Monday, May 21, 2007


I had a difficult weekend. I posted what happened on the widow board and, as usual received some great advice. I didn’t like what I was feeling, but couldn’t stop it. I think many of us feel this way---a sense of entitlement. I have had to come to grips with the fact that the person (male figure) who had my son’s best interest at heart is no longer around and what is more---I shouldn’t even expect anyone else to take up the slack.

After Don died there were so many promises of men who would “stand in for Don”, well it just hasn’t happened. However, there has been one person who has taken interest in my son and has sacrificed his own personal time to spend time with my child. This person is my pastor. PT lives across the street and I can always count on him to include my son when he is playing basketball or Play Station. My youngest son has appreciated this male-bonding. He loves visiting PT and talks about it for hours after returning home. In turn they have a special relationship. Chandler loves to kid PT and his face lights up whenever he sees PT. He just needs to have someone think it is important to spend time with him. It seems so simple to me.

There are men in my family, but they have families, jobs and lives of their own and it is quite selfish of me to think they would have my kid’s interest in mind when they have their own. The difficult part is that my head comprehends this notion, but my heart can’t seem to reconcile the reality.

Why do I feel like my kids have some entitlement to sharing in male-bonding experiences with my brother, dad, uncle etc…? No one has an “obligation” to my children, but I do KNOW if Don were here my kids would be included in many of the activities they are excluded from now. I truly hate feeling this way. I know that I feel like my boys are short changed in the male-activity department and that mom is simply NOT an adequate stand-in for a male role-model. I really do HATE the these emotions I am having. I have tried for HOURS to reason this out and “get over it”, but to NO avail--tears still flow; feelings are slow to change-which isn't at all like me. Perhaps that is the part that distresses me.

I WILL get over it…..
I just HATE that I have to and that this is just another thing to add to the list. Someone tell me I am NOT the most selfish being on the planet for feeling this way!

But for now---seems I am still a participant in my own“pity party”

This I know for sure…and am not particularly proud of it.


Trish said...


All I can say is, I get it. I totally understand, and have felt these exact feelings. Please stop beating yourself up about this. You are a mom who hates to see your children hurt. We want good things for our kids.

And if you haven't heard this lately, you are doing an absolutely amazing job with your boys.

Love you, sis,


Marsha said...

Thanks so much for simply being there--and for "getting it" and for...well there are too many things to add here.
Love you too,

Anonymous said...


I don't have any profound words of wisdom for you - that wouldn't be appropriate because I have not walked in your shoes - but I can tell you that I love you.


Anonymous said...

After reading your post on the YWBB and seeing the reply's, I thought this might be enlightening. Because I am not a widower myself, I did not want to post on the YWBB, so here goes -

Lost in the fray sometimes is the ancillary family (brothers, sisters, BIL, fathers, mothers, etc.). I am NOT trying to compare our situation with yours, just trying to shed some light. The truth is, most of the time we don’t know where we fit in, if we are wanted/needed to fit in, or… you get the picture. In a nutshell, ancillary family are trying to figure things out as well. This is NOT anything that is projected onto us by anyone, especially the immediate family. I believe it is just a product of uncertainty on our part.

We struggle personally with how to fit in, most likely because we don’t try hard enough. Hopefully it is not because we are bad people, selfish or dense. Hopefully it is just simply because we just don’t know and are trying to figure it out. We don’t know what, how, when we should fit in. We don’t know why we don’t think about including our very much loved nieces, nephews, and grandchildren more often, but we don’t. Sometimes we don’t remember. We don’t… well, you could fit whatever in this slot probably.

Excuses? Not beyond our own struggles with being better parents to our own kids. Sometimes lost in the fray is that death is a big reminder that we need to be better parents to our kids. As a result, sometimes we are caught up: Riding bikes with our kids. Playing catch with our kids. Listening to our kids stories. Talking with our spouses over life’s little details. Taking our kids to activities we used to do on our own (and absent mindedly not including our nieces, nephews, etc.). Bottom line - spending more time with our immediate family. I don’t believe these are excuses. Just… well, life’s little details.

My point in all of this is simply this: please remember the “ancillary family” is still trying to figure this whole thing out as well. From reading your posts and blogs, it seems as if your husband was a great father. Maybe it is possible that your BIL knows he can’t be a “stand in dad.” Maybe it’s not so much that he is a “dense male” as much as one that is caught up in being a better father to his own children as well. Unfortunately, sometimes spur of the moment football games just simply are missed.

Marsha said...

Well said (applauding)---wish I knew who wrote it and since it isn't signed (which, if you weren’t so articulate I would choose to delete—because anonymous is synonymous with cowardice to me) I hope you don't mind me quoting you when I post a response on the widow board because I think you bring up some very valid points that might help others in the same situation.

No where in my blog did I mean to insinuate that my ancillary family was at fault. I was simply expressing in words what so many widows/widowers feel when it comes to their children and is often left unsaid. It isn’t anyone’s “fault” but is merely the “nature of the beast”.

I have thought the last few days if the tables had been turned and one of my siblings had lost a spouse would I be willing/able to “step in”--- I hope so, but in reality I probably would fail miserably.

Bottom line—this is my problem to work through—no one else’s.


Anonymous said...

First of all, yes you have my permission to post any or all of what was said on the YWBB. As I mentioned, I truly wanted to respect the purpose and thus the rules of that bulletin board, and as such did not post my comments there. I do know that YWBB serves a great purpose.

Second, don’t mistaken cowardice with purpose. Sometimes names muddy the waters.

Third, being someone’s “ancillary family” myself, I know what it feels like to fail miserably. My only recommendation is this: talk to your family. Do not try and work through this alone. Discuss it with them. I wish that my sibling had done that with me.

In the end, remember this - it is a process for everyone. Although it is NO comparison to widows and the immediate family, the truth is… in the darkness of sleepless nights, in the quiet of their office, when they are alone… they grieve for your husband and struggle for their place now. I know I do for my sibling.

Marsha said...

Well stated once again----
I wanted to clear something up the "incident" this weekend had nothing to do with my BIL, somthing got lost in the communicaation somewhere---