Father In Law dying, husband won't talk to me.

I don’t know what to do, he opened up a little this evening and spoke about his family and it’s dynamics.

My husband is the only child from his mother and father, however they each had 3 children from previous marriages.

As his father became ill 3 years ago, his 3 sons from his first marriage shuttled him over to the UK for health care, while his step children from his second marriage wanted nothing to do with him.

My husband has been taking care of his father’s needs since, initially ensuring he got the care he needed for life threatening health conditions, then securing a rest home, but ultimately visiting him twice weekly for the last 3 years and watching his father deteriorate into a worse and worse mental state, at a loss as to how to get him to engage.

6 months or so ago his father experienced a fall at the rest home. They diligently sent him to be examined at the hospital, and he was released. However ever since then his dad has refused to leave his room, afraid of having another fall. About a week ago he complained of back pain and refused to leave the bed, and eventually got to the point of living in bed with adult sanitary pads as he could not get up to leave bed.

The rest home sent him to hospital again for possible bladder infection, however the long and short of it is they’ve since discovered he has a spine fracture, indicating he had a second fall at some point but he did not tell anyone about this.

He has refused to communicate with medical staff, and is so weak now he can barely utter a sound anyway. The treatments available to him are too strenuous for his frail body to handle. The hospital has advised a Do Not Recuscitate decision for him.

My husband, throughout all of this, is … quiet.

He told me today he has had a headache “as though I’ve been crying all day, but I haven’t been crying”. He said he is angry that nobody has come to see his dad. Their dad. But he also understands why, as family hurts from divorces run deep.

I wondered if he feels betrayed that nobody has come to see him during this difficult time, but he keeps explaining away their absence. “Mum is extremely old, and she can’t be expected to upend her life to come and see us now - she’s just relocated herself and that has been very difficult. She has her own health problems and it’s far too much for her.”

His half-siblings on his mum’s side don’t want to have anything to do with his dad, and his half-brothers on his dad’s side live abroad, and he doesn’t know if they will bother to come and see their dad one last time.

There is also the fact we don’t know if or when his dad will become unconscious, or if he is going to be transferred to a hospice as they cannot treat him for his spine fracture. We have no clue if death is imminent.

His dad isn’t going to get any better.

It’s a complicated situation. His father has been suicidal twice in his life, having acted on it, and is of a breed of folk who have a deathly fear of doctors and a terrifying anxiety and depression as a whole. He has had a history of being sectioned, costing him his career - the only thing he had to live for. He has no deep meaningful relationships. This has been made evident now more than ever.

My husband is worrying about the funeral and what that will mean. Does he hold a funeral and who would come anyway? It’s too much to bear thinking about.

In the meantime I am still so form about how to support him at this time.

I get it… I understand how he feels. It’s so complicated and he has every right to be angry. If only he’d show it… Act on it… Say something…

I’m pregnant. He tells me he wants me to stay happy and focus on the baby. To not go into hospital with him to see his dad

I can’t let him be alone now though…

Congratulations on your pregnancy, and I’m sorry to hear that you have such a lot to deal with at the same time. It sounds as though your husband has some difficult family issues that have been brought to the surface, and I’m sorry to hear that he is struggling to open up emotionally.

It is definitely better for people to be able to talk and have outlets for their grief and other emotions. However, although you can be there for him, and encourage him to talk, you can’t force him to do so. Is he someone who often bottles up his emotions? Might this be a misguided attempt to protect you from stress during your pregnancy?

I hope that it helps even a tiny bit to be able to share things here on the site. We also have another user called Jane, who has also posted about supporting her husband after the death of his father. Perhaps you would like to talk to her? You can read and reply to her post here: https://support.sueryder.org/community/coping-bereavement/helping-partner-bereavement