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Please help! Abusive MIL just died, how to help DH

(41 Posts)
CrazyCatLady13 Tue 12-Jan-16 18:24:29

I've been LC with my PIL for a while, they were extremely physically abusive to my lovely DH. After a breakdown DH got counselling and started to cut down contact himself, then we had the flying monkeys, health scares etc.

FIL called tonight saying an ambulance was there, MIL's heart had stopped. DH went over (I have a ear infection that's gone into the bone so very ill at present, or I'd have gone to support DH) and while DH was there MIL was pronounced dead.

BIL is on way over, DH has asked that I call him at 7pm to give him a reason to come home (by blaming me being ill, needing him). BIL has been a flying monkey in the past, and DH doesn't get on well with him, he was the golden boy and DH the scapegoat.

How on earth do I support DH through this? He's still in FOG, he's going to feel awful for being LC I know it, he's going to blame himself for all this. He said FIL is a wreck, DH doesn't know what to do. I've told him to do what feels right for him, not to worry about anyone else.

Please help me, I just want to help DH through all this.

TheSilveryPussycat Tue 12-Jan-16 18:46:53

I've not really any experience of this but am sending brew and/or wine.

I'm sure others will be along who will be of more help. All I can say is ring with the excuse, then let DH talk (or not) when he gets back.

Are there likely to be problems re funeral etc?

Sunnybitch Tue 12-Jan-16 18:56:51

The only thing you can do for him is to be there for him. He's probably going through a whole mix of emotions right now and feeling guilty for them and he's going to need time to realise the fact that he has nothing to feel guilty for, they were horrible to him so it's only natural that he will not feel upset ect but he's also probably going to morn the relationship he wishes he did have with her aswell bless him flowers

CrazyCatLady13 Tue 12-Jan-16 18:58:43

He doesn't want me to call now, he says when Bil gets there there will be things to discuss - as she died at home police are on the way etc.

I will go to the funeral, just to be there for DH.

He's in shock I think, I've told him that he needs to do whatever feels right, and that whatever he does will be the right thing.

CrazyCatLady13 Tue 12-Jan-16 19:00:10

The last time he spoke to them was Christmas Day, MIL put the phone down on him. They wanted to speak to me after previously being told I wanted nothing to do with them, when DH refused she put the phone down. No contact since then until tonight.

Heatherplant Tue 12-Jan-16 19:03:01

There are a lot of mixed up emotions in a bag like this and everyone is different. I felt grief one minute and a euphoric sense of freedom the next (then got hit by guilt). Ring with the excuse for him and when he gets home formulate a plan from there. I coped by executing the will asap and moving on to NC for the rest of the family. Nothing dramatic, just reduced calls and texts and eventually relationships dwindled.

Sunnybitch Tue 12-Jan-16 19:05:45

Oh bless him sad but he will come to see that there was a reason that she was told that and there was nothing he could do about it. She's had his whole lifetime to have a loving relationship with him and he can't dwell on the fact that she was horrible until the end. Sadly she only had herself to blame for her behaviour and no guilt at all lies with him x

CrazyCatLady13 Tue 12-Jan-16 19:15:15

Sounds horrible but I know FIL will be wanting more contact from DH - I have no doubt FIL will be devastated. I need to sort out what my boundaries will be, and help DH work out his. Before I met DH he was over there a lot, if he wants to do this again I'll support him but I don't want him doing it out of FOG.

How do I show DH that I need my boundaries still, but still be able to help him? I don't want to appear cold hearted, but having heard the childhood he had, I can't see them with anything other than hate - DH is still so mixed up. I just want him to do what's right for him, whatever that is.

I guess at the funeral I can be polite but distant to the family, but don't want to make this harder on DH than it has to be.

There's also a risk that I'll end up in hospital if the latest antibiotics don't work out, which would be next week, likely when the funeral will be held. Or will there be a post mortem as she died without a doctor present? I don't know how it all works.

Damn bug is making my thinking fuzzy, I just want to give him a hug and tell him it will all be okay. It won't be though will it?

Aussiebean Tue 12-Jan-16 21:30:08

I am no help here but sending love to you guys. But find it interesting that the fil called your dh(the scapegoat) first and not the golden boy. Esp as she was so horrible to him at Christmas.

Might be something to think about.

Crumpet1 Tue 12-Jan-16 21:38:52

Tell him not to be shy in saying what he needs, whether it's just him needing to sit alone for a while, or wanting to ramble out all the thoughts in his head.
It's going to be a rough ride for you both, it can take a long time to really come to terms with losing a parent.

Practically wise try and take hold of all the mundane jobs for a while if you can manage it. I know you've said you're poorly but it's so hard to find any energy for chores at first.

MyFavouriteClintonisGeorge Tue 12-Jan-16 21:41:35

Your DH did nothing wrong. He spoke to his mother at Christmas, and it was she, not he, who ended that contact. He went to help as soon as he was called and is going to support his father as far as he is able.

Be a gentle listening ear, but do offer a different viewpoint if your DH is being too hard on himself.

Her death does not change the nature of their relationship, it only brings it to an end. There is grief for what might have-ought to have-been, and for the fact that there is now no prospect of something better, which is only natural. because of that I think it can often be harder, emotionally, to lose a bad parent than a good one.

CrazyCatLady13 Tue 12-Jan-16 21:42:53

Aussiebean - he called golden boy first, but they live about 3 hours drive away - we're half an hour. The ambulance had been there for a while before FIL called us I think.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply, he's on his way home now. He said he'll have to go back tomorrow to help out, he still sounds so shocked - don't think it's hit him yet to be honest.

CrazyCatLady13 Tue 12-Jan-16 21:45:15

I appreciate the thought that he's grieving twice - once for her, once for the person he wished she was. My Favourite - good point how it can be harder to lose a bad parent. Heather - thank you for sharing your experience, it's useful to hear. To everyone else, thank you for taking the time to reply to me, I've taken on board all the comments.

CrazyCatLady13 Wed 13-Jan-16 00:27:56

Hi everyone
Although I am posting under my wife's address I want to thank you all for the kind words you have said not only to support me but more importantly my wife. It has been a sad and very upsetting day what has happened today, but my wife made me say my goodbye's to some people a few years ago. I know the next few years will be rough, but what has grounded myself is my wife and our other family members. For my family's sake I know I must not get sucked into the mind games and remain strong for my family's sake as I know my wife is ill at the moment and that she needs help first and I know there will be hard times but knowing how well we have worked as a family unit compared to the other, all I know it's been worth it for the past 8 years and will be for infinity. You get out of a marriage what you put in and all I can say is that I will always try to never give up and never give in. My marriage to my lovely wife is so worth it. A lot of you were right here. Some feelings of guilt, but also relief. My wife is my rock and I love my gorgeous wife so much. I think the rest of the family may make it a rough ride, but coming back home as normal, my wife has been the voice of reason. All I know that what we have been doing is right and obviously what has happened in the past family has not. A lot of you are also right. My wife also needs to think of her health first and I know what has happened is sad, but TBH what is happening to wifey and the thought of her going to hospital scares me a little, but I will be there for her. In terms of grieving for her I think I will, but knowing what now is a healthy relationship between myself and my wife makes this so much easier. To my wife. I love her so much and not because of what has happened but also because of what I have gone through. I have never had to be ashamed of my feelings or being depressed and she has treated it like an illness and for myself to sensible manage it rather than being told to just get over it. Heather. Thanks for your advice and view point. I don't know if I'm bad to say this, but it's hit other people harder than myself. It has hit me hard a bit, but knowing how my wife reacted to myself when I came back and how others have reacted to myself has made me realised who my true family are. Writing this has really helped myself and writing it has made me realised what I still do have and yes what I have lost, but what is also healthy. All I can say that since I met my wife I have begun with her wonderful help to be at peace what has happened and what I have to look forward to.

PurpleWithRed Wed 13-Jan-16 00:34:29

MR crazycatlady, that's lovely. So good to hear you're doing so well and your love is strong and supportive. thanks

goddessofsmallthings Wed 13-Jan-16 00:48:42

If MIL's death was unexpected and/or she hadn't been treated by a medical practitoner during the course of her final illness (if applicable), the Coroner may decide a postmortem is needed to establish the cause of death.

In this eventuality the body will be released once the postmortem examinations are completed and. providing no inquest is required, the Coroner will notify the local Registrar of the cause of death. If the body is to be cremated the Coroner will also issue a Certificate of Coroner form Cremation 6 enabling this to take place.

As this is a particularly busy time of year for pathologists these formalities may not be completed until sometime next week which could be unsettling for FIL/the family, but Coroner's offices are well versed in explaining procedure to the bereaved and allaying fears of undue delay.

I feel so very sorry for your dh and hope that MIL's passing doesn't cause him to blame himself for matters which are, and always have been, way beyond his control.

flowers Hoping the latest antibiotics have kicked in and that you are able to avoid being hospitalised.

goddessofsmallthings Wed 13-Jan-16 00:55:05

Cross-posted with Mr CrazyCat who sounds as if he's doing remarkably well under the circumstances due to the loving and thoughtful support of Mrs CC. smile

CrazyCatLady13 Wed 13-Jan-16 01:07:46

Thanks all
Mr CC here again. Wife has gone to bed and I meant every word I said. Thanks for all on here. It really helped myself to get closure on this. Not looking forward to all paper work in the next few days to come, but know myself and my wife are too strong.

Aussiebean Wed 13-Jan-16 01:42:04

Best of luck to you mr cat lady. I hope when my time comes I can deal with it as well as you have so far.

Look after yourself and your lovely missus. And take comfort in your living family when times are hard.

Aussiebean Wed 13-Jan-16 01:42:23

Loving, not living. Sorry

sadwidow28 Wed 13-Jan-16 02:10:15

For now Mr CC, allow the others to deal with the formalities.

If your mother has not had a recent visit from/to a doctor in the last 7 days (even if she was diagnosed terminally ill) then there will HAVE to be a post mortem. Locum doctors and paramedics don't count if your father called out emergency help. That will cause a short delay in organising the funeral but the paperwork will all be sorted by the funeral director.

A family member (or other VERY close person) will have to visit the mortuary to formally identify your mother for the coroner's records. I suggest that it is NOT you.

You don't need to be involved in organising the funeral. Just appoint a funeral director and tell your Dad and brother that you will agree with any decisions they make. The decisions are really only about:
- burial or cremation
- type of funeral service (religious, church, crematorium)
- dressing of the deceased
- type of coffin to be used
- number of funeral cars to be ordered
- songs/hymns to be used during service
- readings and readers for a religious service
- after-funeral gathering (small buffet) for those who attend the funeral

You don't need to be involved at all in any of the above (other than the number of funeral cars *see below) so once you have said that you will agree to their decisions, you don't even have to keep going over to your Dad's. You can grieve yourself for what you missed out on, and what could have been - and take joy from your own family.

However, you might like to volunteer to phone some of the relatives/friends once the day, date and time of the funeral has been organised. I had some great friends who did that for me when my DH died. I couldn't have repeated my sad news about 160 times! Be ready for having to repeat the story of your mother's death each time you make a phone call - it can be emotionally exhausting. (Look for opportunities to ask one friend to phone a group of other friends so that the burden is shared).

*The one decision you and Mrs CC will have to make is whether you want to be part of the official funeral cortege and sit in the funeral car that follows the hearse with your Dad and DB. If it is possible, get a 2nd official car for you, Mrs CC and your family - or drive yourselves in your own car immediately behind the official car.

Your priority is your own family - particularly as Mrs CC is ill at the moment. If your family circumstances genuinely prevent you from attending the funeral then do not give it a second thought. Prioritise what is truly important in your life and don't do something to appease others at the expense of those you genuinely love.

Your Dad WILL be a wreck as he is dealing with shock and loss at the same time. But you don't have to give more of yourself than you are truly able to give. Your own grief will set in - and grief is very complex.

I will hold you and your immediate family in my thoughts and prayers.

CrazyCatLady13 Wed 13-Jan-16 02:55:03

Oh gosh
That must have been terrible. Thanks for the advice. Yes my lovely wife does come first. I will make sure I look after her. I am worried about her. It's sad for others but my wife is the priority. I'm sure grief will kick in, but my wife is my rock.

diddl Wed 13-Jan-16 08:01:00

At least you know that while your wife needs you, there are others who can be there for your father.

Samantha28 Wed 13-Jan-16 08:56:55

Remember that life is full of natural consequences .

You drop something, it falls .

You treat your body badly, you get sick .

You treat your family / friends badly for years, they are not there for you in a crisis.

Your father in law is now reaping what he has sown . It has been his choice to treat his son this way . Now he must live with the consequnces .

SkiptonLass2 Wed 13-Jan-16 10:13:49

The coroner will need to assess whether a PM is needed. If they want/ need one to ascertain cause of death then they will hold one.
Mr. Cat, you're going to be experiencing a whole storm of mixed emotions. Shock, grief, etc. And you'll be grieving for the relationship you feel you should have had, no matter how your mother treated you. All these feelings are valid, and natural.

As well as the unexpected death of a friend, I've just had two deaths in the family, both of people who could be quite difficult and there are complex feelings involved. Sadness for what should have been, anger that it wasn't, and shock. I can't attend any of the funerals as I have a new baby, born out of the U.K. and no passport. But that's ok. Funerals are for the living.

Be kind to yourselves, is my advice. Take it day by day and do whatever feels right.

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