My mother in law is still grieving

@DJ9020 (1596)
United States
July 24, 2007 7:37pm CST
My father in law died over two years ago and my mother in law is still grieving. His clothes are still hanging in his closet. We're about to go to my mother in law's house for about a week to help do some things around the house. I have offered before to help her clean out his closet, but she said she wants his 2 sons (my husband is one) to take whatever they want first. Its been over two years, and the boys don't want anything. Should I kind of push her to let me clean out that closet? After my father died I took all his clothes to the local men's shelter, and that's what I'd like to do here. Or should I just let her hang on to the clothing as long as she wants to?
2 people like this
10 responses
@flpoolbum (2918)
• United States
25 Jul 07
You should tell your mother-in-law that while you understand that she is still grieving, clothes can get ruined by just sitting in the closet. Urge her to donate the clothing that is still good to people who could use it.
1 person likes this
@DJ9020 (1596)
• United States
3 Sep 07
I'll try.
@lucy02 (5017)
• United States
25 Jul 07
I would let her keep those clothes as long as she wanted to. If she never wants to get rid of them then I would respect her wishes. People grieve in their own way and time. It may be comforting to her.
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@DJ9020 (1596)
• United States
3 Sep 07
You have a good point.
• United States
25 Jul 07
You need to let her hang onto the clothing as long as she wants. She is obviously not ready to let it go. Let her have it. This was a man she spent her life with who she loves dearly. You can't expect her to just push away the things that were so close to his body. i am sure she sometimes goes in that closet and smells them just to smell him again. Different people grieve differently and take different amounts of time to move on. She is obviously not ready.
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@DJ9020 (1596)
• United States
3 Sep 07
Thanks for your insightful comments. You've helped me to understand her better.
@sirgang (22)
• Philippines
25 Jul 07
Well, everyone is entitled to his/her choices. We are all within the same cycle, a time to be born and die. Since she is still grieving it would be better if she'll be comforted. If you can find what interest her it would be of great help.
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@DJ9020 (1596)
• United States
3 Sep 07
She does have lots of outside interests, so she's not just sitting around the house. I guess I should just let it go.
25 Jul 07
I think you should leave it to your husband to deal with this, since your mother in law obviously wants him to sort through the clothes before anyone else does. If his mother wants him to pick out some things, then why not? He doesn't have to keep them afterwards if he really doesn't want them around. Then she can decide for herself what to do with the rest. Different people deal with grief in different ways and at different speeds. Maybe your mother in law doesn't like the thought of other people walking around in her late husband's clothes. Or perhaps she wants to hang on to them because they make her feel closer to him. I know you mean well but if you try to push her into doing what you think is best for her, she might end up resenting you for it.
1 person likes this
@DJ9020 (1596)
• United States
3 Sep 07
Yes, it seems like I need to step back and let the immediate family deal with it.
• Malaysia
25 Jul 07
I think you should just let her keep the clothes. I would do the same thing too. It's better to have something to look at when she's missing her husband. It won't do her any harm, as long as she is not crying and mourning all day long. If she appears to be normal, keeping the clothes would be fine.
1 person likes this
@DJ9020 (1596)
• United States
3 Sep 07
Thanks for your advice. The more points of view I get the better I can help her.
@daycarepal (1998)
• United States
25 Jul 07
Maybe she finds comfort in having his things around. People all grieve differently. For her, maybe she still isn't ready to let go completely. I know 2 years is a long time, but when you lose a loved one, it can be very hard to move on. I would sit down and with and her 2 sons together and talk with her. I think things have to be done when she is ready. Just let her know that you are there for when she is ready.
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@DJ9020 (1596)
• United States
3 Sep 07
I suppose so. I guess I should talk to my husband and his brother first.
@rsa101 (16191)
• Quezon City, Philippines
25 Jul 07
I think its a good idea that you talk to your husband to do something not you taking action since your mom in law may take it badly if none of his sons would make any moves. You plan is a very noble act but you should always let your hubby do the act of telling it to their mother since I think your mom in law would be more open to them than you are except of course you are already close to her and you could openly tell her what you like to tell her. But I think you and your husband maybe together with you brod in law or could maybe convince her cleaning up things. Two years I believe is long enough for her to grieve for her husband I think you should now let her move on even for a little bit to make her life a little bit lighter.
1 person likes this
@DJ9020 (1596)
• United States
3 Sep 07
I just think the boys would rather not confront her about anything for fear it will make her grief worse. I was hoping maybe an outside viewpoint might help.
@lilaclady (28240)
• Australia
25 Jul 07
I think you have to let her lead the way, everyone is different, I lost my very special friend five years ago ant to me it is comfort to have a lot of his things around me, to some people it is depressing, grieving doesn't always mean you are depressed, I think you can offer quietly and if the offer is refused then leave it alone...
@DJ9020 (1596)
• United States
3 Sep 07
That's very good advice. But I just want to do something.
@healer (1783)
• India
25 Jul 07
I feel sorry for your mother in law as two years she have been grieving. Its a wise dicession that you decided to clean those closets, inorder to forget someone we should try to be free from their material stuffs first and than only slowly the things will change. You must try to keep away those clothes from her even though it will be hard for her to do that we have to fore it and do it.
1 person likes this
@DJ9020 (1596)
• United States
3 Sep 07
I think it would help her.