Adult son’s reaction to loss of his dad

My husband , Ian, passed away suddenly in June last year. We had been told a year but he was gone within seven weeks so it was such a cruel shock for everyone who knew him.

To me it seems like yesterday and I still can’t accept what has happened. I feel empty inside and can see no future. I have kept this from my son as I don’t want to worry him and he just won’t talk about his dad.

A few days ago it was a year since Ian was given his awful diagnosis. I decided to broach the subject with my son but he just didn’t want to know. I asked his wife and she said he only wanted to remember the good times. That was the end of the conversation.

I am staying with them for a few weeks as they live abroad but often it’s as if Ian never existed and I feel I have to keep my grief ‘hidden’. Then, when I return home, it’s as if the flood gates open and the reality of what happened hits me afresh.

I have an adult daughter who is the complete opposite and she keeps telling me I should be more open with my son. So I tried and the above was the response I got.

I don’t know what to do anymore. That’s not true really, I think I would just like to disappear….,

Julie

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Hi Julie I too lost my husband last august within eight weeks of becoming ill with abdominal cancer and I have two sons both of which have reacted quite differently my younger son very supportive and has shared his feelings quite openly but my other son has been more complex in his feelings keeping it inside and at times openly hostile towards me, he won’t talk about his dad and it all came to a head last week when we had a huge blow out and said things quite openly how we felt, he came to me with open arms and at that point I realised we hadn’t even been able to comfort each other because of our grief, it’s been so difficult trying to communicate with him and at times I have felt like giving up on life itself but I persevered and now feel at least we can say how we feel to each other, I know they just want their old mum back but I can never be that person again, I hope you find some peace within your family, grief is so destructive and emotionally exhausting take care of yourself and sending hugs

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Hi Julie, we have a daughter and son, both have been very supportive but our daughter has been more the crutch I’ve leant on and could talk openly about both our feeling with losing their dad.

Our son calls regularly pops round for cup of tea, I sometimes thought he is doing it as a sense of duty because that was what he is expected to do, take care of me now his dad had gone. Then a couple weeks ago he broke down a year after his dad passed, he really opened his heart out to me and his sister.

Perhaps your son feels the same, he is frightened to let those emotions out. While he puts on a front it’s not happened , as the man of the family now he is supposed to be strong because that is what men are supposed to do.
I hope when you stay with him, he does reach out to you for both your sakes. Holding emotion in is not good for anyone.
Sending love and hugs to you.
Debbie x

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Thank you MAB. My daughter once said to me that she wanted her old mum back and I had to reply that I didn’t think that was possible. So sad but so true.

It helps to know that I’m not alone but I’m not sure if my son will ever open up to me. I don’t think people realise how emotionally exhausting grief can be and I just feel I have nothing to offer at the moment.

Take care,

X Julie

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Hi Debbie

Thank you for replying to my post. I know what you mean when you wrote that holding emotions in is not good for anyone and perhaps one day my son will feel he is able to open up to me.

Take care,
Julie x

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Hi just to say I’ve pushed through with my son and after several difficult moments I’ve hopefully broken down some of the barriers it’s been emotionally exhausting but worth it he’s opening up on his grief and our life is a lot kinder to each other I still have a way to go but I feel we’re making progress and becoming closer xx

Thank you for getting back to me with some hope for the future. I’m not sure when that will happen as I was with my son on the anniversary of his dad being given a terminal diagnosis completely out of the blue. Seven weeks later he was gone……

My son just stood up and said he didn’t want to remember any of the bad times and walked off. We were sat outside a cafe in Spain as that is his home now. His wife also just stood up and said he only wanted to talk about birthdays etc. So, I was just left sat on my own trying to stop the tears from flowing.

Next month will be a year since Ian passed away and I’m meant to be in Spain. I don’t think I can be there now if I can’t talk about Ian. My life ended that day as well and I’m really struggling to cope at the moment. So not being able to even talk about what happened will just add to this nightmare I am living.

Take care,

Julie

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