DH is greiving loss of his mother

KarigraphyDecember 2, 2005

A few weeks ago, my MIL died after being seriously ill for a month although she's had poor health for several years.

DH was very stoic through the end and the funeral. He's appreciative of the cards and notes he is still receiving every day.

However, he's been quiet and moody. I can't seem to do or say anything right. I've been trying to keep things going around the house and with the kids but I am feeling frustrated carrying everything and getting the opposite of appreciation. Tonight he hit a wall so hard, the clock on the other side of the wall in the next room fell off.

Feeling greif is to be expected since it has been such a short time since her passing on November 10th.

Any suggestions on how I can handle the fall out of DH's bad moods? He doesn't want to talk. It seems like he just wants to come home, eat dinner, and read/watch TV until he falls asleep. Any interrupting him is met with anger.



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I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Sounds to me like your husband is extremely depressed, rightfully so I might add. He just lost his mother and I'm sure the time of year isn't helping any. I would suggest to just give him his space for a while and keep loving him and try to understand what he is going through. If he's still in this state of mind in another few weeks, maybe you could delicately suggest grief counseling to help him.

Love and hugs to you both!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 9:29AM
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uhm love...

he just lost his mother. and even if they LOATHED one another, I think 'shock' and 'greif' are too pale to describe what he's feeling.

I don't know you or him, so I can't begin to make suggestions for how to break through...

but maybe letting things go, and curling up on the couch with him might help? if the housework is stressing you out so much that you can't be supportive of him- let the vacuum collect dust for a few weeks.

I lost my dad in august after a long battle, and I'm just now starting to come out of the shock, and I'm experienced, practiced, level headed, and really good at dealing with emotional upsets...so thinking about what a man, unprepared and unequipped to deal with death, much less a mother's illness?

that gives even me a case of the willies.

is there anyone close enough to him that talking to might offer additional insight? a relative, or a chum?

that might be a good place to start looking for support.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 12:46PM
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You have to just let him be. You can't try to make him come around, or anything like that. Losing one's mother is a terrible shock, even if she's been sick for years. Losing her suddenly, like this, is even more of a shock and very difficult to process.

My mother died in September of 2004. She had been diagnosed with a brain tumor the previous December. From the moment of diagnosis, it was like my mother just went through a door and the woman I'd known for 40+ years disappeared. I think I am STILL in shock, because everything happened so fast and her condition changed from week to week. It was not until exactly a year later that I felt able to start going through the storage compartment and getting rid of some stuff -- and even then, I've done very little of that.

If anything, get some counseling for yourself to find out how you can manage this difficult time. Be supportive of him but please give him his space. Men are not as likely to seek out support and resources as women are; being stoic and quiet is just the way they process things.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 3:34PM
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Karen, I just wrote you a long post and accidentally erased it. I'm so sorry. I'll try to condense what I told you.
I'm so sorry about the loss of your MIL.
I also suggest that you give him some space to sort out his feelings. The anger could possibly stem from guilt if he or you did not have a good relationship with his mom.... or even if he did. He may not even realize this. The anger could also just be because he is so sorry that his mom is now gone. If he depended on her a lot, he may be fearful. Grief of a person who is very close to us can trigger many different feelings and some can be confusing.
Let him know that you love him and are there for him, but don't push him to talk. He probably will when he is ready.
It may take several months before he is better.
Good luck and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 10:08AM
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Karen I'm so sorry for your loss. My husband lost his mother on the 4th of July in '96 to lung cancer. She had been ill with many different problems for years, but died from cancer just 2 weeks after her diagnosis. It came as a shock. I was 6 months pregnant and we lost the baby one month later, also a shock. My husband wasn't angry just really quiet. He kept everything to himself. He still is quiet, he never did really talk it out much. I just tried to be supportive and after the baby, well we just held each other up. Just give him time, let him guide you. Don't take his outbursts personally and let the house and other things go. Hopefully, in time he will talk a little to you, a friend, or a relative. Please seek professional help though if he hurts himself or someone else with his anger. Psychotropic medications can be wonderful in helping you to manage your emotions until you can process your feelings and think more clearly on your own. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 7:41PM
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Thanks for the supportive words and suggestions. I've been giving him time and letting him have time to himself in the evenings. He had a very loving relationship with his mother and father but now both of his parents are deceased - it is a shock.

He kinda hides out in our bedroom reading newspapers, trade magazines, and watching sports and news after the kids go to bed. He eats breakfast by himself with the newspaper and news on TV. As soon as the kids and I come down for breakfast, he goes upstairs to get dressed by himself. He's managed to schedule a lot of his time to be by himself. On the weekend, he sleeps a lot. Other times he gets charged up by rough housing with the kids.

Last weekend, one of my daughters needed help finding something my DH put away. I asked her why Daddy couldn't help her find it if he put it away, and she said, "Is it because Daddy lays around and sleeps a lot?" They say the darndest things.

Don't worry, I've never stressed out over housework. I'm more concerned about DHs angry outbursts and extreme withdrawal. Yes, I'm picking up the slack of trying to take care of all the busy needs the kids have in the morning, evening, and weekends but that's not as concerning as the other issues. Our house has already been "let go" as far as cleaning. I'm just trying to do the basics to keep us clean, clothed, fed, and delivered to work and school!

I'm sure this will all take time. Holidays will be here soon and that will be tough.

Thanks again, I'll just watch and wait it out.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 12:24AM
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