Dealing with grief

Discussion in 'The Other Half' started by chrisg46, Jul 11, 2009.

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  1. chrisg46

    chrisg46 LE Book Reviewer

    My brother in law died suddenly yesterday morning, cause not yet known but i suspect an aneuysm (excuse spelling).

    he would have been 39 a week today, just qualified as a personal trainer and has a 5 year old son. his other half (my wifes sister) is 28 and has MS.
    Full story is that he got home from his job at the gym (an 8 mile cycle ride) around half ten Thurs night, speaking to Sis in law from the kitchen when she heard a thud. She goes in to find him on his back, blood pouring from his mouth and in his eyes. Ambulance is called, as well as her parents who live 5 minutes away, dad bringing his kit with him as he was a St Johsn first responder and he begins CPR. 999 arrives, more cpr, including shocks is done all to no avail, i think he was DOA at the hospital. Sis in law watches the whole thing.
    5 yr old sleeps through the whole thing, a blessing in my eyes.
    Sis later has to formally identify him at the hospital, didnt sleep and spent yesterday phoning his friends remaining family etc to advise. Both his parents died when he was in his teens.

    Obviously the whole family is in shock, and there are no magic words to make it all better, but i have limited experience in dealing with bereavement. Is there any decent practical advice on what i can do to help things pass day by day? Please please please dont scribble on this thread, its not in the naafi for a reason. If you dont have anything practical to day, dont say it.
  2. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    No mate, there is no magic formula for grief - sorry. I know it is a cliche but time is the great healer. You will hurt for a period but life will take over and you get on with it.

    Make sure you get round as a family and support each other.
  3. You have my deepest sympathy, I lost my elder brother a short time ago and still miss him awfully, but you must think of the living , and try to give support to his wife and child, become the worlds best uncle
  4. Following a death there are a lot of arrangements to be made, so the first week or two are a busy time.

    Don't bottle-up your feelings. Crying, sobbing and howling are helpful.

    Lots of advice here:
  5. Condolences. There is no one answer to this one as every person takes it differently. They say time is a healer and to a certain extent it is and the way I personally have done it is compartentalise (if that is a word) in the napper where you can go a visit and remember those who have gone. As for those that are left behind, give them the support that they ask for and try and not get in the way too much, they need their own space at times.
  6. chrisg46

    chrisg46 LE Book Reviewer

    Thanks all, it is not so much me that needs to howl etc, although i have had quite few bad moments, such as when the son told me his dad had gone to heaven to teach the angels to play tennis (he was an instructor at the local club).
    The father is blaming himself, my wife and her mum are upset obviosuly, and the partner goes without saying. What can i do? i am making usre the wife keeps her admin in order, sleeping eatiung and washing etc. I am pretty sure she would just stare into space otherwise.
    I have to admit though, Facebook is proving a godsend at the moment, with condolences etc and memorial group being set up.
  7. When my brother died all the arrangements had been covered by his will, and I found all the people trying ti help me a bit to much, so I ran away for a week and hid, on my own. Every body thought I had lost it, but that was the way I found best to handle my grief, on a mountain alone with my dogs
  8. Firstly, sorry for your loss.
    Just to set the scene, I have been a copper for 13 years and have dealt with the consequences of sudden, often dramatic, death more times than I care to remember.
    The good thing for you is that you have identified the need to support your sister.
    Grief is a strange beast. There is no set way of dealing with it, everyone will do so in their own way. Some people dry their eyes and move on quickly, others take years. The most important thing to remember is that there is no right way. The right way is whatever works for the individual.
    Grief is not a competition in suffering. If your sister is still suffering in a year, and another close relative draws a line under it after a few weeks, then neither is wrong.

    It may also be that your sister gets swept along by the need to sort the kid out, make arrangements, deal with an inquest etc. This may mean that the loss doesn't hit her properly for some time. Weeks even months maybe. She may then have a massive crash apparently out of the blue. Which is fine. Or she may not. Which is also fine.

    There is often a temptation to over-care for the bereaved. Question your motives for this. Is it to help you deal with your own grief (general observation, not directed at you)

    Try and avoid asking questions like 'Are you OK'. Of course she isn't. Her otherwise fit and healthy husband has just dropped dead in the living room!
    Instead think of asking 'Is there anything I can do to help' or 'Do you need anything'. Simple things like a blown light bulb that he would have changed, can send people into a pit of misery. And a 5 year old is hard work, so consider helping out there.
    Also remember that there will be a lot of 'firsts' to get through. First birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, even trips to Tesco, that would usually have involved him.

    And don't ever be surprised or upset if you get told to fcuk off and leave her alone.

    I guess the short version is that there is no right way to grieve and no right time to stop.
    Be there for your sister, and let her take the lead. And don't forget to grieve yourself.

    Dependant on where you live, there are a number of charities that can help if needed. I am aware of at least one charity that specialises in helping young children deal with grief. PM me if you want and i'll see what I can find out.

    Just to finish off, I had a two week period a few years ago where we lost three close relatives. The one thing I came away with was the knowledge that whatever has happened, the world keeps turning, and the living need to go on doing just that.
    Good luck and take care of each other.
  9. CountryGal

    CountryGal LE Book Reviewer

    Sorry for your loss

    People deal with grief in so many ways that theres no right or wrong thing to be doing to support your wife at a time like this.

    Just be there for her, if she needs to yell and scream be that shoulder, if she needs to cry and be held be those arms, if she bottles it all up and doesnt want to talk about it, dont push, make time every day so that if she does want to share she can, if she doesnt then she will evtntually. Dont get frustrated if she cant.

    Also you forget about silly things like eating or bathing sometimes too, so if you can make her something to eat and try and get her to eat it, or take a bath to try and turn off.
  10. CRUSE (the Bereavement Charity) were worth their weight in gold to my Mum when my Stepdad died a few years ago mate. Even if it's just someone to talk to who understands what's going on, it's worth the phone call.
  11. I am sorry for your loss Chris.At an age of 73 you might well think that I should have some insight into family bereavement, but alas, not so.

    It always comes as a shock. It feels as though it will rip the heart out of you, but life does go on.

    Stick together as a family is all I can offer.

    LanceBombardierEars seems to have a fairly good handle on things.

    Good luck and God bless.
  12. Sorry to hear of your loss. What I would say is:

    Be aware that this could affect the relationships of those involved for a long time to come. If things start to deteriorate two, six or 12 months down the line it might well be that this was the root of it.

    Grief is a strange thing as has been said.

    Drawing on the experience of a friend who was bereaved some few years ago, about the same time I was and comparing the two I would say that seeking some counselling for all those involved, (including yourself) would be a very worthwhile exercise. Ii think I should have done. No-one ever suggested it and it wouldn't have occurred to me.
  13. With my condolences I can only add to the above.It is however usefull at such times to remember that the small things that brought pleasure in the past will still,wether this is a cup of hot chocolate or a long soak in the bath.I have also also found it important to recall that the lost loved one would want life to go on for the bereaved and would want you to enjoy what you can.Only time and the support of family and friends will make the loss of so much eventually bearable.
  14. My bold-

    All the above posts have the answer - ie, there is no one answer - every case is different .
    Having been too far to many funerals of late the advice in bold above seems very good. Its weeks or months after the funeral when the support is often needed most , friends and family begin to go back to "normal" life and the bereaved person will as far as they are concerned never have a "normal" life again. Be supportive and also don't just stop talking or mentioning the person who has died, far from protecting the bereaved from memories it is good for them to talk , the person may have died but they haven't ceased to have existed.

    Time is a healer , and life will go on.
    Care for each other, be there for each other , grieve with each other.
    All the very best
  15. Sorry to hear about your loss. Your Dad hasn't done anything wrong, I doubt even if he had been in hospital he would have been saved as a major artery has burst.

    At the moment just do the practicalities, if you see something needs doing get on and do it. There are no answers as to why it has happened, best thing is just to listen and hug. Don't forget yourself if you are supporting everyone else.

    On average it takes 2 years to work through the grief cycle, it's not straightforward as you can go forward and back especially at times like birthdays, anniversaries and christmas.

    Wishing you strenght in the days ahead