My FIL died...... how much does one need to bereave? - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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My FIL died...... how much does one need to bereave?

My FIL has been in failing health for the last year. So this is not a surprise.

He and my MIL split up when my husband was 10. He remained in the area so my husband regularly saw him but he says he was not much of a father.

My MIL calls him a sperm donor (in front of her son and second husband).

So the family told him he did not need to come to see him before he died and neither for the funeral. As my FIL has been single for a awhile, I guess you could say he died alone. HE has 5 children in total, my husband has 3 half siblings It never appeared that there were strong feelings of love for him. So I gather they are doing a private burial and getting it over with.

Just wondering, under the above conditions, what kind of bereavement needs can one have? I don't want to be taken by surprise and would like to help my husband if I can.

Any other information that is needed, let me know.

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 02:36 AM
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Re: My FIL died...... how much does one need to bereave?

You're asking a bunch of strangers to randomly speculate on how your husband may react to the death of his father based on one or two paragraphs worth of brief history.

He could be relatively unfazed and act like nothing happened or he could go to pieces and be completely unable to function for some period of time, or anything in between.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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Re: My FIL died...... how much does one need to bereave?

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You're asking a bunch of strangers to randomly speculate on how your husband may react to the death of his father based on one or two paragraphs worth of brief history.

He could be relatively unfazed and act like nothing happened or he could go to pieces and be completely unable to function for some period of time, or anything in between.
I'm asking what other people have experienced or observed with others.

If I paid for a bereavement counsellor, I would still be asking a total stranger for their opinion.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Re: My FIL died...... how much does one need to bereave?

If I bought a book on bereavement, I would still be consulting a total stranger.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 07:43 AM
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Re: My FIL died...... how much does one need to bereave?

Good points.

Ok based on what you said I'll say that he'll be a bit quiet and moody for the next 45 days but other than that will still be his usual self.

I do not expect any major meltdowns nor inability to carry out his normal day to day routine.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 07:50 AM
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Re: My FIL died...... how much does one need to bereave?

Unless he was very close to his father, this won't really change anything. Life goes on normally for most people after a family death, unless they were very close. Just be kind and ready to be supportive for a few weeks, but don't impose your thoughts and feelings on him - let his tone set yours.

Love is an ideal thing; marriage is a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

CELIBACY IS NOT HEREDITARY.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 08:02 PM
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Re: My FIL died...... how much does one need to bereave?

It's very hard to speculate, everyone grieves so differently. It's possible that this won't affect your husband much at all, and it's also possible that it may bring up things from his childhood, or even grief for what could have been and that chance is now lost (no matter how unlikely it ever was).

The only way you'll really know how your husband is feeling is to ask him...if he seems down or distant. Just follow his lead.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 08:18 PM
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When my H's stepfather passed, he took it really hard for a few months. This man was an awful person, he was mean and nasty to my husband as a little boy. My husband said he was sad, because he missed out on having a father and all the things they could have had together. His dad died when he was 3. He kept circling on the same thought. It took him a while to get over it. He was morose ,angry and sad. Regret can be terrible.

Everyone reacts differently. Does not matter if the relationship was good or bad. It's a time for retrospection .

So it will take however long it takes. Your job is to give support, listen and watch him. You watch too see if he is becoming depressed or getting too wrapped up in the grieving process. Then you get him help.

Since, his dad just died, give the man time.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 09:34 PM
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Re: My FIL died...... how much does one need to bereave?

How is your husband reacting to his father's death right now?

Some people would go on as though nothing happened. Others might grieve very deeply because they are not only grieving the death, but they are grieving the lost possibility of the father who they could have had.

I think that your best bet is to follow his lead. Just keep an eye on your husband and see how he reacts.

Does your husband want to go to the funeral?
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
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Re: My FIL died...... how much does one need to bereave?

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How is your husband reacting to his father's death right now?

Some people would go on as though nothing happened. Others might grieve very deeply because they are not only grieving the death, but they are grieving the lost possibility of the father who they could have had.

I think that your best bet is to follow his lead. Just keep an eye on your husband and see how he reacts.

Does your husband want to go to the funeral?
He doesn't want to go to his funeral and isn't going. we live on a different continent so the effort would be great.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-04-2016, 06:55 PM
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Re: My FIL died...... how much does one need to bereave?

I just lost my dad about six months ago. We weren't close either. Both of my parents are/were pretty mentally ill, so a close relationship just wasn't in the cards. I have forgiven both of them though. I will say, I was shocked by the amount of grief that initially came out. There were some good times that needed to be grieved. Not everything was bad. The saddest thing for me was the loss of hope. I always held on to a small sliver of hope that things could be different. That he would get some mental help. When he died, I had to let that go. Another thing that surprised me and made me feel bad (at first), was there was a small sense of relief too. I feel bad just typing the words now. But I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop when it came to them. Always this impending sense of doom. What kind of crazy is going on now? When he died, he was being investigated by the DEA. Thank God, that's over. Lots of mixed emotions for sure. I hope this helps. ((Hugs)))
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2016, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Re: My FIL died...... how much does one need to bereave?

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I just lost my dad about six months ago. We weren't close either. Both of my parents are/were pretty mentally ill, so a close relationship just wasn't in the cards. I have forgiven both of them though. I will say, I was shocked by the amount of grief that initially came out. There were some good times that needed to be grieved. Not everything was bad. The saddest thing for me was the loss of hope. I always held on to a small sliver of hope that things could be different. That he would get some mental help. When he died, I had to let that go. Another thing that surprised me and made me feel bad (at first), was there was a small sense of relief too. I feel bad just typing the words now. But I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop when it came to them. Always this impending sense of doom. What kind of crazy is going on now? When he died, he was being investigated by the DEA. Thank God, that's over. Lots of mixed emotions for sure. I hope this helps. ((Hugs)))
thanks for telling me about your experience. May I ask, what mental illness was it; how profound did it manifest in everyday interactions?
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2016, 12:28 PM
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Re: My FIL died...... how much does one need to bereave?

Oh dude. You really want to open that can of worms? I'll try to be succinct here. The short answer is I'll never have an exact answer to that question. But, I will say some of therapists I have seen in the past have suggested that it was some kind of narcissistic/borderline personality disorder and my mom seems to carry a lot of borderline traits as well. I know that term is thrown around very loosely these days, but I feel in my heart it's probably true.

They aren't/weren't evil people. Just very emotionally labile. Neither one had any control over their emotions. Lots of screaming and fighting. Lots of threats of suicide/attempts on my mother's part even over seemingly small things like burnt mashed potatoes. When they were calm, they were/are actually very funny, charming, and incredibly quick-witted and intelligent people. They are capable of a small amount of surface level normalcy for short periods of time. But you never knew when they would lose their Sh%$. Lots of walking on eggshells. And to top it off, they both are compulsive liars. Here's the weird part. They actually believed their own lies and each others. I've never seen anything like it in my whole life.

Did it manifest everyday? I guess the short answer is yes. There was the always waiting for the other shoe to drop. They were able to make good livings. My dad was a psychiatrist and would change jobs about every six month (always someone else's fault, of course) and because of his extreme narcissism he thought the rules didn't apply to him and wrote for prescriptions for ungodly amounts of narcotics outside his scope of practice. The DEA was about to yank his license and cart him off to jail when he died. Little stressful I'd say!

I hope this explains things a little.

Last edited by Ms. GP; 10-09-2016 at 01:02 PM.
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