FIL got sick in January, with some respiratory thing which he's had before and the doctors have been unable to diagnose. He's been in and out of hospital and he's been tested for a whole host of diseases, but the doctors are baffled by what it is [I did ask my hubby if he believes this, because
Apparently the doctors advised him to avoid animals because they don't know what's causing his illness, so that's why he hasn't been over here. He apologized for not getting in touch but said he's been pretty out of it. He thinks he's on the mend and that he'll be better in a few weeks. Oh, and he's getting a needle biopsy done on Monday to check a nodule they found in his lung (but he had the same thing last time he was sick, and it wasn't cancer, so he's not really worried about that.)
FIL asked to speak to me, so we talked for a little while and he also apologized to me for not keeping in touch. Honestly, if he's been as sick as he says we're not going to hold that against him. Before we knew, yeah, we were pretty pissed that he didn't bother to keep in touch. But now? No.
I think the hardest thing for my hubby to process in all of this is this simple fact: BIL never once got in touch to tell us that FIL was so sick. We never had a falling out with BIL; in fact, he used to come over every other Saturday for dinner at our place, until he started messing us around and not letting us know when he wasn't coming (then we stopped inviting him because we were tired of it). We haven't seen him since January and haven't heard from him since February. After everything that happened with MIL, we both figured that both FIL and BIL were taking the easy road by siding with her, and not pursuing a relationship with us. MIL is very manipulative and let's face it, FIL has to live with her and BIL, well he's honestly a freaking momma's boy.
A couple of months ago I decided to unfriend BIL on Facebook, because he has plenty of other ways to get in touch and obviously can't be bothered to do so, and I didn't see the point of keeping him on there. I also deleted SIL, whom I've never met (she lives on the other side of the country) because she's an attention-seeker and only ever gets in touch when she wants something (which is usually something completely unreasonable!). I know it sounds paranoid, but I thought if I kept them on my friends list they could/would be passing info to MIL and FIL (MIL is BSC, and we thought FIL wasn't interested in having a relationship with us).
Now obviously, given the situation with MIL, we didn't expect her to let us know about FIL. We did tell her not to contact us, after all. But BIL? I really think he could have at least sent my hubby a text or something. FIL thought BIL had let us know, but like I said we haven't heard a thing from him in almost 6 months and he's certainly never said anything about FIL being sick. I don't know why he would keep that from us.
Before New Years, we were the ones making all the effort to contact BIL and FIL, and we got tired of that so we stopped. When neither of them made any effort to get in touch with us, we just assumed they weren't that fussed about us. If things were different with MIL, then obviously we would've known about all of this and it wouldn't be an issue. The thing is, we were confused because both FIL and BIL told us they agreed with us regarding the MIL situation. It was really odd when they both dropped off the radar, so to speak, but we just figured they were bullshitting us about that. We both agreed that we wouldn't be forced into having a relationship with crazy MIL, so if they were going to make us choose then they would end up being collateral.
The phone call last night changes everything - at least as far as FIL is concerned. For the past 6 or 7 months now we've been thinking he'd cut us off, and now we know he was really ill we feel bad because had we known, we would have been there for him as much as possible. I'm glad he called, but at the same time it's kind of difficult to process everything. I think my hubby is going to call BIL and let him know he should have told us FIL was sick. It's not like we had a problem with FIL - or BIL - they just seemed to not be interested in pursuing a relationship, so we thought that was that really. Like my hubby told FIL last night, he wasn't going to beg BIL to come over! He abused our generosity by messing us around and not having the decency to let us know when he wasn't coming over as planned, and then expected us to just accommodate whatever new visiting schedule he had in mind (and that didn't work for us). Then we heard nothing. I just find it to be horrible that BIL couldn't even spare a minute to let my hubby know their dad was seriously ill. I mean, really?
This whole thing is just one big mess. My hubby and I had a long talk last night, and I told him that if he wants to resume contact with MIL I'm not going to stop him. I won't be involved, though, and she's not to set foot in our house, ever. We both agree that if we ever do manage to have kids, she won't have anything to do with them (she's already told us she would brainwash them and all that, so no thank you).
Hubby said he doesn't see how he could have anything resembling a normal relationship with her after everything she's done - he said it doesn't matter what boundaries we set, she won't respect them (she's proved that before). We both fully agree that she won't drop the religion thing, because she's too far indoctrinated to let that go. She can't just "agree to disagree", she can't leave it alone - she's not happy unless she's bullying us to join her cult. It's never going to happen, of course, but it's kind of a big thing for us to just ignore. Each incident has been worse than the last, so expecting things to magically change is completely unrealistic; it would probably make us almost as deluded as she is.
As I wrote last night, as long as FIL doesn't try to push a relationship with MIL, I think everything will be OK with him. I don't know about the BIL thing, though. We're pretty pissed that he didn't let us know about FIL being sick - it's not like FIL didn't want us to know, after all.
Why do families have to be so crappy?!