View Full Version : How much can you really do with an estranged family member?
11-22-2002, 01:21 PM
My grandfather's wife is in the final stages of bone cancer and is expected to pass away at any moment. She was given last rites yesterday (please forgive if that's misspelled, I'm not Catholic).
My cousin, the apple of my grandfather's eye, has had no contact with him for years. There was no ugly incident, she just parties a lot and doesn't think about much beyond her own four walls.
So far as we know, my cousin has no idea of the impending death in the family. After three days of research we were finally able to get her address and phone number; so far as we know, no one has yet been able to contact her. I'm generally averse to leaving bad news on answering machines, but that appears to be my only option at this point.
My poor grandfather is devastated at losing his wife and it will break whatever's left of his heart if my cousin isn't at the funeral.
I guess there's really nothing else we can do, is there, besides be there for him?
Thanks for letting me vent!
11-22-2002, 01:39 PM
First of all I want to say that I'm very sorry for you and your family. I'm sure having a difficult situation to deal with is not making it any easier to deal with.
Regarding your cousin, the only suggestion that I can offer is to call and leave a message saying something like: "Hi____. It's_____. I know we haven't talked in a while, but I have something important that I would like to tell you. Please give me a call as soon as possible."
I wish you and your family the best during this hard time. Hang in there.
11-22-2002, 01:48 PM
Thanks, Mandy, for your advice and your sympathies. We've left several messages in that vein ("I have something very important that I need to discuss with you right away, call me even if it's 3am") to no avail.
The "live and let live" philosophy I've tried to adopt is much easier in other situations!
11-22-2002, 01:50 PM
I agree with Mandy on the wording of the phone call. I also want to say I am very sorry for your family at this time. I might add to the phone call "This is very important, please do not hesitate to call me at any time."
It might be late when she calls, but at least she may call.
I'm sorry about your situation. My condolences to you and your family.
Since your cousin hasn't responded yet, I would leave a message that's a little more explicit -- she may not care if you have something important to say to her, but she might be motivated to respond if she knows it concerns your grandfather.
Maybe you could add something to the message like, "I know Grandfather has always cared for you very much, and he's in a situation where he could use your support right now." Not exactly delivering bad news, but gives your cousin a better idea of what's going on.
After that, you've tried your best.
11-22-2002, 02:50 PM
I agree with what Helene said.
Maybe try being a little more to the point. Saying that your grandmother is very sick and it's important that she call you. If she doesn't respond to that, then I would go ahead and leave a message telling her everything.
11-22-2002, 06:48 PM
I read your post right after you posted it, but since I was heading out the door, I haven't had time to respond. (I did, however, have time to put you and your whole family on my prayer list.)
I pretty much agree with what has been said, but I would word the message a little differently:
"Sally, this is Stephania. I'm glad I was able to reach you. Something very serious has come up with Nana, and we really need you to call us or come to St. Luke hospital as quickly as you can. Grandpa, especially, really needs to talk to you. If you need any more information, or to talk, my number is _______, or you can call Mom. Her number is _______."
11-22-2002, 10:10 PM
I think in the situation you described that leaving a very direct message might make the most impact. I would probably use the words that you used in the post about the condition of your grandfather's wife and how much it would mean to your grandfather to hear from her. I just don't thnk you have the luxury to try to couch the message and hope she will get back to you. Give her the information and then the next step is up to her.
11-23-2002, 07:17 AM
Thanks for the advice, everyone.
My sister spoke with her last night. Apparently my cousin said that was "really sad for him" and she "has plans and stuff" and won't even commit to CALLING our grandfather! "You know, I'm really busy and I'm going to Nantucket for Thanksgiving and I've got a party to go to tonight so I probably won't have time." Needless to say that was the last straw for my sister, who let her have it.
I can't believe my cousin would be so heartless. At least we've done everything we can to make her aware of the situation.
Thanks again. All we can do is be there for my grandfather and pray that his wife's last days are as comfortable as possible.
11-23-2002, 10:19 AM
What are their names? I will add them to my prayer list. As far as your cousin goes, I hope God can get ahold of her heart and shake it up. God Bless You and Yours.
11-23-2002, 01:21 PM
Since she refuses to come don't tell your grandfather you reached her. Let him continue to think she couldn't be reached. No matter how hard it is, do NOT share that she refused to come to the funeral. What comes around goes around and as far as I'm concerned, that particular young lady has taken a big withdrawal from the karma bank.
11-24-2002, 09:43 AM
Leisa, their names are Hank and Lillian. Thanks so much.
Chiffonade, I absolutely agree with you. When he called yesterday afternoon he again said that he'd love to hear from my cousin. I told him I hoped he would and, in the meantime, he should let me, my sister, and our parents know whatever he needs and we will take care of it. I did not and will not tell him that we've had contact with her.
Thanks again for the support.
12-01-2002, 04:24 PM
stefania4, how are your grandfather and grandmother? Did your cousin reconsider? I am praying for your and your family.
12-01-2002, 08:04 PM
Thank you so much. Lillian died last weekend; since it was a total four days of driving to get to the funeral and back, I wasn't online at all.
Worse than just not showing up for the funeral, my cousin actually called my grandfather - while I was there - and told him she was "too busy" to attend. Had she said she was concerned about the weather (they were predicting a lot of snow in Connecticut for last Wednesday), he would've understood and actually encouraged her to stay home and not risk the drive. Instead, he's terribly hurt and there really wasn't any way for me to fix it. Fortunately my parents, sister, niece, and the rest of the family were all there to support him.
And instead of throwing more energy into the whole cousin situation, I'm going to focus on thanking the nun and the neighbors who have been such a comfort to him. I was able to get their names and addresses and will send cookies in the next week or two to let them know how much I appreciate their help.
12-02-2002, 06:05 AM
I'm so sorry to hear about Lillian, and so upset for everyone that your cousin flunked out so badly. But it's a good thing that the rest of the family and friends were together, and that truly is the best thing to focus on. Cookies always bring smiles.
Prayers continue for Hank and all who love him.
(If you make some delicious cookies, shoot the recipe this way!)
12-02-2002, 06:35 AM
Originally posted by beejayw1
(If you make some delicious cookies, shoot the recipe this way!) Many thanks for your prayers and condolences; it's going to be a difficult Christmas for him.
The usual cookie list is oatmeal butterscotch, gingersnaps, peanut butter with M&Ms, and chocolate chip. I'm trying out the Walnut Toffee Diamonds from Gourmet (12/02) this year to replace the Espresso Kahlua Brownies, and if it's a success I'll be happy to share the recipe!
I'm sorry your cousin is like that and has hurt your grandfather. I have 2 neices who are very much the same way -- the only time we saw them for many years was when they expected a free meal and/or a gift. The only thing I can say in their favor is that their mom (DB's ex) and her family worked hard at raising those kids the way they did. I think these things fall into that category of "help me accept the things I cannot change." You are wise to focus on what is good and what you can do.
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