Monday, September 04, 2006
Stages of Entitlement
My mother-in-law is wandering blithely through Kubler-Ross' Five Stages of Grief...

1. Denial
Characterized by her pretending that they weren't two weeks away from divorcing, acting as though it feels "weird" in her house to not have H. around even though they have lived apart for FIFTEEN YEARS, and generally placing herself at the center of a big dramatic stage. She's not denying his death, just the reality of the circumstances beforehand.

2. Anger
She went back to my father-in-law's house today to clean, which culminated in her having a big tantrum about what a jerk he was (and, it's true, he was) and kicking several things badly enough that she thinks she may have broken a toe. And may I just say that she seems so very comfortable in the realm of Anger.

3. Bargaining
I think this will happen soon, as she starts to come up with ways to justify her decisions and generally figure out ways to trade off her bad behavior for any perceived slights by him. Helps that tomorrow is the reading of the will, with the attorney and the accountant, so she'll actually be able to quantify her justifications.

4. Depression
This should happen just in time for Christmas. Can't wait.

5. Acceptance
Hopefully this happens sooner rather than later. She's acting now as though she is the only person ever to have had a loss, and she calls Willem or his brother several times a day to maximize the attention she gets - but she shall we all guess how much of those phone calls is devoted to asking how they are coping?

And let's go ahead right now and add Stage 6: Crazymaking. Shall we start taking bets now on how long it takes until she starts making plans to move to New Hampshire? Be still my heart.

I don't begrudge her feeling grief or sadness. I just wish she had an ounce of perspective regarding the rest of us.