How do you help the surviving parent?(9 Posts)
My lovely Mum passed away a few weeks ago now and my family have all rallied around my Dad - he's very anxious and seems afraid to be on his own. Mum was in and out of hospital towards the end so it's not like he didn't have to get used to being on his own a bit. Anyway, since Mum's passing, he needs to be around people all the time and one of the family has been staying the night with him but now it's come to the stage where we can't afford to be with him all the time...for our sanity and cos we haven't got the leave to take.
He's now taking to saying that we don't care about him and he might as well die too. He will often go off on his own in the car, not saying where he is going or rather, saying that 'why should he tell us cos we don't care anyway', or sit and sulk cry.
He's never been one to talk so I really don't know how to talk to him and really don't know how to help him. We are all trying to come to terms with what has happened and I haven't really grieved myself yet because of having to be strong and keep Dad going but it's got to the stage now where I'm beginning to resent him for how he's making me feel - at no point has he asked how the family are, he's so self absorbed, which I understand, but all the same.
So how do you help the surviving parent? I don't quite know how to help myself let alone him and I'm getting it from the family too so feel like I'm having to deal with them, which again is irritating me I don't want to get to the stage where I say something I regret. I am ashamed to say that I am ignoring him at the moment and just getting on with the day to day I don't want him to come and stay with us because I feel like I need this time to myself. What can I do tho cos the guilt is eating away.
Sorry for your loss.
Perhaps you should see a bereavement counsellor? They would be able to help you and give you advice about your dad?
you need someone outside of the family who you can talk to, you need time to grieve without feeling responsible for your dad.
its a big thing to make sense of and adjust to and there are no short cuts or quick fixes.
can you encourage you dad to get somesupport throu cruise or something else?
our family had a lot of support throughout my husbands illness and death, from our macmillan nurse.
I'm so sorry you're going through this LaB It's too much for you to cope with at this time, and I can understand how upset you are. My dad seems to be thinking a wee bit clearer now, and I don't feel some of those feelings I had a few days ago. I wish the same for you and your dad. You DO need time to yourself and there's nothing wrong with you taking it. I was with my dad for almost the first month, and it was all bottled up inside me, when I got home and was on my own it came out and wouldnt stop, that release enabled me to not get as upset with my dad. Its not a time to blame and resent your dad, as you know, I nearly went down that road but now its not likely to be a problem again, I hope.
Have you spoken to a counsellor? Im sure it would help you.
Take care, you're in my thoughts xx
Thanks everyone...I have been thinking about counselling. I will look into Cruse...thanks Hecate!
Not sure about getting Dad to see a counsellor tho...I do think it would help him but think he'd be too proud to go. We saw a Macmillan nurse at the hospital who was a great help and comfort, so that could be another avenue.
I think my problem is that I've shut my feelings away and have done for the 3/4 weeks I've been with my Dad. Now that I'm home, I'm finding it hard to open that door because I've suppressed those feelings for so long...my focus has just shifted from my Dad to my own family, so whilst my own family have been extremely supportive, I'm numb and just feel sick but can't find my way to the door to deal with my own grief and work through it.
LaB, am so sorry you are having to go through this. Speaking from personal experience (lost dad 9 years ago, mum remarried to a wonderful man but unfortunately we lost him a year ago, cancer both times) it is so tough watching the surviving parent going through what can only be described as hell. But you also need time to grieve yourself. I would second the counselling idea for both you and your dad. MMy sister and I took it in turns to stay the night with mum but as we both have families of our own it couldn't go on forever. You can only be the'supporter' for so long before you have to take some time for yourself. Your dad's behaviour/reactions to your family etc. is not rational because he is grieving. It will get better although it may take some time.
I know there is no practical advice there but just wanted you to know that you are not on your own and you will come through this.
I can understand how difficult the situation is. I lost my Mother when I was at university and I don't think my Dad got the support he needed. Partly the fault of we three girls and partly he was so proud that he was "coping" that he didn't look outside the family circle for help.
He got careless on the farm and in the end was crushed to death when he took a chance that he would never have taken had Mum been alive.
I think most men in this situation would benefit from profesional help and I think you, and perhaps others here, might think how to get him to accept it.
I started a similar threa recently as my dad dies in April and my poor mum is really struggling to cope. It is doubly hard for you as you have your own grief to deal with, but then feel a huge responibility for the remaining parent. You are also grieving for your parents as a unit, aswell as your Mum
4 months on, what I have learnt is that I am unable to replace my Dad. as tough as it is my Mum has to simply get used to being alone, although it breaks my heart to think about it, and all the things they should be doing together.
Life is just so shit at times, I feel for you, really I do.
I was in the same sad situation a few years ago except my dad died. My dear dad did everything for my mum and completely spoiled her. I think she expected me to take over from my dad - which is of course impossible. I went to counselling myself and that was a big relief (I just sat and cried for during the first meeting). Having someone outside the family/friends circle helped me tremendously. Before that I felt at times I was heading for a nervous breakdown.
I went to a private counsellor - expensive, but it saved my sanity.
It will get better.
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