Ask Amy: Tragic loss brings on a strange family demand
Dear Amy: I lost my husband in a tragic accident a year ago. We had no children, so I'm alone now, but I am seeing a grief counselor.
For the past few months, my in-laws have been asking — or more like telling — me to move in with them as soon as COVID is over. Their logic is that they need me, and I shouldn't be alone right now.
I don't want to move in with them. They're good people, but they are very controlling, which is one reason my husband didn't even want to live too close to them.
I have politely declined dozens of times, but they keep saying, "It's decided" and they "won't take no for an answer."
They have told me that they are coming to get me and my stuff as soon as it is safe to do so.
I don't have the emotional bandwidth to deal with this right now. I don't want to live with them and am fine where I am. They live in another state, so I'd have to quit my job, which I also don't want to do.
How can I get through to them? I don't want to hurt them because obviously they are as grief-stricken as I am, but I'm worried that I will snap and say something awful if they keep pushing me on this.
Dear Grieving: I hope you will choose to discuss this with your grief counselor.
I suggest writing down your thoughts. Use loving and unequivocal language: “Frederick loved you so much. We are all grieving. I miss him every day. He and I built our life here, and I have chosen to stay here, in our home. My job and friends are here. I want to continue to live in the home he and I made together. I know this is not what you want to hear. I care very much about you and I will be out to visit as soon as I can, but I won’t be moving in with you.”