DP dad died yesterday. How do I support him?

(11 Posts)
pizzaqueen Thu 21-Mar-13 06:58:01

My partners dad died yesterday. I don't know what to say or do to support him? I just feel so desperately sad for him. He's really not a 'talker' and I've never had a really close bereavement before.

His dad has been terminally ill with little quality of life for over a year now, so it wasn't completely out of the blue but still seemed to happen quite suddenly iyswim.

We also have a 2.5 yr DS. What do we say to him? He visited their house 2-3 times a week so will notice he's gone.

I'm not due back at work until Monday now but my DP does majority of childcare while I work. Should I call and say I can't come into work?

Can anyone offer any advice or guidance? Thank you.

OneLieIn Thu 21-Mar-13 07:05:28

Really sorry for your loss.

Dh lost his dad a few years ago and similar isn't one who talks too much about his feelings. It was lots of quiet, lots of slow conversations, kits of hugs and love. I tried to take a lot of stuff away and off him, like admin. He got a lot of pleasure from being with the dc's.

I don't know if that helps at all?

Re dc, there are some really good books out there about death and what it means. Have a look and see if you can find something that you can read? Heaven is a beautiful place at that age

Lots of love to you and yours

LadyKinbote Thu 21-Mar-13 07:06:28

Didn't want to read and run but I think all you can do is listen to what (if anything) DH wants to tell you, and help out with the practical stuff - paperwork etc. There's a good leaflet online 'what to do when someone dies' which talks about cancelling bills etc. There's also good advice online about talking to young children. So sorry for your loss, it will affect you as well flowers

AllOverIt Thu 21-Mar-13 07:13:22

So sorry for your loss. I was in your exact position in Jan 2010.

DH's dad had stomach cancer, ill for about a year. I had 3 yr old DS and 6 month old DD.

I can only say to be there. Encourage him to talk, hug him when he needs it, leave him be when he needs that. Just be there.

I found it hard to explain to DS as I'm an atheist. I explained to DS that grandad had been in a lot of pain and that he wasn't in pain any more. That he'd loved him with all his heart. DH told him that he was in the sky watching him. We went outside and looked up at the clouds and shouted to grandad.

Every day DS would say hello to him in the sky.

I wish you luck. It's an awful time hmm

pizzaqueen Thu 21-Mar-13 07:41:02

Thanks for your kind words and advice everyone.

It's little things like DS has a swimming lesson this morning, is it insensitive for me still to take him, it's probably better he's out of the way.

I will offer to do thing like admin but I think he'll prefer to be busy with stuff like that himself to feel like he's helping his mum out. She's in her 50s as was his Dad, I have no idea of the grief and loss she must be feeling. I think DP will be out a lot spending time with his mum in the coming days.

It's tough because we've been together about 7 years but I still feel I barely know his family,and like a guest in their home so don't know what useful support I can offer. And I don't want to intrude on their grief, if that makes sense.

greencolorpack Thu 21-Mar-13 07:59:31

It is good to take time off work to give your DP space to grieve.

I would say be honest with your child about it and put it in very simple language. I can't stand this idea that you have to "protect" children from death. Death exists, the relative is not around any more, theres no point fudging it. It just stores up issues for the child later when they are older and face death and it hits much harder cos they were excluded from the grieving process last time. When my gran died, my mum, a single parent, sent us off to friends for about three weeks and when we came back it was business as usual and gran was a taboo subject. We weren't expected to grieve or even care it seems, but we did. So it hit far harder when grandad died ten years later and I was 17.

DowntonTrout Thu 21-Mar-13 08:07:28

I can only comment from the other side.

When my dad died my DH just supported me. He allowed me to talk, laugh, cry as I needed and fielded calls from people when I wasn't up to it. He was a real rock at my side and yet he gave me space to just, well- be.

You can help him by taking over as much of the childcare as you can for a few days and little things, like a hug or a reassuring touch. He may want to be around his mum and you may have to step back and give him that time. Also, even though you don't know her well you should offer her your help for anything that she needs, but also remain in the back ground IYSWIM.

It sounds like you are aware and doing what is right instinctively. The thing to remember is that there is no correct behaviour and nothing you can do to make him feel better right now. Giving someone the space to grieve in their own way and yet remaining strong for them is probably the the most important thing, as well as little hugs, reassuring touches and anything practical you can think of.

pizzaqueen Thu 21-Mar-13 08:09:16

I'm not trying to protect DS from it, we will explain to him in some way. I just think a two year old running around pretending he's on a space rocket/boat/tractor probably isn't the best thing to be dealing with when the grief is so raw so better to keep him busy elsewhere as much as possible?

He's also a very lively child who's constantly to the (he's really hard work) i feel he's too young to understand about time and place for appropriate behaviour. My DP struggles with his behaviour at the best of times.

pizzaqueen Thu 21-Mar-13 08:10:36

Thanks downtontrout that is really helpful.

DowntonTrout Thu 21-Mar-13 09:22:20

Yes DS will cope as he's so young. Yes keep him busy, without obviously keeping him away- ie there may be moments when normal 2yo behaviour is too much but then again, noise and normality is a good thing, and having something that you have to carry on for is also a good thing.

Your DP may need DS around and may not want to be parted from him, sometimes a child has a way of diffusing things and helping you cope. Or he may just not need to deal with him at the moment. That is something you have to play by ear. Good luck with it all. It is so difficult to see someone you love going through this but just keep remembering that normality, whatever that is, will return, it just takes time.

AllOverIt Thu 21-Mar-13 09:32:04

I agree that the kids keep you busy and occupied. I think they really helped DH as the routine and general buzz kept him from wallowing too much (his word not mine).

Take time and be kind to yourselves. DH was round his mum's a lot in the early days. I left them to it to some extent, but also took the kids round when she was up to it as it kept her in the present, if you know what I mean.

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