Last week I lost my Aunt M, wife of my Father’s brother. My Husband also lost an Aunt- the wife of his Mother’s brother.
When my parents found out about the death, they talked to my two cousins, sent a fruit basket to the house, and figured out if it were feasible to get from New Jersey to Louisiana. When my MIL found out about the death, she asked the children of the deceased to pay for her plane ticket from Florida to New Jersey.
Let me backtrack: I have never met my Husband’s Aunt, nor the cousins, nor his Uncle when he was alive. Obviously, it wasn’t a distance thing because they only live an hour away from us. I never met them because my Mother in Law hadn’t spoken to her brother in about twenty years. They reconciled about eight years ago, sort of, and then he passed about two years ago. But to be clear, the relationship was contentious. And now, well, now there’s no relationship again.
See, oddly, the family of the deceased did not take kindly to my MIL asking for a plane ticket. After my MIL’s third email about the trip up from the funeral, the daughter of the deceased called up screaming. And my MIL hung up on her.
When Husband relayed this story to me, I just looked at him and said- “everyone remembers that your cousins Mom just died, right? That even though it was expected, it’s still hard and she’s raw? And that the “job” of those around her is to make her feel a little better about her loss? Not to aggravate her?” My husband just shrugged his shoulders.
If I wrote this story in a book, people would say I wasn’t being realistic, that this would never happen in real life. But as we all know, truth is stranger than fiction. And people act in mysterious ways. I’m sure when my MIL relays this story to her friends she will undoubtedly make herself the victim (let’s face it, we all spin stories so that we show that we are wronged)
So the moral of the story is: think about what you’re saying and what you’re doing. Think about how your actions affect those around you. Consider for a brief moment what they are going through. And try to act in a way that is true to yourself, but considerate of those around you. And don’t hang up on a person who is grieving because they’re not doing what you want them to do.