I do not know what to do

Hi everyone,

I lost my father in law to pulmonary fibrosis a month ago. He was 65 and had been diagnosed for about a year and half. He had great care both in and out of hospital in Northamptonshire.

I have been quite strong throughout for my wife and have been trying to prepare her for the worst over that period. She is from a large family with three other siblings who got to see him more often than her due to living further away.

Since his death, that we were at, she has taken it much harder than any of her siblings and my mother in law. She feels anger and guilt for not being there with him more when he was ill. She had her work and children that kept her occupied.

She was half expecting that he would come through it either through the use of drugs or a lung transplant. I kept saying the chances were very low, which she would dismiss. She feels like her siblings and mum are all doing well and getting on with life.

I am trying to comfort her, talk to her. But often get a blank expression. Telling her to talk to her friends and family who have been through it had helped a bit. Telling her that dad is in a better place, as he was really suffering towards the end. But to no avail.

I have not lost anyone as close, so I can not tell what she is going through. She has taken a sick note from the doctors…but I’m not sure if that is helping and has had trouble sleeping since the death with the use of tablets as well. The lack of sleep and the thoughts of her dad all the time are really worrying me and not sure what I can do.

So I am coming to this forum for some advice on if I am doing the right thing or is there something else I can do. I know people say it takes time and it will never get easier for her, but it just kills me and the kids to see her like this , and feeling helpless and don’t want her spiralling downwards where I cant get her back from.

thank you for reading and any advice is much appreciated.

Hello @basilcat20, thank you for reaching out. I’m so sorry for your wife’s loss, and for you and your children’s, too. We have lots of members who have sadly lost a parent who will understand some of what your wife is going through.

You mention feeling helpless, so I wanted to share some resources with you.

  • Our Supporting Someone Else guides have lots of advice about supporting someone else who is grieving - both emotionally and practically - when they have been bereaved.

  • Our Grief Kind classes are a series of five short video tutorials, our Sue Ryder bereavement experts talk you through what grief is like and how you can support others who are grieving.

I hope these links are helpful and that you find the community to be a support, too.

Take good care,


Thanks for links to the videos on this. It has really helped.

1 Like

@Bassi189 hi there, my dad died 7 weeks ago & what your wife is going through sounds a fairly common reaction. My dad was in hospital & was supposed to be discharged on the day he actually died. I felt guilty for not getting him home sooner. I’ve now redirected my guilt & frustration onto the hospital for dragging its feet over his discharge. I’ve found talking does help & siblings deal with death differently. My eldest brother will talk & talk yet my other brother has hardly said anything about dad’s death. No one can tell you how to grieve. It’s a unique journey for each person. I can only describe it as a heavy weight to carry round each day & it’s exhausting. Your wife is dealing with it in her own way. Listening & gentle encouragement is good but it sounds like you’re doing that already. Perhaps even direct her to these forums. Best wishes. X