Text Message Break Up…At Mom’s Funeral

I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but I didn’t have time for that. My little sister was reading her eulogy beautifully. She made the crowd laugh at some humorous memories of our mother. She looked at me for encouragement and continued. My dad held my hand, smiling at the stories, but you could see the sadness in his eyes. He did lose the love of his life and best friend after all. My older sister was not at my side like planned since she was very ill and could not come to the funeral. Hence, I sat there calmly, like I had it all together. But of course, that was a lie.

Mom’s death was not a complete surprise. Her cancer had been getting worse, and there were no signs of improvement. We all prepared ourselves for it. We told ourselves it was coming. We made a visit to the hospital to say our “goodbyes” before it was too late. Regardless of how much you tell yourself that something is coming though, it is still a surprise to some extent. The pain you imagined is no longer hovering over you, but washing over you, through you.

The days before the funeral, my two sisters and I spent countless hours together. We rehashed old stories of our mother. Some were funny and made us smile. Others were harsher and made us feel a sense of guilt over our pain and anger. We asked each other, are we allowed to still be upset about this now that she is dead? Does her death negate the mean things she did? That is a hard question to answer and one that must be decided individually, at least in my opinion. However, I do think there is a tendency to martyr people after they die, like the bad never happened. My sisters and I were not all at that stage though. So we talked and talked about our feelings as we sorted through mom’s belongings that dad laid before us.

The stories revealed that each of us had similar, but yet different, relationships with our mother. There were plenty of good times of course, but there were some substantial bad ones as well. The bad times covered everything from ugly words to physical violence to her disowning grandchildren. Some behaviors could be explained and forgiven. Others could not.

Thorough this whole grieving weekend, my boyfriend at the time was relentless. At first, it was relentless caring texts. Are you OK? Hang in there sweetie. I’ll be here when you get home. After three days though, the tone changed. If you have time for that. I don’t want to bother you. If I was important enough, you would make time. Now, I say tone because even though these were texts, I knew him well enough to get the tone. I could feel his anger and attitude. So while I was pouring over piles of my mother’s belongings with my sisters, I was getting and sending all these texts. It was interrupting our grieving. It was stressing me out.

Ironically, when I left home, I reminded him that I didn’t know how much time I would have to call, and that I tended to not be so chatting when I was upset. So I told him, I would text him. I sent him multiple texts during the day. At the airport. Taking dad to lunch. It is weird my mom not being here. I don’t know if I can do this. I feel like I am going to lose it. I was communicating in a form that I could, reassuring HIM while being strong for my family. Heck. I was practically sending hourly Twitter-like updates, so it was not like he didn’t know what was going on. It wasn’t like I just disappeared for days with no trace. Unfortunately, that was not good enough because I didn’t pick up the phone to call. I couldn’t. I was almost never alone and I wanted and NEEDED to spend this time with my family. I wasn’t ready to talk about what I was going through. I wanted to finish going through it before I tried to deal with it. There was also the fact that if I called him, I knew I would break down and cry. I didn’t have time for that. So I text.

Now, with all that said, there is one other factor that I know I mentioned to him over the months we dated, and that was my basic belief on phone etiquette: if I am with people, I try to spend time with them and not be on the phone. Yet, here I was texting and texting replies to his anger and accusation. People that love each other, call each other. I thought I was important enough to you for you to talk to me. I am tired of begging for your attention. It was draining. Freaking utterly draining. But it continued and continued until I called.

I don’t remember what was said but it was not what he wanted to hear apparently. Shortly after our call he text me. I am tired of begging for your attention Michelle. So you don’t have to bother yourself with me when you get home. I am done. I stared at the phone in disbelief. Did he really just break up with me via text the day of my mother’s funeral? For a moment, I panicked. I wanted to call him. I wanted to say I was sorry. He was right, I should have called. Then it hit me. I should not be told how to grieve. I should be allowed to grieve. I did nothing wrong. So I replied something to the extent that I was done too. Are you really doing this? Right now? This way? OK. You will get what you wanted. Do not call me again.

Of course, he called. Oh. My. Goodness. He called and called and text and text. Eventually, I turned off my phone. I could not handle anymore. But I stayed strong. I did not cry. I did not break down. I simple made my way back home. By the time I walked into my house, I realized a few things and there was no going back to that toxic relationship. It dawned on me that if this man could not handle my four-day absence to mourn my mother, he would never be able to support me on my next deployment. If this man did not understand that I was just not ready to “talk” about what was going on then, he did not know me very well. If this man could not support that time with my family then, it would never get any better. If this man refused to be patient with me at a time like that, I could never expect anything more. If this man used manipulation and demands to get his way, it could only escalate in the future.

I thought about the seven months we dated prior to my mother’s inconvenient death that annoyed this man so greatly. The signs were all there. It had gotten worse over time. I just chose to ignore it. I wanted to work through it, not just give up when things got hard. That’s the thing though, when my mom died, that was hard for me….and he just gave up on me. He wasn’t there for me. He was there for him. And once I grasped that, I said goodbye to him. Too bad all that drama interrupted my goodbyes to my mother though.


For the Dungeon Prompt: Now I Get it Moment

31 thoughts on “Text Message Break Up…At Mom’s Funeral

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  6. Reading this, I was afraid you were talking about your present relationship. My then girlfriend (now wife) took care of her mother in Illinois for almost six months during the final days. When her mom died, I got a phone message at 4 am (I didn’t hear the phone) that it was over. It was another month or two before we were reunited. There were times when I was hurt that I didn’t hear from her, but I had to remind myself that this was not about me.

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  9. I am so glad you turned off the phone and ended the relationship. His behavior was inappropriate and certainly raised big red flags. I’m sorry you didn’t have the time you needed to be in your grief.

    Your post already reminded me of a relationship I was in briefly many years ago. I called the person I was dating on the day that someone who was like a father to me died. I needed to be with someone. When I asked him for time he told me he didn’t want to be with anyone who wasn’t happy. That was shocking, and upsetting, but gave me clear direction for the future……

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    • Thank you. Yes, it was the last red flag and was one I could not ignore. Sorry to hear you went through that. So sad to think some think that is ok behavior. Makes me wonder what they would think if the roles were reversed.

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        • Amen to that! In hindsight, there were other warnings but I chose to ignore them thinking I should keep trying and not quit so easy. However, there are just some things that you can’t change in someone. And if you have to change them, you probably are not right for each other.

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  12. What a moving part of your life you generously shared here. I’m glad you found the strength to take care of you…maybe your mom was helping you in her own way so you could get to “oh yeah….” quicker. No one can ever tell you how to grieve or for how long…it is very individual for everyone. Even if you knew your mom was terminally ill, you had to get the another tough part…grieving. My thoughts are with you…(((hugs)))

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  13. Wow, that is real drama. It’s pretty sad to think that he was so stuck in his insecurities that he couldn’t fight through four days to allow you to grieve. What was he thinking was going to happen when you were deployed? Thanks for sharing this story with us. It really is a now I get it moment.

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    • It was so hurtful and I can never get that time back. So forever, my memories of my mom’s funeral will be tired to this. There was actually more drama after this even but I needed to limit the length and I was’t sure if I should write it. So maybe next therapy session-haha. And yes, he could not have supported me on a deployment due to those insecurities, but I just didn’t get it, until that weekend.

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    • Thanks Julz. It was a relationship in the past. I am glad it is over. It had its moments of beauty in the beginning of course, but now that I am in a healthy relationship, wow, it’s so wonderful to breathe and relax.

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