I’m a 59-year-old woman whose husband has just been diagnosed with testicular cancer. He is half my age and no one accepted our union from the beginning. Two months after his initial diagnosis, we learned that his entire family also has testicular cancer.
Shockingly, a week ago, both of his parents died in a terrible car accident while they were driving to the hospital to see their son. I have to attend their funeral in a few days, but my husband is in the hospital undergoing treatment for his cancer, so I will be going to his parents' funeral without him. This may sound ridiculous, but I don't have any black clothing.
I also feel totally out of place, since I didn't have the closest relationship with his parents. I think my mother-in-law hated me. What should I wear to the funeral?
I am so sorry for all that you are going through right now. It’s a lot. Though black is the normative colour to be worn at a funeral, it is not the only way to go. I suggest you ask your husband what he thinks. He knows his parents, and what they would have liked. If he thinks it would better serve you to wear black, so as not to incur any negativity from anyone else attending the funeral, then borrow some black clothing from your friends, or run out and buy yourself a black sweater.
Focus on what’s important. No one will remember what you wore, and if they do, it’s their problem, not yours.
When my cousin was merely one-year-old, his family started to see abnormalities in his growth. Over the years, it was clear that he was born with several genetic irregularities (I’m being vague so as not to out anyone in my family). His parents did everything they could, and then some, to get their child the help he needed. They were stressed, distressed, and constantly at each other’s throats.
It’s 20 years later, and my cousin passed away a few years ago. Almost as soon as possible, my uncle moved out of the house. He couldn’t look at his wife without seeing their son. His grief was too strong.
Her grief was also all-encompassing and we worried she wouldn’t come out of it. But slowly, she has found her joy, her light, and her calling. She advocates for families with children in similar situations to her own, and finds strength they no longer seem to have, to fight the system.
My uncle took a “break,” and went on a mission to clear his head. It’s been two years since he’s been home. I know my aunt misses and loves him, and I truly believe she is capable of having a relationship with him after the fact.
How do I convey this message to my uncle without coming off as a busybody? I just want them to be happy, finally.
That’s a sad story and I’m sorry for your loss. It’s not uncommon for couples to separate after a tragic event, such as the loss of a child. It may be hard for them to see past their history and grief, when it’s mirrored in the other’s eyes. But with work, therapy, understanding and compassion, they can overcome their shared trauma and have a healthy future.
However, in this case, it’s up to your aunt and uncle to come together and try to make things work. If getting your uncle home is something you think you can facilitate – and won’t land you in the doghouse – then conjure up an excuse that’s not too far-fetched. Perhaps another relative’s birthday or graduation. Then back off and let love run its course.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman wondering why her husband hasn’t commented on her weight loss (Oct. 25):
Reader – “If you don't want your spouse to comment when you gain weight, maybe it's not fair to expect them to comment when you lose it. Also, maybe they just love you no matter what your size.”
Lisi – Mic drop!
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who gets drunk on Thanksgiving (Oct. 26):
Reader – “By all means, a good start would be talking to the best friend and his wife. However, I would suggest that rather than say, ‘Well, it's clear she has an alcohol problem,’ it would be better to say, ‘It appears to us that she has a problem with alcohol. What do you think?’
“That’s less confrontational, and more likely to give you an opportunity to hear what they have to say on the subject.”
Lisi – Agreed, a gentler approach.