Bereaved spouses and partners

A place for widows and widowers to share their feelings and support one another.

My daughters rarely talk of their mother.

tapyeno
Posted by

My wife,Rose, died just over 2 years ago after a seven year battle with cancer. Our daughters, now aged 23 and 21, loved their mother greatly but I feel have not grieved properly. Just watched news this morning about Prince Harry's comments about him not grieving properly after his mother's death and how it affected him 20 years later.  They rarely talk about her and seem unwilling to talk with me about her. They both turned down offers of counselling.  I'd love to talk more with them about her but they appear reluctant. Wondering if anybody here has had a similar situation with their children?

Made in Scotland
Posted by

Yes Tapyeno I can relate to that. I have two grown up sons one lives fairly near the other lives and works abroad. I find when I mention their Dad the subject meets with silence and abrupt change of subject. It is a worry and upsetting to me as I fear my hubby is being forgotten. Thankfully I have a good friend who is like a sister to me and she encourages me talk about hubby whenever I feel like it. It's 19 months on for us and I to worry that they're storing up pain for the future .... I have no idea how to help them 

barjo
Posted by

I also find this.  My son, daughter and grandchildren very rarely mention Brian now and the conversation never progresses if I do speak of him.  The grandchildren (in their teens) will smile or nod but that is it.  I know my daughter hasn't forgotten her dad as she has put up photos of him around her house.  But then thinking back to many years ago when I lost my own father, I cannot recall ever really speaking about him too often, but it didn't mean I loved him any the less.

I do think our culture is not very good with dealing with death and to some extent is still a taboo subject that makes people uncomfortable.

I applaud Prince Harry today talking about his emotions when he lost his mother.


Take care,

Barbara x

YRV2017
Posted by

Hi

Remember, we all grieve differently. For the young death is truly an alien subject, not part of their world. Also agravated by our culture that has made of death a stranger.  May be they are rushing ahead with their lives, trying to feel good again and not talking about their lost one may be part of it...because it hurts and they don't want that. Also, consider if your own reaction is not contributing to that...do you end up crying when you talk about her? Do you feel sad? If you do, they may be just trying to avoid that moment....even if for you is just part of grieving, for them may be "more to deal with". They are not forgetting her, they are just dealing with their grief the way they know. 

Regarding prince harry...he was just a child when his mother died...can a child "grieve properly"? How does it mean for them? Probably the understanding of it came so much later. 

Yellowmonkey
Posted by

Hi,

I have the opposite problem, my parents and sisters family don't ever mention my husband. It is like he never existed, but I have good friends and my nephew who chat about him.

Peace and hugs x

YRV2017
Posted by

Interesting, Yellowmonkey... I have the same problem, my family doesn't mention him at all. Like you said, it is like he never existed.

Worse than that, there were people who I considered close friends who never bothered to send me a word of condolences when he passed away or to mention him at all when I met them later on. Like his passing was just my imagination, never happened. I really don't understand them...not at all. People don't need to talk about him if they find it unconformable but to ignore what happened completely? not even "hey, sorry to hear about your husband"? that is too much. I find it disrespectful to his memory....like he some kind of dust that people want to sweep under the carpet.

xx

Yellowmonkey
Posted by

Same story, from when my parents took me home from the hospital nothing really, just the normal we need to move on. My sister ignores it as I know she feels guilty. There had been a family upset Jan 2016 which didn't involve us, but we were lumped in the "were ignoring you” pot with the rest. When we found out it was a simple cancer so didn’t tell her but my parents did, she supposedly phoned to discuss it and I had upset her as we didn’t and then from the August sent the occasional text until the day he died and I phoned her. She wasn’t there for me and knows it. A friend really good friend has not contact with me though I have tried where another makes sure she sees me each month, who I use to see rarely.

People know what they are doing and as far as I care it is up to them, those who really love me help me, those who do not I will always be there for, for I will not live with the regret of not helping them. People come in and out of your lives as you need them, so if they have gone you don’t need them.

In terms of your children, they probably don’t want to fully acknowledge they have lost someone and if they keep busy they won’t have to grieve. I know I am running that road too, but if they are like me they don’t want to let people they love see them cry. I cry with only a few friends and the rest on my own. But they may also think that by talking about them it will upset you. They may not realise crying is sometimes good as though it hurts it can be a good hurt. Is it worth getting out some photos albums next time they come and ask them if you can look at them together or something?

John M
Posted by

My daughters are 24 and 22 and I'm pleased about the natural way we speak about Jane in our normal conversations, "Mum would have loved that" or "Mum would have done this" etc and often the conversations don't go much beyond that. But as I write this I realise it's often me that initiates these conversations. They don't appear reluctant to speak about her when I raise it so I'm wondering if they think it might be difficult for me if they raise it? Maybe worth you trying a mention of her and making it just a reference in passing rather than a full blown conversation?

Both my daughters have had some counselling and I'm a big supporter of counselling myself, maybe my example made it easier for them? I do think my youngest stopped too soon (for work commitment reasons) and should have had more. I've noticed that when something bad happens she quickly defers to "It would have been alright if mum had been here...." position but the more I suggested she have some more sessions the more she resists so I've now taken a different tack and I'm casually planting seeds.

I think for some people the potential for pain just means it's easier not to go there. I think a lot of us would agree that position is just a short term fix and ultimately we need to work things through but there's no prescribed time period for that and each of us is different. Ultimately all that you can do is let them know you'll be there with a listening ear when that time comes.It's tough watching your kids hurt, whatever age they are.

All the best

John

YRV2017
Posted by

unfortunately, in moments so painful and difficult like these some people try to make it about them. I think death is one of those rare moments in life when you see clearly who is really there for you and who isn't. People who i considered true friends never turned up and others who I never thought would care were right there,  supporting me. The best condolences I received (among so many) came from a colleague to whom I have never been particularly close. He left this message in my answer machine saying "I am so sorry to hear about your husband...I don't know what to say, what can I say? nothing...i just wanted you to hear my voice and to know I am your friend and I am here if you need me". Perfect...I didn't need to hear anything else. 

Sad 123
Posted by

Hi Everyone, I think the word is empathy and caring about how people are coping with there grief & loss I too found out that the people I thought would be there when our son died & since John has  died havent being there and I agree its all about them so many times they have said we will wait for you to get in touch when your ready !!! yet people who I barely know get in touch and ask if they can help  its certainally an eyeopener  x libby xx

Nyree
Posted by

I do feel for your daughters, Tapyeno. They're at an age when they're expected to be competent, coping adults, and the Great Taboo of death is just beyond most youngsters' ability to deal with. I think you just have to let them grieve in their own time, and by mentioning their mother now and then, making her death something they know they can, if they wish, talk about with you, you're keeping the door open for them.  It's terribly had, and sad, to learn which friends can or can't deal with death - I try to think that silence is due to them trying not to upset, rather than indifference. I've been so fortunate in having family and friends well-accustomed to death, and so very good at doing/saying loving, helpful things.

tapyeno
Posted by

Thank you all so much for your comments on my post, they have been really helpful. My two girls will acknowledge me when I speak of Rose, but very rarely seem willing to continue the conversation. I don't necessarily speak of her in sad terms, just try to do it in a chatting type of way, but makes no difference. Others have said to me that it could be to protect me...they have seen me get very upset in the past, and I know they are watching out for me also, so that could be it.

At Rose's funeral, I was amazed and deeply touched by the number of friends and family who came. These people have all been really good to me since  -I am very fortunate. But all I want to do when I am with them is to speak of Rose, and show photos of her, but feel reluctant to do this. I have come to understand that grief is a personal issue. Whilst counselling helps, everyone else moves on in their lives. This is probably the way with my daughters, they may not have gone through the proper grieving process yet, and are moving on with their lives at what is an exciting time for both of them. I only wish their other was here to experience it with them.

Thank you all again.

Pat

ChristineHC
Posted by

Hi, I like this response. My situation is slightly different but in some ways similar - as a mother who has to live with an exposed family secret [everyone knows but most won't talk about it], I can empathise with the kind of pain you describe. Also as a retired counsellor I think it's about timing to a large extent. Sometimes people come around to things quite late in life, and often it's too late to share it with the person who originally wished for that openness. Maybe the best thing is to concentrate on giving space and loving one's grown up children, and loving yourself too. You know that old saying, 'there's a time for everything under heaven'. Your children will find a way and a time that's right for them.

Wishing you love, light and peace.