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Relationship with DH death of a grandparent

(33 Posts)
YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 11:51:10

I just had a meltdown about plans for my grans funeral.

My gran was incredibly close to me and my siblings. We grew up with her and my mum. I am executor and power of attorney along with one of many brothers. I am the only girl and my mum is in ill health, so I have done about 70% of the funeral arrangements. This is despite the fact that I am only just back at work after an operation.

My DH has a very responsible job and is self employed. He has had man flu on thur and fri and took 2 days off. He has felt poorly no doubt, but was well enough on fri to meet a client for coffee and walk the dog, for example. This has pushed some urgent deadline related work onto Monday morning. Funeral day.

When DH said to me in a stressed out tone about ideally needing to pop into work for an hour or so on Monday, I completely lost it. This leaves me getting two older daughters and myself ready, plus thinking about the dog, meeting the caterers, loading up car setting up the hall ( from 11.30). The hall is 30 mins away, as is dh's work. This would leave me with having to drive my mum and dc instead of DH. Or DH would have to do 2 hrs driving in total and put in time at work, and somehow be there to help at the church. All by lunchtime.

DH pointed out that I haven't told him that much about the arrangements and therefore he didn't know what there would be to do on the day. I think he feels resentful of being asked to watch the children with my sil last weekend whilst visiting family discussed arrangements in another room.

I feel upset that it wasn't a no brainer for him to be with us all day to give emotional and practical support. I admit I haven't given him a blow by blow account of everything as I've been utterly swamped by it all.

DH and I are feeling quite distant from each other, rather than close, since the death. I think DH feels that I'm shutting him out, but in reality I am just too swamped by all the arrangements and so exhausted that I am going to bed at 9pm ( still recovering from my Op, too). This means that DH and I have little time to talk and we are both under pressure in different ways. I don't feel I even have time to process my own grief.

I feel sad that there is this distance between us, and feel DH resents the stressed out sometimes mono syllabic person that I sometimes am being right now as I just try to cope.

I'm also trying to organise Xmas day online, inbetween the funeral arrangements. Yet I'm obv unreasonable to let the cracks show by being the least but tetchy.

I have a sibling staying over Xmas who would normally stay at my grans, so that might cause more tension between DH and me.

Any advice?

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 11:51:50

Title should say ' relationship with DH since death of grandparent'

CogitOIOIO Sat 20-Dec-14 12:05:27

Sounds like you need to make the space to talk to each other before the misunderstandings and resentment get even worse. Find an uninterrupted hour, put the kettle on and just talk to each other about the next few days, what needs doing, what you require personally and how you're feeling. I don't know the ages of your DCs but they can also potentially help if they're given some instructions.

Could also be a good opportunity to apologise for any short tempers. Bereavement is naturally stressful and other people's thoughtlessness can feel like malice when you're stretched too thin.

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 12:10:50

Thanks cogito, it's strange in that I don't feel he is acknowledging at all that I may not be emotionally resilient right now. (For example he seems to have factored in that he can do an hour or so at the office, but what about leaving me without his moral support? ) Yet he seems to be feeling over sensitive himself eg feeling offended at not being directly briefed about tiny funeral details. I'm really worried about us, tbh.

Dc are 10 and almost 13 and very close to their great gran. They don't need much doing for them obv, but are very sad.

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 12:12:19

I will try to make time to talk. I did a little bit yesterday but clearly not enough.

CogitOIOIO Sat 20-Dec-14 12:24:31

IME people either tend to assume that you deal with a crisis the way they deal with a crisis or.... that if you're not asking for help you're coping OK. So you have to be specific about what you need and how you're feeling rather than just hoping that the other person is tuned in to your thoughts and will say/do the right thing.

I obviously don't know if there's some track record of selfish behaviour on his part or if he regularly ducks responsibility or is uncaring. That would change things. But if you've been trying to deal with a stressful situation solo and he doesn't intuitively know what you need him to do.... then articulate it

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 12:26:41

Anyone else about?

I feel so dreadful... The after effects of having been so angry. And 10 yo was in the house too.

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 12:31:05

X post cogito, thanks.

He is caring but sometimes gets the priorities 'wrong' due to having a very responsible job. Eg he attended two very urgent meetings within 24 hours of the death. That left me coping with distraught children alone.

I think he is too pragmatic sometimes and thinks only of the practical ( ie yellow fern isn't working today so she can do xyz rather than realising I need moral support ).

You're right, I don't articulate it that I need that support then get offended that he hasn't figured it out for himself.

CogitOIOIO Sat 20-Dec-14 12:31:24

Have you apologised to everyone? Have you told them you're not coping or that you need help? Can you scale back on the Christmas preparations?

Fingeronthebutton Sat 20-Dec-14 12:32:34

Yellowfern. You sound like me. I'm the one who arranges everything and often feels swamped by it all. And then when I 'loose it' OH says: well why didn't you ask for help, IM NOT A BLOODY MIND READER! Their right. I've learnt this lesson.

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 12:35:54

Cogito, I'd love to scale back Xmas ( and not have DH s parents) but he wouldn't accept that.

I haven't apologised... Am in the house alone. DH has gone into the office (my idea) and on my request has taken dd. I'm sorry I didn't say that in my op. I guess because the fact that Monday is 'sorted' doesn't alter the friction/ rows. Do you think it's only me who needs to apologise? DH yelled almost as much as me.

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 12:40:47

Finger, I wonder if it's a gender thing. Most female friends/ relative would have more insight. I sometimes wonder what would happen if I just didn't do what I do. I feel a lot of resentment sometimes. Unfortunately, my mum is not the organised home making kind so I have grown into the role of being that pivotal person for all 3 generations of my family. I feel trapped by it and often resentful. DH knows how it is for me, but perhaps I expect too ugh empathy.

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 12:42:07

'Much empathy'

CogitOIOIO Sat 20-Dec-14 12:43:50

Someone has to be the bigger person and pull this back from the brink. Maybe 'apology' isn't the right word but one of you has to start the conversation.

"Things have got out of hand. We both reacted badly. We have to find a way to communicate. How shall we take this forward?"

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 12:49:44

DH isn't one to sulk or hold grudges. He will def be happy to make up, but the subtle distance between us is my concern.

The more I reflect on this, the more I feel that this is very much to do with feeling that I am, as usual, doing the lion's share of work within my own family. It's me who has to do nearly all of it. Christmas. Birthdays. Funerals. Hosting. Organising. I'm bloody sick of it. I'm resentful that my mum was never that kind of mum.

And now DH was apparently happy to leave me carrying the can too. I just saw red.

tribpot Sat 20-Dec-14 12:50:14

I'd love to scale back Xmas ( and not have DH s parents) but he wouldn't accept that.

Does he need to 'accept' that? You are grieving.

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 12:54:35

Tribpot, DH has the kind of parents that take offence and that he cannot be totally honest with. As they live close by, it would be considered a real snub to not have them. They will not be staying over. Tbh, I do get on well with them but I'd just like to keep numbers down to reduce organisation. if they'd have offered to have Xmas at their house I'd have said yes.

tribpot Sat 20-Dec-14 13:01:03

I think I'd be asking him to tell all your guests that you won't feel up to cooking under the circs and can they all bring one course.

CogitOIOIO Sat 20-Dec-14 13:05:24

Is it too late to ask if Christmas could switch venue? If you get on together, surely they'd understand?

Sometimes it's possible to end up being the lion share person out of a misplaced sense of pride or duty. Are you the type that is reluctant to ask for help generally? Or do you ask for help and it is refused?

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 13:05:58

Tribot, I think I will have two good cook helpers on the day, tbh. And mil will bring dishes. It's just the constant planning and project managing in advanced that I'm so tired of. I'd love to be the one who just turns up on the day and says 'what can I do?'. My mum doesn't lift a finger and actually just makes requests.

diddl Sat 20-Dec-14 13:08:12

All else aside, where are your siblings in all of this?

Tell him what you are willing to do re Christmas-if it's not enough, he can pick up the slack!

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 13:12:52

Cogito, I can see how you would ask that, but my role within the family comes from being the only girl, having the only big house, and being near our home town ( brothers aren't) and having the least domesticated mother with a small cluttered home. I can be a bit controlling of arrangements sometimes, but I find it hard to be more relaxed as gathering always involve lots of people and are always at my house.

If mil was hosting, or in the dAys when my db was still married, I am / was delighted to take a (very ) back seat.

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 13:16:22

Diddl, siblings are doing's just that my list is magically ten times longer than their lists. If I start to verbalise the unfairness then I feel like a martyr so I just do it. I just seemed to have evolved into the family matriarch in the place of my mum. It's very strange.

CogitOIOIO Sat 20-Dec-14 13:16:44

'a bit controlling of arrangements' is your problem. With respect, you can't take that approach and then complain when no one pitches in with help.

YellowFern Sat 20-Dec-14 13:17:01

... And I don't know how to make it stop.

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