I am completely new to this and wouldn’t usually seek advice from elsewhere but I am really at a point of not knowing what to do. My girlfriend whom is the absolute love of my life found out today that her brother has committed suicide. This follows her other brother’s suicide about two years ago and her cousin dying in a motorcycle crash last year. She’s obviously distraught and is still in shock but I am really worried for her. She is originally from Ireland and so she has returned on the first flight home today. Her parents have asked that I stay in Wales until the funeral as they’re worried they’re not in the right frame of mind for me to be staying there right now (completely understandable). He was out in Australia at the time of the death and the details are still slightly sketchy but we know the repatriation process is costly (we’re in contact with a trust that helps fund repatriations to Ireland) and lengthy. This means that she and I separated for approximately about a week which I will admit, worries me. Her family are lovely but they’re still grieving the previous two deaths. Her mother snaps quite easily (again seemingly because of the grief) and this causes tension in the house. Her father is a recovering alcoholic, her younger sister is lovely but definitely putting on a brave face and is too turning to the alcohol and her nanny is obviously heartbroken. When home, my girlfriend tends to try and keep the peace, but at her mental expense. I’ve seen her completely drained and rather upset previously because of things said and done within the house. She insists she will be fine but I do worry for her.
Aside from this, when she does return to Wales eventually I also worry that she won’t accept help. Only recently have I convinced her to seek professional help for the grief she’s been dealing with and I worry that she won’t accept that help when she’s home again.
Now that the ramble is over, I was just wondering what any of you might think are the best things i can do for her now and moving forward? She is my literal whole world, and I can’t bare to think what she is going through right now, I haven’t experienced a death in the family in the last 8 or so years so I am completely out of my comfort zone here and only want whats best for her.
Any advice you guys can provide would be of great help.
OMG ! What a nightmare for you all.
Do you know about SOBS? Survivors of bereavement by suicide? They may be able to advise you better than any of us.
I wonder why her parents want you to keep your distance? Is it for their sake or your girlfriend’s? I would have thought any support would be welcome at this awful time.
Keep in touch with her as much as you can ,texts are often better than calls.
Resist the temptation to give advice or the usual platitutudes ( I’ve had them all since my partner died and they’ve added to the pressure and stress)
Reassure her that you’re there and not asking anything of her. I expect she will still be in shock.
That’s all I can think of that may help , be as patient as you can. Can you go over there but not stay with the family so she knows you’re close by. Even for a day or two?
Wishing you well at this terrible time .Sadme
I can’t think of anything, Lewis, other than that which Sadme has advised. I do agree for you to be there for your girl-friend and not put any pressure on her, the poor lass. How awful, you are obviously a very caring man and I admire you.
Oh Lewis, what a job our partners have to look after us! Firstly I’d like to say, what a thoughtful, loving and brave man you are. You clearly love your girlfriend and are putting her first which is the best thing you can do for her. That’s so much for anyone to deal with!
I can’t speak for others, but when I lost my Dad in November, the best thing my partner did for me was just to be there, and to listen. He never once tried to take over what I was saying with his own experiences or never tried to ‘give advice’. He understood from the beginning that there was nothing he could say or do to make anything better, or easier for that matter. I can tell you that nights are super hard, it’s like when the dark comes so does the darkness of our hearts. The loss becomes more and I struggled sleeping for the first 2 months. I needed my partner lying next to me, I needed to hear his breathing, feel his warmth, hear his heartbeat for me to relax enough to fall asleep.
Do your best to take over things for a little while. My boyfriend took over the cooking, cleaning, reminded me to shower, to eat. Believe me, I needed that. Don’t push her and don’t tell her things are going to get better, that was the one of the hardest things for me to hear at the beginning because your feelings are so raw and hurt.
You’re doing so much for her by just being you, I don’t know how I’d be if I didn’t have a boyfriend, something to remind me to feel.
I hope something there helps. There’s no guidebooks, no rules. Just go with it.
Good luck and take care x
Thank you so much for your response. It really is awful her not being here, I reached across this morning and her not being there broke my heart. But I’ll take all the advice everyone has given and just let her know that I’m here when she needs me, and to help her in anyway she needs me to. Again, thank you. All of these replies have been incredibly thoughtful and helpful.
Thank you for your response, I’ll admit it’s hard for me to fathom not being there to help her figure things out but I definitely agree it’s for the best to act as a support and not a guide in this situation. Thanks again for your response, you’ve all been so lovely.
Hi there, it certainly is a peculiar one. Her mother and I haven’t always seen eye to eye with regard to certain matters but generally we get along and I have so much love and respect for her. From what we can gather it’s purely a matter of space and time at the moment. They’ve got so many family members over at their house at the moment, the thought of adding me might be too overwhelming and an additional pressure she doesn’t need right now. I am heading over within the next week or so, and I’ve been made welcome at their house. I have said if she needs me before then I’ll happily rent a hotel room or something. Thanks for your advice, it’s really been a massive help. The dust is starting to settle for the time being until the funeral but I really appreciate the help you’ve given me.