Family Dilemma, need advice/opinions

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by fuzzykitten99, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. fuzzykitten99
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    fuzzykitten99 Senior Member

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    My husband's grandfather (his mother's father) is coming into town to say his goodbyes because he has been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, and has about 3-6 months to live.

    My husband has not seen him since he was 4, so he remembers very little. His grandfather left his grandmother many years ago, alone with 7 kids. She had no real skills because she never held a job outside the home, plus when she was a teenager, polio took most of the use of her left arm, so she's somewhat disabled in that way, but she managed. Being disabled with 7 kids, the youngest being 2, he just up and left her for another woman. She managed, and was able to keep a roof over their heads and food in their tummies. She is a VERY strong woman.

    Fast forward to now. He has not made any attempt to contact my husband, and has not acknowledged our wedding, and the birth of our son, Nathan. Now that he has only a few months to live, he all of a sudden wants to meet me and my son. I want nothing to do with a man who left a wife with 7 kids and no means of income, as well as no contact when Tim and I got married, or when Nathan was born.

    Tim says we should go, just out of respect, because it IS is grandfather, and this will be the last time he sees him.

    I told him someone who does what he did to his family, deserves no respect and in my opinion, though it may sound harsh to many, is reaping what he sowed. My mother-in-law sent him a picture of Nathan, but that's about it.

    If the divorce was a mutual one, and he didn't just up and leave, i maybe would have different feelings. I don't want to go also because how awkward would it be to meet a dying family member, that you have never met, nor heard anything from ever in the time you and your spouse/SO have been together? I feel that my feelings are too negative to make the visit even a pleasant one. Really, I think that my husband should just bring our son, and I will stay home, just because I have a hard time holding my toungue when I dislike a person that much, that I can't even look them in the face. BUT...my husband wants me to go too.

    What would any of you do?
     
  2. no1tovote4
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    no1tovote4 VIP Member

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    What harm would it cause you to go?

    You would not be going to greet the old man, simply being civil is all that would be required. You would be going more to support your husband than to meet this person.

    Personally I would be more in a quandry about taking the children, depending on age than I would be about going at all. Do they really need to meet and learn to like somebody that they will lose so quickly?
     
  3. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    VERY difficult situation. I think your feelings are entirely justified. What he did in the past, there is no excuse for that.

    This is one of those times where you have to decide what is to be gained from either course of action. If you don't go, you are taking a stand, showing that man that his past actions were wrong, that you are displeased with him.

    If you do go, you will be showing support for your husband. You also might get the chance to hear this man apologize for his past actions.

    As for me, I would go. Giving my husband moral support and being the "bigger person" by giving the dying grandfather a chance to apologize would outweigh any need I would have to hold a grudge. I would probably have many negative feelings about the situation, but I think, if I were to look back later in life, I would know that I did a good thing in going. At least I made the effort, no matter what the grandpa did. To me, not forgiving is a very uncomfortable thing.
     
  4. Mr. P
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    Mr. P Senior Member

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    Is your husbands mom going to see her dad?
     
  5. Gabriella84
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    Gabriella84 Guest

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    I totally agree with No1toVote4. I think you should go as a favor to your husband. And be gracious about it.

    I don't believe in being bitter. People change over time. I am sure having death hanging over your head causes you to rethink a LOT of things.
    I am quite sure grandfather knows what an ass he has been in the past. People do stupid things when they are younger that they regret later. His failure to contact you has probably been more out of shame than dislike. I am sure he has felt extreme guilt for years.
    Faced with impending death, I am sure he wants one last chance to mend fences. It is important to him, even if it is not important to you.
    Forget reaping what you sow. Remember the dying criminal in the Bible who begged Jesus for forgiveness. Jesus said "because you have sought forgiveness, you will dwell with me in the House of the Lord."

    This thread touches me because I can personally relate to it. Before this year, I had never met my paternal grandfather. He had two sons and lived in Dallas. My uncle married a Mexican immigrant. My dad married the youngest daughter of a man who fought for Germany in World War II. This offended my paternal grandparents so much that they moved to South Carolina and cut off all contact with everyone. For almost 30 years.
    When my sister got married a couple of years ago, I wanted her to invite my paternal grandfather. She refused to do it. After my maternal grandfather (who I deeply loved and respected) died, I decided that, when I got married, I would invite my paternal grandparents.
    When my fiance proposed last December, I made the call. Found out that my grandmother was suffering from dementia, lived in a nursing home, and remembers nothing and no one. Leaving my grandfather to live alone. I impulsively invited him to our engagement celebration right before New Year's, then lived in fear that it might tear apart the rest of my family.
    It didn't. My grandfather had greatly changed over the years and regretted his actions immensely. He got along well with everyone, although there were some awkward moments. But he remains a member of my family, and I look forward to having him at my wedding.

    Your situation remains YOUR decision. But I would think about it before I made a rash decison.
     
  6. Dan
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    Dan Senior Member

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    I wouldn't know how to act in this situation, but I guess the best thing would be to just go to support your husband. He's got more at stake, emotionally, than you, and if his decision is to go, then I'd go. Hope everything works out for the best, I hate weird, awkward family situations like that.
     
  7. Jimmyeatworld
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    Jimmyeatworld Silver Member

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    My guess, and it's only a guess, is that your husband feels the need to see him to get a sense of closure for himself. My father (or sperm donor, as I call him) left before I was born. From the stories I have been told I didn't miss anything and was probably better off without him around. Still, I often felt the need to meet him, even if I just ended up spitting in his face. (I've done extensive research, and I believe he died in 1999)

    If the only reason he wants to go is truly out of respect, all I can say is he is a more forgiving man than I am. I feel no obligation to show respect to a person that never showed respect to anyone else. Either way, if he insists on going, I think you should go with him because he may need you there.
     
  8. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    I will chime in with the majority so far.

    You are going to support and be with your husband. Your feelings, as justified as they definitely are, kind of take a back seat here.

    If your husband wants to go, then you go. Be there for him, hold his hand, smile along with him. When you meet his grandfather, be curteous and gracious; take the high road.

    Should the conversations turn to why he did what he did, it would not be totally out of line to voice your opinion. If you want to ask your husband if he would mind you telling his grandfather your opinion, and he agrees, then do it.

    Blasting him for what he did - I'm sure he wouldn't hear anything from you that he hasn't already heard or thought of already.

    If he would prefer you didn't, or to say something else, then do that too.

    You are a classy woman.

    Even in the most difficult situations, an honorable person rises above.

    I know you are an honorable woman.

    Show true class.
     
  9. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    I'm saddened to see the man judged on his actions with his wife; actions and cirumstances none of you were likely alive to even see, IF you had known them.

    Maybe there IS an excuse why he left his wife and 7 kids which none of you know? Maybe...just maybe he tried to get ahold of the kids for decades - to have their mother not deliver presents/messages, or whatever.

    He's an old man, who is likely going to die soon. Go, pray with him/for him...That's the right thing to do; even if you ARE justified in not going, because the man truly DID up and leave, the 'right thing' and the 'justified thing' often are different.

    And what bad REALLY happened? A family struggled through hard times. Your husband is fine and alive...If the grandpa had been physically abusive, you'd have more of a case for 'not' going, imo.

    All the best!

    :)

    d
     
  10. Gabriella84
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    BD, that is an awesomely deep statement. I wish I could have chosen my thoughts as well as that. God has truly blessed you.
     

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