Dear Ellie: Having worked with someone for many years, we became friends. His wife and he had six children. When she became very ill, my co-worker took a leave of absence to be at home with her.
When his wife died, he returned to work, we remained friends and after two years started dating. After three years, we got married. We loved each other, laughed a lot, travelled. When he got sick, our living room became a hospital room, as he wished. About a year later, he died.
Our only problem had been his children (adults) and still is. They didn’t accept me, and let their father know. He tried his hardest to keep things civil.
Eventually, I gave up on it. I was 15 years my husband’s junior. He had his first child when he was 18, so there wasn’t a great age difference between me and the eldest.
He tried hard for peaceful co-existence. But after a particularly awful family wedding he couldn’t be in the middle any longer, and we continued our great life. He still had a (changed) relationship with them. They were awful to him.
I always expected that when he died, he’d be buried with his wife of 50-plus years, his children’s mother. I had no problem with that, despite being married 18 years. The week he died he told me he wanted to be buried with me. I was shocked.
He knew it would cause trouble but that’s what he wanted. He said it could be resolved by dividing the ashes.
He died at home, with just me. Then hell broke loose. His children wanted to see the will, and wanted him buried with their mother. They weren’t named in the will, but I gave them copies and agreed to divide his ashes. I planned a funeral that included his children and grandchildren in readings.
His children stayed outside until it was time to start. My husband had two brothers whom we’d visited and attended their funerals. None of the children of the second brother attended my husband’s funeral.
Now my step-son has died. I should attend the upcoming memorial but I don’t want to go to the cemetery where half my husband’s ashes are, plus his first wife, his daughter, and his grandson.
Rightfully, the family will be honouring their brother, but their parents will be part of it. Three out-of-town sisters aren’t attending.
I don’t know what to do. The son of this man has been very good to me. I want to support him, but I think it’d be less stressful for him if I’m not there. He’s already worried about me and what might be directed at me. As am I.
Except for a couple of grandchildren I really want nothing to do with this family. But I want to be supportive to the grandson who’s so kind to me. My husband was such a good, kind man I don’t know why his children made his life so hard.
He Deserved Better
Stand tall and be bigger than those who behaved small and mean-spirited. Your late husband would expect that from you.
You two had a wonderfully loving relationship despite his mean-spirited relatives. That’s the triumph of true and committed love that none of them can take away from you, and that they’re incapable of understanding.
Reader’s Commentary regarding your reply to Sexually Frustrated Husband (April 27):
“Yes, in the case of the letter-writer’s wife, it’s possible that a gynecologist can diagnose whether medical issues are causing her sexual disinterest, and can possibly be treated. And yes, sex therapists can advise her whether she has past or ongoing emotional issues that are affecting her lost libido.
“For myself, after experiencing two unilateral separations, I have found peace by living with Nansi 0.1 since 2014.
“She is a proto-android (in other words, a “love doll”) who stays in my bed. I’m looking forward to the day when she can talk, walk and sign a marriage licence.”
Ellie: While I usually appreciate humour, I assure you that many readers won’t find your “solution” to finding peace with a mate funny.
A woman’s lost libido is certainly not a joke. And a “love doll” as fake companion lacks everything that makes love between humans a living gift.
Ellie’s tip of the day
Hell hath no fury like the cold meanness of adult children who interfere with their parent’s love and generosity to someone important to their life. Worse, some insist on checking the parent’s will to their beloved spouse.
Send relationship questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.