Post # 1
Yesterday, one of FI’s oldest and closest friends passed away. He had cancer, so we “knew it was coming” in a sense, but he was only 26 and it still feels like a shock. This was a friend of mine, too, so I’m grieving in my own way, but it’s almost worse to watch FI experience this.
FI wants to be alone. I understand this is his way of processing and I want to support it. This morning, I got up and started getting ready for work. He had already left and ended up coming home as I was leaving. He said he couldn’t handle being at work today. I asked him if he wanted me to stay home and he said he’d rather be alone, so I left. When I got to work, I lost it. Not only am I incredibly sad, but I just couldn’t handle the idea of him being alone at our house.
I came home. He said he still wanted to be alone. I said that was fine and I was okay with it. Since then, I’ve been sitting in the bedroom while he sits in the living room. I have hugged him a few times and offered to fix him food, but I’ve really tried to stay out of his way. I guess I just felt like I needed to be here in our home so that he knows he has my support even if that means I’m in another room. I was supposed to go to a birthday party tonight, but I called and cancelled. I just can’t picture myself out having fun while he’s here.
I feel so totally helpless. I feel bad that I’m here (like I’m bothering him) but I also feel like I shouldn’t leave. I don’t know what to do.
Post # 3
I think you’re doing the right thing. Be there for him, but don’t hound him and let him grieve the way he needs to. He’ll come to you if you needs you, I think it’s great you’re there for him.
My MIL passed away in August, my husband also didn’t want to talk about it or to be around a bunch of people at first. I stayed home from work, but didn’t pester him, he knew I was there if he needed me though.
Sorry for you loss.
Post # 4
@MsMonkey: Oh man. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I know it must be very difficult to want to help your partner and not know what to do.
Personally, I would do what you are doing- be there but out of the way. Maybe take a break (in case what he really wants is to curl up in bed and cry). Say you’re headed to Starbucks for a couple hours… or something near home. Tell him to call if he needs anything. Then get out, bring him back something he might like. That way if he’s truely alone for a while and realizes it’s NOT really what he wants, he can tell you. He may not know right now. Or if it IS what he really wants, you gave him the space he needed.
It will also help you. It’s taxing to try and be the sole support for someone going through a major emotional crisis. You need your breathing room, too. A party would probably NOT be fun, but maybe a quiet corner in a coffee shop would give you some peace.
Post # 5
@X0JLYNN03: Completely agree! Don’t hound him but let him know you are there if he needs you. When my FI’s grandfather passed away, I would just sit with him and not say anything.
Post # 6
I would just give him space. He knows you support him, but he may just want to be alone.
Post # 7
I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this, but at the end of the day everyone grieves differently and if he wants to be alone, he wants to be alone.. no matter how hard it is for you.
I’d say continue what you’re doing. Offer to help him, be patient, and listen when he wants to be alone.
Post # 8
Thank you so much for these replies… I needed to hear that I’m not totally doing the wrong thing. I am the complete opposite of my FI in the sense that I want someone to hold me and keep me company when I’m grieving, so it’s hard for me not to be actively doing anything to help him
Post # 9
@MsMonkey: FH went through something similar when his mom passed away last July. He mostly wanted to be alone and he didn’t want to talk about anything. Sometimes all I did was sit on the couch next to him in silence. Sometimes that’s enough.
Post # 10
@MsMonkey: Aww *hugs* That’s so sad! You’re doing just fine. Be there for him like you already are. You’ve made it clear you’re there for him when he needs it, but for now, let him have his own space. As much as we may have that overwhelming instinct to want to hug and let him cry, he is probably trying to ‘be a man’ and not show his pain in front of you.
One of my best male friends had found out he lost his grandmother (while we were on a summer trip in Orlando with a friend). I put a box of tissues on the desk in front of where he sat, left the room, and closed the door. As much as I wanted to check on him, I left him alone until he came out on his own. He later thanked me for it.
Post # 11
@MsMonkey: Everyone grieves in their own way, especially men. You just need to be available, but not pressure him to open up to you. Sometimes a physical presents is enough. Let him grieve on his own.
Post # 12
Just want to echo everyone who says you are totally doing the right thing. I think guys feel like they have to be strong for other people, so sometimes they need to be alone in order to really let themselves grieve and be sad without putting on a facade of strength. A PP said “be there but be out of the way” – I think that’s perfect advice.
I’m so sorry for you and your FI’s loss. 🙁
Post # 13
@MsMonkey: I think you are handling this exceptionally well. I think it’s a nice gesture that you have made yourself available should he need your support, but also given him his space, since this is what he asked for. I prefer to be alone when I am grieving as well.
I am so very sorry for your loss & I want you to know that you are doing a great job as his support system.
Post # 14
+1 for most of the comments. I completely understand you wanting to comfort him the same way you want and need comfort; reciprocity but I think its great you are respecting his wishes and not pressing him. One thing I will say is gently try to encourage him to eat. Maybe some soup or half a sandwich because he can get sick that way. Best of luck and many prayers your way.
Post # 15
I’m still in the grieving process myself, and I completely understand wanting to be alone. The best thing my fiance has done is letting me know that he’s there if I need him, while giving me my space. If you want something practical to help with, make something for dinner that’s comfort food and easy to reheat. Lasagna is my personal preference. That way if he feels like eating, he can, if not, it’s not like you prepared something totally fancy.
Post # 16
@MsMonkey: My DH is also an “alone” person with loss. One of his closest friends recently killed himself.
I left, and came back an hour later with 4 pints of Ben&Jerry’s for him.
Then I left him alone again.
Does your DH have anything he REALLY loves? Like a food or movie or something?