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Old 05-20-2009, 02:35 AM
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Default Boyfriend's mom died, I don't know what to say or do?

Cross-posting with Vortex, so my apologies to those that are on both forums...

My boyfriend's mom died back in November, she was only in her 60s and was a drunk. Alcohol basically killed her. I've been with my man for about 5 months, so when she died we were only friends. I went to the funeral, but hadn't met her while she was alive.

I know he's been sad about it and has told me that he thinks about her a lot, but he's a real man's man and doesn't like to cry in front of me (or anyone, really). Tonight though, he opened up a little on the phone and I could tell he was crying on the other end while talking about his feelings about the whole thing. He's upset not only because she died, but I feel like he's partly blaming himself for certain situations. She was always in and out of the hospital due to drinking (broken bones, detox, etc.) and he would always visit - she was in Long Island, he was down here in Baltimore. The last 2 weeks she was alive though, he didn't even call. The last time he visited, he said they got into a fight over her drinking and her last words to him as he was leaving was "See you in a few weeks...or never. Have a nice life." Sounds like she knew she was dying. He was able to drive up a day before she died after his brother called and told him he better come up.

Anyway, my issue is that I don't know how to deal with this. Both my parents are still alive and although I can relate on the drunk-parent thing...I don't know what it's like to lose a parent. I've lost 3 grandparents, including one 5 months ago, but he has said that losing a grandparent is nothing like losing mom or dad...which is true. I don't really know what to say to help him other than "I'm sorry baby". Having him open up on the phone is a big step, so I feel like he's becoming comfortable and trusting enough to do that. I don't really ever bring it up - why bring up something that depressing, right? - so he always initiates any conversation involving his mom. I dunno, I just wish there was something I could say or do to help, even though I know being a shoulder for him is a good start.

IS there anything I can do besides what I'm doing? I know he's still grieving and it will take time. It's only been 6 months
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:52 AM
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Gina, you are doing all that you can do, your boyfriend sounds just like mine with his emotions. he does not show them to anyone including me, him opening up to you is a big step in the right direction of trusting you which is good

You are doing everything you can do, there is not much you could say besides "I'm sorry" and being a shoulder when he needs it is very appreciated I'm sure

Good luck with everything I hope it all gets better soon, keep us posted
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Old 05-20-2009, 03:54 AM
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There are a lot of online grief support groups that are very helpful- at least they were very helpful to me when I lost my brother (to suicide). It sounds like your boyfriend is struggling with grief & guilt (guilt almost always goes along with grief in some form). Six months just isn't long enough- let him continue to talk it out, even if it means that you bring up the subject. Good luck. It is hard! Time really does help. It has been five years for me and I am finally feeling "back to normal".
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:01 AM
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Just being there really is all you can do. You didn't know her so you really can't reflect on the happier times you had with her if ya know what I mean. He just needs you to be there. Hold his hand, hug him alot & listen. It does get better but it takes time. Right before my Mom died my daughter had a cold & I didn't bring her to Yaiya's (grandma) because I didn't want my Mom to catch it. She would get really bad with a cold (COPD & Emphysema)I cried and cried & beat myself up about it for months. Why didn't I just bring her over, why why... I still regret it but really it's not anything I can change.
Some day he'll be able to see her again and all will be good. It's not as if this life is forever. He can always talk to her. I admit it sounds crazy but if he talks to her out loud it might help. Angels are always around us and you can be sure a Mother angel is never far from their child. Some people call it praying.
Hugs for you and him Gina
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:15 AM
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agreed with everyone here. You are doing what you can do. Be supportive, listen when he wants to talk, but just let him grieve. I know it's hard, you sound like me, you want to help, you want to make things better, you want it fixed now. And like you said, it takes time. Just be there for him when he needs you and give him space when he wants it. I'm sorry you both have to go through this. WHat a difficult thing. I can only imagine. Here's to healing for the both of you.
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:36 PM
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I've lost both of my parents - my father when I was 9 and my mom just over 12 years ago. Losing a parent is always difficult. There are times I just want to talk and there are times when I want to be left alone. Yes it will get better with time but it never really leaves you. These are the people that knew you from birth - they are a part of your past that no one else knows and when they are gone, that is a part of you that is gone. They live on through you and your children though. And they live in your memories.

I would disagree that it is depressing. Its not. Part of the grieving process is being able to talk about your loved one. Being able to laugh and remember the good times is good and good for you. It helps put parts of your life in to perspective. Even if there were bad things that were happening, you remember the good times more than the bad times. It would be far more depressing if I felt I couldn't talk about my parents from time to time.

As your boyfriend opens up, just listen. That's what he needs - an ear to listen and maybe a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on. But also someone to laugh and smile with him. And when something happens that triggers a memory, embrace the memory, enjoy it and let it become part of your memories. When he does open up, devote your attention to him no matter what is happening around you. Focus on him because at that specific moment he needs to experience some of his grief. Let it happen. Whatever you are doing can wait that 15 minutes while he moves through that moment. If he feels you don't have time for him in that moment, it makes it harder to deal with the grief - he will feel like he's imposing on you though it will probably be an unconscious thought.

Keep being there for him. Someday, you will experience the same thing and will understand his experience.
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:47 PM
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Gina, what you are doing is great! I lost my Dad in 1994, after Carolyn and I were married for almost 2 years. The most important thing she did for me during that time was just "be there" for me. For a few months after He died, I would talk about it. When I did, she was there for me. It is sometimes very difficult to talk about it when there is a death in the family, especially when it is something like this. It is very good to have someone you love to be there to help you through it. Many times, words aren't needed. You are doing exactly what you need to do, and he will be glad to have had you when it is all said and done
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:57 PM
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Hi Gina,
The best you can do for your boyfriend is be there for him, listen and hug.
If you feel awkward about not knowing what to say, just tell him that you don't know how to react, that it's new to you and that you try.
He will see that and will appreciate it.
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:20 PM
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Default Boyfriend's mom died, I don't know what to say or do?

Hi Gina

You are on a good path with your boyfriend. Based on my experience when my mother passed away, it isn't so much what is said -- it is being there. Each person experiences grief in their own fashion and in their own time, but having your close partner present as a willing listener, a shoulder to cry on (if/when needed), or just be near and reassuring -- is more comforting than just about anything that can be said.

I am certain that your boyfriend appreciates your thoughtfullness.

Kevin
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:22 PM
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Thanks all. There was one time I was at his apartment, and I could tell he was thinking about her. I gave him a hug, but he said he it's hard to accept hugs as it makes him too emotional. He's afraid he'll totally fall apart. But, again, even though the conversation topic was bad I was very happy that he opened up to me last night and was able to be a little emotional - even if it was just over the phone.

Guess the only thing I can really do is just be there, as you all have said
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Old 05-22-2009, 04:07 AM
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Sometimes it's good to fall apart. He needs to just let it happen naturally.

Monday was rough for me, it marked 1 yr since I lost my Dad. I still fall apart sometimes, but it makes me feel so much better afterwards.
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Old 05-22-2009, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GINA View Post
I gave him a hug, but he said he it's hard to accept hugs as it makes him too emotional. He's afraid he'll totally fall apart.
For our tough guys who are really softies inside... a quick squeeze of their hand, arm or shoulder is the trick. It still comforts, but the speedy delivery gives them no time to fall apart
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Old 05-23-2009, 02:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GINA View Post
Thanks all. There was one time I was at his apartment, and I could tell he was thinking about her. I gave him a hug, but he said he it's hard to accept hugs as it makes him too emotional. He's afraid he'll totally fall apart. But, again, even though the conversation topic was bad I was very happy that he opened up to me last night and was able to be a little emotional - even if it was just over the phone.

Guess the only thing I can really do is just be there, as you all have said
it makes him feel weak and out of control of things to let go. i can be the same way, so i'm sure Steph is all too familiar with the bottling up BS. Unless he's harming himself, just be there and hang back when it's uncomfortable for him. He'll come to you if he's up to it.

Sup Gina!
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Old 05-23-2009, 02:28 AM
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Hey JP, long time! Thanks for chiming in. He isn't harming himself at all, he just feels sad about it still. I think he knows I'm all ears if he ever needs it. We're going up to his dad's house this weekend, maybe I'll see if he wants to stop by her grave to say hi...or whatever folks do when they go to graves.
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:08 AM
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Late chiming in, but my advice is: be yourself.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:31 PM
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Do you believe that God can help him if you pray for him? Thats my advice.
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:48 PM
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How's he doing with this Gina? Has he talked it out yet? He should. He'll feel better.
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:57 PM
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He's alright. He thinks about her a lot but doesn't seem so angry about it. Of course he has his moments, but generally he seems to be functioning fine. Thanks for asking
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:14 PM
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That's good to hear. Time really does heal all wounds.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:50 AM
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Hi

I lost my father 3 months ago. You go through a strange roller-coaster ride the first months. Like so many have said here, being there is really the only thing you can do. But you might also need to give the person space, and try not to aggravate him unnecessarily. Depending on when it happened he is most probably in some sort of chock or "special mode", so just have that in mind if you think he acts strangely sometimes. For me the grief comes in portions, and you can't really tell what triggers it so just be there, and be supportive and easy going but not overly clingy. Also keep in mind that this might affect you through him, in case you start to feel down too it's completely natural.

That's my 5c.

Wishing you both strength
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