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Grandmother's passing+ relationship cultural differences

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
I have a dilemma and I would really like to get some outside perspective. My grandmother, who has always meant the world to me, passed away 17 days ago. I have been fearing her departure since as far back as I can remember. I live away, and was able to go back home for the wake. In my family (British/French descent) we have always tried to celebrate a perso 's life when they are gone. Years ago, my grandmother told us, her family, that when she went, she did not want everyone sad and crying. She always hated to see anyone sad or crying. The day before the wake, there was a family gathering. We drank, and we cried, and we laughed, and we told stories. My fiancé, who is Sikh, could not get time off work to come with me back home. He has never drank , not even a sip of anything alcoholic, in his life. When he found out I was drinking with family, he freaked out. He texted me saying
"celebration on the grave of grandmother, that's a shame", and
"don't present it as family custom, it spoils the meaning of family", and
"it was a waste that I was trying to be with you, and was feeling sad. Should have bought a bottle for you. That's all it takes", and
"I can never understand how you guys celebrate and how you express grief...birth or death, doesn't matter, motive is drinking because that is the only concern there".
I do not drink regularly, and neither does my family.
I started feeling guilty, and then I felt hurt, and angry. I couldn't believe what he was saying...
He didn't talk to me for the rest of the time that I was there. He didn't ask me how I was doing, nothing. We haven't spoke about what was said either. And I still feel hurt, and angry, and I am still mourning the loss of my grandmother. But I feel that the one person I could open up to and feel comfortable to cry in front of, I no longer can. I'm afraid to even cry in front of him now. And although I am trying my hardest to move forward and not holde a grudge, I am still angry, and I am still hurt. I don't know what to do. I feel so alone.
Is this just a cultural difference? Personality difference?

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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have a dilemma and I would really like to get some outside perspective. My grandmother, who has always meant the world to me, passed away 17 days ago. I have been fearing her departure since as far back as I can remember. I live away, and was able to go back home for the wake. In my family (British/French descent) we have always tried to celebrate a perso 's life when they are gone. Years ago, my grandmother told us, her family, that when she went, she did not want everyone sad and crying. She always hated to see anyone sad or crying. The day before the wake, there was a family gathering. We drank, and we cried, and we laughed, and we told stories. My fiancé, who is Sikh, could not get time off work to come with me back home. He has never drank , not even a sip of anything alcoholic, in his life. When he found out I was drinking with family, he freaked out. He texted me saying
    "celebration on the grave of grandmother, that's a shame", and
    "don't present it as family custom, it spoils the meaning of family", and
    "it was a waste that I was trying to be with you, and was feeling sad. Should have bought a bottle for you. That's all it takes", and
    "I can never understand how you guys celebrate and how you express grief...birth or death, doesn't matter, motive is drinking because that is the only concern there".
    I do not drink regularly, and neither does my family.
    I started feeling guilty, and then I felt hurt, and angry. I couldn't believe what he was saying...
    He didn't talk to me for the rest of the time that I was there. He didn't ask me how I was doing, nothing. We haven't spoke about what was said either. And I still feel hurt, and angry, and I am still mourning the loss of my grandmother. But I feel that the one person I could open up to and feel comfortable to cry in front of, I no longer can. I'm afraid to even cry in front of him now. And although I am trying my hardest to move forward and not holde a grudge, I am still angry, and I am still hurt. I don't know what to do. I feel so alone.
    Is this just a cultural difference? Personality difference?

    He sounds a bit like a dick, because even if he does not agree with drinking it is very unfitting to shit on a grieving person like this who just lost a loved person. Tell him you honored your grandmother in just the way she wished (that you shall not be sad and crying, but talk about memories with her and relive good times) and that he has no idea what he is even talking about since he never had a drop of alcohol in his life. Honoring a dead person with warm memories and funny tales is for me a 'superior' way to grieve instead of crying over a corpse.

    It is a cultural difference and I think it's just that. Except that he is unaccepting of other cultural customs. If he does not see that he was out of place and apologizes I would reconsider the relationship.
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    JamesJames Deactivated Posts: 1,706 Extreme Poster
    Hey cvg,

    I'm sorry to hear about you Grandmother. Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy but I imagine that your fiancee's comments have made it even harder.

    It sounds like there are some pretty major cultural differences here and that he is used to a very different kind of grieving. Of all the things he said, this one seems to be key:
    "I can never understand how you guys celebrate and how you express grief"

    This lack of understanding seems to mean that he sees your family's way of celebrating your grandmother's life through a Sikh filter and not from your point of view. It's totally understandable to feel hurt by this and to feel that you can't open up to someone so important to you.

    You said that you haven't spoken about it since. Perhaps it would help? When a lack of understanding is involved, communication can be key. Maybe you could sit down with him and ask him just to hear you out for 5 mins while you tell him what you've told us? Letting him into your grief might also help you reconnect. You could even ask him how grieving tends to happen in his culture, and have a conversation about the similarities and the differences between your customs.

    I hope it gets easier soon. Do let us know how you're getting on :)
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