She’s Leaving

So the big news here is that my mother-in-law is moving out.  She’ll be moving into an apartment close to her daughter’s house.  I don’t think a change of address will be enough to rid her of  her demons, but I  no longer feel responsible for her.  I feel sorry for my kids – her grandchildren, and for her son, who tried to do right by her, but I feel relieved as well.  Please don’t think ill of me.


12 thoughts on “She’s Leaving

  1. Well I have only one thing to say and that’s “congratulations.”

    You did your best and it was just not enough for her. Maybe she’ll be happier now but even if she isn’t, it’s not your responsibility.

    Enjoy the peace!

  2. I don’t think ill of you at ALL. It sounds like it was so difficult. How does your husband feel about this? Somehow I didn’t even know she had a daughter. I hope this will work out better all the way around.

  3. Honey, I live with my mother, and although we get along really well, I’d still prefer a different arrangement. Old ladies are never a barrel of laughs, no matter what language they speak.

    You did the best you could, and that’s all anyone can ask.

  4. Think ill of you?!?! You’ve been more than understanding for many years. I’m with Vicky – congratulations. I imagine you’ll be surprised at the positive difference her “distance” makes.

  5. Rationally, I realize that it’s not my fault. I made it clear from the beginning that I didn’t think it was a good idea for us to live with her. I told her before this ever happened that if she didn’t want us to move in, she should tell her son. But she didn’t. And I think I pretty much behaved myself, even though I lost my temper a few times, but who doesn’t right? But part of me feels that I could have tried harder to get along with her, and that there is a reason for the animosity she’s built up against me. My husband doesn’t blame me, though, nor does my sister-in-law, so I think I’ll just get over my feelings of guilt and hope that we can establish some sort of detente in the future.

  6. Hello, Suzanne,
    I’ve just finished reading your book, Losing Kei (which I enjoyed immensely and will review shortly), and drifted over to lurk on your blog, but seeing this entry, I decided to de-lurk. I congratulate you and your husband, and hope things turn out well for your MIL.

    I’m also an American, married to a Japanese, rearing our 2 children here in Tokyo. As far as I’m concerned, any foreign wife (really, any wife) who lives with her MIL deserves a medal of recognition. You did your best; don’t look back and re-think or regret, just keep moving forward.

    During the last 22 years, my MIL and I were fortunate not to have to live together, and although my husband was very close to her, he made a clear decision that his wife and family came first. During her last years, my MIL often mixed truth and fiction so seamlessly that we were all fooled. She was unaware that she was doing this. Dreams wafted into daily reality…we were on a slippery slope.

    Now, his parents are deceased and my own mother (85) lives alone stateside, while I’m over here in Tokyo. She has always been very understanding about the physical distances that have separated us. She has taught by example that the most necessary (and difficult) job of a mother is to set her children free; my mother has freed me, and now, as my children enter adulthood, I remind myself that I must do the same.

    I apologize for this long post, but I just want to say I enjoy and admire your writing, and I’m so excited to see that you have a new book coming out (Call Me Okaasan). I can’t wait to read it!

  7. I haven’t read the lead up to this post at all so I am about to go back and catch up. See if there are any hints into how I can get my mother in law to move out. Time for another cuppa me thinks.
    Hope the move goes as well, and painless, for everyone as possible.
    Will you be having chirashizushi, karage and spongecake to celebrate the day she goes?
    I’d probably be buying a bottle of don …

  8. Again, here I am late. Suzanne, this is the best thing for all of you. We did something similar last summer and I cannot even begin to describe the good that has come out of it for every single one of us. I’d like to believe that m-i-l is happier in her current situation, but after years of trying to make her happy, we finally understand that we have to take care of ourselves in order for ANYONE to be happy. When I visit my m-i-l, I don’t snipe and growl, I can listen to the same old stories and half-truths with a smile on my face. We have pleasant family meals, she has nice people to chat with and keep an eye out for her. More good news: the guilt will recede before too long…

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