Question: Dear Luise: Thanks in advance for letting me post my story. I was married for 24 years and had two children, one of each. My husband took his life after I asked him for a divorce because I was tired of his unfaithfulness and verbal abuse. The next day after I asked for a divorce, my husband took his life. My children were already adults and I have talked to them prior to asking for a divorce. They had witnessed his affairs and the verbal abuse over their teenaged years. At the time they were behind me 100%. After their father’s death I met another man and we got married. My oldest, daughter, and my current husband butt heads all the time because she tends to be bossy and disrespectful to me. Even with this attitude towards me, we still had always been close until I remarried. We spent a lot of time together and I was a major part of my grandchildrens lives when they were small. My son accepted my current husband completely and they had a great relationship. But my son had problems with alcohol and drug abuse and took his life 7 years after his father did. This was the hardest thing I ever had to deal with in my life and my husband has always been there for me. My daughter runs hot and cold with me. We will get along for a few months at a time then I won’t hear anything from her for months. This has been going on since 1998 when her Dad died. My grandchildren have grown up without me being around much due to her reactions to me and I’m afraid, there has been a lot of bad talk about me. They are teenagers now and even though when I do see them, they act like they miss me and love me, but they have a better relationship with her husband’s family than my husband and I. This is their stepfather’s family and not their real father. She has kept them away from their real father and talks very poorly about him even though he’s not a bad person. I think he has just given up on trying to have a relationship with his kids even though he pays his child support and has tried hard to be a part of their lives also. Another issue I have dealt with since my first husband’s death is with my own family. It seems like they have pushed me away also and I rarely hear anything from my sisters. We live five hours away from each other and since I remarried, they don’t come to visit us. I email them to check on them and their families and all I get back are forwarded junk emails from them. I do talk to one of my neices on a regular basis but the rest of my neices and nephews have nothing to do with us. My husband is a wonderful man. He’s very good to me and he is good to my daughter and grandchildren when they are around. A few months ago, we decided to move from our big house to a smaller house and went through all of our belongings to filter out. My daughter and her husband helped us move and we gave them a lot of things. I gave her all of the heirlooms from her father’s family and a lot that I had for her from my own family and what I had purchased over the years. I felt like she should be able to enjoy them now and not have to wait until I die to have them. She was very helpful and I appreciated all the work they did and told them numerous times that we appreciated them. Now, she is back on one of her moods of not wanting to talk to me again. We gave her husband almost all of her Dad’s tools and belongings and she still wanted more. When her father died, she took all of his gun collection and anything she could carry off that belonged to her dad. I never commented on it but there were things that I could have still used like some of the tools. She sold the gun collection and kept the money. I also could have used the money from the sale of his gun collection because his insurance paid for his funeral and there wasn’t much left over for me to use on our bills. I had a very hard time paying bills and keeping my house. I didn’t say anything about that to her because it wasn’t really that important to me to cause a big fight over. My husband has told me numerous times she acts like she thinks everything of mine is hers and that I have no right to have anything from my first marriage. Her father and I never separated so I’m not sure why she feels that way. I worry myself sick over her moods because I never know if I am “in or out”. It’s a constant rollercoaster ride for me. I have become disabled this last year and had to quit my job and career. I worked for many years in a very stressful job and between that and the suicides of my brother, my first husband and my son, I have a lot of anxiety and have panic attacks a lot. I have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress syndrome along with back problems. I have had surgery on my back and have constant pain with it. This is why I am disabled.I have been through counseling and take medication for this but I try very hard not to let this affect my attitude or life. I also want to add that when my current husband and I married, he had custody of his two children and I helped raise them. They were 8 and 10 and are now adults also. They treat me very well and both have said I am their real mother because I raised them and have always been there for them. I thought at one time my daughter might have been jealous of them but she has a good relationship with them so I don’t really think that is the case. I am just at my wits end. Between my daughter, grandchildren and my sisters, neices and nephew, I feel like I have no family anymore. I think I could fall off the face of the earth and none of them would even notice or care. I just don’t know how to handle this anymore. I’m sorry this is so long but I wanted you to know the background. Oh, also, after my first husband died, I found out through my kids that their dad had physically abused them. I was totally unaware of this and if I had known, I would have taken the kids and left immediately. I sometimes wonder how I could have been married to a man for 24 years and yet not really know him. When the police found him after he shot himself, there were drugs in his vehicle and I had no idea he was using drugs either. I know this is a lot to comprehend, but this has been my life for the last 13 years. If I didn’t have God to fall back on and my husband for his support, I think I would have taken my life years ago. I have been that desperate at times. Living through my son’s suicide has been a long process but I am grateful for the 29 years I had with him even though I miss him every day. He had his problems but he was a very loving, funny and kind person. Thanks for reading all of this and I look forward to your answer. S.
Answer: Dear S.: All you can do is accept the choices others make no matter how terribly their decisions impact you. I honestly don’t know how I would deal with what you have had to go through.
Enjoy what you have around you that matters and treat yourself kindly. You deserve so much better than what you have had to go through. Blessings, Luise