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Bereavement

I am raging within but cannot do anything about it.

(15 Posts)
Ninarosa Tue 06-Oct-20 20:25:49

Back story: My brother is much older than I . I have no other siblings. When I was born he had already left home and started his career. When he visited he seemed more like a kindly uncle than my brother.We didn't see much of each other over the years, yearly visits perhaps to his various abodes.
As we both aged we started emailing and when he and his wife moved abroad we didn't see each other for many years. It's just how it was, the affection was there though.I saw them both over these last ten years at their home abroad on several occasions . Three years ago they came back here as his wife's physical health was poor, she needed a new hip.
I hadn't seen my brother even though they only lived a two hour drive away: he phoned me not long after coming home, in tears, to say his wife had drawn up a black list of people never to visit them and I was on it! She would make life intolerable if he disobeyed her.
Sadly I agreed not to visit for the foreseeable future.I let this continue until now. We emailed but had to keep it general as she read and deleted them.
My niece , their daughter emailed me a month ago to say my brother had cancer( I didn't know ), and that they were playing it low key and calmly so as not to upset his wife. Visiting wasn't allowed ( but then when ever was it for me ? ).
I left it for two weeks and emailed my niece to ask how my brother was, she said sorry she thought she'd contacted me, my brother died shortly after her first email. They'd had a direct cremation .
I feel myriad emotions, but chiefly rage. Red hot anger that I squandered three years because I pandered to his wife's foibles.
How can I get past this?
So sorry for this tome. Not like me at all.

SueDonim Tue 06-Oct-20 20:37:44

NinaRosa, that’s a terrible, terrible thing to have experienced. I am so sorry that you’ve lost your brother and that it’s being made a hundred times worse by his wife’s attitude. No wonder you are boiling with rage.

I don’t know what to suggest but I am sure other GNetters will be along soon and able to offer advice. flowers

Marydoll Tue 06-Oct-20 20:43:21

I have no advice, NinaRosa, but I couldn't pass by and not offer my condolences.
I have a sister in law like that, who made my brother choose between myself and her. My brother is a bit younger than me, but his wife is the same age as me. I practically brought him up, but he was too weak to stand up to her. 😪

BlueBelle Tue 06-Oct-20 20:51:28

Oh my goodness that is awful I feel so angry for you even though I don’t know you nina
I don’t know what I can say, there is nothing you can do now but feel the rightful anger you are feeling
I am so sorry for this situation and all I can do is offer you 💐and a virtual hug

Hetty58 Tue 06-Oct-20 21:06:24

Anger is often a natural part of grief, as is regret. You weren't to know that you'd lose your brother so soon, so of course you now regret not seeing him and complying with his wife's wishes.

I have a sister-in-law just like that. She always answers the phone and is completely in charge of (and 'spokeswoman' for) my brother. We couldn't even meet up in secret as he's constantly controlled and monitored. I'm sure it's abuse!

Think about it logically, though. If you'd gone against her, your brother would doubtless have suffered her rage.

As you said, 'She would make life intolerable if he disobeyed her.'

Don't contact her now, just forget her.

I feel that your niece should be forgiven for failing to contact you. She would have been very upset at the time. She is also a victim of the situate easy uion, so I'd maintain contact.

It's a shame that your brother allowed her to dictate to him, a shame that he chose the easy option of letting her rule the roost - but it was up to him (not you) to change things.

It's all over and in the past now, so wait out the pain and anger - it will lessen with time.

Hetty58 Tue 06-Oct-20 21:07:37

(a victim of the situation)

icanhandthemback Tue 06-Oct-20 21:29:16

Ninarosa, that is a terrible way to treat you. I suspect your niece was probably embarrassed by telling you that her mother didn't want you at the funeral so didn't contact you. It was a coward's way out but she is probably in a very difficult situation.
I think it was completely out of order for your SIL to make those sort of rules but your brother should have stood up for your relationship. My father's wife didn't want her family to know that he had been married before, so our existence was denied to everybody including my half brother and sister. My brother was well over 30 before we met and when he died 4 years ago just before he was 40, the anger I felt at being denied all his childhood and early adulthood was white hot. Whilst I think it was unreasonable for his wife to have asked my Dad to do this, I think my father should bear the brunt of my anger because he allowed this to happen and it was his responsibility to keep the relationship going as we were his blood.
Give it a little time to process your feelings but in the long run, you might need a little help with coming to terms with the way things have been handled. I suspect if you hadn't toed the line with your SIL's wishes, you'd have found the relationship with your brother faltered anyway; he obviously preferred a peaceful life so do not waste your time on regret.

52bright Tue 06-Oct-20 22:48:14

My heartfelt condolences at the loss of your brother Ninarosa. I have found the loss of my own brother very hard to bear and can only imagine the terrible pain you are feeling under these circumstances. flowers

Starblaze Tue 06-Oct-20 22:57:02

I'm so sorry for your loss.

I think you are absolutely entitled to all your feelings as they come, sometimes the only way is to just let them out.

I really would suggest some sort of grief counselling.

This is all awful and so unfair on you

crazyH Tue 06-Oct-20 23:09:20

I have a sister-in-law exactly like that. She has kept us away. My brother is 93 years old (probably healthier than me😂, lives a 5 hour drive away. Every time I ring , I hint that I would like to visit, and that I would stay in a B&B/ hotel. She just won't give me a date. The strange thing is, my brother does not seem keen either. So I have just left it..... sad....

crazyH Tue 06-Oct-20 23:11:09

My condolences Ninarosa flowers

Elrel Wed 07-Oct-20 00:02:07

Ninarosa - So sad for you and all others who have been denied the company and friendship of loved ones by an insecure and jealous partner.

Txquiltz Wed 07-Oct-20 00:10:29

My condolences. Sometimes the situations in life have no answer. You might find counseling for a few sessions will help you grieve in the strongest way possible.

Ninarosa Wed 07-Oct-20 15:34:48

Thank you all for your kind and sincere replies, I just needed a bit of breathing space before coming back to you.
It's sad that I'm not alone in this sort of scenario. Makes you wonder sometimes why we are treated so meanly by so called family.
All your replies echo thoughts going round in my head.
I think I'll start by berating my brother, in the nicest possible way, for not matching his wife's fierceness by telling her just what she could do with her order.
Closely followed by beating myself up for my utter apathy in not just turning up on their doorstep.
I know both of these would have been unrealistic though.Later, much later, I'll try and be kind to both of us.
My SIL I won't think about ever again.

Toadinthehole Thu 08-Oct-20 12:00:22

I’m a great believer in we do what we do, because we’re supposed to. If you hadn’t pandered to your SIL’s wishes, it may have been worse. Your brother sanctioned it by allowing it to happen. You could do no more, and neither should you have done. Perhaps now, you could be on the back burner for your niece, should she need you. Her relationship with her mother may not be good either. All the best to you 💐