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Old June 13th, 2018, 06:50 PM
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PeeWeeMomOf3 PeeWeeMomOf3 is offline
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Unhappy Were We Snubbed at StepFiL's Funeral?

Our family recently experienced the death of my husband’s step-father. When they married, my Step-Father-in-Law (SFIL) had 3 adult children, all adult/independent, and one dependent pre-teen child. My Mother-in-Law (MiL), also had 4 children, all of whom were independent adults when they married. MiL adopted SFiL’s minor child, and they had a typical, loving mother-child relationship. They had been married for over 28 years when MiL died in 2016. Overall, the big, blended family did well. I believe my MiL was very instrumental in being the ambassador of blending 😊and it became apparent that FiL could sometimes show favoritism toward certain biological children and grandchildren (and be somewhat excluding toward others, even of his bio-children and grands). MiL seemed to try to be very fair toward all. I felt like we were particularly close to MiL & FiL because they were in pastoral ministry and so are we – in fact, when we were young and had not been married very long, and first felt some kind of ministry “calling”, we did relocate (to their state) to help FiL with a “church plant” for 2.5 years, where we worked under his guidance in various positions in the church, before we moved back (to our home state) again for my husband to go thru ministry training and education. They taught us so much. Years later FiL asked my husband to take his pastoral position at his church when he began to prepare for retirement, but that was not the direction we felt led to go in and so we graciously declined. For years whenever FiL visited us and we visited them, each man would guest preach in the other’s church, including doing special services. FiL’s 2nd son, who became his caregiver when MiL died, was with them at our ministry graduation, and I had always felt there was a mutual support, affection, and respect among us all. It seemed like it.

FiL had a long slow decline in health over the years; MiL was his caregiver when she died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2016. FiL had some episodes of dementia and confusion, mainly due prescribed medicine interacting and causing mental disorientation, which included him making some unfounded claims toward family and medical professionals, which were immediately debunked, and the medicines adjusted or stopped. One Thanksgiving he claimed that MiL was mistreating him; and this was escalated by a histrionic SiL who was visiting and clueless when it came to aging people, and dementia and drug interactions. Very soon this assertion was cleared up many relatives and friends that daily visited their home, another DiL lives across the street, and his 2nd Son lives nearby and visited almost daily to help. FiL claimed MiL was conspiring with my young adult son (their grandchild) against him, (our son had lived with them for a time), I think I even sought advice here for that situation. About a year ago, one relative called him during a hospital stay, and FiL was claiming that the staff had left him stuck on a portable toilet for 12 hours, which clearly was corrected by one of his children who was there visiting him at that time! They verified he was “on the pot” for a typical amount of time, they had left the room for 10-20 minutes while the staff assisted him. They had been visiting and talking together throughout that day and several others! There were other smaller instances of FiL having periodic episodes, maybe 2-3 per year, when there was a medicine change – he had many health problems and was hospitalized several times a year, he had lung disease, diabetes, and had several bypass surgeries over the years. His lung and diabetes problems resulted in mobility issues. He had a toe amputated.

I thought that we had always had an overall amicable relationship with the blended family. When MiL died and FiL’s 2nd son took over caregiving duties, we were as supportive as we could be from afar (we live in another state). When we visited my husband who is also a contractor would fix anything they needed – a porch, laid new carpet, minor bathroom and kitchen plumbing, things, and most often used our own money. We sent caregiving 2nd Son gift cards and thank you notes, offered to pitch in with other siblings to pay for a housekeeping service. After MiL died, one negative thing that did happen is that a rumor began to drift around the family that MiL had spent a large part of their inheritance on our son that had lived with them for a time. We put a stop to it, showing our own cancelled checks, where we had sent MiL and FiL money regularly for our son’s room & board, and how we reimbursed promptly when MiL put out money for large expenses, like when our son needed tires. During the time he lived with them, about a year, we sent them a little less than $10K. There was no money missing or spent by them other than what they spent on themselves.

When it came time for the funeral neither my husband nor our young adult son was asked to participate in any way. Not as a pall-bearer, not to read a scripture. All of the bio siblings were noticeably chilly, but at first I attributed to sadness, they lost their Dad, you know? But now I am not sure. All of my FiL’s other children and step-children had some kind of representation and participation – for example our one nephew sang a song, our other nephews, and brothers and step-brothers were pall-bearers, so that each of the children and step children had someone representing, EXCEPT my husband. FiL’s biological children were in charge as well as his pastor, who also knows my husband and all the family well.

I am trying to understand that their grieving may have contributed to an oversight, but this feels like more than an oversight, it feels like an intentional exclusion. I explained the things about the false claims and the rumor about our son, here to "you" because they are the only thing that I can think of that may have caused them to exclude our part of the family, and we thought that was settled a year ago, perhaps they believe the rumors and the dementia inspired claims.

Do you think I should speak to the my FiL’s pastor to ask why? Do you think I should ask caregiving 2nd son/BiL, who is “in charge” about this? I don’t want to add to his grief, or make this about us when he/they are closer to the pain, so to speak, but this hurts.
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