What to do when a stepmother passes away?

My step-mother just died on Saturday. It was very unexpected and it happened in my father's home. Her birthday was Tuesday of last week and my father's birthday is this Friday. He is taking it really hard. She had already ordered his gift and gotten it through UPS a few days before she died. He knows what it is already but will not touch the UPS box until Friday. She had told him the day before she died he was 'not to touch it until Friday'. The night of her death she sat my father's birthday card on the kitchen table, unsigned. He has been hounded since Saturday by hundreds of family members. My sister and I have stayed with him and I came home after the funeral to get a few things done. My dad is really reserved and doesn't like to show much emotion in front of many people. He won't even let it all out in front of my sister and I. The thing is---I'm unsure of what to do from now until his birthday. I know I need to visit him on his birthday. However, I feel as though he needs a little time to grieve by himself. I don't think he's had much time to soak it all in yet. He doesn't have a working DVD player and I know one gift was a DVD... I figured he may want to watch the video by himself. My family keeps nagging me to stay with him every second of every day and they are probably annoyed that I drove an hour home to take care of a few necessities here. I am in the middle of remodeling and several other projects that I need to finish to survive.

I just don't know how to tell my family that I literally cannot LIVE with my father for a month straight, even a few more days... He's not emotionally unstable or anything, as much as my sister and I try to explain... They really overexaggerate everything. I know that if I don't quite literally stop everything in my life for the next month they will think I am evil and uncaring. I know he doesn't mind my company at all. It may actually help him out a bit, but I think I would want my own time for a little while.

Anyone have any suggestions? Is it proper to stay with someone all day and all night after something like this has happened? Is there anyway I can go about giving him the space he needs without seeming as though I do not care to my very large and critical family? Am I evil for giving him his space?


Thanks for the input. I have asked him several times if he'd like me to stay longer/help him out/etc... But he declines...

Also, he has been eating healthily and my family insists he's not eating enough. I have watched him eat every single day since her death and left him a huge plate from the dinner after the funeral service. He didn't attend the dinner because he actually wanted to be alone for a while.

The family also seemingly scolded my sister and I for letting him drive his on vehicle to and from the service. He also insisted on driving while my sister and I rode with him...

I guess I shouldn't really worry about their opinions knowing that he's okay and is going to continue to be okay... It's just that there are a few bad apples in my family who LOVE tragedy and and gossip... Even labeling my sister and I as uncaring for being unable to be with him all hours.

12 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    Not evil at all.

    In fact, you are being very level headed and respectful. I'm sure (when his grief allows it), your father is feeling grateful to you.

    People grieve in different ways, and it upsets me that folk judge others for doing it the "wrong" way.

    Why must it be you?

    Why is there a time limit on how long/short a time you should spend with someone?

    Why must your father wait until his birthday just because of a note?

    All the above questions cannot be answered logically, or accurately.

    There is no "right" answer when it comes to troubled times like this.

    Your father has his reasons.

    You are doing your best to respect them, and that is good.

    You don't have to answer to anyone's questions.

    Your best is all you can do.


  • Marie
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    I'm sorry for your loss. Hope you have the strenght to go through it or to seek professional help with your grief if needed. Your stepsister lost her mother and now is not the best time to expect her to be reasonable, she's grieving. Tell her you are keeping the bed for sentimental reasons, she already got everything else. But try to do it calmly and don's get into an argument with her, don't make it sound like you resent her for getting everything (your stepmother should have split everything after she offered)Try to offer your shoulder to cry on, just be firm in telling her your stepmother gave it to you and you are keeping it. If its alot of money and she has been your stepmother for a long time maybe after the grief she'll be reasonable and share it if not life goes on. GOOD LUCK.

  • Aggie
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    What, does your family think he's suicidal or something? Are any other members of your family planning on visiting with him? Because I think it's so selfish and unfair to expect one person to do all they being demanded of. Especially when you have your own life.

    Yes, do visit with your father occasionally. But, because this great tragedy has befallen him, at least call him every night to make sure he's okay. One person can only do so much.

    There's nothing wrong with your father being alone. Everyone processes grief in different ways. I'm sure he more than appreciates the support he is receiving, but your father is an adult and he just needs some time of his own to adjust.

    Believe me, there's a big difference between being supportive and being suffocating. Give your father some breathing room.

  • 1 decade ago

    No, it is not proper to glue yourself to someone you know who cannot properly grieve when people are around. You should definitely be checking in on him regularly, but everyone is different. You're sensing that you being there all the time isn't working for either of you, so try something else. If that doesn't work, then on to the next arrangement. Your dad is the one who needs to know you're there for him - not the extended family. They're all hounding you to be the one to care for him, so they need to trust your judgement. Tell them so. And if they won't take that for an answer, too bad - you've got a grieving father to worry about.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    In my opinion it all depends on the person. When my dad died 3 years ago I stayed with my mom, but only for a few days, because she is the type that wants people around. Now if it would have been the other way around, and my mom would have died first, my dad would not have wanted anyone staying with him. That's just how he was. He was strong, and showed no emotion, and up to the day he died he stuck to his convictions, he said don't cry death is a part of life and that's just the way it is. But my mom wears her heart on her sleeve. So its really the person. Why dont you ask him how he feels.

  • 1 decade ago

    If you stay with him for a day he will be by himself the day after that. Stay with him for a month and he'll be by himself the day after the month has finished. You can't always be with him, and from the sound of it, he'd be more comfortable if you weren't. You're the person on the ground, your his daughter, you know him best. Don't listen to the rest of the family, discuss it with your father if you can and make the right decision based on what you know and what you can see. You are only an hour away, if he needs you he can call you.

    Sorry for your loss and your father's grief.

  • 1 decade ago

    First of all, I would treat my step mother as if she was my birth mother in this case.

    We all grieve differently. Some of us are like wet sponges while others appear to be hard as nails. Most of us are somewhere in between.

    We all need to be alone with our thoughts and feelings.

    A Celebration of the Life of the deceased (funeral) is a rite we use to bring closure while not actually ending our grief process.

    Some folks criticize others for the way they grieve (or are not around). We need to grieve in our own way(s) and should not be made to feel we have to apologize for being who we are and how we grieve.

  • J-Dawn
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Rather than being with him 24/7, why not do what you need to do during the day and then spend a few evenings and nights with him. The nights are the hardest. If the rest of your family thinks he needs a babysitter, then they need to step up.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Somebody should be with him 24/7 for the first few days but certainly not a whole month. 1 week after the death would be plenty. You have your life to live. He will be OK.

  • LTV
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    The family, as a group, needs to set up a schedule so that someone is always available for your father, at least for a couple of weeks. That is the appropriate thing to do. The last thing he needs is to feel like a nuisance right now.

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