Marital stress

Got your attention? : )
Just was talking with my sister this weekend about grief between parents over the death of a child. She and her husband lost little Ellie of SIDS about 22 years ago. She agrees you never get over it but she also said she had to accept that she and her husband would almost never be in 'sync' with their grieving. She'll have a hard stretch and he is oblivious and then (less often) he feels a sad grievous loss of their daughter and she says, "I know, it's hard when it hits." But if she's not feeling it strongly right then, they feel disconnected. It's a statistic that a good percentage of marriages fall apart after the death of a child. I can see why. Feeling misunderstood or unsupported in grief is unbelievably lonely. ANd being lonely IN marriage..... well, been there, got the t-shirt, no thank you. I give her huge credit for accepting that this would be their lot and that they'd do the best they could and accept the disconnects as part of the grief package.
My new husband and I are going to have this work forever, different than my sister's though, since it is a second marriage. Although he loved Andy and felt some pain, I don't think he thinks about it often. I think we need to talk about it more often. I need to ask for time on it... to ask for space and safety around my feelings and wonderings so that I don't retreat into a lonely "you don't know even a fraction of my daily thoughts' kind of place. 
What have some of you found helps the marriage to survive? Get even stronger? (Optimism may be insane here but I'm open to the possibility.) Having only gotten re-married 20 months ago, and it was 4 days before Andy's diagnosis, and we were on our honeymoon no less, we have had a serious challenge to our marriage. I think we're basically ok but we have to really check in with each other regularly -- I don't want to lose this wonderful strong man by presenting myself as a wonderful strong person every day... ok some of the time but I also want to be REAL... a big mess sometimes... and I need to trust him with who that person is and how soggy and weak I feel sometimes.
Collective wisdom would be deeply appreciated here. :o)
xoxoxo Sarah

Replies

biowoman
biowoman

Well Sarah, personally I think that if you share and continually share what you just said to us with hubby...that is a good start. Tell him what you are feeling, what you need to be able to feel \"in front\" of him and what you are willing to carry in solitude. Personally, I feel that in order for your relationship to be healthy you have to be able to go without \"the mask\" that we often wear...at least most of the time. Ask him questions about his grief...his grief maybe for YOU...missing the way it could have been before Andy\'s diagnosis. And remember there is always the posibility of counseling. You seem very wise to me, so keep your eyes open to his needs, while not trying to bury your own. Love and hugs...Karen
Livingjuicy
Livingjuicy

Karen is so wise... I can only add that remembering what brought us together in the first place and not feeling guilty when we return to that playful place is what has helped us. Each situation is unique of course yet there are the common sign posts along the way. We have a regular \"checking in\" that we do and even if it\'s crying, sitting in silence, holding one another, talking...there are no rules just as long as we nurture the tether holding us together. There may even be a part of your husband that feels envious of the time and attention that is being given to your grief and Andy that he is not receiving? Again, just my thoughts and certainly may not be his or yours yet know that we are all in this together and care deeply. All we can do is this moment, this day and if loving kindness fills it even in our greatest sorrow you can love one another through it. Love to you and a hug too. Joanie
heartsandhands
heartsandhands

SOOOOO HELPFUL!!!!!!!! millions of thanks, and this is just the beginning of the whole walking the walk project! xox.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Sarah, before my youngest son passed, I had a fairy tale marriage. My husband was my best friend, confident and soul mate. After Tommy we started to drift apart. Looking back was we were so grief stricken we lost our communitcation. After four years or so we were back and even closer than we ever thought we coud be. so my dear, just follow your heart. Keeping you in prayers. Hugs, Pat
Abotsd
Abotsd

there\'s no question that we continue to change and grow. nothing is static. certainly not humans. it takes years, for me, anyhow, to get to know people. there are changes taking place right now with your whole being. the love you have with your husband, i hope it\'s a joy and a pleasure. complicated feelings not withstanding, the sharing is the important part. let him know how you feel, and the closeness remains. At our age we know that life throws us surprises. roll with it. we all must. nothing is ever as i\'ve planned in my head. sometimes it\'s even better.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Dearest Sarah I don\'t think I can add anything to what these sage women have said to you. I am awestruck at the advice that Karen and Joanie gave, as well as Abotsd and Pat.

I haven\'t been in a relationship in years, so am lonely out of marriage and can\'t advise you...so why write right?

Because even though I can\'t advise I would so like to support you.

Maybe you can check in and see if your goals still mesh, maybe let him know that you still want to travel the same path as him, but your personal one has slightly arched but is still on course with his. That while your pain has set you apart in grief, you still want to walk TOGETHER in love and just everyday mundane life.

At the cost of repeating someone, maybe you can tell him that you understand his possible resentment, that you don\'t want to build any towards him....

Again, I was just looking at the cursor thinking that I am not qualified to answer you~~so please excuse my blundering and know that I am hugging you so hard, whoops a little too hard there, and praying that you both find your way,
Love,
Gale Sue
heartsandhands
heartsandhands

Gale Sue I think your instincts are very good ones, very sweet and loving. I think it will be the rebuilding through all the \'little things\', the every day life you mentioned, that will help us find our way. AND all the talk talk talk. It gets tiring but we have to keep trying to share what\'s inside. xox sarah