In-laws still part of fam­ily af­ter fa­ther’s death

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - Carolyn Hax Tell Me About It is writ­ten by Carolyn Hax ofthe Washington Post. Her col­umn ap­pears on Tues­day, Thurs­day and Satur­day. Email her at tellme@wash­post.com.

Dear Carolyn: Do I owe it to my kids to keep in touch with their grand­par­ents (my in-laws) af­ter the death of my hus­band?

My hus­band died in a car ac­ci­dent last year and we have still not com­pletely re­cov­ered from the shock, although we are do­ing much bet­ter. We have a lot of sup­port from fam­ily, com­mu­nity and friends. We are for­tu­nate also to be fi­nan­cially se­cure.

My hus­band’s par­ents, who live a half-hour away, wish to con­tinue keep­ing in touch with me and the kids. I have never really liked them and only dealt with them out of re­spect to my hus­band. Now that he is no longer with us, I would like to cut off the re­la­tion­ship.

They are nice, lov­ing peo­ple. I just don’t see eye-to-eye with their val­ues and judg­ments. To pre­tend to be nice to them is too much for me at this time. My kids are 10 and 12 and like them enough but don’t seem to ask to see them ei­ther. — Anony­mous Dear Anony­mous: You make no men­tion of what you owe your in­laws, but, wow: They lost their child just as shock­ingly as you lost your hus­band.

While I sym­pa­thize deeply with all you have faced — your loss, your im­pulse to stream­line your com­mit­ments, your frus­tra­tion with your in­laws — none of th­ese jus­ti­fies deny­ing “nice, lov­ing peo­ple” their grand­chil­dren.

Please imag­ine your­self in their po­si­tion long enough and of­ten enough to see you through this emo­tional er­rand, even if it’s only to drop your kids off for lunch with your in-laws once in a while. De­cency doesn’t just de­mand it; it ab­so­lutely in­sists.

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