We tried to go over to the Airbnb where J’s sister Kris and her husband and my MIL and stepFIL are staying last night to have dinner. Although it started out well, it ended in my MIL walking away with very hurt feelings and us having to leave early.
My MIL Sue started talking about cancer treatments and that she always wanted J to be more open to alternative treatments. At first, I was mostly on board with her, saying that I also wanted him to do some complementary natural treatments along with the chemo and he just put all his faith in the doctors. It was ultimately his own decision, though, and I had to accept that.
But then she started going off the rails quickly, talking about unproven (or completely discredited) alternative cancer “cures.” And saying that all oncologists are only in it for the money and they only get paid if their patients are on chemo. I happen to know that’s not true, as J went off chemo with his oncologist’s blessing when he reached NED for so many months.
Then she started telling so many anecdotal stories, mostly of people who took chemo and died. Her one opposing story was of someone she was related to who had inoperable cancer because it was all through him, and when he went back to the doctor later, it was magically all gone. The only problem is that this was when she was in late childhood or her early teens, so who really knows what was accurate about her memory of something that happened 50+ years ago.
Amy called her out on that story as being very unlikely and that’s when Sue stomped off to her room crying.
It really came across like Sue was saying “if only J would have listened to me, he would still be alive.” It was honestly pretty offensive—especially so soon after his death. The kids and I kept trying to change the subject back to what an amazing man J was and she just didn’t want to discuss that.
The interesting thing is that Amy was there to protect me from her, but in the end, it was me who had to protect Amy and usher her out of there.
J’s sister came outside as we were leaving and said that it was probably too soon, that none of us had had enough time to deal with our grief yet. And that’s certainly true. But John pointed out (extremely accurately) that Amy is J’s daughter after all, and that event was exactly like the sparring debates J used to have with his mom, until he got so sick that he had no energy for fighting with her anymore. (In fact, he kept a list of “safe” topics in his phone that he could discuss whenever she started to go off the rails.)
Sue got pregnant at 15 and unfortunately never matured emotionally beyond that. Her lack of logic and critical thinking skills never progressed past that point, either.
Ultimately, she was really trash-talking chemo and Amy felt like that was extremely disrespectful to J. And although I wasn’t as personally upset by it, honestly, I found it rather offensive as well.
I made the kids a promise after we left that I’ll have their backs whenever they feel like someone is being disrespectful to J’s memory. The sticking together doesn’t only go one way. And I can’t help but think that J was proud of us.
There are so many other horrible and offensive things J’s mom and stepFIL have said and done, just in the past few days—to say nothing of the lifetime of verifiable physical and emotional abuse to which they subjected him, especially as he was growing up. It damaged him profoundly and I don’t think he ever quite got over it. I encouraged him to seek therapy for it but he wouldn’t.
J and Kris turned out so well because they strove to do everything the exact opposite of how they grew up, not because of their superior parenting. And Sue doesn’t get that at all; she still thinks she deserves all the credit.
Sue said a few years ago that she was sorry Denny (stepFIL) was “a bit too hard on him.” J thought that was an appropriate apology and that I should also let it go. I understand that was something he had to do to make peace with his own death.
But that doesn’t mean it’s good enough for me. Sue is very pro-corporal punishment (even to the point of physical abuse) and she even had Amy convinced of it for a while and she thought we should have spanked her. But now Amy understands why we were trying to do things a different way and respects it and agrees with us.
Right now I am so done with Sue and Denny (who is even worse, but in a different way) that I really don’t care if I ever see them again.
That is to say nothing of all Sue’s truly malignant narcissist traits (which I don’t say lightly at all.) From my perspective and that of several others, she profited off her mother’s death and Denny’s parents’ death, to the tune of about a half-million dollars alone.
She has convinced herself that she was the poor suffering caretaker for her mom all to keep her out of a home, when I think her mom would have been much better off in a good assisted-living facility. Great-Grandma certainly would have been happier, as she had always been very social. And frankly, Sue just kept her isolated from the world for years and was even abusive to her, especially in the final years. Great-Grandma frequently expressed the desire to just die already, which makes me so sad.
Sue’s primary concern was her own entitlement to protect her inheritance, which she would have lost if she’d put Great-Grandma in a home. She convinced herself that they were all bad because on the few occasions she used them temporarily, she chose the cheapest ones.
If they come to the funeral, J’s church has a sign posted that no weapons are allowed on the property. I fully believe that my MIL would ignore that sign, thinking it doesn’t apply to the handgun she carries in her purse. I’ve already arranged with John to bring some of his (big and burly) friends to act as security/bouncers and apprehend her gun at the door and keep it locked in a small safe until she leaves.
But seriously, how sad and pathetic is that to have to have security/bouncers for a fucking funeral, all because she doesn’t think rules apply to her?
Still, once again, I think J would be proud of us for how well we stood up to her. I can easily see him doing it himself when he was younger and healthier. His legacy lives on through me and his children.