My husband is 37 and his parents are in their mid-70s. After fighting in Vietnam, my father-in-law came home with numerous injuries and to date has had 84 surgeries. My mother-in-law had 2 consecutive strokes when my husband was 17 and 18. Mainly my father-in-law has been the one with consistent health problems due to medical mistakes made during his war recovery, and it bothers my husband, of course. Well this year, things got worse. In March, my father-in-law went in for yet another war-related surgery that was life-threatening and he almost had his leg amputated. Days later, my mother-in-law had a stroke. Now again in October, my father-in-law went into the hospital and was diagnosed with CHF and two days later my mother-in-law had a heart attack which led to emergency bypass surgery. Each time they have been sick, he and I are the primary caregivers as his sister is useless. To make matters more stressful for my husband, I am working on my doctorate and our furry son (dog) was killed last December (his "deathaversary" is in 6 days).
Since my MIL's heart attack, my husband has been despondent, is isolating himself, lashing out at me and continues to say he just feels "lost." He talks in circles - one day saying he wants a divorce and in the next breath begging me not to leave. He refuses to see a counselor or medical doctor and acknowledges he is a bit depressed. He confided in me that he wishes God would take his father just to put him out of his constant suffering. Mike holds his breath every day for the next thing to be wrong and every time the phone rings thinks that will be the call that something else is wrong. He keeps saying no one can relate to what he is going through, and he is right, because those around him are blessed with healthy parents 20 years younger. He said he is just burned out from all of it.
The reason I am posting is because I am looking for suggestions of how to help him. Thus far I have dealt with the mood swings, tried to be a source of comfort, made him communicate (which is tough for him) and given him space when he needs it. But I don't know what else to do for him. He keeps saying that one day, someplace, somehow he will "crack" and then be fine again, but every day is a roller coaster ride and I feel helpless. I hate seeing him so upset and despondent -- he is the person everyone always loves and now everyone is noticing how different he is.
Can anyone help suggest how I can help him?