Family Matters
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Everyday at Grandma's

Two weeks before our wedding my husband's grandfather passed away from Cancer. He was more or less my husband's father because they raised him and he isn't very close to his real father. Since his grandfather passed he or we have been over at his grandmother's everynight. If we have a date night with another couple she comes. All of our plans go through her to see if she wants to go...we go bowling she goes...we go shopping, she goes.... Everything we do is with her! I understand she is going through a hard time, I have been though this and know how my own grandmother handled losing her husband after fifty years of marriage! When is it time to step back and let her be independent and for us to actually be able to act and be newlyweds? When can I say something without being selfish? I need help please!

Re: Everyday at Grandma's

  • How long has this been?

    I think you need to talk to your DH about rallying other family members to help out.  If she was married for 50 years, being alone may be really, really, really hard for her.  I think the family as a whole needs to come together to try and spend time w/ her so that she doesn't feel lonely.

    But I don't feel this should fall on the two of you entirely.  You do need your own time, and you should be able to go out alone on occasion.

    But if you frame it from the perspective "I want to help her", it might be better received.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • I agree with PP. Also  I know here locally we have a senior center that has all sorts of activities through out the week ( Bingo, Exercise class, parties ,  shuffle board games, card games, sewing , classes and more) . Maybe you can get her to go to a place like this.
  • Every night? She attends when you go on date nights?

    This has to be MUD.

  • It's only been five weeks, so not much time has passed. He has three sisters in which one does come down every Sunday to spend the day with her but other than that there hasn't been much help. We told her yesterday that she needs to be out doing the things she likes to do and she flat out told us no. She is hurting so bad with him being gone because they did everything together! I agree that it is time for the family to help! Thank you for your advise!
  • How capable is she of doing things on her own and caring for herself? Most assisted living centers have different levels of housing, from full condos with very little care up to mini apartments with regular nurse visits, all depending on the resident's needs. 

    Maybe it's time to consider her moving into a place like this, my grandparents were already living in one when my grandpa past and I can honestly say it was a huge help to my grandma before, during, and after his passing. Not only are there other people to check in on her and care for her, but it also provides her with a good social outlet with other residents her age to eat lunch with, do crafts or other activities with, and just to talk to. She has gotten to know many other women who have lost their husbands recently and it's been a blessing for her to have that support. 

  • I can totally understand that she's upset, but you and your husband are not doing her any favors by allowing her to be totally dependent on you. And while it's certainly reasonable to ask other family members to spend time with her once in a while, it's not healthy for her to demand that someone be with her every single day. It's insane that you are allowing someone else to "approve" your plans for the night and then tag along. Widowed or not, she has NO right to demand that from you, and you guys are nuts for allowing that to happen.

    The only thing that's making you and your husband spend every single day with her is your own guilt - she's not holding a gun to your heads. What's the worst that will happen if you guys tell her that you can't spend every day with her? Yes, she might cry or yell or lay the guilt trip on you ... but if you stick with it then she'll get the message. And after that she can choose to live her own life (join a seniors' group, find a hobby, volunteer, get a pet, SOMEthing), or she can choose to sit around her house and sulk and be alone on the days when her family's not available to visit her. Either way, it's HER choice. She's an adult and she is responsible for her own destiny. If she doesn't drive, then many seniors' groups coordinate car rides to pick up their members, and if not then you can work out a ride schedule with your family. But she needs to actually pursue these activities ... she can't just sit around and demand that her family put their lives on hold for her.

    I would encourage her to talk to her doctor ASAP about depression, or ask her doctor about it yourself and find out what you can do to help her. If she's religious, maybe talking to her minister will help. If her town has a Department of Aging or something like that, give them a call and see if they have counseling or other resources that can help all of you.

    But realize that allowing her to become dependent on you is NOT helping her. It's just making things worse.

  • It has been like this for 5 weeks!!??!!  Wow!!  You know it is probably just a matter of time before she wants to move in with you.... I am being serious.  She will never adjust if you and your H are with her at all times.

    I would start by doing things with her 2 times a week. 

    And I agree with the PP who said that you are not doing her any favors by letting her totally depend on you.

    You and your H are entitled to have your own life.  Seriously talk to your H.... but come from the point of "We need to help her help herself".... becoming this dependent is unhealthy for anyone.

    Good Luck.

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    glove slap. I don't take crap.
  • imagembcdefg:

    But realize that allowing her to become dependent on you is NOT helping her. It's just making things worse.

    If your DH is in the "we have to do this" mind set, this is another approach take w/ him too.  He needs to understand that making her reliant on you all is NOT helping her.  This might help him start looking for other options.
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • She is very healthy and very capable of doing everything on her own! She runs and shops durning the day but is home by the time my husband can get off work at 5. I agree that this isn't helping her, what I need help on is convincing my husband that this is what is best for her! It is almost as though he thinks he needs her as much as she thinks she needs him. Tongue Tied
  • imagehrucker:
    It is almost as though he thinks he needs her as much as she thinks she needs him. Tongue Tied
    If this is the case, then you need to sit down and have a very calm but firm discussion with him on two discussion points:

    1. Everything that everyone has already said about how you are really hurting her in the end by enabling her, and that she needs to learn to function on her own if she has a chance of being happy again.

    2. That while you care deeply for his grandmother, that the two of you also need to nurture your marriage, and that will not happen if grandma is made a third wheel indefinitely.


  • Ditto PP.  She's never going to learn her independence if you guys are with her 24/7.  Your H needs to understand that as well. 

    My mom is just the opposite.  My dad passed away last month and she says she has to get used to doing things for herself and doesn't want to be "one of those old widow ladies who has to depend on everyone to do stuff for her."  She seems to have a meltdown every time she has to ask for help because she never had to before; she's always been the independent type so changing her ways is the last thing she wants to do.

  • I disagree.  Give it a few months.  Not that I think you should have to spend every day with her.  ASk DH out on a "just the two of you" date, but otherwise, she's grieving...tough love isn't her/your friend here.  Do what you need to do to be healthy, but don't pressure her to do more than she wants to.  Actually, give her a good year before encouraging her to do more than she would naturally.  She just (5 weeks ago!!!) lost her partner/companion/husband.  Have a little compassion.  Chances are your DH is suffering too and maybe they're good for each other's grief.
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