In January, my husband’s sister and her husband gave me the silent treatment while staying in our home for 30 days while my husband was recuperating from his suicide attempt Christmas Day.
His health had dramatically changed after we were married three years. We’re mid-60s, retired, and he’d been suffering from depression.
He’d been refusing to see his sister or his adult children.
I’d invited her to join us on Boxing Day. She’d declined, saying that she suffers from a severe immune deficiency and cannot be near anyone sick.
Then, during my husband’s hospitalization, she took over.
I’d had 48 hours of no sleep caring for him at the hospital, until my sister-in-law (SIL) arrived and I went to bed.
The next morning I received blunt messages from her that neither I nor his kids could visit him, on doctor’s orders.
She claimed that we were the culprits of all his problems. I was in shock but respected the wishes.
I was experiencing my own devastation regarding my husband’s wishes to end his life and refusal to see me.
I fell ill with a terrible flu/cold virus.
I texted my SIL and her husband to arrange other accommodations at their daughter’s home, out of concern for her immune system.
She responded “NO,” they’d stay at my home, I should go to the hospital if so sick.
It led to no communication during the week of my husband’s hospital stay. His sister refused to give me any information about him and refused for the nurses to give me any when I phoned.
She and her husband just showed up a week later with my husband. He was extremely weak, still not in a healthy state of mind and confused. He repeatedly said, that I “never came to see him.”
They stayed in our home with my husband’s permission. During 30 days of their silent treatments and being totally ignored, I’d apologized repeatedly that we were all going through an extremely difficult time.
His sister said she’ll never talk to me again. I was excluded from any conversation between the three and they’d not leave my husband alone with me except for our bedroom.
They were also pressing for me to sign real-estate papers to sell the house.
After 30 days, my husband was slowly feeling mentally stronger and asked them to leave.
His emotional health has dramatically improved in the past 2 1/2 months. His relationship has been good with his adult kids, and me, with joy in our home.
Recently, he, his sister and husband were FaceTiming and still refused to involve me. My husband didn’t intervene.
I can’t understand how he can keep allowing this and not say anything in my defence.
How can I handle this without feeling further rejections in the future?
Focus on a positive process - essential to your life together - instead of an instant redress of his sister’s nasty behaviour to you.
If his hospital doctor didn’t supply him with a mental-health program to follow, seek one out (likely through an online post-suicide mental health service, during the pandemic).
Support his re-building self-confidence post-retirement, in his value to himself and those who love him. If he’s been prescribed antidepressants, make sure he checks in with his doctor periodically.
Avoid his sister and her husband whenever possible. The stronger the relationship you build with your husband, the weaker their influence on him.
Also, keep real estate decisions only between you two, with a mutually-chosen lawyer’s advice.
FEEDBACK Regarding social attitudes towards finding later-life love after a partner has died (April 23):
Reader – “I was widowed at 47 when my beloved husband drowned in 2016.
“Two years later, I purposely sought to date a widower. His wife had died of cancer in 2017.
“We both were young to be widowed. People shouldn’t judge others who end up in another relationship quickly.
“I believe my current husband actually brought me my Chapter Two. When my husband died, the detectives brought me his flip-flops.
“Two years later when I met my husband, he’d found a pair of flip-flops on his boat and they were identical to my husband’s pair.
“We are both better being together. We found a new purpose in life and in love. I’ll always love my first husband but my current one helped to put the broken pieces of me back together, as I did the same for him.”
Tip of the day:
Focus on your relationship, not on nasty relatives.