I need to support my DH but don't know how :-(

(7 Posts)
GrasshopperNchipmunk Tue 29-May-12 21:21:14

My SIL was killed in the most horrific circumstances 2 yrs ago (victim of DV). At the time I was heavily pregnant with my first child, and we have since gotten married and had a second DC.

Her death came as such a horrible shock for our family, and although my DH was clearly v disraught, he was so strong and really 'held it togeather' for us, saying things like 'he didn't want to upset me (being pregnant and seein him so upset), or cause more stress'. He just kept his head down and we've got on with life.

We don't often talk about SIL, and it almost feels like I'm not allowed to talk about her as the memories are too painful. DH hasn't had the chance to grieve properly, and he recognises this. It is also affecting our relationship as naturally he has become a v different person in the last two yrs. Hes now quite angry, snappy and full of frustration for what has happend.

He said today that he feels like he can't deal with what's happend, and keeps trying to forget it, but then feels guilty. He also said that he's sad for 50% of the time, and that he cannot enjoy everything good in our lives because of what has happend.

He bottles his feelings up, and although he feels he can talk to me, he sees how upset I've also been about her death and he doesn't want to upset me. Maybe he needs to talk to someone else...

I just wish that I could make everything better, I hate seeing him so down. He's such a strong and sensitive man who I love dearly. It hurts me that he puts me and the kids before himself :-(

Two years is nothing. I need to get him help but don't know where to start. Even if it's help for me on how to support him better :-(

OP’s posts: |
lilackaty Tue 29-May-12 21:35:08

Have you looked at the cruse website? They might be able to offer some support.
I am very sorry for your loss and I hope your husband is able to find some peace soon.

LadyDamerel Tue 29-May-12 21:41:32

I'm so sorry that you and your DH are going through this. I've been in your shoes and it's incredibly hard to help when they naturally bottle their feelings up.

DH lost his brother very suddenly almost 12 years ago and reacted in a very similar way to your DH. I eventually persuaded him to go to see a grief counsellor via Cruse and she really, really helped him, far more than I ever could have. I think she just knew what to ask him and he could let go with her in a way he couldn't with me because he was worried about his grief upsetting me.

I would definitely recommend contacting them.

Riversidegirl Tue 29-May-12 21:47:37

Have a look at the CRUISE webpage. They have good advice on supporting the bereaved.

The best thing that I've been told that helps is just holding his/her hand and listening without interuption. Try not to have 'the elephant in the room' and open up conversations with someting like, "I wonder if ....would have enjoyed this book; she liked ...... didn't she?

There is no time limit to grieving. It has to be done in the person's own time but if you are concerned thast he is 'stuck' have a word with his GP who may be able to refer him to counselling.

Or look on the BACP website for a private counsellor in your area.

You are more able to support him than you seem to believe; you care enough to try and get him and yourself support.

Best wishes GnC smile

Hassled Tue 29-May-12 21:51:44

He really really needs some bereavement counselling. It's not so much about learning how to "get over it", because you never really get over it. But it does help you to manage the grief, process what happened and learn how to cope with the feelings. Poor man - and poor you.

And yes to finding ways to make talking about her normal - so that eventually you can do it without sadness.

GrasshopperNchipmunk Tue 29-May-12 22:04:14

Thank you for the replies, I will defiantly have a look at the website.

I spoke to him about maybe going to the GP and asking to be referred to counselling (I also said we could look for a private practitioner but he said no). He's a very private person but seems open to the idea. He was offered counselling after it happened, but declined. I also suggested writing things down as he feels that he can't make sense of anything.

It's hard. We've had such a busy couple of years, he's not had time to breath, let alone deal with how he feels. I'm worried that if he continues to bottle it up then he will just explode at some point.

Obviously, I'm not expecting it to ever go back to 'normal' or for him to revert back to the person he was. I know that birthdays, christmas's etc won't be the same an that makes me sad, but it's not his fault. I just want him to be able to remember his sister and be happy, I want it to make him smile when he thinks about her, instead of being so intensely sad :-(

OP’s posts: |
Riversidegirl Tue 29-May-12 22:38:29

Cruse will give tips on how to remember her such as lighting a candle for her on special occaisions.

People worry that they will forget them if they don't think about their lost loved ones constantly. They worry that they are forgetting what they looked like . Making a memory box, perhaps a decorated shoe box, with photos, pressed flowers, quotes etc will help to stop grief filling his head and moving to somewhere more permanent.

Another common feeling is guilt when the bereaved catch themselves laughing at something. If this happens with your husband he needs to ask himself if the one he lost would wish him never to laugh again.

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