Out of state daughter wants to stay with 82yr mom for 5 weeks after dad dies to help. Is this postponing her grief process? My husband said I am not helping her and only she can deal with her grief. She and I are very close and we want to get some financial details reshaped, plan his memorial service in 4 mos, help take care of his things (keep, repurpose, etc), and get her in a new routine. She is 82 and fairly healthy.
My dad and I were also close and I helped with his care giving 6 weeks pre-death. Once I leave I will not return for 3 months to pick her up to take her to his home state for his memorial. I do not feel it will hurt her but give her a little support that she needs.
Am I off base by wanting to stay 30 days post cremation (thru Mother Day)? I am retired so I am available.

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Who says that you can only grieve when you are alone?

Maybe that is how your husband grieves, but many of us BENEFIT from having someone else around who knew the loved one. That's why there are traditions like wakes, funerals, shivas and the like, so that you can grieve with the support of your community.
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Go stay with your mom. Your husband is way off base on this one.
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Only time will "deal with" your mother's grief. That may be the subject your husband has pulled out of the hat, but what are his real objections to your proposed trip? Is he afraid you'll get sucked in and stuck there for good, or bring her back with you? Does he have issues of his own that make him anxious about being left alone? Is he just tired - thinking "another five weeks!"

I agree that it's a bit bonkers to think that a very elderly recently bereaved lady must just pull herself together and cope, but that's why I suspect that his real reasons are about something else.
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Oh my gosh, what is your husband thinking?

I had a neighbor who was extremely close to her father. He died with Parkinson’s disease. Her husband got upset because she was crying too much.

My neighbor would come over to my house to cry. It broke my heart.

Some people think that a person can ‘get over it’ quickly and it doesn’t work that way.

If you want to be with your mom, please go be with her.

I am so sorry that your husband is acting this way. It’s terribly insensitive of him.
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Mybravefather - ask your husband when you turn 82, and HE drops dead and leaves you behind by yourself, does he think you can benefit from having your child(ren) spend 5 weeks with you to help you with HIS funeral/ memorial service, and to give you some company when you need it most? Or does he think you should be on your own to cope when you're 82 y.o.?
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There are lots of possible things that might be happening here:

1) Your mother may be glad of your company. It may stop her feeling very lonely, after the high emotional involvement with so many people around a death; and/ or
2) It may be of real practical value for all the family in dealing with the many things that need to be re-organised after a death; and/ or
3) As your husband says, it might make her focus on you, instead of putting enough time into understanding her own loss and grief; and/ or
4) Your husband may be feeling that you have given enough time and energy to your mother, and its his turn to be the focus now.

All of these things make for a very complicated time. Do your best, and remember that 5 weeks is not such a long time, really.
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I think this is a question for your mom. Does she WANT a visitor for 5 weeks.
Does she want a visitor for any length of time?
If mom is willing to have your daughter move in for over a month then that is her decision.
I am not sure I would want a visitor for that length of time.
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Yes, my mom does want me to stay. Just to navigate the early waters. Thank you for the feedback, as it is important to be sensitive to HER needs and wants. She has been his caretaker but she has never lived alone except a brief time when pregnant for me 65 years ago (military family). I personally think she will eventually flourish as she is very social and independent but has been confined due to the pandemic and Dad's 24/7 care. Thanks again!
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disgustedtoo Apr 2021
We can't turn grief off like a light switch and there's no timeline for how long it will take. Since she is welcoming you to stay with her, to assist in various tasks that will need to be done, it will be easier for her with your help and company.

I would slowly encourage her to make outings on her own, meet up with some friends, etc, just to start the process of "moving on" while you are there. You could also find "excuses" to go off, maybe to drop off donated items or to pick up supplies without her, giving her time to be alone. As time goes on, you can assess how she's adjusting.

To have to just pack up and leave her alone to deal with all that needs to be done would seem rather heartless. Sure, some people prefer to be alone in the grief, but others need the companionship, a hand to hold, a hug, whatever it is they need. If nothing else, having to haul things away can be a challenge for someone at 82! Just clothing weighs a lot. If there are other bulky items to be "repurposed", she'll need the help!

If she adjusts quickly and feels she can go it alone, you can always head home sooner. Do beware that you don't want her to lose her independence by doing too much for her - she may not be willing to let you go when the time is up! Encourage her to do what she can and to get out with others as soon as possible.
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Sorry, but your husband sounds heartless.

I'm going to assume your folks were married for about 60 years, and if they were like mine, they spent only a handful of nights apart. To lose your life partner, then be left alone to "deal with your grief" with no services to provide closure is frankly appalling -- unless it's what she wants.

My mother has dementia, so she couldn't be left at home after my dad died anyway. However, she was distraught when we had to move him out of their bedroom and down the hall before he was even gone. Not having him by her side was devastating, and the hardest part for her in those early days was waking up and remembering he was gone forever. I'm very glad I was with her those mornings, because it was terribly hard for her.

You are doing the right thing to stay, because you'll be able to tell how she's doing, reminisce together, and take care of what needs to be done. This is as much for you as for her.
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When my fil died, my mil needed a lot of help getting through the process of getting all the post-funeral things in order. We lived two hours away and had to make weekly trips to transport her different places -- copies of his death certificate had to be hand-delivered to a number of places in the area, switching account names, canceling some services, etc. It would have been so much nicer if we could have just stayed there for a bit to get everything taken care of for her instead of commuting back and forth. Plus there is the task of going through his clothes and personal items, which again, would be so much simpler if you are there. (I'm currently juggling my husband's physical and mental needs with my 90yo father's need to go through all of mom's stuff. I wish I could have just gone and stayed for a week or two. Nine months have passed and I have finally removed all her clothing from the house working in two-hour segments in half a dozen trips down there.)

All that to say that I think if you could stay with your mom for several weeks, that would be a blessing to her, not a problem. In fact, it might be a special bonding time that the two of you need.
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