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My wife was diagnosed in late 2019. As her illness worsened, I was her only caretaker, though Kindred Hospice assisted during her last 2 months. Her family and friends were aware of her illness from the beginning of our 6-1/2 year marriage, without mentioning it to me until late 2019. During 2020, they only visited about 3 times, and never called to inquire of her condition, or mine. One son and his family live only 15 miles away in Reno; the other son lives in San Francisco, yet he could easily call. Since her death, they never even once, call to see how I am (I'm 82 in March). I'm very lonely, though I have a small farm to run. Good neighbors, but we all keep to ourselves. I have 2 grandsons - one in Elko, NV, about 5 hours away and the other is about 10 miles away, but doesn't drive. They do call me, but how do I handle my wife's family's lack of consideration?

This is what it sounds like: they were very relieved that you took your wife off their hands and their consciences, and now they'd rather not think about it.

Their attitude is not admirable. But...

You have to take them as they are, not as they ought to be.

I think it is very healthy on your part to have recognised that loneliness is a real and serious issue for you. More calls or visits from people whom, let's face it, you don't know well and have no particular reason to be fond of wouldn't do a lot to change that. Have you given much thought to your options, looking ahead? There are plenty, you know! :)
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jacobsonbob Dec 19, 2020
CM, I was thinking the same thing you described in your first sentence! The wife's family members were probably thinking "what is going to happen when she gets worse, and who will take care of her?" so they were like people who sell their car when it first starts "making a funny noise" intermittently but don't say anything about to the new owner.
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I am so sorry for the loss of your wife.

"The best way to get a letter is to send a letter". That is a quote from a kids' TV show that my granddaughter likes.

Send them all letters telling them how you are doing. It's okay to say you are lonely! Include your phone number.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I am with Geaton. This may sound harsh and sorry if it does, but to her family your were "Mom's husband" not their stepfather. The way I look at second marriages late in life where children are grown, the word "step" should not be used. You didn't raise her children so no bond. Your children and her children weren't raised together so no bond there either. How was your relationship the whole time you were married? Them seeing Mom only 3x and not being involved in her care when she was dying says it all to me. It would have been nice if they checked up on you but please don't expect it. I would expect more out of your grandsons.

I just lost a friend who all her life expected certain things out of people. And when they didn't live up to those expectations she got depressed and angry. Please don't do this to yourself. Let them go. At 82 maybe there should be changes in your life. Maybe move where there are more people and things to do. Maybe an independent living complex where you get an apartment, go to a dining room for meals, have activities and outings.

I am 71 and I am already aware that if my DH goes before me I will need to make changes. That I am going to need to make a new life for "me". Not that my girls won't be there but they will not be able to care for me or entertain me. Both have to work and have lives outside that. As the oldest and a girl I have learned not to expect. My brothers loved my Mom, I am sure of that, but they never went out of their way for her. It got done because I did it. I had my "mad" moments but after awhile I stopped expecting anything from them. Makes life so much easier. One brother lives 8hrs away and has said he won't come home now Mom is gone. Sad, huh, when I am still here and also another brother. I even have a friend I have had for 66 years but I have found I cannot expect certain things from her now. Its just how it is.

Just read ur profile. You seem to be an active man. All you have done in the past few years is care for someone. You may just need to give yourself some time to learn to just be with alone with you. I would not rush into anything. They say don't make any life changing decisions for a year after a spouses passing. It takes time give yourself that time.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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So sorry for your loss: first the loss of your dear wife and second the realization of the loss of family support. You can't make them call you, but you can call them and try to open up room for relationships to develop. If they rebuff your friendship, then turn to friends - and make new friendships - to fill the void. It no wonder that the Bible has a verse that says "there exists a friend that is closer than a brother." Go find that person.

In the meantime, please consider joining a grief group like GriefShare. The next year will be so much different without your spouse. People who have walked this road can help you in your journey. God bless.
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First, I am very sorry for your loss. It's hard. I know. My husband of 26 years died in Sept. The fact that her own children only visited 3 times during her illness, says a whole lot. So really you should not be surprised that they haven't reached out to you, their stepfather, when they didn't even have time for their own mom. Family dynamics can be strange for sure, especially when they're blended. Perhaps they are dealing with guilt that they weren't more supportive in their mom's life, and now that she's gone, they're having regrets, and seeing or talking to you, just reminds them of how they failed their own mom. I don't know. It's just a thought. But like others are saying, you will probably need to make the first move by reaching out to them in whichever way you are comfortable, and then let them take it from there. I wish you peace, comfort, and even joy in the days, weeks and months ahead. God bless you.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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I am sorry about your loss, your wife, and the absence of her family. Support sometimes can come from other than family. I am glad you reached out online.
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Reply to Pasa18
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I’m sorry for your loss, both of your wife and of the relationships you wanted to have. There’s no harm in reaching out, if you can do so without placing any guilt or blame, wishing them well in the holiday season and letting them know you’d enjoy them keeping in touch. Also know that acceptable is a gift you give yourself, accepting a situation or people as it as, and stopping the expectation that it will be more. I’m glad you have some family and community around you and hope you can continue to build on those relationships
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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I'm sorry for the loss of your wife. My husband's parents were divorced and both remarried when he and his brothers were young adults. "Blended" families are fraught with complex emotions and this might explain some of their distance, and sons in general tend to be less communicative or connected than daughters. It is definitely disappointing and painful when the expected or hoped-for support doesn't come. You had an expectation but there was never a promise it would be met, nor are they obligated to meet your expectations. This is a hard truth -- especially at a time when you sorely needed it and continue to need it.

I agree with BarbBrooklyn that you can choose to connect with them but I think they've made their level of interest and involvement abundantly clear already. Knowing what I've learned from my husband's "blended" family I wouldn't have any expectations from them going forward. Invest your emotional energy in local people who actually do seem interested in your life and continue seeking those good people. It's hard in the covid era, but when you are eventually able, join groups, clubs and faith-based organizations. Get your legal paperwork in order if you haven't done so already (assign a Power of Attorney, create your Advance Care Directive, be realistic about aging and decline and exiting, etc.) Your family is not obligated to be your caregivers so please talk to an elder law attorney who will give you solid legal guidance so you can make the best plan possible for your future. I wish you wisdom and peace in your heart.
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Reply to Geaton777
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I am so sorry for your loss.

May God grant you grieving mercies and comfort during this difficult time.

I agree with Geaton and Barb, reach out to your stepchildren if you want to have contact with them. As far as your wife's illness and them knowing and not saying anything, well it wasn't theirs to tell, that was her responsibility to tell you. They were placed in an awkward position by her choice to not tell you, so I would let that go.
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disgustedtoo Dec 19, 2020
If it was any other medical issue, then yes, it would have been her responsibility to tell him. However, the original post doesn't mention dementia. The profile does. I would not expect most people to even acknowledge they have dementia, much less tell someone they have it. There are some, such as jfbctc, who are aware of their condition, discussed it with family, made plans. Since most wouldn't even be aware, how would they be able to tell someone of their condition?

No way would my mother even consider that she had ANY issue, much less dementia. To her dementia was being "off your rocker", aka crazy, which it isn't, so we never used the word around her. If someone told her she had this condition, she would deny it!

In this case, if the family knew or suspected dementia, they should have made some effort to let OP know.
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I am so sorry for your loss.

I love your profile. You have a very kind soul. Please don’t lose sight of that.

I’m quite sure that your wife fell in love with your kind heart and soul.

It does seem that a death or a divorce changes the dynamics in certain families, which is sad and unfortunate.

Some relationships in our lives are not meant to be permanent. Others last forever.

Express how you feel to the family members that you wish to have contact with. If they return a mutual interest, the relationship will blossom.

I can see that you are caring, intelligent, open to relationships.

I see that you met your wife with the help of a personal ad, good for you!

I urge you to remain involved in life.

I have a feeling that you enjoy your solitude but don’t wish to be a hermit!

If your family members don’t reciprocate your wishes to have a relationship and your neighbors stay to themselves, widen your scope.

I grew up next door to a woman that I absolutely adored.

I was friends with her daughter.

She was divorced at a time when divorced women were looked down on.

She was an artist. She went back to school when she was middle aged.

She got her degree, opened an art studio, made bazillions of trips to New York to visit the incredible art museums there.

She never remarried but she stayed involved in life. She was always hosting events in her home.

She taught me all sorts of interesting art.

She is now in a nursing home in Maine, near her daughter. Her kids are spread out. Her daughter is a professor in Maine. She has a son in AZ, and a son who remains here in New Orleans. She still paints and is in her 90’s.

You have a farm. I bet that you could teach younger people lots of things.

Take time to grieve. Grieve alone and if other family members decide to share their grief with you, grieve together.

You will always miss your wife. Please remember that she lives in your heart forever.

You had a tough time caring for her. It’s hard. Honor your feelings, move forward knowing that you did your very best.

I know that you are grateful for your health. I have a feeling that you will make the most of your life.

I would love to hear more about your farm.

I am a city gal but I have a huge appreciation for nature.

Take care.
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