Author Topic: s/o Christmas cards to the bereaved - Christmas cards to the recently deceased  (Read 4296 times)

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starry diadem

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MamaCaz's post on whether to send cards to the bereaved/how to word them struck a chord with me.  There is another aspect to this that I came across for the first time this year, and I wonder if anyone has any similar experience and therefore some advice on how to deal with it.

BG : My uncle died in the summer.  He and his wife had had an occasionally rocky but lasting marriage of over 40 years - he was in his late sixties.  Now, it's not unfair to say that my aunt is a drama queen of the first water.  Oh boy, is she!  Although I don't doubt for a moment that she is genuinely still in acute grief for him, please understand that I do tend to look on her behaviour with something of a jaundiced eye, since much of what she does is to put herself centre stage.  But perhaps I am being unkind here and need to have a tolerance adjustment...   /end BG

I got my Christmas card from her a few days ago.  It's signed with love, Alice and (late) Robert

I was taken aback by that.  I was in the middle of addressing all my cards when hers arrived, and I sent a card addressed solely to her, with a message that was essentially "know this first Christmas will be hard, but hope that you will manage to have a peaceful time with the family and your grandchildren."  My mother got a telephone call in which Alice tearfully asked her to thank me for the card, but Mum was left with the impression that Alice thinks I'm heartless for excluding Robert.

I've never contemplated sending a card to a deceased relative.   Was I thoughtless in ignoring how she'd written the card by sending one that didn't acknowledge my dead uncle directly?  I do think that I may have been influenced unduly by my lack of tolerance for the dramatic behaviour in the past, but I am a little concerned now that I allowed that to excuse a level of cruelty that is making me uncomfortable in retrospect.  I wondered if any of you had come across anything similar and how you handled it.
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MariaE

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I would never, ever, ever send a card to somebody who died. I can give your aunt a pass for signing off from your uncle as well - it must be hard for her to go through this first Christmas without him, but you were absolutely not heartless not to include him in your card. I definitely wouldn't have done so either.

If you hadn't mentioned him at all, or addressed her grief at all in your card, then I could perhaps find it thoughtless or inconsiderate of you, but you did! She's way wrong.
 
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starry diadem

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I would never, ever, ever send a card to somebody who died. I can give your aunt a pass for signing off from your uncle as well - it must be hard for her to go through this first Christmas without him, but you were absolutely not heartless not to include him in your card. I definitely wouldn't have done so either.

If you hadn't mentioned him at all, or addressed her grief at all in your card, then I could perhaps find it thoughtless or inconsiderate of you, but you did! She's way wrong.

I had hoped that I hadn't been unreasonable in dealing with Alice as I did.  As I say, my reactions to her dramatics are usually tinged with an impatience that I have to struggle to hide and while I do understand this first Christmas for her is hard (ours was, the first Christmas without Dad) I did find her behaviour this time to border on the bizarre.
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blue2000

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I agree. There is nothing wrong with sending her a card and not including her late husband. You wrote a very thoughtful message, too. If she can't deal with this in her grief, it has nothing to do with you.
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starry diadem

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I agree. There is nothing wrong with sending her a card and not including her late husband. You wrote a very thoughtful message, too. If she can't deal with this in her grief, it has nothing to do with you.

Thank you.  That's reassuring.

We have a history, Alice and I, and I'm always a little edgier with her and trying to be careful not to let antagonism show.  It makes me hypercritical of all our interactions, I think.
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JoyinVirginia

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Everyone does grieve differently, and alice is certainly doing it her way. I have never seen christmas cards signed for the deceased. You were perfectly polite to send the card only to alice.

O nlyunfortunate exception was when an uncle died suddenly a couple weeks before christmas, and he and his wife had signed and mailed christmas cards, which arrived right after he died

LifeOnPluto

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My parents had friends who sadly had a miscarriage in March, several years ago. That year, my parents received a Christmas card from their friends, from the Husband, the Wife, AND the baby who they'd lost 9 months previously. I remember that it made my parents very uncomfortable to receive that card. But I guess people grieve differently.

To the OP, I don't think you were rude at all, not to directly mention your late uncle in your card. I personally would think it strange if you'd addressed it to "Aunt and Late Uncle."

duhrich

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When my son's godmother gives him a card or gift, she always signs it from her and her husband, eventhough her husband has been dead for a couple of years.  My son treasures each and every one and totally gets her intention.

diesel_darlin

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I still have a Christmas card from my Grandma that was sent to me the year my PawPaw died. He died on December 14th. I never opened it. I know that Grandma signed it with only Love Grandma instead of Love Grandma and PawPaw, so I just couldnt bear to open it.

I dont know how I would feel if I were still getting cards years later signed Grandma and PawPaw though. I dont think you did anything wrong at all, OP.

starry diadem

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Sorry for the delay in responding, everyone - I've had guests and limited online time.



Everyone does grieve differently, and alice is certainly doing it her way. I have never seen christmas cards signed for the deceased. You were perfectly polite to send the card only to alice.

O nlyunfortunate exception was when an uncle died suddenly a couple weeks before christmas, and he and his wife had signed and mailed christmas cards, which arrived right after he died

I could see your scenario with the death and the cards coming so close, but there's a six month gap between Robert's death and Alice posting the cards.  Still, I do understand that everyone grieves in their own way and I need to work on being more patient with her and put our history aside.  What deisel_darlin said (below) of her own experience brought things into a better perspective for me.



When my son's godmother gives him a card or gift, she always signs it from her and her husband, eventhough her husband has been dead for a couple of years.  My son treasures each and every one and totally gets her intention.

I thought that there would be another side to this somewhere.  I can see where there is a precious relationship like that, there is a sense of continuance that your son finds comforting and *right*.  I think I rather envy him that.



My parents had friends who sadly had a miscarriage in March, several years ago. That year, my parents received a Christmas card from their friends, from the Husband, the Wife, AND the baby who they'd lost 9 months previously. I remember that it made my parents very uncomfortable to receive that card. But I guess people grieve differently.

To the OP, I don't think you were rude at all, not to directly mention your late uncle in your card. I personally would think it strange if you'd addressed it to "Aunt and Late Uncle."

Yes, that's it.  I was made uncomfortable and perhaps, now I think about it, there was a smidgeon of resentment about that which, added to my usual dislike of Alice's histrionics, made me a little too impatient.  I genuinely do believe that she is grieving, but it boils down to her way is not my way.  I wouldn't ever call her on this, you understand, but it did seem odd, even for her.  I'm relieved that I wasn't out of line in the response.


I still have a Christmas card from my Grandma that was sent to me the year my PawPaw died. He died on December 14th. I never opened it. I know that Grandma signed it with only Love Grandma instead of Love Grandma and PawPaw, so I just couldnt bear to open it.

I dont know how I would feel if I were still getting cards years later signed Grandma and PawPaw though. I dont think you did anything wrong at all, OP.

My father died in May 2009, two weeks before my birthday.  I was upset getting a card from my mother, just from her alone (I think though, that I'd have been even more upset if she'd signed it for both, as usual).  But that remembrance - thank you for it - has put what Alice did into a much better perspective for me than anything else.   Dad's loss was very raw, just as your PawPaw's was.  For Alice, Robert's death must still be very raw even after six months, which I suppose isn't really very long.




Thank you, everyone, for your advice and help.  I do have a better understanding of where Alice is coming from, and while I'm relieved that no-one thinks I was unkind in my response to her, I know that my thoughts were not very charitable.  That's what I'll work on, when next I see her.
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cicero

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i'm sorry, i undertand she is sad but that is borderline creepy.

you did nothing wrong in addressing the card to her, and to her alone. and your message was very sweet and supportive.


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diesel_darlin

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Glad I could be of help.  :)

starry diadem

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i'm sorry, i undertand she is sad but that is borderline creepy.

you did nothing wrong in addressing the card to her, and to her alone. and your message was very sweet and supportive.


Yes, I felt a little creeped out, I must admit.  diesel_darlin's perspective on it has been very helpful, though.
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