Bereavement coinciding with toddler's worst sleeping ever(5 Posts)
Hi there, I'm new around here but my wife is a daily user so I've often dipped in and out of conversations.
Two days ago I lost my mum, completely unexpectedly. She had a major operation for a brain tumour 4 months ago, which had caused a stroke and she had been in hospital ever since. When I saw her last week she was clearly getting better (if slowly) so I am feeling pretty shellshocked by the whole thing. I haven't really started the grieving process yet.
Today I need to go to stay and with my dad for a few days (he's 3 hours' drive away) to help support him, arrange the funeral etc. But I'm very worried for my wife, who is having to cope with our 22-month-old's lack of sleeping at the moment. It's a dreadful coincidence, not related - the day before my mum died, he began waking up for hours at a time in the night, taking god knows how long to get back to sleep, and then waking ridiculously early in the morning too. What makes it worse is that I've actually managed to start getting him back to sleep myself in the last couple of nights (something that was previously pretty much unheard of). My wife is a naturally light sleeper who finds it difficult to get back to sleep in stressful situations, and currently things are doubly stressful.
So now I need to go off and leave her to cope with this situation all by herself, with no other family members nearby who can help out in the night.
Meanwhile, I'm fairly sure that arriving at my dad's house is going to trigger proper grief for me.
I don't know what I'm asking for here: maybe just some kind words or understanding. I am a mess of thoughts and emotions at the moment, most of them below the surface.
I'm so sorry you've lost your mum. It must have been a shock when you thought she was getting better.
I'm sure your wife will understand that all your energy and focus us going to be surrounding arranging the funeral, supporting your dad and indeed grieving for your mum.
Try not to worry about your son and his sleeping, hopefully he will get back into a pattern soon.
Firstly, I'm sorry that your DM has died. My lovely FIL died this year in similar circumstances and it is a shock. Very unmumsnetty (platonic) hugs for you. The bereavement topic board is very good here too, for when you may need it.
Secondly, supporting your wife through the sleep issues. You mention family is miles away but is there anyone who could come and stay who would be helpful - if not looking after your son they could look after your wife? Any friends who could do the shopping or babysit for a couple of hours in the day for your wife to nap? Also, just a thought but did this also coincide with the clocks changing? I have had to adjust DS bedtime gradually after this as going straight to an hour change wasn't working.
It is hard - my poor DH reacted to his dad dying by trying to look after everyone - he went all protective and ran himself ragged trying to make sure me and DS were ok, his mum, his siblings etc. I had to be clear to him by saying the best way of looking after me and DS was to look after himself as well. That's my message to you, that you can't do everything and worrying about not doing it all is worse. Be kind to yourself. I always ask myself - is this something only I can do or could someone else do it, to free me up to do the things only I can do?
HTH, my thoughts are with your family at this time.
Very sorry for your loss and I second the comment about the clocks changing.
Although there are no family nearby, are there any friends who could take DS for the day? If you're away over the weekend is there someone your wife could take a wee trip to go and stay with?
Another thought, our DS was doing the wonky waking and up for hours. I noticed one morning that his hands were a bit cool so next night put him in a long sleeved vest, socks and fleecy sleepsuit. He's slept through again since (we weren't cold at all so hadn't occurred to us that he may be).
I hope your trip to your dad's is as peaceful as it can be. Remember there are no rules for grief and allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel. Bottling up tends to prolong it.
All the best and apols for mammoth post!
Thanks all for your advice. My wife is trying some innovative things re. toddler sleep and it seems to be working well so far, so fingers crossed. She's also found some babysitting for parts of the weekend.
I'm now down with my dad helping out, and things still haven't really sunk in. This is partly because my sister's here too, and she is perhaps the most socially unaware, emotionally unintelligent person I know. Apart from our initial phone call shortly after Mum died, she's shown zero reaction to the death (not in a numb, 'I'll grieve in my own time' way, more a 'well, that's happened then' way). She is instead making it her business to babysit rather than actually support Dad (scoldingly reminding him to take his pills, sit down when he's tired etc.), talk loudly/cynically about every subject raised, and basically do her usual thing of trying to 'win' every conversation ("You think it's cold here, ha!" "Well, we'd never buy Branston pickle because we can't afford it, and anyway Lidl's is better". Honestly, this is the kind of crap that makes her day.)
Sorry, I needed to get that off my chest. Just somewhat frustrated that there's just no space here to actually think about my mum, which I think my dad wants to do, at least for some of the time.
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