Un­able to for­give and for­get in grief

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

DEAR AN­NIE >> My daugh­ter re­cently passed from com­pli­ca­tions of myas­the­nia gravis. She died un­ex­pect­edly one evening af­ter she stopped breath­ing dur­ing an MG cri­sis. Myas­the­nia gravis is a chronic au­toim­mune neu­ro­mus­cu­lar dis­ease that causes weak­ness in the skele­tal mus­cles, which are re­spon­si­ble for breath­ing and mov­ing parts of the body, in­clud­ing the arms and legs.

My prob­lem is with her mother-in-law. While my daugh­ter was re­ceiv­ing treat­ment for this dis­ease, her mother-in-law told her she was mak­ing up the symp­toms and ac­tu­ally went so far as to ac­cuse her of hav­ing Mun­chausen syn­drome. Mind you, this was af­ter a week­long stay in the ICU. This is just one ex­am­ple of her dis­like for my daugh­ter. She did not ap­prove of my daugh­ter’s mar­riage to her son and was not very happy about their re­la­tion­ship from the be­gin­ning.

My ques­tion is this: How can I ever be friendly to this per­son again af­ter she made these hor­ri­ble ac­cu­sa­tions to­ward my daugh­ter and treated her with such dis­re­spect? It was hard enough to be cor­dial with her and her hus­band at the fu­neral. Since we live in the same town and share a grand­child with them, I’m try­ing to for­give and for­get. But I am hav­ing a re­ally hard time with this. She gave my daugh­ter a lot of stress, and stress is one of the things that can trig­ger a cri­sis when you have MG. So ev­ery time I see her, I can’t help but feel she played a con­tribut­ing fac­tor in my daugh­ter’s pass­ing. — Miss­ing My


DEAR MISS­ING: I AM SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS. YOUR DAUGH­TER’S MOTHER-IN-LAW IS HEAP­ING AD­DI­TIONAL PAIN ONTO YOUR AL­READY UN­BEAR­ABLE LOAD. HER BE­HAV­IOR GOES BE­YOND THE REALM OF MEAN­NESS >> It sounds as though she might suf­fer from a men­tal dis­or­der her­self. A men­tally healthy per­son doesn’t say the things she has. I hope she seeks help and rec­og­nizes the im­pact she’s had on peo­ple, es­pe­cially you and your daugh­ter.

In the mean­time, you are un­der no obli­ga­tion to be friends with her. I’m not ad­vo­cat­ing hos­til­ity: A neutral, mat­terof-fact at­ti­tude will do just fine. If she finds that of­fen­sive, she shouldn’t have said what she did. It’s not about har­bor­ing a grudge but rather re­spect­ing your own bound­aries and needs.

Fo­cus on you and hon­or­ing your daugh­ter and your loss right now. The work of grief is de­mand­ing enough.

DEAR AN­NIE >> My wife and I and four friends went out to din­ner at a new restaurant. They had a ladies’ room and a men’s room vis­i­ble from where we sat. Af­ter the meal, I needed to go. The men’s room was locked (it was a sin­gle-stall sit­u­a­tion). I walked around for a bit and came back af­ter nearly 10 min­utes. The door was still locked, and I con­tin­ued to wait. Fi­nally, I couldn’t last any longer. The women’s room was un­locked and va­cant, so in I went. When I came out, ev­ery­one said that I was rude and out of line. I said that they were be­ing overly sen­si­tive! What should I have done?

— Al­most Up a Tree

DEAR AL­MOST UP A TREE >> You did your due dili­gence in wait­ing for the men’s room. Next time, I’d cau­tion you not to wan­der around the restaurant, in case the per­son emerges and you miss your op­por­tu­nity. And I’d en­cour­age you to go to the re­stroom pre­emp­tively, be­fore it’s an emer­gency. That said, I don’t think any­one can fairly call you rude here. It was a sin­gle-stall bath­room, and you en­sured that it was empty be­fore en­ter­ing. If your wife and friends find that so un­couth, I’d ask them what the other op­tions were in that mo­ment. Some­times, when na­ture calls, you have no choice but to an­swer.

“Ask Me Any­thing: A Year of Ad­vice From Dear An­nie” is out now! An­nie Lane’s de­but book — fea­tur­ing fa­vorite col­umns on love, friend­ship, fam­ily and eti­quette — is avail­able as a pa­per­back and e-book. Visit http:// www.cre­ator­spub­lish­ing. com for more in­for­ma­tion. Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­[email protected]­ators.com.

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