Silence after tragedy comes off as thoughtless

Dear Annie: My name is “Clara.” I am a 42-year-old female and have been married for 19 years. We live on the West Coast, about 10 hours by car from both of our families. We have a decent relationship with my husband’s family — not bad at all, though we just don’t get to see them very often. I thought they were all OK with me and liked me.

My dad passed away 20 years ago. My mom passed away from pancreatic cancer six months ago. My husband’s parents didn’t say anything to me when she first passed and still haven’t.

No personal messages to me or anything. One of his sisters texted me, which I really appreciated, but his other siblings said nothing.

They do a Zoom call every other week together, and on the call they had after my mom passed away, it sounds like they all told my husband to “tell Clara we are sorry” and “send Clara our love.”

He relayed their messages to me, which I appreciated, but not one of them has reached out to me or said anything to me personally. I know it can be awkward to know what to say, but even a little text message is better than not saying anything at all.

I still feel hurt by this but know I need to let it go. Maybe my story can help other readers know how important it is to reach out when someone has suffered a loss. — Very Hurt

Dear Very Hurt: I am so sorry for your loss. You are correct that people feel awkward around the topic of death, but that is no excuse not to reach out to you.

Thank you for your letter, and I am printing it in the hopes that other family members reach out to those who have lost people close to them to help comfort them. Don’t hesitate to show this letter to your husband.

Dear Annie: We would like to respond to your answer to “Retired and Busy,” the grandparent who complained about overscheduled grandkids.

To us, your answer was spot-on. We never felt “gaslit.” At 80 and 76, we are still traveling to see our young adult grandchildren doing what they love, from five-hour trips to see a play to driving to another state to see rugby playoffs.

We have missed very few of our grandchildren’s events, and when we pass by areas where events occurred when they were younger, we feel blessed to have participated as fans of what they enjoyed. So we are still on the road, and they love seeing us there.

So to us, our grandchildren are a source of joy and love in our lives and memories. I hope other grandparents have the same in their lives. — Nana and Papa

Dear Nana and Papa: You sound like wonderful grandparents, and your grandkids are lucky to have you. Keep going. If a car just sits, it rusts, so keep it moving. The same is true for humans!

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today