What is the appropriate thing for me to do about the death of a family member I disliked, but who was important to my children and grandchildren?

What is the appropriate thing for me to do about the death of a family member I disliked, but who was important to my children and grandchildren?

by Kathleen
(Denver, Colorado, USA)

My son-in-law, Don, is a good husband and father. Don is a member of a big family.


Don's stepfather has died, following a long illness. The man was an odious character, extremely opinionated, a heavy drinker ... the list goes on. I'm not close to Don's mother. We live very different lives.

Now I feel so uncomfortable, because Don is grieving, as is his family. My Grandson, who is eleven years old, also cared for this man.


Jul 25, 2011
Helping Your Family Grieve
by: Kevin (Modern Manners and Etiquette)

I am sorry to hear about the loss. Even if it was not someone that you were close to, it can be a difficult thing to watch others you care about grieve.

That is really the heart of the issue is helping your children and grandchildren. It isn't really important what your opinion of the person was. The important part is to be a support system for those around you. Your children and grandchildren could turn to you as a source of strength at this time.

That is where you can really show proper etiquette and manners where grieving is concerned. The key thing here is to let them know that you care about them and their feelings.

Spend some time with them and make it safe for them to talk about their feelings. Help them through that pain and separation and they will remember fondly for many years to come.

As a teenager, I was there for a friend that lost his mother to cancer. I did not know it was the "polite" thing to do at the time. My actions were not based on manners. It was based on letting him know that I was sorry and that I cared about him.

You have the same opportunity now and it can be a great time to strengthen those relationships in spite of the loss.

I wish you and your family the best at this time.

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