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Daughter-in-law Death

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My daughter-in-law passed away on July 7th. Although I had spoken with her recently as she was dealing with health issues, I did not know the extent of her illness. She was slowly dying - her liver gave out on her and she would not/could not leave her home. She refused to seek medical attention, yet was trying by using vitamins. I would look up things on the internet and she and my son were doing so as well. My son is suffering terribly as is her son; if only I had...

As her liver gave out; an autopsy was not deemed necessary, so it will not be known if she had cancer or cirrhosis; but her fears were so very strong. As I piece together the sadness, she started drinking heavily when her father died and it progressed. She had gained weight and wanted not one to see her this way. She would not leave the house...and yet, when we spoke on the phone I could not detect a sign of these things. She would tell me she was "anal" and would send me articles on-line regarding recalls and issues for me to be aware of, but I did not have an inkling.

At the same time, my son would not/could not share these things with me. When I wanted to visit(they lived quite far away) she would say the workload was heavy or they were moving house or something else, and if I asked my son a question - I knew he was speaking carefully as she was listening to him.

I respected their relationship and their decisions as on a few occasions I said something that made her angry and I would not hear from either of them for quite a while. I learned to let go and accept the times when we could be in communication.

Now my son is grieving and beating himself up for not forcing her to do something differently. I realize he must go through his journey and feel all he must feel(I lived with my youngest brothers mental illness until he shot himself in 2004) but I did remind him he could not force her to go for help and had he done so, the one person she trusted and turned to would not be available to her and she would be all alone.

I apologize for this very long post. Thank you

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Hello, greengaia, and welcome to the community.

It's good to reach out for help at times such as these. Feel free to express yourself as much as you need. We want to be here to listen and support you. I'm very sorry for the loss of your daughter-in-law. My heart goes out to you and your family. This loss is very new and emotions are understandably going to be erratic. I hope that you can all lean on one another now to find strength during this difficult and painful time. It must be very challenging for you, on top of your own grief, to see your son suffering as well. It's important for both of you to have a safe place to express your feelings. I imagine he appreciates that you are there for him. Perhaps the best way to help one another is to be there through it with one another. "If" questions are bound to come up at times. Everyone has their own way of coping and healing through such a loss. I think it's good to express all of the feelings that come up when they come up. Listen, reassure, and comfort. It's a painful time. Counseling might also be beneficial for your family. Do you also have support for yourself? I hope that you and your family can be very gentle with yourselves now. Take care.

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