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Dear Wendy

Gravesite issue

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by avatar Morecoffeeplease 5 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 13 through 24 (of 30 total)
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  • #681809 Reply

    Maybe this article will help you. It’s by Emily Yoffe, who used to be Dear Prudence, about her husband’s first wife who died. I loved it when I first read it.

    #681813 Reply

    That is an AMAZING article. I read it years ago when she first published it. Great writing. Even better outlook…

    #681815 Reply

    I did too, and remembered it all these years. First thing I thought of when I read this thread.

    #681827 Reply

    RedRoverRedRover, thank you so much for posting that article.

    I hope you read it, Northern Star. Your husband’s first marriage isn’t something you can erase. How you live with it, and with the memory of his wife, is up to you. You choose. You can see her as an ever-present threat, and let your jealousy slowly break down your marriage. Or, you can see her and their marriage as part of what made your husband into the man you fell in love with. Caring for a terminally ill spouse changes people, forever, and I’m sure he brought the lessons learned in that experience into your marriage. He sounds like a good man. Apologize to him, and let this go.

    #681841 Reply

    Northern star, I do think it is tacky to have a living person’s name engraved on a grave stone. (Were they trying to save engraving costs or what? )

    However, this was a decision your husband made before he ever met you.
    So please do not consider it as a reflection on your love or life together.

    Besides, people tend to romanticize lost loves. We see enough letters here about the one that got away. These relationship may well have have ended up in divorces if they happened or continued. Since these relationships did not last long enough to sour, they can always be fantasized about.

    #681849 Reply

    I would let it go. Grief is hard to cope with. When they were first married, I’m sure both of them thought they’d be with each other forever. Then, the person that you love dies and they’re just gone. It doesn’t matter how long he had to mentally or emotionally prepare for her death. It’s one thing to think about it, a totally different thing to live with. Try to have some compassion for him. He had to plan her funeral, and GO to her funeral. I’m not sure if her parents talked to him about it beforehand or not, but either way, it doesn’t matter. They were married, and then she died. I highly doubt at the time the plot was purchased, he was thinking of getting married again. My sister passed two months ago, and when it came time for arrangements, I took over as much as I could. But at the end of the day, it was what my mom and dad wanted. You should think about that too. They had to bury their daughter, no parent should have to bury their child. He was a big part of their life too so of course they’d want to honor the time they had together.

    #681858 Reply

    I was a little drunk last night when I read this because we were at the ball game. I wanted to add that I understand why the Facebook post of the grave site would come as a shock to you if you weren’t expecting it. Does he have FB and you don’t, so you didn’t see it until later? My husband has it, and will never get rid of it because he is big into social media for work and his sport, which are the same thing, and has a lot of followers. But I dropped it 6 months ago, and every once in a while I ask him if I can look at his FB on his phone. It’s all about basically the sport, beer/tequila, Mexico, and our dog. Sometimes he posts a pic of us but only if I’m ok with the picture. There are no surprises. Sometimes I take a video or picture for him and I want to see how many likes it got. So yeah, I can see how that would be shocking, especially if he was deliberately hiding it from you.

    BUT: was it wrong? I don’t think so. The headstone was put up, and his instinct was to honor his ex and post a memorial. That’s very normal. He shouldn’t have to pretend she didn’t exist. He could have mentioned it to you, sure, but he was probably like, why bring this up? It will just upset her and she won’t see it. So, ok, there’s a little bit wrong with that. And maybe that’s what you could talk to him about, that this unexpected post of a headstone with his name on it really gave you a shock, and share some of your feelings. But tread lightly. This is a difficult situation and one where there’s really nothing HE can do to fix it. It’s more about you processing your feelings (maybe via therapy) and reframing your thinking.

    ETA: if youve been having trouble getting pregnant, is it possible your feelings about that are getting mixed up with this and making it worse?

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by avatar Kate.
    #681861 Reply

    It is pretty standard and common to put as much information on a tombstone before it is set as possible and that includes the name of the living spouse. Just because his name is on the tombstone doesn’t mean that he has to be buried there but it is always an option.

    The problem is that he hid it from you which means the two of you have a communication problem. Whether that problem is because he knew you wouldn’t want to hear it or see it because you are insecure I don’t know. Someone who has lost a spouse while young and who has remarried should be able to visit the gravesite with their second spouse to grieve and remember. The fact that he can’t visit the site with you and felt the need to hide the tombstone is a sign that the two of you don’t have the level of communication you need. He feels he can’t share a very important part of his life with you because you will be upset.

    You don’t need to compete with her. You don’t need to remove him from every outward sign of their life, like their tombstone. She was his wife and now you are. Two different relationships at two different points in his life. Neither relationship perfect but he loved her and he loves you. Death creates a different path forward than a divorce. In a divorce you know the person won’t be buried with the ex but with a death it is always a possibility. Some people are buried between both spouses.

    It was wrong of you to assume the second wife would automatically take precedence over the first wife. If a person is married twice due to the death of the first spouse they tend to be buried by either both spouses in a shared lot or with the spouse who was the parent of their children in a family lot.

    Even if their marriage was brief and the two of you are married for decades and have children together you still won’t need to go in and remove his name from her tombstone. That would be tacky. Having his name on the stone doesn’t mean he has to be buried there. It means that they were once married and were married at the point that she died. It reflects their reality at the point that she died. It doesn’t lay claim to him for eternity.

    #681874 Reply

    I thought placing all names on a tombstone was standard practice. But I grew up with seeing my parents name on my sister’s tombstone. She died from a rare liver disease at almost 2. I also saw my aunt’s name on her deceased husband’s tombstone. Cancer. And another aunt on my uncle’s. Again, cancer. Same with grandparents.

    These were all young deaths. I agree with sky in that it shows and honors a relationship at the time of death. It doesn’t take away from the livings future.

    #681879 Reply

    I think you are structuring in your mind as an either or;first and second kind of thing. It’s not like that. Just think if he told you about the headstone when it was delivered. Would it have mattered? Probably not. You knew he was recently widowered. It’s just finding out now that threw you for a loop. I think that’s okay. Something bothered you and you addressed it with your husband. But now let it go because there is no satisfactory answer. It was a decision made before you. The headstone can’t be unengraved. Not now anyway. It doesn’t change your relationship that his name is written somewhere on a headstone. It’s not a binding contract.
    And it isn’t odd to feel your family is more complete after kids – if kids are what you guys envision. I felt that way.

    This is one of those not seeing the forest for the trees. It’s okay. Take a breath. You know the jealousy is irrational. Just dismiss it.

    #681918 Reply

    I have rarely seen the name of a living spouse on a tombstone, so maybe it’s a regional thing? My grandmother passed away 5 years ago and the tombstone only has her name, although my grandfather will be buried there eventually. I’m in NY, but I know a relative in NC who is still alive who has her name on her husband’s tombstone.

    Anyway, Northern Star, I can definitely understand your feelings, but agree that you need to just let it go.

    #681997 Reply

    Yep. That is what I meant K. Who engraves “Here lies Mr.xx and Mrs.xx in peace” on a grave stone when one of the partners is still living ?

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