Re: My GF's ex committed suicide
People have their own feelings that don't involve anyone else. In a relationship, you have to respect that, because whatever they value in memory for someone else, is something that might apply to you too. Expecting someone to have no emotional history or sense of family (even if you think it's flawed and should be forgotten) isn't realistic. It takes grace to accept that even if you are the center of someone's current universe, someone else may have been the center of it in the past. People deal with past, present, future concepts of time differently. It's a very unique experience. You have to realize that the way you experience the past may not be the way your GF does, or her kids. Imagine being given the impression by one parent or a group of people that your father should be forgotten and ignored and maybe even disrespected just because he was flawed. Kids are very tied to their roots. They may even worry that they might grow up to have the same tendencies as their dad. Staying close to his memory is important, to know that it's manageable, and not some experience that has to be swept under the carpet. They need to know, all of them, that their past, their life, and especially her choices, while not entirely healthy, are not shameful or dishonest either. You may be relieved that the guy is gone, but he's not going to be forgotten, so why pretend or request otherwise.
My father committed suicide when I was 17. Yes he could be angry at times. He could even be physically and emotionally abusive. But there were times when he was uniquely my dad. If I get rid of all of the bad memories, I have to get rid of the good. So I never got rid of either. There are plenty of people who took his place in terms of fatherly duties, some of them did well, others had major issues...nobody is perfect. But to sweep my dad under the carpet is like saying he shouldn't have existed and therefore someone else should have been my dad, and I would have been better off. I think that's bunk! And completely theoretical. You can't change the past. And forgetting it is impossible either.
Yes, goaded into replying by comment. :-o