Advice needed from bees who've lost a parent/close relative

posted 1 week ago in The Lounge
Post # 16
602 posts
Busy bee

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@peach11:  my father died suddenly ten years ago and it’s still tough for me to talk about. I have a very small family, on his birthday, anniversary of passing we always try to get together (over the years we’ve all moved around a bit so not always possible) and have a nice dinner, make a toast to him, etc. 

I always appreciated people reaching out with a text, FB message, etc just saying “thinking about you today” or something along those lines. Receiving flowers with a sweet card was also always appreciated, and I enjoy hearing from people who were close with my dad and share a fun memory or pic of him with me.

I never received any gifts really, and don’t think I’d want to. I also didnt want constant reminders or conversations about my father. I wanted to talk on my own terms, some moments were just too hard to talk about him, I’d just break down but then I’d be in a mood other days where I could talk and it was helpful to my grieving process. Everyone is different and mourns differently but I would not have enjoyed someone making a huge deal out of Father’s Day, his birthday, Or anniversary of passing. 

I will say, seeking help from a professional to process a loss like this if your husband and his family are open to it could be a good idea. Of course not everyone needs this but it’s something to consider 

Post # 17
147 posts
Blushing bee

My dad died when I was 24.  He had a massive heart attack and I was there to witness it.  I have permanent emotional scars despite going to therapy.  Although it will never be easy, it does get better with time.  For me, it was horrible for about a month, it improved a little bit over the next 3 months, stagnated for several more months, got better again at about the year mark, and slowly but steadily became less severe (I was able to start sleeping more) over the next year or so.  After 2 years, I got used to him no longer being here and I came to terms with what led to his heart attack (a horrible diet). 

You and your SO are mourning an untimely death.  This is in contrast to a death that can be planned for, and is more expected (like that of a grandparent).  You feel robbed of that person.  They should still be here but they aren’t.  It doesn’t seem fair.  The best thing to do is to tell your SO to talk to you when he feels sad or is having trouble dealing with it, and for him to go to therapy if talking to you isn’t enough.  But it won’t be this bad forever.  The one year mark really turns a corner.

Post # 18
373 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 1996

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@Goirishgrl:   Goirishgrl, deepest condolences on your loss.  While not a new loss, I am sure it is painful to this day.  Seeing a loved one suffer and die with ALS is the pits of the pits.  Sometimes you just have to wonder, why must life be as it is?

Post # 19
1363 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

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@msuttman8:  thank you so much!  Enough time has passed that I can mostly focus on the fond memories of my sister, but it is still painful if I let myself recall the hellish 2 years of her disease progression. It truly felt like a nightmare that would never end, barely able to adjust to each new stage before we were faced with the next.  ALS is a bitch, and the world would be a much better place if a cure could be found. 

Post # 20
1185 posts
Bumble bee

Everyone processes grief differently, so what helps for one person doesn’t help for another.

I lost my father very suddenly 8 years ago – he went to get up and his heart gave out.  I always remember the day of his death, but I don’t tend to mark it in any way.  I’m always sad, but I like to be left alone to deal with that.  And I don’t want to focus on his death.  I often buy a bunch of his favourite flowers on his birthday (he was a great gardener and he passed that love of gardening on to me) but don’t make a huge deal of it.  Sometimes, it’s not the big anniversary dates that get you anyway, but sudden reminders of things you used to share that you never will again.  I did appreciate it when others made an effort to mark the dates especially in the first year though – e.g. on the first birthday after his death, one of my father’s oldest friends sent me a letter sharing some stories from their early years.  And I have a couple of friends who will call me ‘just to catch up’, or text a ‘thinking of you x’. 

My OH and I have both lost our fathers, and we tend to be very open asking each other what will help – we ask a week or so before the significant date, but obviously, it’s open to change depending on how we feel.  So for example, I might say that I want to ignore my father’s birthday, but then on the day, ask if we can have one of his favourite meals or go for a walk on a route he loved.  Because what you want to do/feel able to cope with can change rapidly.

I think the most important things are to be as supportive as you can, to accept that your OH might change his mind about observing/not observing the day and to speak of your Mother-In-Law normally, neither avoiding her name completely nor forcing conversation about her.  I love it when people mention memories of my dad that arise naturally through the conversation.

I think your idea of a bunch of sunflowers is a lovely, understated tribute to your Mother-In-Law, but I would check with your OH that he won’t find the sight of them too upsetting as the bereavement will still be very raw.

You are obviously a very caring person and your OH is fortunate to have you by his side.  I hope the birthday/Mother’s Day go as well as possible under the circumstances. xxx

Post # 21
1893 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

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@peach11:  First of all, sorry for your loss. This all depends on how your Husband processes grief. Some people like to talk it out, others (like me) just need time to process on their own time. 

My mother passed when I was 19, and now, 11 years later, every Birthday, mothers day, and death anniversary is hard. On those days, my husband has learned to let me bring it up when I want to, and just hold me if I need it. He always plans one of my favorite meals those days (I tend to comfort myself with food) so I feel more comforted. Sometimes the day passes and nothing is ever said, but I know he cares and is there for me. 

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