Saturday, March 27, 2010


I had my first session with a counselor yesterday. She's a Christian marriage and family therapist, but she has a lot of experience with counseling people through grief, too.

She asked me to tell her my story and I think I covered a lot of ground. She listened well and I think she was able to get a strong sense of our journey as a couple. One thing that she said really illuminated my understanding of Michael's relationship with and his feelings toward his ex-girlfriend, and that was that she said it was "codependent". I think I knew that to some degree, but I had shied away from that word since knowing someone long ago who had overused it. Teresa, you know just who I'm talking about. ;)

My counselor also said that is true of how some of the members of Michael's family are relating to the ex-girlfriend. In light of that, she said at some point I will have to express how their inclusion of this woman makes me feel, and that it will be reasonable for me to let them know that I will not attend family gatherings if she is invited and/or present. That was incredibly affirming for me, and I felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted off my chest.

I do not look forward to having to have that conversation with my mother-in-law, but I will do so when the time is right. I will be able to do so knowing that it's healthy for me. I should not have to suck it up and endure her presence. She may have been a significant person in Michael's life and she may have developed friendships with his family members, but she was not his wife. I was.


  1. Yes, Joannah YOU were his wife. After I learned about the presence of the ex at the Mass that Michael's mother planned - I have to tell you sweetie-I was incensed! My heart hurt for what you had to endure and I know you handled it with the grace and dignity that you possess. But, I agree with your counselor, the talk must take place with the mother-in-law. I know it won't be easy. . I will be praying for you for strength and the words that will be said when the talk occurs. Michael loved and adored you and you alone. If his family can't or won't fully acknowledge that - well. . that's on them and then you can decide what you want your relationship with them to be. We love you Joannah! Cousin Marla

  2. YOU GO GIRL!! And the thing is, I know you will do it in a graceful and humble way. I just hope M's family can receive it in a equally loving manner. I will pray!

  3. You are so in the right here. You and you alone were Michael's wife, he chose you to be just that and this ex-girlfriend needs to go "fluffle up a gum tree"


  4. Sometimes grace has to take a back seat to necessity. The Ex has dealt with her heartache already and if she hasn't then she needs some therapy to guide her through it. Your's is real and raw. Your Mother in law is seeking solace where she finds comfort and obviously Miss Thang is loving it.
    Of course you will be polite and dignified as a leopard cannot change it's spots.

  5. Good for you! Will pray for you about that conversation! Love you! Janine XO

  6. You summed it all up when you said you are his wife, she is not. You are the one he chose to spend the rest of his life with. Of course at the time he anticipated a much longer life. You are the one he tried so hard to have babies with. You are the one that was at his side in his passing.

    Whatever issues are involved in her getting over the break up do not change this.

    You will know when the time is right to talk to his mom on this issue. I am glad the counselor has made you feel empowered on this issue.


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