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brendobones

how to be a husband to a grieving wife

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Hi everyone, sorry for the long first post but I would appreciate advice from anyone who's gone through something similar, especially husbands who are supporting their grieving wives...

 

My mother-in-law died 6 months ago after a brief but very difficult bout with liver and pancreatic cancer. Last October, my wife and I got married, and it was truly the best day of my life. Though my mother-in-law was at the wedding and had a great day, health-wise, her cancer returned soon after our honeymoon.

 

I vowed to myself that I would be my wife's rock, that I would be there for her, grieve with her openly (she and I were present for the end, it was my first encounter with witnessing death), be patient and not impose any timeline for recovery, and love her unconditionally during what will be a long and difficult time.

 

My father-in-law has recently been interested in dating again, and talks about it a lot to my wife— much to her discomfort and feeling that it's too soon. He is a compassionate and kind man, but has been laser focused both on his wife's illness over the past two years and now on his own needs. He rarely, if ever, checks in on my wife and cares for her. My wife has, on many occasions, said she feels that she hasn't had a father since her mom was diagnosed.

 

I feel that, as more time goes on, I've fulfilled roles as not just a husband, but a surrogate father, a therapist, a personal assistant (haha), and, as much as I hate to say, a whipping post for the frustrations and hardships that seem to only be getting worse. Our sex life feels more therapeutic than loving or fun, and I find that I want to withdraw and be alone more and more. We had an argument this week in which she told me that I was "going through the motions" of supporting her when she is having a difficult day and no longer being sympathetic. I'm worried about her, I love her, and I am scared to death of not knowing how to do this. But, when I get way down to it, I do have trouble feeling empathetic for the extreme bouts of grief that happen several times a week. I rarely spend time with my friends. I feel guilty not spending all of my free time with my wife. I end up staying up very late at night after she's gone to bed in order to have some time to myself, and then feel guilty (and overtired) for feeling like I need this time for myself. I'm having trouble maintaining my own identity as a person, a friend, an employee, and a member of my own family, in relation to my (at times, seemingly all-consuming) role as a caregiver for a woman that I deeply love and who needs me.

 

I hope that I'm not coming across as a jerk or an inconsiderate spouse. I've said mean things when I couldn't handle several hard days in a row, I've withdrawn myself at a time that she needed me, because I couldn't handle it; I used to be REALLY GOOD at handling this, but I'm having a harder and harder time. Any advice would be appreciated. 

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Brendobones,

What you are experiencing is very normal but I realize it's very difficult. Being the support person is tough, especially when we feel "enough time has passed." However, that being said--your wife has lost the most profound person in her life. Mother's and daughters (and I'm not excluding the fact that men, too, can have this) seem to have almost a spiritual kind of connection. For many women the process of healing from losing their mother is long and extremely tough.

 

Six months really isn't that long of a time to grieve perhaps the most important relationship one has up until children and perhaps a spouse.

 

Perhaps setting some boundaries for yourself and establishing "me" time would help you. You are newly wed, which is probably making this all the more difficult--trying to transition into the married life.

 

Maybe talking to others or even a professional could help you identify ways you can continue to show your wife the support she needs and get the support you need.

 

Are you close to your mother? Is she still living? Perhaps she can help you understand how you can handle all of this.

 

We will be here for you,

ModKonnie

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nk79   

Brendobones,

My heart goes out to you. It isn't easy watching someone we love in pain. While your wife is mourning her mother it sounds like you are mourning your relationship with your wife (I think that is normal). You are doing the best you can to be all the things your wife needs. I'm sure when you got married this wasn't what you imagined it to be.

My advice to you... keep loving your wife because I'm sure she isn't doing it for herself. She probably sees how difficult this is for you at times but can't get past her own pain. I am losing my mom. I am also getting married in six weeks. Your post helped me see things through my fiancé's eyes. I know how miserable I can be right now but I can't help it. I am angry that this is happening to my mom. I want to be everything for everyone but I'm human (as are you and your wife). We all deal with pain differently.

Remind yourself daily that you are a good husband. The best thing you can do... be the best husband you can be. That may sound silly but it will vary from day to day. Life sometimes just gets in the way. Good luck to you.

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GregP   

I am going through a very similar situation. My wife is greiving over her mom , her mom is still in the hospital but it's been a long ride, we don't know if she is going to make it or pass away. My wife and I been married for 13 years and been together for 16, we have 4 beautiful children , 3 with me and 1 from her previous marriage. My wife and I's marriage has dealt with a lot of ups and downs  but me always managed to stick together  and communicate with each other , I love her more and more everyday . When her mom was rushed into the hospital all I wanted to do was be my wife's support through this very hard time for her abd all of us, but I know it is her mom so I wanted to support her the most. My wife told me she would like if I still work and take care of the kids because she was going to be at the hospital everyday for her mom. I said I would without a doubt, even though it was overwhelming on me I did what I had to do for her. I was missing my wife considering she was at the hospital all hours of each day and praying she was alright and that her mom would get better. I was getting selfish because i wasnt use yo now having her with me like it was before.The 1 day my wife came home from the hospital and told me that a hot guy was checking her out, instead of laughing about it ,I took it to heart and was very hurt that, I am worried sick about her and praying for her but now I had these crazy thoughts that while she is at the hospital she is getting comfort from someone else. My insecurities and anxiety took a toll on me , I got really scared and thought my wife was going to leave me. When she would come home her  actions weren't the same, it felt like she was pushing me away , she didn't want me to touch her and when I went to kiss her she would pull away, my insecurities  were very high , I tried talking to her and she would get mad at me for trying to make this about myself and my intentions werent that at all , i was not use to not being able to talk to her. I got  mad and  I started to resent her and not trust her. But irealized what she is going through is sonething i can't imagine, i know everyone greives differently, So I took a step back and let her greive even though I was hurting inside , I kept questioning myself and seeking for help to self medicate myself , I wanted to believe her that she wasn't cheating on me. My insecurities and paranoia  took a big toll on me that I started to track her on  her on my cell phone , it was the only thing giving me comfort when she was gone. I was scared and hurt that I was going to lose the love of my life. The 1 day she came home and she wrapped her arms around me and kissed me and told me she is so grateful to have me doing all this while she is with her mom, it felt amazing that my wife was showing some affection towards me  but my insecurities were still there.something didn't feel right I kept analyzing it thinking why is she showing me affection now is she feeling guilty for what she has done?  Social media was the worst thing for me during this time, everything I saw on Facebook were  topics on how to know if your partner is cheating on you, out of curiosity I looked into it and alot of the things that it said were the same signs my wife was showing  at the time. My wife was making her self up to go to the hospital she told me her mom would dress up the same way for someone, that she wouldnt leave the house  without looking proper. That was a red flag for me , my wife also went and got a new hair style  another red flag. I was completely devastated  but I kept saying to myself she is only doing this because she is greiving. Everytime I saw her I was questioning her and she would get mad at me , I was so lost. I started to realize that everytime I questioned her it was pushing her away from me, since I loved her so much,I told myself I need to stop this insecurities and give her the space she was requesting  but it was like the devil playing games with me, I felt like I was living in a complete nightmare , I started to get clingy and telling her how much I loved her everyday, I was sending her texts about hiw much she means to me and that I have her back. She started to come back to me and all I wanted this whole time was to be reassured that she still loves me. She did say she does and told me she isn't a cheater, but a cheater will never say they are a cheater until they know for sure the person they are with is the one. So I still tracked her but then she busted me , she was going to jump out and scare me I thought she left but really she didn't she saw me on my phone tracking her , she got so mad and stormed out of the house , I tried calling her and calling her until she answered to apologize and explain to her why I was doing it , I told her because I was scared to lose her which is the truth, but she didn't want to hear it she was upset that I didn't trust her , I apologized and apologized  , the ball was in her court because I realized it was a messed up thing to do , I just been scared and lost through this whole thing, my wif has slowly started to except my apology but she said she is still angry and needs her space , with Than ks giving coming she is telling me to go visit my brother because she is going to have Thanksgiving with her mom in the hospital with her brother and my step daughter , I don't want to leave her side  and don't understand why she is pushing me away , she claims she isn't cheating on me that she still loves me and this marriage but I'm at the point now that I don't know what's going to happen, I been seeking help to help me get through with this. I am so scared to lose her , I wish she could see how much she means to me , I know I'm not perfect but I know my heart for her is for her. Please pray for me , I don't know what to do 

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Moezer   

@brendobones

It's been 2 years since your posts - how are things?

I'm in a similar situation where my wife lost her mom who is her 1st best friend and it was devastating.  Any update on your journey would be appreciated.

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