Everyone handles grief differently. Some people pour themselves into new hobbies to distract from the pain, others drown themselves in substances, and others come at their widowed DIL for financial reasons.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she's wrong for refusing to return wedding gifts to her MIL after her husband passed away. She wrote:
My husband passed away about 3 years ago. We were together for 9 yrs, married for 4 yrs at the time of his passing. He never had a great relationship with his parents and he was very vocal about that to all of our friends. My husband and I kept our finances very private and did not share much with his parents, as my husband did not want them to be involved.
His parents are decently well-off and can provide for themselves. We would openly share finances with my parents & during the term of our marriage, we have taken financial help from my parents when needed, but we have never asked his parents to help us out at any time.
My husband and I also had a home that we purchased together while we were engaged. I had some legal issues and his parents did have to sign a document as we did not have a living will. They hesitated & his mom kept making snarky comments about the car I drive and shoes I buy. It was resolved eventually- but I think the process just gave me a bitter feeling.
His parents waited to see if their names were listed as beneficiary for any accounts we had and after it was confirmed that they were not- they stopped contacting me. Last time they spoke to me was two years ago. I have started to see someone new over the past year and they are clearly not happy. It’s become a "why should she have anything from our son" mentality. I also lost my mom about six months ago.
A few weeks ago his parents called & demanded I give them all the wedding jewelry back that was received for our 2017 wedding as it is not mine and belongs to HIS MOM. Nothing given from any guests or his parents during the wedding was family heirlooms or passed-down jewelry that would have sentimental value. They were just gifts from those who attended our wedding.
They did not even show up to my mother's funeral or call me. They are also claiming that the home we had isn't even mine as "their son put the down payment." Untrue as my parents had helped us put a large amount of the down payment for that home- but my husband never shared that with his parents since we never wanted to rub it in their faces.
They also think that their son funded everything and our entire lifestyle- which is another lie as we had built our life with money that was made by both of us, not just him. In my perspective- I was married to their son, we both worked, built a life together - and any gifts given to me during my wedding or things purchased between money that their son and I made is NOT theirs.
His mother has been harassing and calling my family amd it has been non-stop comments to the point where she questioned my upbringing that my deceased mother gave me. All my family members think they are disgusting to do this to their son's widow, but it also gets awkward as we are trying to be mindful that they lost their son.
My heart still goes out to them for their loss as I can imagine they are also grieving but I am just confused.
Time to go NO CONTACT. No kids for old mil to claim, so she has no claim on your life. There is now no reason to stay in contact. If their love for you does not continue because their son died then you would not be in the wrong to cut these people out of your life. You owe them nothing.
And OP responded:
This is 100% how I am feeling now and that’s why I blocked them and my family has done the same. She is taking that as a lack in my upbringing, but it’s about time I protect myself and put my mental health first.
NTA, but I’m afraid you're being far too kind and generous to the in-laws. These people are total psychopaths and must be blocked and discontinue harassing you. You owe them nothing (obviously) and I would send a registered letter advising them to cease and desist contact ASAP. Sorry this all happened protect yourself these people are maniacs.
NTA. Time to put a stop to this. Is there anyone whose opinion they respect you can speak with? Or is it time for a lawyer?
Their escalation even now 3 years later should alarm you.
NTA. Contact local law enforcement and find out what constitutes legal harassment, then notify the ex- in laws that you will file charges if they contact you, your family, or anyone else in your life again. Give them nothing, except maybe a certified letter stating the above.
NTA. Your stuff is your stuff. I'd just block them and not deal with 'em anymore. They try to force it, tell them to have their attorney contact you.
OP is NTA, it's most definitely time to cut her in-laws off.