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Family Visits After The Death

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I've already gotten advice on this topic, from me, of all people, but I thought I'd post it anyway, and see what others think.

Background: My Mom died last November. A rift has developed between me and my sister who's served as executor of Mom's estate. ("Mom Died and Family Fracturing") The rift was not over money or who gets what, just over "Different Ways of Grieving". (The stuff in quotes are topic titles, in case anyone is THAT interested in the deeper background.)

Anyway, I've become somewhat aloof from the family. I am not getting information from anyone re: estate, I have to find things out by driving past the old house or asking the attorney. I've gotten a little comfortable with the status of the relationship, gotten used to checking email the family uses to ignore me and seeing nothing in there except stupid emailed jokes or cutesy pictures featuring animals doing relentlessly cutesy things. Although I do hold out hope or desire for some form of relationship with some, but NOT ALL, of the family, right now, and probably through the rest of this year and on into next Spring, I would like to not be bothered by family in a close proximity way. (Close proximity may lead to detonation.)

(Paul, is there a specific POINT you wanna make? OK, OK, go away, stupid conscience.)

OK, the topic subject: Got an email from a brother from Southern California. He's coming for a visit in a month. He will not be staying with me, but presumably with our darling sister, and a high school buddy of his. He is one of the family members that I would like to maintain a relationship with of some sort. The darling sister is not.

I have always felt judged or assessed in some way when this brother shows up.

The advice that I've gotten from me is that when one is in grief, a needed thing to sometimes do is to keep one's distance from some people. In griefwork, a new person is being forged through all the pain and suffering. Trying to incorporate the loved ones' loss into your life may mean that no interference from people that you may have an emotional sensitivity to should be tolerated for a while. My grief counselor likened it to protecting and nurturing a little plant until its strong enough to grow on it own. (Another cutesy image. Ick.)I likened it to pouring a cement floor, you need to let it harden for a while before you can walk on it. New ideas, ways of living, assimiliating the loss and learning how to live again need to be solidified before you can brush up against people with peculiar different ways of grieving. Or worse, feel that you should be over it by now. Or at least, not going to grief counseling sessions, grief support groups and talking to nice people on the Internet about Mom and her death. (No one in the family has suggested yet that I should be over it, or any of the other things, but they're likely to if they bothered to talk to me. I think.)

If I tell him, "Thanks, but no thanks, maybe we'll get together next year or later." I know I'll be cast as the villian. Proof that I'm more responsible for the rift than anyone else, because I'm pushing the family away.

Of course, in my AA meetings they'll probably wonder why I'm bothered by something that won't happen for a month yet (you know: "One Day at a Time", or "Don't take on more troubles than you've already got, today is sufficiently tough on its own." But still, "Sensors have detected a large group of approaching enemy vessels, shall we go to Red Alert, Captain?"

"Captain? Captain? ... Hello? Yoo-hoo, Captain?"

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Since I already gave you my 2-cents' worth in an email, I'd just like to add that, given your oh-so-Freudian mention of "approaching ( miniature buffalo-shaped ) enemy vessels" :ph34r: , might your recent dream not be tied into all this, too?

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Thanks for your advice in the email, too bad no one else will have access to your wisdom! :P:ninja:

I queried said bro about his plans, agenda and itinerary and got a response that amongsbt going here and there, to just 'visit with you for a while', and a question as to do I have any special plans?


It may not seem as bad now as when I received the email saying he was coming. But still, I wish the family would leave me alone for a year. I'm justb not in the mood.

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So wasn't that your opening to speak to your bro from the heart? It sounds to me like he's trying hard to be respectful of you ( heck, my relatives would be more likely to just TELL me what I was gonna do with/for them! ) and your own life, so maybe some compromise wouldn't be so bad?

Okay, this feels like some kind of inspiration, like it didn't come from me....what is it that you seem so afraid of seeing, facing, doing, or whatever, that involves your bro?...cuz you have no trouble yakkin' up a storm here, which is sorta like visiting with people. I know family dynamics can do a real number on many of us, but your bro doesn't sound like Ugly Woman #2, in any respect, so why the avoidance, if you really do want to keep your relationship with him alive?

Maybe it's just me, longing for family that doesn't exist, but I'd give my eye teeth to have even one family member, especially a sibling, who I rather liked and who actually wanted to spend some time with me. And perhaps this will help, too.....ask yourself how you'd really feel deep down, should something happen to this brother and you hadn't had the chance to see him again? Even if you can't get to an immediate answer in your heart, pay attention to your GUT. ( as long as it's not too close to lunchtime ) I know this approach helped me a lot when I was in the midst of trying to decide whether to accept my ex back into my life ( as was his request ). I pictured him walking towards me....and my GUT recoiled. I had my answer, after MONTHS of deliberating this by various other means. It's that same idea again....Keep It Simple, Stupid ( KISS ). ( no, I'm not calling you names....despite 'playing' with your name )

Whaddahathink? Or rather, whaddayaFEEL?

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Ah ain't afeer'd o'nothin'. :ninja:

I just want to be left alone for awhile. :unsure:

Yeah, I don't have trouble yakkin' wit youse guyz, but youse ain't family. Family aren't people, they're family. They creep me out sometimes. For years I've been having stress and anxiety attacks over family visits, usually my sister, but the bro is also problematic. I thought I mentioned someplace that I feel as tho I am always judged or assessed by this one. Largely, we get along, but I am just not ready to deal with him now, while I am still in grief counseling. Remember? Little plant, cement floor??? My roots are still tender and I 'm still soft and squishy.

Sometimes I wish I was adopted, but I look look like them too much.

He's staying with my sister a/k/a Ugly Woman #2, so he's friendly with her. That's his desire and his right. But it hurts a little, and they've all moved on, and I haven't yet, and I just want to be left alone for the time being.

I feel like I wanna check out. Beam me up Scotty, where is that Mothership, anyways?? I feel as tho I wanna be a monk in a monastery in South Dakota. Or Manitoba, even. I feel pain, and a visit will only rub salt into wounds because he'll want to talk about sis, and the rift, and perhaps do something about it. Uh, no way, Maybelline, not yet. Not ready. He's a reformed black sheep of the family and he wants us all to get along, but he doesn't understand the rift thing too well, he can't see why she ticked me off, and isn't that empathic anyway.

Edited by Paul S
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I think you just have to relax, not worry too much about it, but mostly do what's best for you. What your gut and heart says. I know the "just leave me alone" feeling all too well, and it can seem like walking into a pit of fire to have to interact with someone you have to "work" to get along with.

Just remember that it will all play out the way it's suppose to.

I know how you feel Maylissa, that you'd be happy to have some kind of family member that wanted to visit. But family can really hurt you and your progress, more so than friends or anyone else. They are the ones that put you in the jaws of guilt, failure, feelings of being nothing, etc...and that can damage you more than anything. You can tell yourself it doesn't matter what they think, but deep down it gets to you. I'm sure you have had those feelings!

Anyway, take care of yourself, Paul, and let things take their natural course.


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Dangit, shell, you hit the nail on the head with that one. I think part of that post made its way into the spiritual plane, and wandered about for a bit and settled into my noggin this AM before I logged on here cuz I was thinking of that earlier. Things will work out in the manner that they're supposed to (or close to) and I'll just take it one day at at time, as I've heard somewhere. Whatever happens, happens. I'll prob suggest dinner somewhere, meeting him there, and spend a few hours and then blow. "See you again next year after things settle down a bit. I'm not the best of company right now, so, let's just keep it simple (stupid)."

MayDay: what shell said rings very true. Wish I said it. Family is tougher to deal with because there is an emotional resonance that friends and others do not have. They can push the buttons better. There is also that scary genetic link, which I know you worry about. "Omigawd, I'm like them, in some way I cannot change." (Insert Serenity Prayer here.)

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Yah, that's pretty true...although I'll tell ya, that woman who was partnered with my dead brother was WAY harder to take ( in conversation ) than either my dead brother or the other one, and I've never even met her in person, so she's no 'family' to me! And I have one friend who makes me seethe at least a half-dozen times during every conversation, too, so I think I was operating out of that headspace while thinking about this. But glad all this online convo helped you sort something out for yourself. Sometimes we, the sounding boards, aren't exactly on-key, but we can help each other find our OWN tunes, which is the goal anyway. :) Tunes like....the Pennsylvania Polka! :wacko:

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  • 5 months later...

Hi All,

I lsot my mom in Las Vegas, during vacation and so my family came down to Las Vegas from Canada... When my dad died I was at work and dad was in the hospital. My sister-in-law and brother came to work to tell me... I remember right after his funeral the real estate people came through for a walk through and this being one week after my dad's funeral... After that I was told to get out.... I was than told again that I could stay in the house until it was sold as long as I kept it neat and tidy and the dog had to go... What could I say but okay... So I stayed and let my dog go to my brother's house where she still lives.... I hope this helps someone Take Good Care Shelley

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