Spouse not understanding my grieving

Posted by vfrifr @vfrifr, Nov 9, 2021

On September 15th, 2021, one of my brothers joined mom and dad in heaven. The passing was a blessing. My husband's parents are both alive and all his sibling are still here. Thus my husband has no frame of reference for what I am going through. He has said some very hurtful comments. We no longer talk about my brother that has passed. Any suggestions for how to deal with him.

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ignorance is overtaking many facets of our lives…faced with your problem, I would not engage in any conversation with him unless it involves the suggestion that he seeks counseling for his lack of concern/empathy… death comes to all of us and he should
be made aware of his selfishness at this, your time of need.

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@vfrifr I am saddened by the loss of your brother. Please accept my condolences. When we lose a family member, or a person we were close to, our personal response is just that. Personal. Others are not in our shoes and may not understand just where we are emotionally.

I don't know what the hurtful things are that your husband has said, but have you told him how they have affected you? You said his passing was a blessing, and perhaps your husband feels the same way, but is expressing his response in a manner that is hurtful to you. "Well, that took long enough!" "Well, now you can move on. Let's make plans!" type of statements may feel right to him, but in your mind does not honor your brother. Was your husband close to your brother? If so, he is trying to grieve in his own way, also, and wants to put all the feelings behind him.

There may be a grief support group in your area, usually from a hospice organization, or faith community, that you could check out. Is that possible? What are some good memories of your brother that you want to recall, and perhaps share with me if you are comfortable?
Ginger

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@gingerw

@vfrifr I am saddened by the loss of your brother. Please accept my condolences. When we lose a family member, or a person we were close to, our personal response is just that. Personal. Others are not in our shoes and may not understand just where we are emotionally.

I don't know what the hurtful things are that your husband has said, but have you told him how they have affected you? You said his passing was a blessing, and perhaps your husband feels the same way, but is expressing his response in a manner that is hurtful to you. "Well, that took long enough!" "Well, now you can move on. Let's make plans!" type of statements may feel right to him, but in your mind does not honor your brother. Was your husband close to your brother? If so, he is trying to grieve in his own way, also, and wants to put all the feelings behind him.

There may be a grief support group in your area, usually from a hospice organization, or faith community, that you could check out. Is that possible? What are some good memories of your brother that you want to recall, and perhaps share with me if you are comfortable?
Ginger

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Thank your for your condolences. I am the youngest of 6. (I am 62). By the time I was in my late 20's, 4 of my siblings (including the one that had passed) had moved out of state. By husband of 16 years, has only seen these siblings many 5 or 6 times when they have come to town. He is not close to any of them. The brother that passed had Stage 4 cancer in 4 parts of his body. For 3 1/2 years he lived life to the fullest while dealing with the cancer. When he realized that cancer and/or treatments would take his life, he asked each one of us siblings to come and spend a week with him, one on one. (No spouses). Thanks to my visit, I have no regrets, nothing was left unsaid and I was able to say good bye. When my brother entered hospice, my husband said, "You have already said Goodbye, just forget about him." The most recent comment about my crying from time to time was "You are making yourself unhealthy by all this crying". My responses to his comment have been "I miss my brother and it would be unhealthy not to cry!" My husband just walks away. By brother was cremated and his ashes will be spread in the spring at Steamboat Lake. The celebrations of his life will take place on his birthday in June. Other than my husband, I am doing well with my brother's passing. I have gone through the shock, denial and anger stages. With everything happening out of state, I have been able to find closure and have a sense of peace about his passing. I journal, do one on one grief counseling once a week. Have a minister and friends to talk to. Email with my other siblings. Been reading the book "Surviving the Death of a Sibling" by T.J. Wray. (Wonderful book!) I am looking to hear from people whose spouse also had the same problem for ideas on how to best deal with the problem.

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@vfrifr

Thank your for your condolences. I am the youngest of 6. (I am 62). By the time I was in my late 20's, 4 of my siblings (including the one that had passed) had moved out of state. By husband of 16 years, has only seen these siblings many 5 or 6 times when they have come to town. He is not close to any of them. The brother that passed had Stage 4 cancer in 4 parts of his body. For 3 1/2 years he lived life to the fullest while dealing with the cancer. When he realized that cancer and/or treatments would take his life, he asked each one of us siblings to come and spend a week with him, one on one. (No spouses). Thanks to my visit, I have no regrets, nothing was left unsaid and I was able to say good bye. When my brother entered hospice, my husband said, "You have already said Goodbye, just forget about him." The most recent comment about my crying from time to time was "You are making yourself unhealthy by all this crying". My responses to his comment have been "I miss my brother and it would be unhealthy not to cry!" My husband just walks away. By brother was cremated and his ashes will be spread in the spring at Steamboat Lake. The celebrations of his life will take place on his birthday in June. Other than my husband, I am doing well with my brother's passing. I have gone through the shock, denial and anger stages. With everything happening out of state, I have been able to find closure and have a sense of peace about his passing. I journal, do one on one grief counseling once a week. Have a minister and friends to talk to. Email with my other siblings. Been reading the book "Surviving the Death of a Sibling" by T.J. Wray. (Wonderful book!) I am looking to hear from people whose spouse also had the same problem for ideas on how to best deal with the problem.

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@vfrifr Crying can really be a healthy way when dealing with highly charged emotions! Some people cry when angry, or happy, or sad, simply overcome by the intensity. Do you notice [as I have] how more peaceful and calm you feel after expressing yourself in a good cry? Perhaps you are thinking about the happenings or events you will miss your brother at. Perhaps you are missing his input on things. It doesn't matter.

If your husband has not lost a family member or close relative/friend, he is not able to understand [yet] the different ways people grieve. That puts you in a unique position to help him understand, knowing everyone handles it differently. Perhaps lending him the book you spoke of? Perhaps having a friend clue him in how his comments hurt you? You have an open wound that is your brother's passing, and you would rather salve on it, than salt. The grief counseling may have an idea for you to address this, and your journaling is certainly a help!
Ginger

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Crying is a great release! Yes, my husband has the opportuity to learn for the future. Sadly, he is not taking the opportunity. My husband is auditory in how he comphrends, so reading a book to learn anything is not an option. When we have been around people and we talk about how grief is a process that takes awhile, he listens. Does he tell other people and talk bout my brother's passing when I am not around, I doubt it. My counselor and the book, pretty much talk about me having patience. The best way for me to have patience is to avoid him.

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A friend suggested this book for me to read. Very helpful!

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I am so sorry for your loss. I'm glad you reached out here. While I may not have any words of wisdom on how to get your husband to have a more empathetic response to you, I can share that I have been in the same place. I am the youngest of four, by a lot of years, I am 51 and there are 16 years between myself and the next one. Our oldest sister Kathy passed unexpectedly right before Christmas in 2015. It was awful, as we were very close. She was like a second mother to me and we lost our Mom and Dad in my mid 20s. So she held a very important place in my life. I struggled so badly afterwards because even though it was a blessing to spend her last few days with her, it tore me apart sitting with her as she passed. It was very traumatic for me. We left Texas after her passing and came home to MN on Christmas Eve. No one understood where I was at and how traumatized I was, not even my wife. It's been 6 years and I still grieved for her on her birthday this past Friday. I suspect it is a wound that will never completely heal. Please feel free to reach out here for support, I'm glad you're here.

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@michaelhughes

I am so sorry for your loss. I'm glad you reached out here. While I may not have any words of wisdom on how to get your husband to have a more empathetic response to you, I can share that I have been in the same place. I am the youngest of four, by a lot of years, I am 51 and there are 16 years between myself and the next one. Our oldest sister Kathy passed unexpectedly right before Christmas in 2015. It was awful, as we were very close. She was like a second mother to me and we lost our Mom and Dad in my mid 20s. So she held a very important place in my life. I struggled so badly afterwards because even though it was a blessing to spend her last few days with her, it tore me apart sitting with her as she passed. It was very traumatic for me. We left Texas after her passing and came home to MN on Christmas Eve. No one understood where I was at and how traumatized I was, not even my wife. It's been 6 years and I still grieved for her on her birthday this past Friday. I suspect it is a wound that will never completely heal. Please feel free to reach out here for support, I'm glad you're here.

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Thank you for your condolences. My sympathy to you on the unexpected loss of your sister. Hearing from someone who experienced the same as me, is very comforting. As the book I mentioned points out, society in general does not recognize that sibling grief is something real. Sibling grief is very much something, until you experience for yourself, understanding is very, very difficult. Sadly, others will understand only when it happens to them. No doubt I will always have some pain for my brother's passing. The pain shows how much we love them!

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I will definitely check out the book you recommended! I saw it written somewhere right after my sister's passing, how lucky we are to have loved someone so much that we miss them so badly. So true.

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Something that has helped me, is realizing how many people I am on contact with on a regular basis, has also experienced the death of a sibling. Very brief conversations with them have been very helpful.

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