Dear Carolyn: Do I owe it to my kids to keep in touch with their grandparents (my in-laws) after the death of my husband?
My husband died in a car accident last year and we have still not completely recovered from the shock, although we are doing much better. We have a lot of support from family, community and friends. We are fortunate also to be financially secure.
My husband’s parents, who live a half-hour away, wish to continue keeping in touch with me and the kids. I have never really liked them and only dealt with them out of respect to my husband. Now that he is no longer with us, I would like to cut off the relationship.
They are nice, loving people. I just don’t see eye-to-eye with their values and judgments. To pretend to be nice to them is too much for me at this time. My kids are 10 and 12 and like them enough but don’t seem to ask to see them either. – Anonymous
You make no mention of what you owe your in-laws, but, wow: They lost their child just as shockingly as you lost your husband.
You also imply you have sufficient support not to need them, double wow.
While I sympathize deeply with all you have faced – your loss, your impulse to streamline your emotional commitments, your frustration with your in-laws – none of these justifies denying “nice, loving people” their grandchildren.
Please imagine yourself in their position long enough and often enough to see you through this emotional errand, even if it’s only to drop your kids off for lunch with your in-laws once in a while. Decency doesn’t just demand it; it absolutely insists.