12 answers

Resources for Helping My Husband Deal with the Death of His Dad?

Howdy all you Mamas out there, I am a bit stuck for advice. My husband (40) just lost his dad (65) in late February. I know from personal experience that grieving is a longterm (lifelong!) process, but he has recently admitted to feeling a bit down about it, and not feeling like he has anyone to talk to. He's hit one of those plateaus, or I should say ruts, in the process. He doesn't really want to discuss it with his siblings because "they'll just try to give me advice."

Of course he has me to talk to, but for whatever reason, that's not doing it for him. My guess is he needs someone, maybe a man, and probably with a more distanced point of view from his situation. I haven't lost a parent yet, though the loss of my grandmother was devastating. I don't remember how I got through it though, so either way I have no advice to give.

He is covered through my employer for an Employee Assistance Program, so I'm going to call them, but I wondered what other ideas you wise Mamas might come up with.

UPDATE: I just wanted to add that he is a really nice guy who is just allowing himself to get to the angry stage, and it's hard for him to be angry, too. He hasn't done any of his grieving in front of me so it's hard to know where he's at. The responses so far (9) have been great and I really appreciate people taking time out to share & advise.

What can I do next?

More Answers

I've lost both parents (and an older sister) in the last 8 years. Sometimes I still burst out crying. It IS a long process. Encourage your husband to find a guy friend who will just let him talk. I think, too, that writing things down might help to boost him past this difficult stage. I know that guys resist the "girlie" idea of journaling -- but something as simple as a few sheets of notebook paper and a bic will help to get the feelings out. If he wants to throw them away afterward, that's fine too. It's just him talking to his dad, and himself, saying the things that he might be leery of sharing with anyone else -- even you. And, lastly, no matter what your husband's belief system is -- suggest to him to wait for a dream. About nine months after my father died, I had the most incredible dream of him. He looked great, (not like he did before he died), assured me that he was fine, and even (in my dream) showed me the beautiful place where he was. I woke feeling blessed, and happy, and for the first time since he died, I knew that things were really ok. It sounds crazy, but I can't deny the healing that came from that dream. Good luck, and God Bless.

3 moms found this helpful

My DH lost his dad and a week later to the day I lost my beloved grandpa. He ended up finishing a room in the basement, which kind of became a memorial to his Dad as he got all kinds of pictures and using frames and float frames made collages etc. to tell some stories of his Dad's life. That seemed to really be healing for him.

We have moved and now he does not necessarily have the "need" to have all of those pics up anymore.

Just one way a guy has dealt with it.

My sincere condolences. It is always tough.

2 moms found this helpful

I have not personally gone through the death of a parent either. I have lost people I'm close to and have watched others go through this grieving process. I believe that sometimes it is a process that we in part must deal with on an individual level. I have, and I've seen others gain peace from God and have questions answered through prayer and meditation. There is a website that your husband can look at all on his own or with you and maybe find answers without having someone giving him "advise". www.mormon.org You can watch videos that have answers to questions or ask your own questions. By asking questions or seeing questions that others have, you guys may be able to have more productive discussions and be able to address the real topics that death and grief bring up.
Please don't be afraid to look, no one will bother you and you are free to look as little or as much as you want and decide what makes sense to you. I contemplated not responding, because I know that not everyone responds well to "religion" but I feel that if I have answers that can help, or strength that I can give, it would be a great disservice to withhold that information. I guess I just feel a little nervous about sharing the most important things in my life with others when I'm not sure how they will respond, but I feel that I have found so much healing and happiness, that I cannot keep that from others. I wish you and your husband all the best as you deal with this dificult time. -M.

2 moms found this helpful

When I lost my mother I pulled away from everyone. The day my siblings wanted to go through my mothers things they were mad because I spent the morning at my childhood spot alone. Even when I got home I spent a lot of time alone crying. My husband sold his favoriate car and took me on a cruise to get away from every day life. We were gone 7 days and it was want I needed. When we got back I was ready to deal with life again. I think it was getting away from real life for awhile allowed me to heal.I still cry now and then but I don't withdraw from everyone.
Time is the best healer. Don't try so hard to heel him. Let him know your there if he needs you but let him process it in his own way.
I was going into depression when my husband took me on the cruise 3 months after my mothers death. He let me have my space during the cruise and by the end I was ready to enter the real world again.

1 mom found this helpful

Hositals have grief support groups. Providence Hospital has two. One focuses on expressing ones feelings. The other focuses on learning about the grief process as well as sharing thougts.

I went to one of the Providence groups a few months after both my parents died. They died in southern Oregon. The group is for anyone who is grieving no matter where the loss ocurred.

One of my friends is currently going to one. Her husband of 24 years died last October.

Hospital grief groups are free.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't really have any advice. I just wanted to let you know I'll keep you and your husband in my prayers and to let you know I know what you're both going through.

It's really hard losing a parent. I lost my Dad 3 years ago very unexpectedly of a massive heart attack (age 61). Until you've lost a parent, it's hard to realize what it's like. The shock, the anger, the fear, the pain, the madness. Then my FIL passed away very unexpectedly 1 year ago from a stroke. It's so hard. I never realized how hard it is.
I did read a few books from the library on death and dying. A book might help your husband if he's the type that doesn't want to talk about it. I do not like to talk about it to strangers or people other than very close friends. Otherwise, it's too hard for me. So getting a few books might help him ease through the pain and also to reconfirm that what he is experiencing is totally normal and it will get easier.
Talking about it does help too (with the right person, if he's comfortable with it). Talking about what a great person he was, and finding special ways to honor him might help. I always buy plants for my Dad to take to the cemetary and whatever I buy for him, I but an identical one for me to plant in my yard. Then, every day when I walk through the yard, I look at the plant/flower, I think of my Dad and he's always right there with me. I know it sounds silly but it's little things like that that help me. I still cry from time to time and it's been 3 years so just know that the pain does get easier, but it's still very hard. I believe people who don't talk about people who have passed away are in denial. There are people in my family that every time I say something about my Dad they just stare and me and cringe. Some people are very uncomfortable about death and once someone is gone, they fear mentioning their name. Don't be afraid to talk about him or comment about how he would have really liked something or how he would have really found something funny, or whatever it is. Don't be afraid to have pictures of him in your house, etc. I still have photos of my Dad. To me it's a way of honoring him and still having him in my life, even though he's really gone.

I'm sure that one thing your husband feels upset about is that your dear child will never know his Dad (his grandpa) That has been very difficult for both my husband and myself, that our Dad's are not here to share in our joy and experience our kids. We just try to be thankful for every day we did have with them.

Anyway, good luck to you and your husband. After you lose someone very dear to you like a parent, it totally changes you as a person, or it has changed me.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm sorry your dh is so sad. I haven't lost a parent yet, so I really can't imagine. I enjoy reading books on "life after death". One in particular is really touching, and gave a lot of comfort to my MIL when my FIL passed. It changes our perspective from fearing death to having a better understanding of it. It is called Embraced by the Light. It was written quite a while back by a woman who died in the hospital, and came back. She talks about the death experience and it being part of our journey (not the end of it). The book is amazing, and soothes the soul. It is with a Christian perspective. You can find it on Amazon. It could really help your husband.

Also, sometimes my husband just wants to talk, without any input from me (advice), just like your husband doesn't want advice from his siblings. So if he just wants to talk and get his feelings out, it's ok to just listen.

My MIL went to a grief group before but found it depressing. That book is very uplifting, and inspires me to be a better person.

Best wishes to you both.

1 mom found this helpful


I don't really know what to say other than give him lots of love, and space as needed. I remember I was 16 when I lost my grandmother, and it still hurts 11 years later. It took me two years to allow myself to cry. My dad broke down in front of me the day she died, and I had to be the strong one. Let him know it's okay to be mad, and cry, and miss him, and all of it. Talk about your grandmother, that may help. Do the employee assistance thing, that should really help.

Give him a big hug and my condolences.


1 mom found this helpful


I am sorry for your husbands loss. I have lost both my mom and my dad and I don't know that I have an easy answer, because everyone grieves so differently. I miss both my parents EVERYDAY, and I don't tnink that ever will go away, but the pain he is feeling does get a little easier.
I guess the only advice I can give is to tell him not to be afraid to let his emotions about what he is feeling-show! I know men are so different then women in how they show their feelings and emotions but it's important that he doesn't keep it all bottled up. Do you live close to the graveside? I would go sometimes and spends hours at my parents graveside after she passed away. I would talk, I would laugh, but mostly I would cry and just silently sit there.
Let him talk about his memories of his dad. Sometimes remembering the good things can be such a healing process. and talking about them outload can bring a lot of happiness.

One of the things that I felt most sad about when my parents passed away was the fact that my KIDS were cheated out of 2 grandparents to share their lives with and as a parent, It makes me sad for my kids. Get your husband a journal or something that maybe he can write down the memories and stories of his dad for your son. It might be a good healing process for your husband and what a great legacy of love he will be leaving for your son who never got the chance to know his grandpa.
Goodluck to you all. Its never an easy thing to go through.

God Bless
L. M

1 mom found this helpful

EAP is a great place to start! Also, I would call around to local hospitals and churches to see if they offer grief support groups or counseling.

1 mom found this helpful

One reason that it is harder to loose a parent when you're older is, (especially when you have children) you come into a understanding of just exactly how much your parents loved you and what that kind of love feels like. It's like when you were young and you wanted someone to explain why someone did something or reacted to something and you were told,"you'll understand when you're older!" Didn't you just hate that! Well somethings just can't be explained with words, you have to be there, go through those things and all of a sudden the light bulb goes off and you realize just how much they loved, how hard things were on them when you didn't call when you were going to be late, or when you said hateful things in a moment of teenage anger. As you get older you realize how smart they were, why they made the decisions that they did. Somehow we think that our parents will just always be there but, they won't.
He may have also been raised not to let his tears show that it's not a manly thing to do. Let him know that you are his best friend, that over the years you've seen his best and his worst, that you still love him and that you still like him. (You can love someone but not like them, many marriages fail because their spouse doesn't like them, then along comes someone who does.) Let him know that through thick or thin you're there. This is not something he has to get over but rather get through and it's supposed to hurt, it's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't then he didn't really love them.
Perhaps his doctor can recommend a grief counselor and give him a good check up as well. Best of luck and love to you both.

Hi K.,
OMG! I just joined & I can tell your hubby where to go for wonderful help. www.griefnet.org. There he will find catagories for all sorts of grief, he can click on the one that best describes his. This org. saved my sanity when I lost my son. It is run by an awesome gal, a Ph.D., Cendra Lynn. I haven't been there, for some time. It used to be the first month free, then a $5.00 donation for every month after. Part of the royalty from my book goes to this fabulous place to pay for those who cannot afford it. Tell him to run right now to his computer & get going. It is difficult at first, but the people on my group were the most loving, caring, comforting people I've ever met. They held me up when I stumbled, & loved me unconditionally. Many are still in touch. Please ask him to give it a try. I am so sorry for his loss. I lost my father almost 2 yr ago, so I totally understand.
Sending a huge hug,

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