I don’t know that I’d have tried to discuss this marriage topic so soon after the re-launch of this site, except that this is just what I’m dealing with right now. Is it too early for me to bare my soul to you? My husband just lost his mother; tomorrow will be 2 weeks, and he is still grieving. I’m in a strange place right now.
It’s hard to even know where to start this post. Do I start with how I wasn’t all that close to her and am uncomfortable with my level of grieving? It’s there, and we were far from enemies, but we weren’t close. Do I start with how this has been a 6 month process, and even hubby admits to have known this was coming – as did I – back in January? Do I talk first about how hubby wasn’t there when it happened and how that has caused him to take a little longer in allowing the grieving process to take place?
Maybe I need to back up even further than that and tell you that my husband lost his father at the age of 8. That was a major pivot in his life, and he has not had it easy. Until a few years ago when we were doing some counseling for our marriage and he followed some sound spiritual warfare advice, the loss of his dad has affected my husband for his whole life. Part of that loss was the emotional and largely mental loss of his mother, at the same time.
He has had to step up and take care of her all these years. I believe that she went through a grieving process when he and I married. Not so much because she didn’t like me (though that may have been part of it), but because she felt like she was losing her baby boy. And then we up and moved across the state, so I could go to college. Was that awful of me? Neither of us thought so at the time, and I’m sure it was good for my husband and my marriage, but I wonder how much it affected my mother-in-law and I never really realized it – or even thought about it, at least not like that.
What Can I Do?
As I sit here, continuing to pray for my husband who still cannot find rest, even when he’s able to sleep, the tears well up in me. Are they tears of regret? Probably many of them are. Are they tears of loss?
But this post isn’t about me. It’s about supporting my husband as he is grieving.
I mentioned that it took a while for the whole thing to sink in for him. He was super fine for the first 24 hours. At the memorial service on Friday, I was holding him up as he placed a flower on his mother’s ashes, and I thought he was going to fall. I tried to get him into a chair, but he couldn’t – or wouldn’t – move. How does a wife help a husband in a time like that?
There are only a few things I can do.
†I can look past his anger. Anger is part of the grieving process, and it’s not always logical anger. If he lashes out at me, I’m purposefully letting it roll off my back. That’s not him, he doesn’t mean it, and this too shall pass. My husband is not an angry man, and the worst this gets is a few snippy words. He’ll be okay.
†I can relieve him of unnecessary obligations. Until he’s ready and wants to, Dad isn’t on the chore list right now. The kids and I can make that up for him, though I’m finding that he’s liking to keep busy and is doing some of the “to do” list items that have been there for months. It’s out-of-the-ordinary stuff, and it keeps his mind occupied, so rather than nag about what his usual obligations and priorities are I am happy to let him occupy his mind and his hands in other ways. He’ll be okay.
†I let him rest, as much as possible. Even when he sleeps lately,he’s not getting much rest. He’s more tired all the time than usual, and is needing frequent naps. Sometimes he lets me know that he’s going to lay down, and sometimes not. I try to pay attention and keep the kids quiet so that he has every opportunity for rest that’s possible. He’ll be okay.
†I pray for him constantly. Sometimes he seems fine (just tired), and sometimes it’s obvious that he’s having a hard day. I pray that the Lord will send His ministering angels, to hold my husband up and give him the strength to make it through “all the things” today. I pray that the Lord would bring my grieving husband comfort, and peace, and an answer for everyone who asks. It’s scripture that we be able to answer especially the non-believers around us when they want to know what is different because we are Christians, even if that means helping them understand how different the grieving process is. He’ll be okay!
†Most of all, in this stage of grieving, I’m reminding him that he’ll be okay. It will be okay, and life on earth does go on. Things will return to semi-normal, even if there is a hole there. He’ll be okay, she is okay, and he will see her again.
Grieving is rough on anyone, and there are so many strange things about this. I’ve never lost anyone this close, and it’s hard on all of us. Please keep my husband, his sister, and their step-dad in your prayers. Just because the memorial service is over (hubby did a great job conducting it, by the way), doesn’t mean the grieving is anywhere close to being so. He’ll be okay.
What have you found comforting in a period of grieving?
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