bereavement blues: tough situation...

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Hi folks, I'm dealing with a sticky situation at mo, well, it's pretty on-going, but is currently particularly difficult.

My niece is a final year art and design history undergrad at a place I used to work for and am still very friendly with the staff: I'm very fond of a couple of them in particular. One of them is supervising her final year project which is an art auction fund raiser and memorial for her mum, my sister, who died 2.5 years ago. It's the first memorial for her and the entire extended and close family and friends have been invited and or are getting involved in the organisation. However, the only person who has mentioned it to me is a cousin who I don't see very often, my parents are not discussing it with me and the niece who accuses me of being a 'stalking smeghead little girl' if I try to communicate with her has only spoken to me, in the last 18 months, in order to try and scream me out of my dad's car, or tell me how fat and less pretty than her I am. She has disowned me and has been trying to pursuade my parents, who she lives with, to cut me out of the family, so encounters are potentially volatile.

So I have decided I have to go, this event is for my sister who I love more than anyone (the idea of not going has been eating away at me - how can I not go when cousins who hardly knew her are going?), it's a public event, after all, and I am friends with the overarching organisers. I will take a couple of loyal, old friends and only stay so long as it's comfortable, but I am worried about fall out there or afterwards, what if there is a scene, what if I get the usual stalking, fatty tirade? Or maybe violence later on (which has happened before), what if my going makes the situation worse? I suppose I just want your support.

It's next week, I went to see the staff members I know today and they are sending me the times, date and place etc later today.


God what a horrible situation. I'm so sorry about your relationship with your niece. If I were you, I would definitely go. If she is a final year undergraduate, then she is old enough to understand why you would want to be there, and to appreciate that you have a right to be there. Moreover, it sounds like you have some friends there to support you, just incase, God forbid, things do turn nasty. Hopefully your neice will put her personal feelings aside, in your sister's honour, and you will both be able to enjoy the memorial. Good luck.

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Thank you Maria X


I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this Eska, I can't believe your niece is treating you this way, let alone that others are allowing it.

I want to say that you should absolutely go if you truly want to, you have as much right as anyone. Quite frankly, sod the girl's reaction and sod what anyone else thinks. To be left out of a family event in this way is terrible, and I'm sad that your extended family have been bullied into accepting this girl's behaviour.

But all that said, while your niece doesn't own her mother's memory, she does have control of this event. If she's truly as awful as she sounds, I worry what she might put you through, I imagine she may well be angry. No one should ever stop you from remembering or feeling connected with your sister, but will this event (organised as it is by someone who doesn't respect that bond), really give you the opportunity to honour that? If it would cause you distress then you certainly wouldn't be showing any less love for your sister by having your own, separate remembrance.

I certainly don't mean that you shouldn't go, just don't feel pressured into it by other people's plans. Take this stand only if you feel good doing so and if it really gives you something. *hugs*

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Thank you Teek, may be I should do something of my own, at which everybody is welcome.

I worry for my niece to, one day she may realise what she is doing to her mother's memory, and she will have to live with that somehow. The fundraiser is for Marie Curie hospices,who took great care of her during her last week. I struggled hard to get her place at the hospice, took caare to make sure she was not in pain and had what she needed, and myself and my neice held her hand as she died.


I recall that you've mentioned this niece of yours once or so before, and what a nasty, venomous piece of work she is - she's horrible. You clearly want to go to remember your sister and pay your respects, so I think that you should. Sorry if I'm overstepping the mark, but what bloody business of hers is it, if you decide to go? It's your sister that you're going to remember. Is she really going to throw a paddy and spit her dummy out? Blood is supposed to be thicker than water and an occasion like this is no time for personal vendettas or public spats. I only hope that she doesn't act up for you and your relatives sake, but at least you've got old friends with you for moral support. Best wishes.

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Thank you Wal. I have decided to just decide what to do on the night, my good old buddies are with me. We will either go, or stay at mine, have a nice dinner, listen to bit of Kate Bush (something we shared a fandom for) and light a candle. Whatever Ifeel like. Thanks again all. X


Hi Eska, like others have said it sounds like a very difficult situation for you and your family, above all I think it is a great shame that your niece feels she has to behave in this way towards you, at a time when your family should be able to remember your sister, and her mother, together. It is also sad that you could be helping her with her studies, it sounds like you both share a passion for art and creativity, but there is this great division between the two of you that she is perpetuating. Of course I have a very limited knowledge of the situation here, but I hope that she can overcome these destructive feelings of hers and develop a relationship with you again in the future.

Despite her overall spitefulness towards you, what she is doing to remember her mother is really lovely, and I think you should go, as a way of remembering your sister. You don't even have to speak to her, you can spend the evening with your friends and still enjoy it. If your niece has any respect for her project and the memorial service she will not give you any hassle, I don't think it would reflect well on her at all if she did, remember her tutors will be there and they are your friends first and foremost.

I hope it all goes well for you next week, Natassia xx


i agree with the others that you should go if you want to do so, but I think it might be worthwhile just to drop your niece a short note to say you have found out about the event and will be attending to remember your sister, so that she will know you will be there, and it may defuse any scene that might occur if you are suddenly spotted. I assume she is quite young, relatively speaking, and this must have been very hard for her too, I imagine there is probably some underlying feeling of anger against your sister for 'abandoning her' and you are the target of that anger -sorry I'm not a psychologist, but you get my meaning, I'm sure. sometimes people turn on the very person they really want to receive comfort from in case they get hurt again. The rest of the family may well be being bullied, but may also be treading warily around her, giving her 'the benefit of the doubt' etc.. This will probably be a hard thing for you, whatever you decide but just go with your instinct and do what you think is best regardless of your niece, this is, after all, an event that will never happen again so you owe it to yourself to make sure you do not regret your actions whatever they may be.

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Thank you Joyce, I have pm'd you.


======= Date Modified 02 Apr 2010 16:43:27 =======
hmmmm....I've been thinking about this one Eska for a while and I'm not relly sure I can say anything more than what's already been said. Essentially, what happens in the end will be down to your niece's reaction if you go. I think you should go if it's important to you, I don't think I could handle not going if it was me. I agree with Joyce that it would be good to let your niece know that you are going so she isn't caught off guard, hopefully it will give her time to try and consider why it's important to you to be there as well. If she seems ok with you going then great, but if not, then you don't have to spend any time with her, you can keep out of her way just so long as you are there. And definitely take some friends. Good luck with it and I hope your situation is resolved soon.

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Hey everybody, thank you so much for your support. I went to the event, was really stressed about it, but all went ok in the end, I just got a nervous half smile from my niece when I turned and caught her staring at me through a window. A few friends came with me and were lovely. I'm really glad I went, I can never be accused of missing it, and will never feel I missed out.

Thank you again cyber friends XX


Hey Eska, glad to hear it went well, and your niece behaved herself. Sounds like a nice thing to have done...


Hi Eska, I was wondering how it had gone for you; I'm so pleased that it went well and that there was no unnecessary family hassle, Nxx


Hi Eska, I'm really glad it all went ok in the end, I hope the show was a great tribute. Good to see your niece behaving herself, maybe she's starting to grow up and see things differently? I hope it all resolves itself soon, family are important, but then again, so are the great friends you've got :-)