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Dp overcome with grief...... What can I do??

51 replies

M2T · 09/06/2003 08:59

My dp lost his Aunt 2 weeks ago who he was very very close to. She had lived with his parents since he was a child and her death was so sudden! We are all in shock. His family live 400 miles away and we don't drive so he has felt very isolated. He spent all last week with his family and the funeral was on Thursday.

However, he returned home on Friday night and he seemed fine. Obviously he is still sad and grieving but he was quite together. Then on Sunday we were supposed to go out for the day with my family. We had a silly row.... and very small row and he burst into tears. He said he wasn't ready to go out to have fun... that he felt that it was wrong that he has a laugh!

He was really quite hysterical. I know he is devastated about his Aunt,but how can I male him see that life HAS to go on?? Our ds has missed his daddy so much and now he's home he cant cope with spending time with us!

I have no idea what to do. I got so frustrated with him yesterday that I eventually said that he was just feeling sorry for himself and he had to pull himself together. I mean, it's ok to cry, but to let your grief consume every part of your life???

He's back at work today, but I have a feeling he will be sent home.

I have no experience (THANKFULLY!) of losing a very close member of my family so I really am in new territory here.


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M2T · 09/06/2003 13:07

Hi WM - he was very close to her and she helped him out qutie a bit financially when he was young and stupid (before I met him)!

She never married or had children so she was close to her nieces and nephews, especially dp. She gave him the money to move up here. So if she hadn't then he would never have met me (he might be cursing her for that ) and we would never have had our beautiful ds.

So she meant an awful lot to him, but nothing prepared me for just how much this would hurt him.

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Bobsmum · 09/06/2003 13:10

Thinking of you all M2T. My dh lost his aunt 2 years ago, she was like a gran to him because all his grandparents had died when he was very young. He's a senstive man anyway, but he cried hysterically on and off for days - very hard to cope with. His feelings do sound normal for grief, but he's also a bloke and probably imagines that he should be strong, when that's the last thing he should do. It'll just fester and get worse if he tries to act normal. I would imagine he'll not quite be himself for another couple of weeks - little things might make him sad - just be prepared for them if you can.
Ask him about the good memories he's got of his aunt. Is there anything that you could include in the wedding to celebrate her life, like a favourite song or a flower in your bouquet?
I definitely agree with others that your dp needs to talk to someone. It could be the distance which has just magnified things and made them seem ten times worse.
Could you invite any of his family to stay with you for a weekend or something, so they could talk about old times without being separated by a phone line? It might give you a break and time with ds too.

M2T · 09/06/2003 13:49

Well, DP just phoned from work. He says feels much better and that it's good to get back into the swing of things at work!

He sounded much better. I know that it doesn't mean he's going to be fine from now on, but it seems a huge leap from the weekend. Thank goodness. Thanks all for your words of wisdom..... even though some of you are hardened tirants!

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Tigger2 · 09/06/2003 14:13

M2T, my husband was like this when his mother died, it does take time. Men don't have the same emotional coping capacity as women do. I suffered from PND after eldest was born which was contributed by my fathers death, and I still suffer from depression at certain times of the year.

Your partner will start to move on, just takes time, and don't forget about YOU in the midst of all the grief.


Queenie · 09/06/2003 14:49

M2T, I know what you are trying to deal with. My DH lost his father in APril this year. He had been ill but still his death was a shock. Mainly due to his mum not keeping him in the picture with the progress of the illness. His family live north, we live south and although he speaks regularly on the phone he had not seen his dad since our son was born in October 2002. My DH was on his way to the airport to see his dad (after being told "nothing to worry about but your dad had the doctor out last night" when his SIL called to say he was dead. My dh has been distant but has thrown himself into work. He, at first, was not interested in going back to work but I said it was the best thing to do. Life is for the living is the way I look at it. He has 2 children who need him and a wife. His father had his life and died aged 70. I did not like his father therefore cannot really understand his grief and I have not lost a parent. I know when I do I will be devastated but will focus on my family. He keeps saying women cope better than men as his mother seems quite fine but thats more to do with the life he gave her than anything. I got quite annoyed with him about 3 weeks ago as he was moping about abit saying it was only just hitting him etc and as I have been giving him his space and doing everything with the children myself,I thought enough now, you can be all- consumed with this, remember us!! However, we have since had a holiday and I am hopeful he will begin to be his old self again. We have spoken about the fact that there is one sure thing in life and that is death comes to us all - we cannot avoid it. I wish you and your dp the very best in coming to terms with the death of a loved one and in the end it may bring you closer to have shared this emotional time.

Queenie · 09/06/2003 14:52

Don't know where that face came from??

M2T · 09/06/2003 14:57

Thanks All.

Queenie I think you're reaction sounds a bit like mine. Life goes on and your family needs you no matter what happens.

I think he does realise this now.

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Marina · 09/06/2003 15:01

M2T, sorry to hear about your loss and the difficulties it's been causing (but good to hear he is having a better day today). It's very hard to see your other half struggling when you are not 100% strong yourself and men definitely seem less able to ask for help from outside the home.
Whoever mentioned Cruse was spot on - even if you cannot afford bereavement counselling at present, or your GP won't refer him (worth a try though), Cruse will have a helpline that he might find helpful. I've got to be honest and say it is great he is coping better today, but you may well find it's a bit of a rollercoaster for him as he deals with the loss of his aunt. You may need to be prepared for more down time from him, I'm afraid.

M2T · 09/06/2003 15:50

Marina - I'm just so grateful that he is having a good day. I know he'll have his slumps, but as long as I know there will be peaks again. He looked and sounded so bleak yesterday. Like he was forever going to feel guilty about still living!
I told him about that website and the helpline and he was surprisingly interested! I thought he'd just say "Nah, I'm fine". But he asked me to get him the number. That's got to be a good sign, right?

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whymummy · 10/06/2003 10:28

hi m2t how`s dp today?

M2T · 10/06/2003 10:35

He seems to be still ok, but he keeps bitng my head off and ds's! I can handle him doing it to me, but ds just doesn't understand.

But we seem to have made more progress. I know it'll be 2 steps forward, one step back for a while, but it's better than nothing.

Thanks for asking WM.

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M2T · 10/06/2003 10:37

It's dp's birthday on Friday and we already had the cards that were sent from his parents before his Aunt died. So there is a card from her on our mantle piece.

It's just so sad.

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Ghosty · 10/06/2003 11:07

M2T ... sorry to hear you are having a bad time. I have no experience on this but I think everyone is giving you good advice ... especially on the 'giving him time' front. My best friend's mum died in January and although I wasn't that close to her myself ... I was gutted for my friend who was half way around the world away from me. It is only recently that when I speak to her she sounds more like herself ... she was hit really hard and although she is a very strong person she was on a rollercoaster that she couldn't control. Grief needs time, time and more time ....
Thinking of you M2T .... especially as you are coping not on all cylinders as it were .... keep strong sweetie .... Hugs .... {{{{{}}}}}

berries · 10/06/2003 13:52

M2T, I don't think that you can ever understand what it's like until you have also suffered the loss of someone very close. I certainly didn't until my Dad died last year. I used to offer condolences, and offer to help, but not understand the deep seated grief the people were probably suffering from. It seems to be unacceptable in this society to grieve for more than 2 weeks - then you are expected to 'get over it' especially if you have dependants. Sometimes its just not that easy, and the strain of acting normal in public actually makes the pain worse when you get home. Time will make it better, but be careful that you don't make it impossible for him to grieve at home as well, as then he will have no safety net at all. Also, if you speak about his Aunt, be prepared for him to get upset at first, but do it anyway. The more he speaks of her, the easier he will find it, until eventually he will remember her with happy thoughts rather than sad. Do be prepared for ups and downs though. I spent the day before the first anniversary of my Dads death in floods of tears. Interestingly, on the actual day I was ok. I think it was because I knew I had my 2 dds on that day, so grieved 'in advance' so to speak.
Sorry not to be able to help more, and big hugs for you. Looking back, I did put my family under a lot of strain last year, but without their backup I don't think I could have coped. Hugs to you both.

Bugsy · 10/06/2003 14:00

Sorry to hear your sad news M2T. This is such a dull thing to say but I really do think that time will help in this situation. I have noticed that people are often more distressed after a funeral than they were before. Somehow the person who died seems more dead after they have been buried - if that makes sense. I know that you need your dp to get back into the swing of things for the sake of all your family but it does sound as though he is making good progress. Is your ds old enough to understand that daddy is very sad and a bit grumpy?

M2T · 10/06/2003 14:05

Thanks Berries.

Hi Bugsy - ds is only coming up for 2 yrs old this month. So he doesn't really understand.

He is doing a bit better. I spoke to him about an hour ago and he sounded quite cheery!!??

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Bozza · 10/06/2003 14:10

M2T - my Grandma died 3 days before my birthday and I had a card from her. It seemed surreal - also going through the motions of celebrating my birthday between the death and funeral. Needless to say that card is now in my treasure box.

M2T · 10/06/2003 16:02

It's just so tragic isn't it Bozza.

I was in 2 minds whether to take the card down. But I thought he'd prefer it if it stayed where it was. A treasure box is a lovely idea!

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Bozza · 10/06/2003 16:06

I wouldn't take it down M2T. You can't hide whats happened. I've just got a hat box full of things I can't part with and that card is one of them. How are feeling yourself? Do you feel as though you are on a bit more of an even keel yet?

M2T · 10/06/2003 16:38

I feel ok. I just get hypersensitive with him and I make matters worse.
We are going out for a meal for his birthday with his best friend from his home town so that should help, I hope!

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tallulah · 10/06/2003 18:00

I've only just come across this thread so I'm a bit behind the times but I'm with berries..

My father died very unexpectedly 7 years ago. Like M2T's DP's family, mine live 200 miles away. I dropped everything (4 kids, 4, 6,8 & 10) & went to my mother. I stayed there for 2 weeks and I DIDN'T WANT TO COME BACK. That will probably sound awful to those who haven't lost close family, but my mum & my brother & me just sort of closed in on ourselves. There wasn't room for anyone else because no-one else was hurting like we were. People would say to me "who is looking after your kids?" & I would say "I don't know, and I don't really care". DH was with them, & his parents are nearby, so they weren't exactly abandoned.

It took a long long time before I began to feel normal again. It didn't even really hit me for several months, & the grief when it came was overwhelming. I had my own mini-breakdown when my mum started to feel better.

It was the 7th anniversary this weekend, & the first one that has felt just like any other day. M2T, your poor DP has got a long way to go. He can't help it & he can't just get on with things. Death does different things to different people but the shock is what is affecting him at the moment. He didn't support you with your PND- perhaps he didn't know how. Chances are he will next time.

RockingRosebud · 10/06/2003 20:45

My Dad died on April 9th, it will get better for you DH, the first few days for me were awful and I wasn't even close to my Dad.

You think about the fact you'll never hear his voice again, you see people in the street or a car the same and just for a second I think it's him.

I see his face as it was the night he died and how bloody awful he looked. It's still etched in my mind.

But it does get better and I knew my Dad was dying. With his Aunt he didn't get to see her or say goodbye so it must be hard for him.

I have typed this without crying, it was 2 months yesterday so you do heal eventually.

Rhiannon x

kkgirl · 10/06/2003 23:05


I'm sorry to hear your sad news.
I was buying a fathers' day card today for my dad when I realised that couldn't buy one for FIL, he died in January, and it really upset me. It is very hard when you lose someone close or not, and my DH doesn't really talk about it, but you have to hold together and really be as strong as you can to carry on and help them if they need to talk or have your support in any way.
Try to take each day as best you can.

Bobbins · 11/06/2003 00:05

Time and patience. And realisation that everyone deals with grief in their own way and his reactions are no reflection and nor are they centred around you.

M2T · 11/06/2003 08:16

Thanks everyone. DP spoke to his Mum and Dad lastnight and told them exactly how devastated he is. Obviously they knew he was but they didn't really know how hard it was hitting him and how he was reacting. It was the first time that he ended a phonecall with them and didn't cry. He said it was good to talk to them and explain just how much it seemed to be consuming his thoughts.

I try to understand, but until it happens to my family(god forbid!) I cant. So it's good that he is talking openly with his parents and I'll try to encourage him to phone them every other night. He's normally so terrible with phoning people!

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