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Q: Geratric response to death of family members ( No Answer,   3 Comments )
Subject: Geratric response to death of family members
Category: Health > Seniors
Asked by: 1x2y3z-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 25 Mar 2006 18:11 PST
Expires: 24 Apr 2006 19:11 PDT
Question ID: 711956
My mothret in law is 90 years old and her last remaining relative (in
her generation)has died.  She is not wsilling to call the persons
daughter to offer condolences.  She talks to us sabout many of the
things she and this relative.

Is this a usual respopnse.  In the elderly does their world begin to
constrict down about themselves?

Request for Question Clarification by czh-ga on 26 Mar 2006 20:04 PST
Hello 1x2y3z-ga,

I am wondering who considers it a problem that your 90 year old mother
in law doesn't want to offer condolences to the daughter of someone
who was significant to her and the last acquaintance/friend of her own
generation. It seems to me that it would be appropriate for the
daughter of this friend to recognize your mother in law's loss.  Has
the daughter called to offer her condolences?  It seems to me that
they are both grieving and sharing their feelings of loss might be
helpful to both. I'm not clear how this seeming power struggle about
who has to offer condolences got started.

Who is asserting that your mother in law SHOULD call the daughter with
condolences? Why is this an issue? Whose issue is it? What is the
problem you're trying to solve? What kind of information are you
looking for as a satisfactory answer?

I look forward to your clarification.

~ czh ~
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Geratric response to death of family members
From: markvmd-ga on 26 Mar 2006 06:58 PST
Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.
Subject: Re: Geratric response to death of family members
From: myoarin-ga on 26 Mar 2006 13:52 PST
I don't think your mother-in-law's attitude is unusual at all, and
certainly nothing to worry about, much less, insist that she call. 
Most of us don't like to dwell on the subject of death, much more so
if we have to recognize that within the family by all odds we will be
the next to go.  As Mark mentioned:  denial, but she is thinking  -
hopefully fondly -  about the person.  If the daughter is upset about
her not calling, I would give her ring and tell her that your
mother-in-law has been talking about her mother but just can't bring
herself to address the fact that she has past away.

My mother-in-law is about the same age.  Your question just made me
recognize that her older sister's death a couple of years ago may be
the reason for some of her psychosomatic symptoms.  Strange how
"blind" one can be, especially since we all recognized that she
suffered from widow's depression after her husband died.
So, I thank you for your question.
Regards, Myoarin
Subject: Re: Geratric response to death of family members
From: stressedmum-ga on 26 Mar 2006 21:12 PST
Hi there 1x2y3z-ga, 

Be very gentle and understanding with your mother-in-law while she
comes to terms with this difficult and confronting time of her life.
We cannot begin to understand the grief and feeling of aloneness she
must be experiencing.

It might seem so simple to us to just phone or write a message of
condolence when someone dies but this death has particular
significance -- she hasn't just lost a friend, she's faced with the
loneliness of being a sole survivor of her generation and that must be
horrendous. My mother is the last of her generation too and I remember
how devastating for her it was. Just try and imagine it -- no
contemporaries; all these people who literally have no idea of *who*
you used to be, and who have no idea of *what* life was like for you
when you were growing up/older.

Respect her decision to deal with her "life crisis" in this way and by
all means, do what myoarin suggested and convey the family's messages
of condolence to the daughter on her behalf. It would be a very hard
hearted, self centred person who could not find it in her heart to
overlook any breach of etiquette here! The fact that she is being
'difficult' about it goes to show how deeply affected she has been by
her relative's death. I am so sorry for your mother-in-law -- we can't
begin to comprehend how traumatic this must be. I hope she is
surrounded with gentleness and loving support during this time.

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