My mother died suddenly last Friday. I’d started grieving her when out of the blue this bloke called her phone and asked to speak to me. Turns out she’d been having an affair for 12 years. My parents were married for 54 years. All her holidays and weekends away were spent with him instead of the study group from the synagogue as she’d told me. Now I have to keep her secret as it would destroy my 80-year-old dad.
Needless to say, this has been massively triggering. D-day 6 was 2 and 1/2 years ago and divorce was a year ago. My ex-Fuckwit cheated for 9 years and put me through living hell during the property settlement. My mother was an amazing support through all the shitfuckery.
Now we are forced to keep this shit sandwich a secret for my dad’s sake. And the Other Man is demanding to come to the funeral! Thank god for Covid rules limiting numbers.
Anyway this has put a rift between my sister and me. She thinks ‘good on her she got some joy and love in her life’. Yes my parents marriage was awful, but it was mainly because my mother was horrible to my father. He wasn’t very attentive or romantic, but he loved her despite her nastiness toward him.
I just feel angry and betrayed. I can’t grieve for the mother I knew because I didn’t know her. The parallels between this shitfuckery and my shitfuckery are hitting me hard. I’m the eldest child and it’s fallen in me to arrange a funeral I don’t even want to have. How do I navigate this all the while trying to hide this from dad?
Is there some reason you have to arrange the funeral? Could your sister do this? Or another family member? I think given the massive pile of shitfuckery you’re living under, it’s okay to say “I’m not up to this. I’m sorry.” And delegate.
You don’t have to defend yourself, or give reasons. “I can’t do it, I’m sorry” is enough. Or perhaps you offload this entire responsibility on to the funeral home or the rabbi and write a check.
Anyone in your family complains? Great, then they’re in charge. They can do the work.
Funeral logistics is the easy part. I can’t begin to tell you how to live with the cognitive dissonance of who you thought your mother was, versus who you discovered she is. I think the worst part of this story — and it’s the story of so many children of cheaters — is that you’ve been unwittingly drawn into a conspiracy against your chump parent. Now you must carry the weight of her secret, or share it and put your dad through additional sorrow.
I know most people would say, carry the secret. Don’t hurt your Dad with this knowledge. And given your father’s advanced age, I might’ve gone with that. But then I asked Mr. CL, a guy chump, what he thought and he’s firmly in the tell camp. Because everyone deserves to know the story of their life. And your dad’s was hidden from him.
Would it pain him? Of course it would. It’s equally plausible it could free him of thinking for decades that he was the bad guy, a man who couldn’t please his unappeasable wife. It might answer the nagging question of why she was never available. This knowledge could liberate him.
Is it fair that you’re in this position? Of course it isn’t. But your mother made a unilateral decision to betray your father and family, and you’re under no obligation to keep her secrets. She’s dead.
Anyway this has put a rift between my sister and me. She thinks ‘good on her she got some joy and love in her life’.
Okay, if that’s her narrative — yea! love! — then she shouldn’t have any problem sharing this secret with dad. Because, hey, “good on her,” right? Everyone should be thrilled for Mother’s Happiness.
Oh? That would be terrible and cruel to tell your father? Then how “joyful” is this love really, if it’s based on deceit and a conspiracy of silence?
This isn’t Bridges of Madison County. Poor mom finally finds love in her stultifying life! Is your sister really so dimwitted to not connect the dots with your experience? Hey sis, is that your narrative for my ex? Is the narcissism hereditary? Ugh.
And the Other Man is demanding to come to the funeral!
Yeah, that’s a hard no. COVID excuses, “We have a seating limit on senior dick-dribbling fuckwits.” Whatever you want to tell him, absolutely NO WAY does this guy show up. Are funeral bouncers a thing? Do you know who he is or what he looks like? All I can say is what a malignantly selfish person. Who DOES this?
ChumpDownUnder, I’m so sorry you’ve been dealt all this. I hope CN can offer some words of comfort. As I’ve written here before about double lives revealed — remember you are real. Your love for your mother, whoever she was, whatever she did, was real and speaks well of you. We can’t control the stupid of other people, including our parents.
Go forward knowing you’ve lived your life with integrity. Sometimes the best example is the worst example — you’re not your mother.