Supporting dh through bereavement(8 Posts)
My dh's dad is very ill in hospital and we think has a matter of days left if that. Is unconscious now and peaceful at least. He's old and this has been very much expected but of course my dh is very sad.
How do I support him through this? I've never had to deal with the death of a close family member and I'm ashamed to say feel out of my depth. We have two very young sons - 2 and 3 weeks - and they take up virtually all of our energy at the moment though they are a distraction to dh at least.
Obviously I will talk to him, hug him and offer whatever practical help I can (tricky with a newborn attached to my boob) but if anyone has any tips how to support a partner through losing a parent I'd be really grateful. He has 2 DBs and a good relationship with his DM (as well as us) so in theory has a good support network around him.
Just "be there" and hug him. Also remember he will want to spend more time with his mum in the months to come so enable this too. Talk about his dad a lot. People think it's better not to say anything for fear of upsetting people which is crazy. My husband's father died suddenly when he was 64 (my husband was 29) so he was sadly missed. Make sure he doesn't go back to work too soon and let him cry. And take care of yourself.
When I lost my parents, dh was just brilliant in that he let me just go and do what I needed to do - in terms of being with them before they died, and being together with my siblings afterwards and all the time it took to sort funeral arrangements, then empty the house, sort out the estate, etc., etc., Oh, and then let me go to counselling for as long as I need later on, too.
When I say 'let' - I don't mean in a 'permission' way, I mean that he just got on with doing as much as he possibly could with our young dc / things like the shopping... he'd go out late at night after I got home to do the weekly shop for example / just taking all the responsibility he could to enable me to come and go as if I didn't have 3 small dc and all the organisation that normally goes with it.
That's very useful thanks. I think I will need to just take charge of the children side of things even though I am finding it very tough atm.
Fortunately my parents are supportive and helpful so I can call on them to help me at least.
It might be less difficult than you imagine. When I lost my Dad I knew that he old and that he had achieved all that he wanted in life. He wouldn't have wanted me to be sad. I knew that that he was going to be reunited with my twin (Stephen died when he was 10) and that was a comfort to me.
Perhaps I am just hard-hearted?
I've got both of my parents, just about! But I did lose my brother recently. One thing my DH did that really helped was to be my PR person - letting all our friends know, so that a) I didn't have to go through telling people again and again b) they knew what was happening, and that I would be appreciating support. That allowed me to grieve - I wasn't much use at practical things. If that's too much for you with the kids, maybe ask a friend to do it? I would also second Musical's idea of talking a lot about your DH's dad (while being aware of his cues, obviously). I found that helped a lot when my brother died. People seemed to be scared to mention him, but obviously he was (is) on my mind constantly anyway. xxx
My dh was truely amazing when i lost my DM suddenly 5 weeks ago. He made the phone calls giving the bad news he cooked dinner every night, did housework and also let me get on with things without saying anything. He never gets tured to f me talking about her even though he is probably fed up of it now. Just be there for your dh in the background sorting the little things while he might be involved in the big thinks such as srrangements etc and just to listen it makes a huge difference x
My DH lost his dad in a v similar way. Then his mum died 6 months later. Tough times for us. We have a 2yo.
I just listened to him when he wanted to talk or cry. I told him it was important to feel what he felt as he felt it (sadness, anger, etc). And 'gave him permission' to go and be with his parents for as long as necessary around the times of their deaths. It was hard as he was away a lot, and I work full time with a long commute, but I never let on if it had been a hard day or difficult that he wasn't around. I'd constantly remind him that being with his parents was the most important thing and that we were fine.
Also, important for you both to know that grief is long and complicated. It comes in waves and at unexpected times.
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