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John James, founder of The Grief Recovery Institute

John W. James

Founder of The Grief Recovery Institute®
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve

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Children's Damaged Relationships with Her Husband - Their Father - Creates Collateral Emotional Damage (Published 9-6-11)


My husband passed away a month ago unexpectedly. I found him deceased when I came home from work. For the past 15 years my sons disrespected him for a mistake he made in the past. One son didn't bother to stop in to see him last year even though he was in the area 12 times. He actually picked a fight with him when my husband was a patient in the cardiac unit. He dismisses this incident even though he was so wrong. The next time he saw his father was in the casket. My other son got into an argument with my husband's brother (his uncle) 6 months prior to his dad's death, owed him $600 which his father so generously lent to him to help him overcome a hard time financially. He never paid the money back. The third son borrowed thousands from us for his education. The day of my husband's death he left a message for his father that he would not get the student loans to pay some of the money back. He himself said that may have contributed to his father's death.

I have a lot of anger for my sons for this callous, insensitive feeling for their father. They never really took the time to know him. Their memories are all negative and they keep logs of their slights and talk only about slights in the past. I have a lot of anger toward them. As if the grief isn't hard enough, I have to think about how they hurt their father. Please tell me how to put this situation into perspective.

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