Family Who Shunned Late Son's Wife for 10 Years Slammed Over Grave Request

Parents who shunned their late son's wife for a decade following his tragic death have sparked anger after getting in touch to ask that she sign his burial plot over to them.

The loss of a loved one affects each individual in their own personal way, particularly when it comes to grieving. In a 2008 study of 288 bereaved people, researchers found grief peaked around four to six months after the loss, before gradually dissipating over the following two-year period.

However, the circumstances behind a bereavement are a hugely influential factor. An American study of parents who suffered a violent bereavement such as a death by accident, suicide or homicide, for example, found that the majority took "three or four years to put their children's death into perspective and continue with their own lives."

All of which only adds to the complexity of the situation facing one U.K. woman posting to Mumsnet who lost her first husband in a "tragic accident" in the U.S. in 2004, when she was in her 20s.

According to the woman, who has since remarried and shared her story under the handle Bellysmackers, in the years that followed his death her late husband's grieving family made no contact with her.

"His family never really bothered with me much afterwards. Never visited me etc," she wrote. " I always felt like they resented me for being the one who survived."

It took 10 years for them to reach out, leaving a gift on her doorstep with a note that simply said "sorry." Though she felt their sudden desire to see how she was coping came "a bit too late," she did begin conversing with them over text from "time to time."

More recently, one female relative of her late husband got in touch "being friendly" and asking how she was. After the initial pleasantries, she was asked if she "would consider" signing over "ownership" of her husband's grave to them. She was told: " It would mean a lot" and it was "the right thing" considering they were "his immediate family."

Angered by the request, the woman told her she would "never consider it." The request left her baffled, especially as her husband is buried in a single plot, with no free burial plots around him.

While the woman said she had "no issue" with his parents scattering their ashes there, she had no intention of signing over the burial plot, particularly as they had offered her little support during the grieving process.

"I worked through my emotions and grief with no help whatsoever from these people, who I never believed would abandon me," she wrote. "Now they want something from me 17 years later....you can imagine how I feel." People on social media knew exactly how she felt.

Restedbutexhausted said it was "extremely rude" of them to "shun" her and make this request and was particularly scathing of them for justifying it by saying they were "immediate family," which they felt was an attempt to suggest she wasn't "close to him." Junejubilee agreed, writing that they were "devaluing your relationship saying the immediate family should have it," noting "YOU are/were his immediate family."

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Peachgreen commented: "So many people seem to think that if you have another relationship, you're somehow magically 'moved on' from your lost spouse when of course in the vast majority of cases you are still, and always will be, in love with them."

CigarettesNalcohol urged her to "say no and stick to your guns" adding: "He was your husband after all. Refuse, refuse, refuse." Despite many expressing anger, some were able to see things from the family's perspective.

Rocketfromthecrypt said: "I think losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to someone. They haven't behaved perfectly, but in the circumstances I can understand it and also them wanting to be with him in death."

Sarah3587 commented: "Some People react oddly after they lose their child... I would hand over their son's grave. Imagine if this were your child's grave."

Newsweek has contacted Bellysmackers for comment.

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

A woman reading a letter.
A file photo of a woman reading a letter. A family has been condemned for contacting their late son's ex-wife with a request over his burial plot. Igor Vershinsky/Getty