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Old 06-26-2008, 10:23 PM   #1
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EllieM HB User
My boyfriend lost best friend and dad in last 6 weeks

In whatever way I can, I want to help this most wonderful man I love and have been dating for over a year now. In the last 6 weeks he's lost two of the most important people to him. First his best friend died (suicide, age 50), then 3 weeks later to the day his dad died (tractor accident, age 83).

They were not completely unexpected, his friend was bi-polar going through a rough divorce and my boyfriend had reached out to him the best he could, suggesting counseling, which he did get, and he was hospitalized twice in the last year. We were all praying it wouldn't happen, but it was still a shock when it did.

Then his dad had a tragic tractor accident, and he was a healthy and careful methodical man, but they think he had a heart attack and that's what caused the accident. That was horrible. The whole family is still reeling. They are a large close-knit family, live near each other in the country, and frequently get together for all sorts of occasions, which his parents hosted quite often. He was very close to his dad, built houses with him for a living, and his dad was his hero.

During the initial days of mourning, he wanted me there as much as possible. His dad thought alot of me and my son, and just days before his death, he and my boyfriend decided my son should call him "Grandpa". My boyfriend has never been one to go "inside his cave" in the entire year we've dated; he's always been so open and honest and loving. Now, he's turning inward, wracked with sorrow, his shoulders just heave and he sobs and he's very very quiet (we always talked and laughed ALOT).

I don't want to force conversation, but at this point I'm getting confused and having a hard time not taking it personally. He says he's not depressed, he's mourning. He's had dreams about his dad, and I know he misses his wisdom and input. So many questions, but I believe he prepared his son well. And he's very worried about his 80-yr old mother, but she is in good health and has lots of family and friends around to help her get through the hardest times coming up.

How long should this part of mourning last, or come and go? What is the best thing I can do to help ease the pain? I haven't been pushing him to do things or go places, I'm trying to take cues from him out of respect for his loss and grief. I'm not smothering him, he's made plans with me and asked me to join him visiting his mother, having dinner, lunch, volunteering to go to doctor appointments with me for my upcoming hip replacement surgery. But because he's acting differently now, I'm starting to wonder if there is actually a problem between us. We've always been so open, so I did finally ask, and he said no, but it was like he answered from "his cave".

It feels like there is alot unsaid right now...contrary to our normal openness. But I know that right now is not "normal" either. I feel like my heart is breaking because I need him too. Can somebody help shed some light on the situation? I've never been through these losses personally, and sure don't want to seem insensitive or unnecessarily worry myself and grieve over an imagined loss of my own - him.

Thanks,

EllieM

Last edited by EllieM; 06-26-2008 at 10:35 PM.

 
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:52 PM   #2
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Tracie1204 HB User
Re: My boyfriend lost best friend and dad in last 6 weeks

Hi Ellie,

First off, let me say I am so sorry for your loss----It is your loss also, b/c this man also meant a lot to you---as well as your boyfriend, whom you love very much.

I can give you a little advice---based on my own experience. My boyfriend's Mom passed away from cancer, 6 years ago this coming up September.
Now granted, it was not sudden, however, the family was not told of the severity of the situation---They were told on a Friday, while she ws hospitalized, to call in Hospice to the house, and she passed away very early the next Tuesday morning, while still in the hospital. My B/F and his sister---really had no idea that she was that bad off, so to them, it was somewhat unexpected. That being said, let me tell you how he dealt with it.

We too, had only been together for about a year and a half at that point. He completely withdrew into his inner self, which is the polar opposite of the person i knew. At first, I was very unsure of how to handle this, as we were 22 and 25 at that time. I finally came to the conclusion, that we all grieve differently--He was dealing with it the only way he knew how----He had also just lost his grandmother, whom he was very close to, the year prior to that, only a month after we started dating----He suffered alot of loss those first couple of years we were together.

And not to give you all my story----This is just background, that I am hoping to help you with----so you can see the similiarities. I finally just had to let him deal with it as he wanted-----So much I wanted him to talk to me, tell me what he was feeling---and that just was not happening. And i finally accepted that----but I am not going to lie----it took him 2 years to really "pull himself together"-----and I really hope that is not the case for you and your boyfriend---But i think in some ways, a depression does set in---and they have to be the one to overcome it.

I think you are doing the right thing---which is not pushing him--but yet, letting him know your are "there" for him. I really empathize with you---i know its so hard to want to be there---and to be afraid you are smothering him---but know you are not.
My B/F was the same way----I was right there with him, through all of the funeral arrangements, the visitations, the funeral itself----and everything that followed. We had just built a home prior to this---and his parents had been a big part of it---His Dad is alive, and his parents were married when she passed away.
And I know exactly where you are coming from, when you ask him, if something is wrong with your relationship---and the answer coming from the "cave"-----I wish i could convey in words how much i know that isn't very reassuring.

I have a feeling, that you are doing everything "right"----and all I can say, is continue to support him, love him, and let him know that its okay, if he doesn't want to talk. Eventually, he will---and if I have said too much of my own situation--I apologize---but it was just too similiar not to explain.

I don't think I can tell you how long it will take----Hopefully it won't take long---and it helps that it's Summer-----It is a beautiful time of year---and sunshine is important for that healing process.

If there is anything else, that I can say, or try to make you feel better, please let me know-----I have a feeling we might have a difference in age---But the loss of a parent is so hard at any age----


Please take care, and I will keep you in my prayers. I am glad you found this board---I kind of wish I had something like this years ago---It might have helped me to "vent" a little back then---I am sure there are plenty of others who have even more advice and helpful info.

Last edited by Tracie1204; 06-26-2008 at 10:56 PM.

 
Old 06-26-2008, 11:31 PM   #3
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EllieM HB User
Re: My boyfriend lost best friend and dad in last 6 weeks

Hi Tracie,

Thanks so much for your very thoughtful reply. You're right, some very close similarities in your situation, thank you for sharing. It definitely helps to know that, especially about the timing in the relationship to the deaths, and that you know what it sounds like to hear his voice from the "cave". Oh, I cried when I read it took two years for your boyfriend to get through the depression, for him, but also because you were there for him (bittersweet). You sound so much wiser than your years (I'm guessing your years!), you must be an unusually perceptive and compassionate person, and I'll bet your guy knows that. My boyfriend and I have both talked about the blessing of it being summertime too, we certainly do appreciate the warmer and longer days; it makes it so much easier to stay in contact and not be isolated, and to be surrounded by the colorful beauty of the season. Thank you again, so very much. You've really helped me understand alot more by seeing the bigger picture and I can have less misgivings and more giving.

God Bless You!

 
Old 07-18-2008, 08:48 PM   #4
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rthomas54 HB User
Re: My boyfriend lost best friend and dad in last 6 weeks

Ellie
I recently lost my oldest brother(51) to brain cancer...very unexpected. That was in Feb. Three weeks ago I lost my only niece (18) to a car accident. I am trying to give you some advice from "the cave".
With sudden family loss, each person is individualized. The whole family dynamic changes. No other family member or friend, or loved one can truly put themselves in the cave with the person dealing with the loss. Even with a hundred people mourning along side, its still a very lonely place.
I dont think your b/f can feel much beyond his pain right now. But, knowing you are there, loving him, even if silently, surely means the world to him.
Expect happiness and sadness and anger to come in spurts and please try to understand. Everyone mourns differently. As hard as this is for you, especially during your own mourning process, try to stand by him.
If I can offer any other insight to the cave, let me know. Im living in my own cave in hell right now and will gladly share any advice you ask for .

Rthomas54

 
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