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My grieving husband

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About 10 weeks ago I got a phone call from my husband while at work that my father-in-law had committed suicide.  Since that day our family has struggled to get back to some sort of new normal and dealing with life as we are all grieving in so many different ways.

A little back story- my mother in law moved out and out of state to care for an uncle who was sick and no other family were able to care for him due to work etc.. my father in law was in a daze and kind of lost so we decided to move in with him to help cope with life without his wife everyday.  He was a recovering alcoholic and had a lot of depression, however no one knew it was as bad as it was.  While away for work in Flint, MI he unfortunately took his life the day he was supposed to come home.  

Fast forward and here we are.  My husband struggles to get out of bed in the mornings... struggles to do his daily duties of picking up our daughter and household chores.   He chooses to FaceTime my mother in law many times an evening and sometimes hours.. I love that he is helping his mother cope with this situation- but on the other hand He's not coping himself and has built a wall and does not want to speak of the situation nor deal with his feelings about his father's death.  

I definitely would love some advice so I can better be supportive of my husband and how to confront him about feeling like I'm loosing him daily.. my daughter asks why her dad doesn't play with her or give her attention he once did and it breaks my heart.  Help!

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Dear Brittney,

My deepest sympathies and condolences on the loss of your father in law. I'm so sorry for all the pain and sorrow your family is going through. I know this is a very difficult time. And its only natural to want your husband to cope and return to a daily routine. Grief hits all of us so hard. The trauma of losing his father and trying to support his mother must be overwhelming.

If your husband is receptive maybe suggest seeing a grief counselor or joining a support group. There so many wonderful programs offered in the community, through church or work. There are also websites like What's Your Grief, The Grief Recovery Method, GriefShare.Org that might be able to help your husband understand all the raw emotions he is going through. There are also different books and videos on grief and loss. Everyone is so different its hard to know what will help.

Losing my father has been the hardest experience of my life. I think it takes a long time for our minds and bodies to process the loss. Although my friends and family have given me many suggestions I still find it very difficult. This first year without my father feels like an eternity. I find it very hard to accept. I'm glad your husband has you and your daughter to support and love him through this sad time.

Thinking of you.



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Dear Brittney,

I am so sorry for your loss. Going through the death of a loved one due to a suicide is an absolute nightmare. It has only been 10 weeks so it is still so fresh.

My Mother committed suicide 4 years ago and my daughter and I found her. She had shot herself and it is an image ingrained in our brains forever. I cried uncontrollably everyday for a solid year. It took about three years before I stopped crying as often. 

Your life changes forever and will never be the same. You feel tremendous guilt, your wonder why didn't I see the signs, was it something I said, did or didn't do. There are a million questions that can never be answered. When a loved one dies from illness or accident, they did not chose to leave you, but a suicide, they chose to leave you. So in a way you feel abandoned. Why didn't they love me enough to stay with us? To be there for us and our lives? 

You feel like you didn't really know the person you thought you knew. My Mom was always telling me to be positive, have faith, trust God, so I never in a million years thought she would do that. So it makes you sometime question what you were taught. 

Your husband will never be the same. His views on life have changed, his priorities have changed. You realize life is so short and you are not as tolerant for the petty things one has to deal with especially at work. 

Give your husband time. His nerves have been shattered into a million pieces and it is going to take a long time to begin to heal. He needs to rest, be good to himself, sleep, exercise, get out of the house, counseling,  join a group, volunteer, help others going through the same thing, pray, pray and pray. Talk about his experience and feelings to anyone and everyone until he is tried of talking about it. Get it out of his system. He will have great difficulty focusing on anything for a good while and his mind will wander to his happy place often.

Help him to realize it wasn't his fault. Like I said, we feel tremendous guilt. Everyone goes through problems in life. There are those that can cope, and those that can't cope. Those that can't make that choice. Whether they have, depression, a chemical imbalance, medication related or drug or alcohol related, the inability to cope is something within themselves and no one else's fault.

His Father's journey in life was completed or perhaps he was in so much pain within that God took him home to be safe and at peace. Your husband will find he is so much stronger than he ever imagined.

Just pray for him, have patience with him and reassure him that you will not abandon him as well.

May God wrap his loving arms around you, your husband and your family and give you comfort, peace and strength.

Sincerely, Sherry.


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