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My Ex Husband Died And My Children Are Shutting Me Out

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My ex-husband died this past Sunday and his passing has become as family splintering as his life was for the past eighteen years.

Lannie and I were married for twenty years and had two sons together, who are now married men, with young families of their own. Lannie was a severe alcoholic and was in and out of detox and treatment centers too many times to count, he couldn't hold down a job and, he frequently disappeared for months at a time. Nevertheless, when Lannie was sober he was always welcome at my home for events concerning our sons. My desire was that neither of my sons ever feel a need to choose between which parent would be present at birthdays etc. I have not been a saint, and many times I wished Lannie would die and end the pain and suffering he was causing everyone who cared about him.

Since Lannie's death my son's have been very cold towards me and have shut me out completely surrounding funeral arrangements etc. I don't understand it and am very hurt by it. Not only do I ache for the pain my sons are going through, I also have my own feelings surrounding Lannie's death.

When I mentioned earlier that Lannie's death was a family splintering as his life was it was splintering because each of us would be at different places at different times. One of us would have pretty much written Lannie off because the pain was too great and the other would be in a position of feeling compassion towards him because he was ill. My son's have had very limited contact with Lannie in the last two years and the son that is being the coldest towards me is the one who basically wrote his father off over a year ago.

I don't know what I am asking of anyone really. I guess I just want to talk about how much this is hurting me and on so many levels. I am in the awkward position of being the ex-wife and therefore am not really considered as someone who might have a lot of feelings surrounding Lannie's death.

I did remarry six years ago but just prior to that had actually gotten back together with my ex for a brief period of time after he had been sober for a year. I feel it is almost disloyal to my current husband to be grieving for my ex.

All I know is that I feel very alone right now.

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Hi Meb,

I am sorry for your loss. I have never been married so I can't imagine all that you are going through, but I wanted to let you know I understood about the being alone part, I feel very alone in my grief as well, as if it is me against the world. I hope you will be able to connect with your kids in the future, I know everyone grieves differently. When my grandfather died, my Mother was very mean, didn't want to speak to me was just very hurtful, I never did understand that but I guess she was going through something I couldn't understand at the time.

I hope you find some peace this weekend, take care of yourself, Elizabeth

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Thanks very much for your post Elizabeth. I must keep reminding myself that everyone deals with grief differently. I think my one son is holding his feelings in so tightly that it makes him seem distant and cold.

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I am sorry for your loss.

My husband was an alcoholic, too. We stayed married. I don't know even now if that was a good idea or a bad one.

My husband had been diagnosed with lung cancer. It was going to be a long, painful death, I suspect, but fate intervened, or something did, and he died very suddenly five weeks after his diagnosis. He didn't die from cancer, but from circumstances surrounding it.

Over the years, I had considered leaving him. I understand very well the situation of being married to an alcoholic.

You were married for some time, I guess? He was the father of your sons. I would hope you have the humanity to grieve for someone who held that prominent position in your life! I would consider that compassion, not disloyalty.

As for your sons keeping you out of the funeral arrangements, I suppose that makes sense, as you've moved on and remarried. They would be considered the next of kin. I'm sorry that they're doing that and that is hurtful to you.

I am sad, so sad that my husband died, but in a way, I find a tiny bit of comfort (or maybe I choose to believe) that whatever awful thoughts and feelings drove him to drink are gone and he is at peace now.

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Dear Meb,

I'm so sorry for your loss. I want you to know I do understand. Lannie may have been your ex but you had children with him and he was a part of your life.

I lost my soul mate to lung cancer 3 weeks ago. John and I were married 5/2/1969. Our marriage ended in divorce 4 yrs and one baby later. He went his way and I mine. But we kept in touch through the years. He remarried first and then I did. I was married to a wonderful Christian man for 27 years, Larry; we put his children (4 girls) and mine (1 boy) together as a family. Larry would even talk to John when He would call. Larry was a great dad to my son. I lost Larry in 2006 to esophageal and stomach cancer. I loved him very much and had a good life. His death was hard. With John it was so different - I never stopped loving John. I had been IN LOVE with him since I was 18 yrs old. We had a son together and had kept in touch -- He came on a visit in Sept.2009 and it was like we had never been apart. We were in love again and both of us knew it. He decided to move from N.Y. to Missouri to be here with me. He moved here in Oct. and we were extremely happy. Both of us felt like teenagers again .In Jan he got sick and was in the hospital-we thought he had pneumonia. And that's when they found spots on his lungs- they did a biopsy the end of Jan and when we went back for the results drs. told us it was small cell cancer and he had 6 months to a year. He decided not to go through any treatment, as it would only give him "maybe" 6 more months. We decided to remarry on our anniversary, May2. On April 12, John passed away. I feel very cheated; we were so looking forward to our "golden years" together. I feel confused, forsaken, angry, extremely sad, lost and depressed all at once. The pain or hurt I feel on the loss of John is so more intense. I want to understand the "WHY" even though I know in my head I 'm not to question God's reasons but my heart wants an answer. I feel sick in my soul and I cry at the drop of a hat, Sometime the flood of tears just won't stop.

I'm so sorry your sons are shutting you out. My son was not close to John ,as John had not really been there for him.But John jr. tried to understand where I was coming from and would have like to know his father better.

I too have felt disloyal to my husband Larry's memory. My sister put it in perspective for me and that is they were two completely different men and I had completely different love for them. I guess I'm trying to say it's ok to grieve for a man that was part of your life.

again I'm so sorry for your loss.

((((((())))))) HUGS to YOU.


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I thank each one of you for your thoughtful replies. There is a lot of pain out there and I feel for each one of you. I apologize for not having the energy to reply to each of you individually.

I just want to clarify that I didn't expect to be involved in the funeral arrangements I just expected to be notified as to where and when. The funeral is this coming Tuesday and prayers and viewing are on Monday. My ex sister-in-law and I have remained best friends all these years and she asked me to please be there for her. I appreciate being asked.

Lannie was found deceased in his car and the coroner attributed his death to alcoholism. Lannie was 60 years old.

I am not a believer of the statement "misery loves company" but it has helped to read the replies and feel understood. Thanks again.

Wishing you all peace and sending you all a hug.


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I cannot totally understand your grief because I was married to the same man for 37 years. What I think I can understand though is that once you have loved someone and especially if you have a child together there is a life long bond. He had an illness that drove you apart but that doesn't mean that your love died for him. I hope you have talked with your husband about your feelings so it doesn't cause trouble between the two of you. Hopefully his love for you will let him understand.

I hope you keep coming here because there are a lot of people to draw from and even if the experience is not exactly the same it may help you see another view.

I forgot to say that your son's may have there own "guilt" about not being closer to their dad and are trying to find a way to handle that too. They are grieving too so just be there to support them when they need you and I'm sure it will turn out OK for the 3 of you.

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I was thinking along the same lines as Mary Linda - that your sons may be experiencing guilt about their father's death, that they were not closer, or perhaps that they did not do more to help their dad with his disease (though of course, this is not the case in actuality).

My husband died from infection, 3.5 weeks into an inpatient program for alcoholism. His body was just so weak. And even though I organized an intervention and got him into the program, OMG, the guilt for me is still there. I feel like I hastened his death, because he got sick while in treatment, exposed to so many other people. But who knows how long he could have survived without treatment. And why didn't I do something sooner....etc etc etc.

I am sure that after the initial shock, guilt, and possibly anger that your sons are feeling, that it will work out for you all, and that you will be there for them when they need you.

And of course you have feelings for the death of your ex. How could you not, after having a life and a family with him.

Take care,


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I am sorry for your loss...it's okay to recognize that you DO have a loss. You had a life together before you divorced and sometimes it's not always so cut and dried...with some exes, you can still have feelings of caring about them, even while realizing you can't live with them. I care very much about my kids' dad, we were married 23 years, how can you not?

The kids may be feeling that since you divorced it's a "vote against dad" and now that dad is dead, he has achieved sainthood. That is usually temporary, as they go further along in their grief journey, they'll remember more accurately how things really were and eventually will be able to incorporate the good and the bad all together and accept their dad as who he was...not who they wish he was, not partial memories, but all of it. It takes a while to get to that point. For now, it's good to let them grieve their own way. The arrangements are theirs to make since you are no longer his wife. You can let them know you are there for them if they should ever want to talk and that you also care for him and are grieving in your own way. Give them time, beyond that, there isn't a lot you can do.

Depending upon your relationship with your current husband, you might want to talk to him about it, if you don't feel he'd be threatened by it, but try not to overdo it so he doesn't get the wrong idea.

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Thank you all so much for your replies. It has helped me tremendously.

Last night it was the prayer service and today it is the funeral. It is so painful to see how badly broken my sons are. Yes, I do believe they have a lot of guilt (unreasonable for sure but feelings aren't all that reasonable) because both of them had taken a pretty hard stance with their dad in the last few years and refused to have any contact with him as long as he was drinking.

Alcoholism (any addiction really) is a terrible disease which I will never understand. It is obvious that no one would choose that journey deliberately.

I have spoken with my husband about my feelings surrounding the death of Lannie and he has been very supportive. I realize that my grief is really all about my children and the young and hopeful young girl I once was. Anyhow, I am just going to go through this as there is no other way but through it. I have accepted that my sons need to push me away right now for some reason and I will just wait patiently for them to come around. That's about all I can do. It took me a while to get to this place for sure but it really helped me to read all of your stories and to not feel so alone.

Thanks again.


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