AnnLanders.com - Advice for your Everyday Life
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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:


Dear Readers,
My x-girlfriend who lived with my son and I for 16 years died of cancer. Prior before we knew she had cancer-she moved out because of an addiction problem. We did stay very close before she died. Her x-husband an attorney took over her finances and the burial arrangements. I being financially set was okay with that, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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Responses from Other Readers
 

"On the one year anniversary of your ex-girlfriends passing, take out an 'in memoriam' notice listing you and your son--and nobody else. Perhaps you will feel better and the 'family' will get the drift."

- From Totsybug in Oklahoma

"You can post a remembrance in the paper. It won't be an obit, but a statement of your love for her. People often do so on an anniversary of a loved one's death, but there is no need to wait."

- From Tina in Ohio

"Time will heal the loss of your loved one. However, the pain will never completely go away. The pain may pop up again when least expected, such as when your son marries and you wish your honey was there to celebrate with you. You and your son should have been included in the obituary. Hopefully, it was an unmeant oversight of the X-husband. May I suggest publishing another obituary as an in memorandum? You and your son could publish a picture of your girlfriend with a short tribute to her, honoring your love and loss of her. Publish it on her birthday, 1st anniversary of loss, Mother's Day or another day that was special for the three of you. "

- From Nancy C. in Arizona

"During a time of grief the family overlooks those who cherished their loved ones and focuses on who family is by name/blood. This happened to my mom many many years ago when her mom died. At the time it was not really proper to mention a widow was having her boyfriend live with her. I can say my mom was so hurt that she didn't mention the man who we called 'Uncle Joe' and was lived with her sharing her life in the obituary. To this day it still breaks my moms heart. "

- From Tracy in Ohio

"I want to know who edits these letters. A good editor would have caught the repeated mistake of' my ex lived with my son and I.' It should say my ex lived with my son and me. You never say my ex lived with I."



"Be proactive. Since you are financially set, take out a small display ad in memory of your girlfriend and the years she spent with you. Mention yourself and your son. If possible, include a picture of the three of you together. If this appears in the same newspaper as the obituary, the same readers will see it. If it has been several months since her death, consider doing this on the one year anniversary. "



"My condolences to you and your son. Obviously you both loved this woman. I would advise sending your thoughts in a respectful letter to the ex-husband. Ask him to consider publishing an article in the paper--even a letter to the editor, that corrects the omission of you and your son as significant in her life. You might offer him a couple of phrases you'd like to see, as if they would have been in the obituary. If he does not respect that, or cannot get something published, I would suggest you writing to the editor yourself, explaining the situation and asking for a mention to be included in an update. It's not something I've seen done, but it's about real lives. So perhaps a real person editor will have heart. Peace to your souls, Janan"

in CA

"When my father died, his ex-wife wrote the obituary. She left out all of his family, including his children (myself included and I am the eldest). She was an awful person and used my father horribly and when he died of a heart attack, she was there. He called her because he was having chest pain and my understanding is that she just stood there as he died. When my family ( his brothers and sisters) saw his obituary, they submitted another one. I received a laminated copy which I have put away. If you loved this woman, and it sounds like you did and so did your son, write another one. Or set up a memorial for her. Don't let petty people minimize her life away from them. I don't know how long it has been since her death but it might make you feel better to have some type of physical reminder for your son that she was a part of his life and that even in death she was still loved. Just my two cents. I'm very sorry for your lost."

- From Lisa in Alaska

"At best, this man was overwhelmed, lost in grief, and simply made a terrible oversight by forgetting to include you and your son in his ex-wife’s obituary. At worst, his intentions were selfish and short-sighted. While you can’t re-write an obituary, you can publish your own. This is a simple process that is available to you through the same newspaper. You can also publish a memorial notice if you prefer. Your girlfriend is part of your family and you deserve to grieve her as much as her ex-husband. "

- From Mandy in Durham, NC

"I am sorry for you. However, you are making an attempt to overcome it. Sometimes people get very selfish and unthinking. The only thing you can do is to try to forgive and continue on. It's easier to forgive and forget than keep carrying a grudge."

- From Patti in Napa. California

"The obituary may have been composed by the funeral director, and simply approved by a family member. Generally only family are mentioned, however, unnamed 'dear friends' would have been nice if had they been thinking of you."

in NC

"Write your own version of her obituary, correcting the omissions, and have it published in the paper."

- From Gina

"I have found that, at times of passage - births, deaths, marriages - the importance of going on the record with life choices suddenly is paramount, superseding even obviously more impactful choices of the heart. I ache for your anger and resentment and hurt at not being included in the obit of someone who meant so much to you and your son. But it's paper - the obit is paper, the pieces of paper that officiate marriage - not flesh. You know what you shared. If the people with the 'paper proof' got to 'own' you friend in the newspaper tale of her life, please don't let it erase you or your memories or you're son's. Be strong, pray for her spirit, be grateful you all had a connection, even though it sounds troubled. And let go of this situation you can't control or do anything about other than to rant about it to people who probably don't care - so you'll only get more hurt. Protect yourself; just commune with your departed friend and leave the living to their own proud paper ownership."

- From Mimi in CA

"Yes you can rewite an obituary! Write and pay for one you put together yourself! It will be cathartic for all of you. "

- From Lynn in North Dakota

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