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If your husband's mother died, I'd appreciate stories of what the road back to life looked like. I don't want stories of other types of loss right now, please.

Edited by EmilyGF
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Oh gosh, I'm so sorry.  That seems so young nowadays!  My dh's mother died but she was much older, and it felt natural.  But knowing people who were younger who have died, you just have to get through it, and allow family members to process it.  Talk about it.  Talk about her life, and the positive things.  Ask questions, and let him talk.  Talking really does help process it.  Feeling a variety of emotions (extreme sadness about the loss, but laughter and happy emotions when thinking about past memories), is normal.  Be a good listener.  If you are a family of faith, zooming out to the broader picture helps (a lot!).  From what I've learned, allowing him to feel what he feels as he moves forward is healthy and necessary.  I had a major loss at a very young age, and I'll say that it took a few years to start to feel somewhat normal again.  But, it does happen!

Edited by J-rap
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I'm sorry for your husband's loss.

mil died last year - but it was expected.  she was 93, almost 94, and in poor health.   it did take a couple months for him to really settle down, but he was doing a lot of paperwork setting finances.  his sisters were going through her "stuff".    most of her stuff was at 2sil's. nothing particularly valuable.

My mother died ten years ago, it was rather sudden.  I was probably out of it for a few months. (dealing with my brother was part of it.

However - dh both lost our father's when we were teens.  It greatly affected our perspective on losing a parent.  It took much longer to get over their deaths than our mother's deaths.  The year dh turned 45 - the age my father died - I struggled.

does your dh expect to need to care for his father?  that would complicate things as now he feels he has to care for his father, while also caring for young children.  (I've btdt with my mother declining while dealing with an undiagnosed aspie child. that was hard.).   is this the first death for him of a close family member?  that will also have greater impact.

 

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My MIL passed away 2yrs ago.  DH had a rough day following the news, but his mom had been battling cancer for about 3years prior to her getting the terminal diagnosis of 3-6months.  She had been getting frailer and frailer after each round of treatment.  We always saw DH's family about once a month or every other month, and those last few months with his mom he went quite frequently.  DH did more grieving (as well as embracing as much time as he could) while his mom was alive, and felt that he had closure.  He was sad not to have his mom anymore, but relieved that she wasn't in pain anymore.  I will say my DH didn't handle any of the medical stuff, financial, or end of life stuff, my SIL did all that.

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My MIL died after her second round of cancer. She was sick the first time about 10 years before she got a different kind of cancer and that illness lasted about a year. Dh managed to go to Caracas for her final week which helped a lot with the grieving process. Since it wasn't unexpected and he had prepared for the worst, his grieving process wasn't as fraught as I had thought it might be. My MIL was not happy for the final few years of her life because of the horrible stress of living with constant shortages and outages and putting up with my FIL. I don't think she was particularly sad to be saying goodbye to all that and I'm sure that also helped dh's grieving process. Each person deals with death differently and, of course, the circumstances affect grieving too. Dh felt that he had done his best to provide medical care and purchase and ship the chemo meds she needed (a logistical feat because they had to be kept on ice) and that he had a chance to say goodbye. It was the best he could do and he didn't have any regrets.

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My MIL passed 8 or 9 yrs ago.  She was 63.  Complications from the flu.  I have shared the story here before, because the situation comes to mind often during this time of pandemic.

It was rough on DH and it was rough of me.  And the "road back to life" is actually ongoing.  MIL passed before DS7 was born.  And that brought it own set of things.  It's hard on both DH and I to realize that in my son's world...........................MIL doesn't exist.   We have pics and have discussed occasionally, but we both agree with not burdening him with missing someone he never met.....and that of course is it's own thing.

 When FIL passed, like 5 yrs (or so) later, that was another set of things.  Sometimes, visits with SIL will devolve into.....issues....because there were issues and issues regarding FIL naturally relate to MIL.

 

I will say....my reaction to MIL's passing was very very different to my SIL's DH.   And I think that my reaction helped DH better that BIL's.  I was close with MIL, not as close as with my own mom, but close.   And I think that shared grief helped the process.  

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My husband's mother died in early April suddenly.  However she had been failing for a while and I was not super surprised.  Because she was 88 almost 89 and there wasn't a lot of prolonged trauma with her death (hospital for 36 hours, her kids all got to visit her once) my husband seems to have bounced back really fast.  He's more struggling with how to help his dad during a global pandemic.  

That said my dad died suddenly at 71 5 years ago. He did have a chronic health condition but was out hiking and golfing the week before his death.  That WAS traumatic and involved a week of ICU and life support and hard decisions.  First grandparent my kids lost.  That was just a harder loss for all of us.  I really feel like there is something to be said about the first year of grieving being the hardest.  First holidays and birthdays without a loved one, etc.  Grief always travels with you but it becomes less overwhelming.  

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I'm so sorry for your loss and his. I would expect 5 years of depression. Just saying. I mean, may it not happen, but don't be shocked. 

That's all. Maybe someone else had better experiences, but that's ours. Nuts, I was so terribly attached to my MIL, I can't remember when it started getting better. But no, it's a horrible loss, a ripping out. And yeah, my MIL went sort of seemingly unexpectedly like that. I got pneumonia and didn't want to go see her lest I make her sick, and over that weekend she died. 

What you can do is read about the stages of grief. People go through them at their own pace. You can get pictures or make albums. You can commemorate anniversaries (b-days, whatever) if those are important. You can continue some of her traditions if they make him feel good. 

But I wouldn't try to violate the stages of grief, if that makes sense. I'd just let him go through them, be there, be peaceful. Hopefully, with enough time he'll come to the other side. Even when we're really rational (like it's ok, we know where they are, etc.), it's still really hard. There's this one song that KILLS me and I bawl every time it's own. Still.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESsjRYWtSjM

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My husband's mother died in the last month.  She had broken her shoulder and somewhere in the hospital to rehab to hospital to rehab cycle she got Covid.  It was not a horribly uncomfortable case, but she did pass away of it within a week of the diagnosis.

He's not talking about it.  

We could not visit her in the hospital or rehab because they don't let visitors in at all.  So we could only talk with her on the phone.  That was bad.

Also, we could not have a funeral, so we hope to have one in a year or so.  

We live a long way away so we are not involved much with the physical work of cleaning out her house, but we have relatives who are handling that and we are supporting them as best we can given that we can't really fly right now.  It's hard.

I have been trying to pop up little things for him to enjoy.  I pulled out some old pictures and have been putting them out here and there now and then.  He appreciates that, but again, he's so quiet about it.  Ditto other little stuff.  I feel like I can't bring it up without wondering whether I should have, but I leave these things around and he feels noticed but relieved not to have to talk about it is what it seems like to me.  

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DH filled copious notebooks with his thoughts & whatever else as he worked though his mom's last week of life, her death, her sibling relationships, his dad's reaction to everything, and many more things. (I haven't ever read them, but he did share a tiny bit occasionally.) It took him a long time to work through his grief and anger. And a lot of notebooks.

I'm sorry for your & his loss.

Edited by RootAnn
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1 hour ago, Carol in Cal. said:

My husband's mother died in the last month.  She had broken her shoulder and somewhere in the hospital to rehab to hospital to rehab cycle she got Covid.  It was not a horribly uncomfortable case, but she did pass away of it within a week of the diagnosis.

He's not talking about it.  

We could not visit her in the hospital or rehab because they don't let visitors in at all.  So we could only talk with her on the phone.  That was bad.

Also, we could not have a funeral, so we hope to have one in a year or so.  

We live a long way away so we are not involved much with the physical work of cleaning out her house, but we have relatives who are handling that and we are supporting them as best we can given that we can't really fly right now.  It's hard.

I have been trying to pop up little things for him to enjoy.  I pulled out some old pictures and have been putting them out here and there now and then.  He appreciates that, but again, he's so quiet about it.  Ditto other little stuff.  I feel like I can't bring it up without wondering whether I should have, but I leave these things around and he feels noticed but relieved not to have to talk about it is what it seems like to me.  

 

Oh no, Carol. How awful for all of you. The worst during this crisis is once people are in the hospital nobody can see them. Not being able to say good-bye in person is cruel.

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Dh had a strange relationship with his mother.  He was the youngest of 4 boys with a big age difference between the two oldest and the two youngest and his oldest brother was 12 years older.  Anyway, I didn't realize at first meeting her but eventually figured out that she had a martyr complex (or maybe savior/martyr complex would be a better word).  When dh was growing up, she made multiple dinners every night because no one except dh would just eat what was on the table- each wanted something different and she allowed that,  She didn't really like me which was okay but what really was not okay was her juvenile behavior when dh decided to join the USAF as an AIr Force Officer.  She wouldn't talk with him for three days. Anyway, because my dh was a successful person (and by that I mean, gainfully employed. not criminal, not drug or alcohol addict, able to stay married and have children--- and none of the other three were ever gainfully employed for more than a few years- max was oldest for about ten to twelve years and never employed again and second youngest was the addict of everything, only one who got married but quickly divorced and also had criminal issues)  so dh didn't need rescuing.  He also didn't want to live the bad lifestyles his brothers were or had lived but that mil tolerated.  

When I was pregnant with our third and last kid and in my third trimester, dh took all of us on a road trip  from Sacramento to Provo Utah for a business class.  The first night we were staying in Reno and he got the call that his MIL had had a heart attack.  He wanted to cancel the trip and fly out to see her.  His father and brothers said no, she would die if he did that.  Went to Utah and he was still trying to see her.  They kept saying don't come.  I think he only got to talk to her once.  She died when we were driving back,  We could only afford for him to fly back and that was a big expense anyway because of the immediate nature of the flight.  He stayed there for week or ten days helping his father with legal affairs, getting him do a will, etc plus with some help around the house.  Our third child was born about a month and a half after his return and he didn't seem to be depressed.  He was more angry at her for never going to the doctors to take care of her known high blood pressure, and never stopping smoking, etc. and his father and brothers for not allowing him to come to say goodbye/  DD2 does have one present from her, a beautiful blue and white crocheted blanket she had made for her before she died.

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11 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

 

Oh no, Carol. How awful for all of you. The worst during this crisis is once people are in the hospital nobody can see them. Not being able to say good-bye in person is cruel.

Right, it's so hard.  I feel like I abandoned her, and I ALWAYS go the distance for frail relatives.  The rules are very rough.

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I am so very sorry for your loss. I read your whole post yesterday but needed a little time before replying. My MIL died after a very short battle with ovarian cancer. She had been experiencing symptoms for a while but was caring for my dying FIL and so she didn't go to the doctor until it was too advanced. We lost them both of cancer within 6 months of each other. It was truly the hardest time I've ever experienced in my marriage. She was one of my best friends, I was crushed, my husband was crushed. Add to that we had a surprise pregnancy during that time. I don't want to sugar coat it, but it took us about 10 years to feel normal again. Holidays sucked for a long time. We had to put on happy faces for the kids, but we cried together at night. I think it would have been more like 5-6 years if we had gone to counseling sooner. Our situation was especially tragic with loosing both of them, the pregnancy and my husband being an only child etc.... so maybe that made it worse. Please message me if you want to talk. I didn't have anyone who had gone through it, and I sure wish I had...

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