I lost my only two children this year. Kory aged 21, who died in March
and Kyle aged 26 who died in October at home from his 14 month battle with
cancer. Kory was a great shock, and he was due to deploy to Afghanistan in
August, Kyle, we knew was terminally ill. My mother and father have not even
bothered to contact me, although they showed up for both wakes and funerals,
and barely acknowledged me. They did not bother to offer me any condolences at
either wake or funeral. We were never very close but they were always invited
to my home for the holidays, etc. and they live three miles from me. They talk
about me in the community as if they have been in contact with me, and share
info that they did not get from me. They have not called me, did not send
flowers to the funeral , or even asked how I was. My friends tell me to let it
go, and not to bother calling them to talk about it, but the hurt is so unbelievable
that they would not even try to comfort their oldest daughter with this
incredible loss. Should I carry on and pretend that it does not matter and
ignore them for the rest of their natural lives (which is what I have been
doing), or should I call them and have it out with them and let them know the
unimaginable hurt that I feel by their lack of feelings towards me and the
whole situation. My husband and I are still, and will be for a while, grieving.
heart goes out to you. You have
suffered a terrible loss. It is
understandable that you would look to your parents to extend some kind of
comfort during this time when you are in so much pain. That’s what parents do, or that’s what
we “should” be able to expect from them. You need support, but unfortunately, you
are not getting it from your parents.
You say that you were never very close to them, so they have probably
behaved this way before, although not to this extend under circumstances where
you are most sensitive to it. If
they have not been loving and helpful to you in the past, it is not likely that
they will start any time soon, even now. What “should be” and “what is” are two
different things. Yes, this hurts.
But you don’t have to let it cause
you more suffering than you are already going through. Your parents are who they are, and they
may not be capable of handling this situation any differently than they have
been. And, in their way, they are
are a few things you can do. I
don’t think pretending it doesn’t matter or ignoring them is going to help you
feel any better about things. It
does matter to you. Since you are
the one who always does the inviting, you would have to be the one to reach out
to your parents if you want to connect.
“Having it out with them” is not going to change their behavior; it
might even make things worse between you.
But what would happen if you asked them for some support? You could say: “I’m really struggling
right now. I could use your help.” Give them tangible things that they
could do, like help clean out a closet, make some calls, or run an errand. They may not know what to do or say,
and need some guidance or direction from you. If your parents rise to the occasion and extend themselves
to you, this may help you to start a new relationship with them. And if they don’t, then you have the
choice to either accept them as they are, and your relationship as it is – or if
this is too painful, you can choose to not have them be a part of your life at
all. Let some time go by so that
you can heal a little bit and think clearly before making any big decisions.
You can also focus on the
love and support that you and your husband are getting from your friends. Family is not limited to the people we share
bloodlines with. Those who care
about you, who are there for you during the times when you need them most,
those people are your family. Be
grateful for them.
And be good to
yourself. There is no timeline for
grief. Please know that I am
thinking of you and sending love.