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December 21, 2017

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I think you're on the right track in NOT broaching the subject of the Mystery Party. Seems to me that this is part of how you maintain the path of Calm and Cordial.

If she asks, or says something, or calls wondering where you and Stella are on the big day, you simply calmly say, "You never told us -- or asked us -- anything about this." And leave it at that.

This way, also, if there IS no odd party in the works, you haven't opened the door into any oddness.

I don't recall you sharing the details of the horrible phone conversation, but I do want to note that chemo brain is a real thing. She might not have brain mets (or she might, God forbid) but aside from the behavior changes her cancer experience might be causing through fear and terror she might not have all her marbles back yet.

I'm always amazed at how often people refuse to communicate effectively. We would have few novels, plays or movies without failures in communication. I think a lot of people in my life know me as a "straight shooter" or maybe they think of me as someone with not much of a filter. I have little patience for pussy footing around a difficult topic and will often dive headlong into it. This doesn't work out always! HAHAHA. I married a man who has charm oozing out of every pore, so that's how I am still among the living I think. Well, I might be exaggerating somewhat but I think you get the point. I grew up in NJ and I come from a high context Jewish family, just FYI.

Many years ago we had a difficult situation with next door neighbors who had a structure built on our property. I politely notified them that we'd be putting in a fence to contain our new puppy and they should move this small structure. The woman FREAKED OUT, told me to move our fence, blamed me for the end of her world (another slight exaggeration but not much!). I was struck dumb and went into the house, told hubby to deal with this. Which he did. The structure got moved. Our relationship went from friendly to cordial.

I think even in your relationship with S-INM, being as it is friendly acquaintence, your daughter is spending a lot of time at her house. While this is a macabre thought, have you spent any time imagining what you'll feel if she does have a b/c recurrence and dies without you having an opportunity to heal the wound from December?

A brief and cordial conversation to clarify the "party" comments you heard from Stella shouldn't be out of the question. Can you start it with the assumption that it is as you have described above, a cupcake baking adventure with a candle for Stella? I vote for clearing the air. And I vote for doing it by text message, no kidding. No reason to answer a phone call from her and subject yourself to further abuse.

I was going to say something similar-- did chemo change her personality? It's a very real thing and maybe accounts for some of the weirdness? Because, let's be real, this is weird. I mean, judge me in your head all you want, but I don't need to hear about it.

Oh dear... this sounds very stressful, both what happened a year ago and this recent situation. I will be praying that you will have wisdom to figure out how to proceed!

Oh this sounds so hard! I don't know if you are already doing this, but what works for me is saying the prayer, "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive so and so." Something about that prayer said over a longish period of time (maybe three times a day?) has helped me with the burning coal of resentment. Obvs. it's not a magic formula, but forgiving while not feeling it at all and not forcing myself to try to feel it is what has been really helpful. Time helps to heal. It occurs to me though that this might possibly be something that you should talk to her about. I can't remember if you followed up with her with an honest conversation about how you were hurt. I myself shudder at the thought, but I have done this a couple of times and found it helpful.

She sounds like she may be too sick to hear another person, but maybe, just maybe, she could?

Alternately, if the party idea comes up, you could explain you are having Special Family Time with Stella. :)

I reread your post and just want to say you're doing really well. I didn't mean to criticize your approach. Also, I can't help but think that you are a side character in a Southern novel or Flannery O'Connor short story. . . I think we have all found ourselves in this kind of thing and have really wanted out! Prayer is the only way out!

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