Post # 1
I need some advice on how to handle death/ a loss in the family. DH’s grandmother is in ICU, and is not expected to make it. I have never lost anyone close to me before, and Darling Husband is very close with her. She practically raised him- and when we received the news yesterday- it was a blow to his system. Darling Husband is so shaken up and started crying last night ( I did not even know his body had tear ducts before this). So I am asking for advice on how to deal with grieving family members. I know that just being there is probably all I can REALLY do, but is there something that is a little above and beyond to make this easier on everyone? She is not expected to make it past this week.
Post # 3
There is nothing you can really do during this time. Nothing will make it any easier for people. Just be there for your Darling Husband as much as he needs, always offer a lending shoulder to cry on or just be willing to sit and listen to his thoughts. I am so so sorry for your loss.
Post # 4
@Mrs_Amanda: I’m sorry he’s going through this. I just lost my grandmother not too long ago too, and she did the best job of helping to raise me too, since my parents were teenagers. It’s the worst feeling in the world.
To that end, I’ll give you some first hand things that I’m dealing with now to help you understand where Darling Husband is coming from.
If he talks about her, just listen, and let him go on as much as he needs to. He may bring up memories of her, and relive them. Ask him about his childhood with her, and let him chat about the good times he’s had with her, and point out the good aspects of their relationship so he knows he’ll never forget her, and that the time they had together was indeed special.
Greif is a very physically draining time. If he isn’t quite himself, try to be patient. When I was finished my day, I would come home and go right up to bed. I literally had no energy to do anything else for the first week or two, since it took all of my energy to focus on keeping a “happy face” for the general public. Housework and chores may go to the wayside, but know that he’ll pick up his routine again soon.
If he cries, let him. Encourage it. The only way to get beyond grief is to experience it. If the tears start flowing, grab some tissues, and just be there. Chances are, he’ll feel a little better after the water works get shut off.
Is there any way you can visit her before hand? Hopefully he has no regrets in the amount of time he has spent with her recently.
Post # 5
I lost a parent and I can confirm there is not much you can do! I’m not sure how your husband deals, but for me I didn’t want to be coddled and be around for a billion people to tell me how sorry they were because it hurt me to re-hash things over and over. I enjoyed “escaping” and having quiet time thrown in the mix as much as possible during that very busy and emotional time.
I suggest just being there. Help him go through the motions of his day to day activities and greiving. Feel free to offer if there is anything you can do for him ( as you are his wife, not a nosey neighboor or stranger). And just know that time is on your side! It all gets better with time.
So sorry to hear! My thoughts are with yall!
Post # 6
He is pulling shift work basically at the hospital so that someone is with her at all times. I’m going in about an hour to sit with her and his mom for some this afternoon. Her downhill turn really wasn’t a surprise given the state of her health, but I don’t think he was prepared to just watch her die while the doctors can’t do anything.
Post # 7
Darling Husband has lost both of his parents since we have been dating. His mom 6 months before our wedding and his dad 8 months after. He and his dad were extremely close.
Honestly, there is not much you can do. Be there for him, listen to him, don’t push him to talk about it unless he wants to and help him with any arrangements he needs to make. Beyond that… there’s not much else. Just be there.
Post # 8
Speaking from someone that is going through this situation now with my Pap (GrandFather), he is also not expected to last the week, all I personally want to know is that my H2B is there for me, there to give me a hug and there if I need to talk, I don’t always want to talk, sometimes I just want to be quiet.
He’s taking the pressure off of me where he can, offering to do dinner, doing the washing and just generally making this time as easy as possible. There is nothing he can do to make it better, but his support is all I want.
It’s a difficult stage when you are waiting, the part after it is when you can offer to help out with anything his family needs, just the offer tends to be enough.
Sorry that you are having to go through it, it’s a tough time, thoughts are with you
Post # 9
@Eva Peron: Agree! Alone time is important, and I looked forward to it so I could feel what I was feeling, free of prying eyes. I also didn’t want to be around anyone, because I didn’t want to “drag them down” with my mood, and I didn’t want to be concerned with their mood anyway, because I was barely able to take care of myself. It was just easier to stay home, and enjoy my cat and husband!
Even the vacation we took last week was a little crappy. I didn’t have the energy to go out and “enjoy” it, because there was some guilt involved in having fun “at a time like this.” Maybe it’s irrational, but guilt is a part of grieving. So is:
Be prepared for any of these, OP. It’s a rocky road to travel.
Post # 10
So the unsettling part of this is that the funeral arrangements and finances will most likely be funded by Darling Husband and I. When should I contact and start this? I don’t want it to be premature or morbid. Should I just wait until after she passes?
Post # 11
With my Grandma, we made the funeral home aware of what was going on and left it at that, not sure how it works in the US though
Post # 12
Thanks to everyone who is weighing in! I appreciate all of the feedback. I feel really lucky that I’ve made it through life 25 years without a loss like this and a healthy family. I just feel for Darling Husband and want to shoulder the burden that I can. Everything was ” fine” up until yesterday evening and now everyone is just waiting…
Post # 13
As your Darling Husband and his family grieve, please try to understand that grief and loss do all sorts of weird things to people. People will possibly act in unexpected ways. Some may appear to take it “too lightly”, others may be more outgoing than usual or more withdrawn, and some will act just plain odd. It’s normal, so don’t let any out-of-character behavior alarm you. Just be there for them, and let them lead the interactions. If someone’s body language indicates they want to be left alone, don’t force a hug on them just because you feel it’s the expected thing to do; if someone calls you or Darling Husband late at night just wanting to talk, don’t jump to the conclusion that they’re rude for calling at such a late hour. It’s a long process, and an unpredictable one. Just go with the flow.
Things that I truly appreciated when I was grieving: neighbors stopping by with a casserole to pop in the oven (those closest to the grandmother will likely be too busy to think about going to the grocery); a friend who brought a huge package of toilet tissue to a wake hosted at my house (honestly I hadn’t even thought of all those guests wanting to use the bathroom and we’d have been up a creek without it). Offer to be the errand-runner.
As to making arrangements, it’s not ghoulish or creepy at all to start talking to funeral homes now; they are used to dealing with the families of terminally ill patients who know that they will need their services “soon” but don’t know exactly when. Let them guide you through the process.
Post # 14
@Mrs_Amanda: Luckily scheduling isn’t so hard to do. But if the funeral home offers to do an obituary, don’t let them. They raised the price by $200 versus if we’d have gone to our local paper and done it ourselves.
Some funeral homes are more expensive than others, so if price is a concern, you may want to shop around while your Darling Husband is away. I wouldn’t do this in front of him. Although, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask him about the type of service / religious slant you want.
Finding photos and putting them on a poster board is a popular thing to do as well.
Post # 15
i lost my dad very unexpectedly. Honestly, the best thing that Darling Husband did was just sit tthere with me. Just sit. No talking, I would just cry and cry and cry. He didn’t have to say anything to make me feel better. Holding me was the best solution for me. It helped tremendously.
Post # 16
I’m so sorry. The fact that you know you don’t have experience with this and are looking for advice means, to me, that you’re already a very caring person.
I would let him guide you in terms of what he wants from you. I would also just “do” things (as in, don’t ask what you can do). Pick up the slack until he’s ready to go about daily life again, that kind of thing.
Does his family know where his grandmother put her will and/or other important documents? They might hold some clues as to what her desire are for a funeral service. I know that my grandmother had some very frank conversations with my parents before she died about what she wanted. Now, it might be different if his grandmother hasn’t put money aside for this, but at least those documents would be a good place to start.
I know that, for me, the grief came and went at kind of a weird pace. I had issues months later…after the shock had gone away. For me, there was the initial feelings of horrible loss…but then, I went a bit numb to it for awhile. It took me awhile to really understand that I would never see this person again. So, don’t be surprised if you think he’s feeling better, only to have him have issues months from now.