but I bet they have no idea you are so hurt by there lack of caring. Some people just do not get it.

Forgive me if I am overstepping my boundaries here but I do want to add that , in your grief, be sure you are not displacing any anger, sadness, hurt, frustration ....over the loss of your mom on your BILS. I have found that when I am upset by something-for instance-true story- a possible scary operation for my daughter I let my anger towards my sister's lack of response to my concerns become the focal point of my anger though it was really the situation at hand that had me so upset and angry. It caused me a lot of pain and separation from my sister when I built up my anger at her too much. She was being insensitive but not nearly as much as I had built up in my mind. I just needed to be mad at someone and she was an easy target. I just do not want to see the same thing happening to you and your BILS, if that be the case. I could be way off base and I am sorry if I am!!!

God bless you and I hope you find peace and some loving support, even if not from the ole BILs.
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