My father-in-law passed away in June totally unexpectedly he was fit and healthy with no health problems, since then I feel on another planet. It’s the first person my husband has ever lost, my husband has a zest for life doesn’t suffer mental health problems very happy bubbly and my absolute rock. I go to him for everything I’m a natural born worrier. He’s completely shut down only goes to work and back looks distant doesn’t talk and I’m finding it really hard looking at him with so much hurt, I feel lost I know I can’t take his pain away but that doesn’t stop the need to want to help him he’s pushing me away and I don’t know what to think or do I’ve been with him 25 years and I’ve never had these feelings towards him I have so many thoughts and feelings about everything and my husband is constantly on my mind every minute of everyday. Can anybody share any thoughts on similar experience what helped you to help your spouse? Xx
Oh no it’s so hard for both of you. My mum died nearly a year ago. I know my husband has struggled. He’s a fixer. Yet he can’t fix this. I know he feels helpless and I have pushed him away at times. It’s still very very early days. I remember the early days. They were awful. But over time you will see chinks of light come through. Just be there for him. Is he a hugger? Then just put your arms around him. Does he talk about his dad. Then all you can do is listen. Get out for long walks. Maybe a bike ride even if he’s into that. It’s baby steps. And being gentle and kind. Which I’m sure you are already doing. I have had counselling which has really helped.
Unfortunately I can weigh in on this too.
So sorry to hear about your father in law.
My father passed away suddenly a year ago in june. He was also fit and healthy. We had played tennis just 2 days before as an example.
I was in shock, terrified, sad, the world was nothing to me anymore without him in it. I would do what was necessary and then sleep for hours or hide away by myself. This went on for 6 -8 months. You are in this for a while.
Here is what you can do: be there if he wants to talk, leave him alone if he does not. Try to get him to go places here and there. Doing things is important as it forms new brain connections which helps with coping. there are times when the motivation to even breath is 0. Somedays I would hide and cry for hours and hours, without any way to stop myself. One day when I was having that situation, a friend called me to come out. i could not move and said no. She came over with her dog, and I had to be friendly and of course a cute dog. Who can resist? It got me out of the cycle on that day. It just shows how the little gestures and things that are slightly out of the ordinary can help.
Also - subtracting from his tasks to relieve any outside stress can help. This is a personal call - some people prefer to have things piled on so that they can be distracted. But most people need some mental space for healing and dont even realize it. In my case, I have a lot of responsibility at work, we were building a house, plus kids. Lots going on and therefore lots to subtract. My subtraction was my kids had to get themselves breakfast and make their school lunches. That way I could get up later, which gave me time every morning to process the ‘new’ knowledge that my dad was gone. Everyday is groundhog day to him right now. He wakes up, and for a brief moment his life is normal, and then he remembers that his dad is gone. I needed a good hour to process that every morning.
There may be times that he might get mad uncharacteristically or he may want to run away. All of that is normal. It also might not happen.
I was under huge stress with the house build that at one point I told my husband to keep everything and I was going to run away and be alone - all I needed was one small suitcase, the car, and a computer. I just needed space. I dont like to talk about my feelings. There was only one feeling at all times - the grief. I wanted to process it alone.
This is going to be your normal for a long while. But as Jooles said, bits of light will start to shine through for him over time.
All I want to do is talk to him, he doesn’t show his feelings he never has In any way shape or form that I’ve always struggled with so this has just intensified all that. I feel like I’ve got questions only he can answer and I know he can’t be there for me, I understand that whole heartedly but I hate to think he’s struggling on his own he’s always slept no matter what but he doesn’t sleep I lie at the side of him listening to his loud sighs his tossing and turning and my heart is breaking everyday I’ve lost 2 stone in 2 months there will be nothing left of me I’m mentally wore out, while he’s at work I know his mind is occupied a feel a little relief. We have 4 children 2 older 2 younger I do what I have to for them I try to run the house but I have nothing inside or desire to do any of it I feel totally out my depth and just want to pack and go I know that sounds so selfish. Seeing him looking at him hurts to the core of me.
He’s not a hugger but if I ask for a love he will give me one, I know I can’t fix him and I think that’s the hardest pill to swallow, I remember the early days of loosing mine and it consumed me and I know that’s probably what it’s doing to him, I’m here but if he didn’t allow me to be there for him then I can’t be, it’s just so sad. I feel like I have the grief to process what’s happened but I also feel like I’m loosing him as well x
I remember the sighing - constant sighing.
Be sure to eat and take care of yourself. Being depleted can make it worse.
Time - thats what it takes. Your needs wont be met for a long while. Try to be with friends as an outlet for that. Let him heal.
I am sorry as it sounds like you have lost a parent also.
The suddenness adds to the grief Becky - he has ptsd plus loss. Its the feeling of terror every minute of every day which is likely why he can not sleep. The stress chemicals are haywire. I was the opposite, being awake was so draining that I would sleep for long periods.
Hi Becky, I have just joined up as a person who is just late night looking for answers as I feel desperate. My circumstances seem identical to yours, but my Husband lost his Mother. I am just the verbal punchbag. Talking to him does not help, my Husband feels he is not angry, and not taking it out on me. I love him dearly, 25 years of marriage, no kids to bounce off.
I suppose at present I just am looking for answers that probably do not exist, but am relieved to find I am not alone. I would appreciate just being here in the background until I find my contribution legs so to speak. I just feel I am being eroded away as if I show anger back I feel I am destroying our close relationship, but to just take it makes me feel worthless. I’m just at a loss as to why I am the target, not anyone else in his family. I can ride it out if I think it will end, but cannot live the rest of my life like this…
It is all very much out of character for my Husband who is a kind and loving person.
Good morning my lovely,
It has been along time since I wrote this on here and if I’m honest we’re still together but our marriage is practically nothing, it’s been 2 whole years and my heart is truly broken but my mind broke harder. I don’t understand any of it we were the bestest of friends I absolutely idolised him my views are different now. Grief is a funny thing you either come together and get through it or you tear each other apart.
All I ever wanted was to love and be there for him and he didn’t want any of it all he wanted to do was hurt me and I’ll never understand that. He chose to go to other people threw himself into his job and while I was left at home grieving the loss of my father-in-law the loss of my marriage, being at home 24/7 due to lock down, home schooling the children. I watched him still go to work build relationships with new people have endless conversations on the phone a not say a word to me for days on end. I resent him massively he said the most cruelest words that I can’t forgive him for and I can’t un-hear them either when I think of them they cut to the very core of me and I end up sobbing.
I still love him deeply but we can’t get on, every conversation we have turns in to a argument, then more things are said and it’s all just a personal attack on me, I’m slowly learning my place in his life and that is at the bottom of the pile. Unseen, unheard, I’ve never felt so worthless in all my life.
I wish I had some good advice for you I really do, I do believe from personal experience that grief does change a person to a degree but not a complete personality change so they are unrecognised, but who am I to say! If you would like to talk to me please feel free to, I’ll be a listening ear for you at a really hard time.
Take care xx
So sorry you’re going through all of this. My husband had a very difficult life. His mother and father were very dysfunctional yet he was very close to his mother Dash the father left the family when he was six years old and he was totally traumatized when the father started another family with someone else. He became close to his mom in the last five years since my son was born when his mom became ill this year, he completely left us moved in with her and took it very badly. When she died on hospice he completely turned on me over the summer, and it’s been six months of hell with him being angry at me lashing out , he told everyone that I am the problem he won’t look at me he won’t speak to me. He locked his door at night. It’s unbelievable now I know read Greek can do different things to different people but I never dreamed it would get this bad it’s been so bad I’ve had to threaten to leave with my young son, to which he’s become very vindictive and high-fiving me and saying I don’t care if you leave good for you I’ve tried to get him to see that this is anger related to grief, and as a qualified nurse practitioner, I know what grief looks like and I know that many many times partners take it out on their partners, and this can last for years , sometimes there’s such a bad shift that the person actually blames you and they never recover one thing that is not being said in this forum that is very very important is this. Many people who go through grief and turn on their partners like that, and then start their lives, and to everybody else it looks like the partners, the problem and they’re going to work and they’re chatting to other people and it’s very upsetting to the partner, but really what it is is they’ve internalize that anger and they found a way to direct it at one person which is completely unfair and can end a marriage.
I think God that I’m a qualified practitioner that I was able to face my husband down and tell him that if he didn’t go on an anti-depressant and see somebody I was walking out and that was the end of it and it was like the slap that he needed. Within one week of taking the medicine I saw my husband returned to me. He became the loving person that he was. He was less agitated slept more and was able to cope better. I know that some people feel that medication is not the answer and they’re very stigmatized by it but I can tell you as a practitioner who treats hundreds of people believe me there are people in this world they needed it to begin with, and if they didn’t, they do now. Grief is a terrible thing and it on leashes often a lot of pain and trauma, and things that have never been shared with the spouse. There is no reason for a marriage to end without proper counseling and sometimes an anti-depressant, whether temporary or long-term actually is the answer , I’ve seen the benefits of it. It usually takes several weeks to get people serotonin back up but when people get into a major depression, especially with grief, the general public doesn’t know how to cope with it unless you’re trained or experience to see it now I can tell you, my husband is extremely tough. It was not easy to get him on medication , but I can tell you this it’s worth a shot and if your partner really believes in the marriage, they should at least consider it and if they don’t, you may actually have to walk away. I’ve had friends whose spouses lost parents and it was years and years before they became some shell of themselves again, which nobody should go through that without proper counseling. I also think that counseling services have to be coupled with an anti-depressant, because many counselors think that you can just talk your way through it and sometimes you can’t just talk your way through it sometimes you actually need Medication and a mood stabilizer and all the talk therapy in the world is not going to change that. Trust me I know as a practitioner I’ve dealt with patients I’ve dealt with cancer patients I’ve dealt with patients facing illness and until I put them on the antidepressant. They thanked me over and over again, and said I didn’t realize how miserable I was They’re suffering too, and I’m not a pill pusher, but sometimes you actually do need something to get you out of that slump.