Facing the Twilight

Hubby with his Dad – El Paso, TX – 1974

This past Sunday hubby’s Dad was admitted into the hospital.  He has lost the use of his arms and legs, and had fallen the night before. 

While we’ve known that his condition has gradually been deteriorating over this past year, we are losing hope that he will make it out this time.  Over the past couple of days he has lost his ability to swallow and he has had a feeding tube inserted.  Things are not looking good.
Hubby seems to be handling things okay but is really struggling with all of this.  He told me the other night that he just didn’t know how to be or how to feel. 
He’s never been through this before. 
At this point it may only be a few days before he passes.  He is 76.  In spite of everything though he has not lost his sense of humor and even joked with the family about them just strapping a steak to his butt to heal him.  Just like applying a steak to a black eye I suppose. 
Well, he is surrounded by so many people who love him.  He has many grandchildren and now several great grandchildren.  We will miss him terribly.
My question though is this: how do you help a grieving spouse?  Men grieve so much more differently than woman do.  I’m trying to just take my queues from Hubby’s reactions to this.  For instance, give him space when he needs it and then back away when he needs it, etc…  I know Flamingo Dancer went through this not too long ago with her father-in-law.  Anybody have any advice?
Hubby’s birthday is this weekend and then next weekend of course is Father’s Day.  Although the timing stinks, is there ever really a time that is right? 

28 thoughts on “Facing the Twilight

  1. I’m so sorry. 😥 I don’t have any advice–I’ve never really experienced death in my adult life. But I’d just say be there for him. I think just your presence will reassure him. 🙂
    Praying for you and the family. Keep at it. (hugs!)

  2. I am so sorry you and Ruben and his dad are going through this. I have yet to deal with the loss of a parent – either for myself or a partner – yet. But I watch my father dealing with my grandparents’ deterioration and often ask myself the same questions about how my mom, sister and I will help him. My thoughts and prayers are with you both!

  3. I am sorry to hear that you guys are going through that rough patch!
    I don’t think I have much sound advice either. But one thing helped me tremendously when my grandmother died. I felt very detached to all of it. Well, not detached but …. gosh how to explain. I didn’t cry, it didn’t hurt. And people were giving me the evil eye at the funeral. Which I mentioned to my mum a little after the service. She replied to me that I shouldn’t give that another thought – everybody deals differently with grief. There is no ‘How to’. So if your hubby says he doesn’t know what to do or how to feel, tell him that either way he feels is okay. That there isn’t a certain way he is suppose to feel – even though some people might try to tell you that.
    And with the rest – I just second the others. Follow your instinct. I am sure you will do a great job.

  4. I agree with Miz — it is always a good to take the time to share your love with those passing. It sounds like you have a good sense of your hubbies needs. I believe you can trust your instincts to help you know what to do for your husband. There will be times you need to give him space. There will be times you need to crowd him and get him to talk. There will be times to hold him and listen. There will come a time when you help him learn to live again and enjoy today–enjoy you–enjoy his children (if you all have them).

    Trust your heart that loves this man.

    blessings on your family during this hard time … Shonnie

  5. I’m sorry this is such a sad time. There is never a “right” time to go and even when we know someone is close to death we still feel shocked when they pass away. I have not had a lot of experience with men coping with grief – my father’s father passed away either before I was born or very soon after (and he lived on the other side of the world); the manservant’s family are all still alive and to date he has not lost anyone close to him.

    Sadly we are getting to the age where we are going to start experiencing such losses.

  6. Hello..Each person is different..one must take their time..do what is felt without being reckless..beyond that I realize the differneces in each situation. In personal experience I could enumerate more but why? The ten thousand ‘social’ and ‘financial’ things that pale in importance, still must be done. Sometimes when all is dreary and loss is felt so: ‘Time will pass and love will win you over to good memory’. I offer this humble quote to you in a time of sadness, Be strong for those you love and as you respect yourself be strong for those you do not know..Peace Tony

  7. As much as we would like to avoid unpleasantness in our lives, sometimes it is inescapable.
    Oh Monsoon, I am so terribly sorry to hear this news. Prayers are with you all. Bless you all for strength.

  8. There’s not much you can do, other than just trying to be extra nice to him. Anticipate his needs. Make his favorite meals. Don’t say anything if he leaves his towel on the bathroom floor. More hugs and kisses. Stuff like that. He’ll have to grieve in his own way.

    • Those are great suggestions. Thanks! His birthday was over the weekend so I had made a reservation for dinner with a few of our friends. He still was to going because I had offer to cancel. I think it ended up being a nice distraction where he was the center of attention. I even had the wait staff come over and goofily sing him Happy Birthday.

  9. geocacherinkerstin

    Oh that are not good news…..hugs for your hubby and you and your family……..
    …..my father died last year at 02.05.10 and it was a bad time…he was 2 weeks at the intensive care unit…sorry that I can´t help you in this shit situation-sorry.

  10. “grief makes me very angry” as in, I get angry if I feel grief. Angry at what took the person/animal from this life.

  11. How brave the father is. I wish you the best through this tough period.
    Masha lost his beloved Nan (He was her favourite) last fall. It was the first person he had ever lost (he is nearly a decade younger than me, plus people over here seem to live longer than in the States). He held it inside mostly…I did not push him as he is a private person (plus he’s British!). He did spend some quiet time on is own outside plus with Cassie, his closest bunny. I caught him crying and holding her but said nothing. Men are funny about this… I do not know if your hubby is an open person or not. For me, grief makes me very angry (so does being ill). I would say mostly do not let him get drunk right now if you can help it, or he will drown in his sadness, it seems to be a trait of men when drunken.
    I try to tell myself it is biology and nothing lives forever. And my time will come too. But my heart feels otherwise.

    • Thanks for the advice GW. Hubby is a bit down but seems to be doing alright. I’m sorry to hear about Masha’s Nan. I’m glad though that he was able to grieve and get it out. I hear you about the drinking. So far so good. He did hang out with one of his guy friends one night last week and I think that helped. This particular friend lost his wife a few years back so Hubby seem to be able to talk to him about it all.

      • I am glad he is handling it okay. You hang in there too – I know the weight of it all is on you as well. Maybe when it is settled down some you guys should take a few days to get away. Even if it is to a hotel with a nice swimming pool and a nice nearby restaurant. Have you ever been to the Petrified Forest? It is very serene and a surreal landscape in the Painted Desert.

        • Oh, that would be so nice! I’ve driven through the Painted Desert but not the Petrified Forest. On the list of things to see. Its amazing that when you live somewhere you don’t tend to do sight-seeing unless you are out of town. Hubby has been a bear the past day and a half so I’m just trying to stay out of his way. 😉

  12. I really struggled with how to comfort my Dad when he lost his Dad. He, like your husband, said he was “Alright” through it all. But it is one of those very difficult things to go through. I mean, we generally only get one Mom and Dad.

    One of the things I really encouraged families to do when I was an ICU Nurse was to spend time with their family member and if at all possible to simply tell them all of the special things they remembered about that person. I sat outside of a room all night long after a woman had been taken off life support and listened to 3 siblings tell stories about their loved one for hours. They laughed and cried together, and their loved one also laughed a little and cried a little as she slipped into another world (obviously early in the night). It seemed to bring the family together more, and some of the stories were so touching and unusual….

    My thoughts are with your and your family during this tough time. I am sure you will do all the needed things!

    • Thanks MG. My FIL is still hanging in there after the weekend. My husband goes every day to see him. I think that sounds like a very nice idea to tell stories of their lifetime together. Believe me, there are many. Thanks again.

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