I have the honour of being able to say that I was beyond blessed with amazing in-laws in my first marriage (as well as an absolutely amazing mother-in-law in my current marriage as well!). But with those close relationships I fostered, come great heart ache when my first marriage came to an end.
My former mother & father-in-law, Sister & brother-in-law were an absolute delight. They were fun, funny, loving, and welcomed me into their family with open arms from the first time I met them. I would be the one in the relationship with my previous husband pushing to spend time with them for dinner, drinks, games etc. Whatever we were doing, I always wanted them to be around. I even remember times when my ex-husband would be involved in activities during the summer weekends, and so I went several times to the family cottage with just them, while my partner stayed behind.
I loved them. And still do.
I felt especially close to my former mother-in-law, and fondly remember having deep conversations with her, conversations that mothers have with daughters. In many ways, she was a mother to me. We laughed together, we cried together, we planned a wedding together, and we took long walks on the beach at the cottage together picking beach glass. We bonded.
But then I lost my second family.
Not only did ending a marriage tear me to pieces, but having to tear my second family apart may have actually been worse. You see, I am still very close friends with my former husband, but I have never spoken to my in-laws since. It's been 8 years. I reached out a few times during the Christmas following our separation, but was greeted with thoughts that it may not be a good idea, and that it may not be comfortable for the rest of the family to see me (you see I was the one who ended the relationship). I honoured and respected that although all I wanted to do was to quietly crawl back into the family I had lost, and tell them that I still loved them, and missed them immensely.
I still miss them to this day.
I think of my former family quite often, and sometimes wish I could pop over to visit them like I used to do, or pick up the phone and chat. I often wish that I could curl up beside my former mother-in-law, and have those mother-daughter conversations, asking for advice, and, "What would you do?", types of questions. But I can't.
Relationships end for all sorts of reasons. Some end amicably, some don't. Some keep close ties, some don't. Whichever way your relationship ends, or has ended, know that there may be a possibility that although you hold them in your heart with love, they may not hold you in that same light. People hurt, and hurt harder for those they love. I understand that my former family were all hurting for their son, brother, nephew etc. and I had to honour and respect that, but it wasn't, and still isn't easy.