General chatter - death in family

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11-22-2010, 07:49 AM
My SIL died last night from complications of heart surgery. I love my brother but am not close to him. It's like we are distant cousins more the brother and sister. Even growing up, it was like we shared a house but never connected as family....weird. I think it's been a good 25 years since we spoke on the phone. I see him and his wife once a year when I visit our parents at big family dinner.

I'm sad for my brother, the pain his going through because he really did love her. I never took the time to get to know my sil.

My dilema, what do I do? It's thansgiving week. I'm wanting to write him a check for what it would cost if I went there and send him a card. but that sounds so cold blooded, that I don't care about him. Which I should, he's my brother.

Once I graduated high school, I left home. My parents were always fighting, and pulled us against the other. If I didn't agree with Mom then I was just like "that f...b....aunt" My dad's oldest sister.

Now that I'm away from them, they both had faults and both contributed to the fights. They would use put downs as a way to control us -you're so fat-you'll never find a husband, you're too stupid to go to college, the army won't take you, you're not good enough.

Know I keep my distance from most of them, send birthday and holiday greatings, the occasional thinking of you email. But don't really interact with the family to keep my emotional health up. The whole family is very draining. I hate to spend much time with them. It's like they make their lives into soap operas and expect someone to fix it.

Oh, I'm digressing. I wanted to show some background about why db and I aren't close

11-22-2010, 09:17 AM
I am so sorry you are not close with your family :hug:

I think if you want to do something nice but really do not want to go and "comfort" in person, then the check and card are as about as good as you can do.

If you feel sending the $$$$ (you didn't mention if there is really a need for it) seem too "cold" then you can suggest it go to a charity your dil supported or maybe tell your brother to use it to take friends or family out to dinner someplace she liked in honor of her memory when the pain eases.

If you would like to make personal contact then call him up too...if that is uncomfortable at this time maybe mention in the card that you will call him in XXX days/weeks to see if you can be of help.

Simple little "hello' are you doing?" on the phone/text/e-mails/cards sometimes can create sparks of communication....if that is what you wish.

In my prayers for you and your family :hug:

11-22-2010, 09:29 AM
I personally wouldn't send money, but I do like the donation idea. If there is a favorite charity of theirs or something. I think also just sending a card would be appreciated.

Do you have your brothers email address? Like I would say something "I'd like to donate to a charity in your wife's name, is there a charity that she would've preferred?"

11-22-2010, 09:38 AM
Oh, I don't know about donating to charity. My brother says "we are our own favorite charity. Once we can afford to pay all the bills every month, then we'll consider helping others." Her health issues prevented her from working.

thanks for the words of support. I just don't know what to do, without looking bad-see that's the problem right there. I don't want to look bad. And I don't want him to think I don't care about him....OMG, maybe that's the problem, down deep I've distanced myself from that part of the family, that I don't really care about him and I feel bad that we aren't like a brother and sister should be...he's only 2 1/2 yrs younger then me. We should be close!

Well, it's not too late. Guess it's time to grow up and see how to change this.

11-22-2010, 09:50 AM
There is nothing wrong with giving your brother $$$ to help with the funeral expenses.

11-22-2010, 10:16 AM
you may be surprised to find out how much comfort he may get out of a phone call. my brother & i used to not be close either, but it literally only took one phone call. as good as intentions may be, emails can be too impersonal for a situation like this. i say call him, and even address the elephant in the room.

11-22-2010, 10:22 AM
I wouldn't send the money - I'd do a call or even a letter that he can reread later as well - kind of saying what you said here - you know how much he loved her and you wish that you'd gotten to know her a little more through the years. Maybe bring up a memory that you have of her that he might like to read.

And to your point of not wanting to "look bad" - whatever you do is up to YOU. No one should/can judge you on that. I think a card or call that is from the heart - doesn't have to be mushy - but just saying I know you're hurting, is more important than a donation, or sending him money. If they're their favorite charity, it would be gone as soon as you sent it. Don't worry about "should be's" at this time - we should be close, etc. - it all comes down to personalities and values and so much more that you can't change overnight. No guilt on this. Sorry for the long reply.

11-22-2010, 11:49 AM
I'm so sorry that you're not close to your family. Your brother just experienced a huge loss, my father died when I was 5 and I saw how it devastated my mother. This is just my opinion, but I think a phone call would be much more appreciated than a card. In grief people don't always remember what you say or do, but how you make them feel. Many people are often at a loss of what to say or do in a situation like this, and sometimes they don't say anything. I think acknowledging his loss and expressing your sympathy will go a long way. Good luck.

11-22-2010, 11:51 AM
*hugs* My condolences to your brother and family.

Call him, tell him you are so sorry about his wife, and then tell him you want to send money to help with the funeral expenses or anything else he needs. Don't wait too long to call- he needs support now, not later. Suck it up and call, you'll be glad you did.

Send the money- she wasn't working, she was sick, I'm 100% sure he'll appreciate the money and you reaching out to him. I also wouldn't send to charity UNLESS he specifically asks you to.

11-22-2010, 12:01 PM
Call him. If you don't reach out to him now you will likely regret it for the rest of your life.

11-22-2010, 12:25 PM
Ok, thanks everyone for the push to call him. I did. He's still in shock. The surgery had gone well and they were planning on releasing her today. There were no compications they were concerned about.

It will be easier to talk to him now that I've finally did it. You're right, I would have regretted not reaching out to him. I was already thinking it was too late, because I heard about it this morning...

So everyone, let your loved ones know how you feel before it's too late. Everyone dies eventually. I now wish I had taken the time to get to know her better, just for my brother's sake.

11-22-2010, 01:03 PM
Gosh Sarah I'm so sorry- I'm sure it's so hard on him- I'm not surprised he's still in shock. I think any of us in that situation would be :( I am very glad you called him :)

Maybe it might be best for you to go see him (if you can afford to), your presence might be the best thing for him right now. If you can't don't feel guilty- still send the money.

If they have kids too they might want to have their aunt around- it's so hard to do ANYTHING when a loved one dies- even the smallest things like cooking meals really helps. When my friends mother passed away (we were seniors in high school) I just told her ask me for ANYTHING and I'll be right there. And sometimes something as simple as bringing over some dinner really meant a lot.


11-22-2010, 08:04 PM
call brother and I had grown apart and then our Mom was diagnosed with cancer...we were there from the start until she passed in may...I talk to him almost everyday now, sometimes it just a how are you today, I am here if you need me...I say call him let him know you are there if he needs someone to talk too.

11-24-2010, 12:18 PM
My dh agrees with the money is tacky opinion. After I spoke with my db, I realized that their money situation had improved greatly and it wasn't as bad as the last time we discussed finances years ago.

Fortunately they don't have kids together. She has a couple grown kids and a grandkids. They are looking out for him.

As I talk with my brother, I realized that I like this guy he turned out to be. It's sad that it took a tragedy to notice.

I left my family for a reason, they will drive me crazy if I'm around them..not in a regular crazy but in the self destructive, eat to push down all the negative emotions bubbling forth.

He still doesn't know when the funeral will be, the paper work and autopsy takes time. He said he understands those of us out of state won't be able to come and we'll do something in the summer when we're regularly down.

11-24-2010, 03:56 PM
I'm so sorry for your brother! :hug:
It's nice that you called him, though.
He needs support more than ever right now.