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Something that came up over the past couple of weeks which I considered somewhat trivial at the time but I'm curious what everyone's opinions are concerning what the status becomes for in-laws once a spouse has passed.  The holidays were an emotional roller coaster as it was just over a year since my wife lost her battle to cancer.  The previous season I was in shock and this time around I was and still am mostly despondent.  I still consider my in-laws family and was somewhat taken aback when informed (by a mutual friend) that they were no longer in-laws/family and their children were no longer nieces and nephews.  I was told since there is no blood relationship they were friends at best.  They are both friends and family to me.  How should I refer to them?  I know family relationships can get pretty confusing, and, the actual relationships/interactions are more important in my mind.

Along the same thought path, my sister's step(?) granddaughter called me uncle this pass summer when I visited and I thought that was just fine.  It sounded better than grand-uncle although maybe not as good as great-uncle, but being either grand or great is okay 😉

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Ummm, well guess my take would depend on the relationship and how it was with each of those involved.  If it was a good relationship and I kept touch with them would probably still call them my inlaws and consider them family. 

Where it could get awkward or more confusing would be if ever arose the occasion that a new spouse came into play.  

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My wife is widowed twice.

The brother of her first husband is long retired and calls her every morning for a chit chat.

He still is and always will be her brother in law.

Her second husband had a bunch of brothers and sisters. They keep in touch and always invite her to all their family functions. They have even welcomed me into their lives. We went to Crristmas day dinner there again this year. It was hard for me to go at first. I felt odd and thought they might resent me at their functions.

They still love my wife. And they know I did not cause their brother's passing and are open minded enough to see that though they lost a brother they have gained a friend.

Divorces are much harder as they tend to cause people to pick sides. A death does not require people to pick sides or end alliances.

Your wife's kinfolk will always be your kinfolk - in law.

My wife has a saying that she uses sometimes when someone gets a little too personal about her being being widowed and does she not feel she has betrayed a past husband by finding a new one.

She just shrugs and smiles politely. Then she says, "Eat, drink and remarry."

I hope you will see the wisdom and strong spirit my wife has and take those  words  as some that you can live by.

Jerry

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49 minutes ago, Ultradog said:

My wife is widowed twice.

The brother of her first husband is long retired and calls her every morning for a chit chat.

He still is and always will be her brother in law.

Her second husband had a bunch of brothers and sisters. They keep in touch and always invite her to all their family functions. They have even welcomed me into their lives. We went to Crristmas day dinner there again this year. It was hard for me to go at first. I felt odd and thought they might resent me at their functions.

They still love my wife. And they know I did not cause their brother's passing and are open minded enough to see that though they lost a brother they have gained a friend.

Divorces are much harder as they tend to cause people to pick sides. A death does not require people to pick sides or end alliances.

Your wife's kinfolk will always be your kinfolk - in law.

My wife has a saying that she uses sometimes when someone gets a little too personal about her being being widowed and does she not feel she has betrayed a past husband by finding a new one.

She just shrugs and smiles politely. Then she says, "Eat, drink and remarry."

I hope you will see the wisdom and strong spirit my wife has and take those  words  as some that you can live by.

Jerry

Jerry makes a great point with his post.  My father died in an auto accident in 1971 when I was 2 years old, most of that side of my family continued treating my mother pretty well even continued doing so after she remarried about 4 years later.   

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Thanks for reinforcing my thoughts guys.  I could not fathom the idea, pushed by the mutual friend, of disowning a "family" member.  I wonder if there is/was an ulterior motive, or maybe that's just the way they think.  Life pulls us in different directions but good relationships should never be let go.

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