Wallowing In Self-Pity...

@LadyMarissa (12165)
United States
June 19, 2011 9:47pm CST
As many of you may remember, my Mom passed away almost 3 years ago. She & my Dad had been married for 65 years & were BEST friends for 10 years before getting married...so, they had shared 75 years of their lives together!!! Since she has been gone, he has been EXTREMELY lonely!!! That I can TOTALLY understand as I was very lonely after my hubby died & we hadn't shared 75 years together!!! Dad simply REFUSES to do anything to try & stop feeling sorry for himself. He refuses to go out & do anything with any other people. He just sits at home with her ghost & dwells on missing her!!! NO matter what me or my brother suggests he does to try & bring him some comfort, he balks & goes deeper & deeper into the self-pity!!! My Mom's sister has tried to talk to him too & he told her to mind her own business. I suggested that he visit the adult daycare center where he could visit with people his own age & reminiscence about World War II. He said I was just trying to put him away. Both my brother & myself have suggested that he go out to lunch on the days we aren't coming over to cook for him, but he refuses!!! He won't visit old friends. He refuses to cook for himself, so my brother & I leave him plenty of food to eat until our next visit. Yet he refuses to put a plate of leftovers in the microwave so it is warm for him to eat. He refuses to heat up a microwave dinner. He's down to 125 pounds & eats very little even when we are there & cooking for him!!! He balks at the idea of living in an assisted living facility where he could still be independent. He also refuses to take antidepressants for the depression. I know first hand that it's NOT easy getting over losing a partner; yet I know that you have to find a way to deal with it!!! Now, to my question, how do you help somebody who is content being miserable & does NOT want to hear what he can do in order to feel better???
4 people like this
5 responses
• Netherlands
20 Jun 11
Difficult situation. I experienced the same with my father. I really got down myself, worrying and taking car of him. I had some help and they told me to let him go and see what happens. So I let go. Just visited him and waited and saw. What happened was that he picked up life when he was ready. He got out more and more and even started fixing up the house. This is my answer, because there is no answer. Everyone deals with this in another way and some do need more time than others. 75 year is a long time to be together, maybe it would take him equally longer to pick up his life? Maybe its best for you to let him deal with him and be there if he needs you. There is only so much you can do, it is up to him now. I wish you all the best!
• Netherlands
21 Jun 11
I did not mean you should leave him alone all together, off course not. Just do the best you can, and would be possible without harming yourself. it is up to him if he wants to get better, or does he have the idea in his head to go see your mum soon? much respect for you and your brother i could only imagine how difficult, emotional and hard it is to see your father like this.Hope it goes well and better soon!
1 person likes this
@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
21 Jun 11
I've been doing the best I can for 3 years & it just doesn't seem to be enough!!! I sometimes can see the fight still inside him. It's almost like he feels guilty for still enjoying life!!!
@sid556 (31018)
• United States
15 Jul 11
Oh that is so sad! I'm sure your mom would not want him to waste away what life he still has being so miserable! Grief is complicated and we all deal with it differently and there is no way to force a person to feel any differently than they feel. Still 3 yrs is a long time and clearly his own health is being compromised. Since he won't go to his old friends, I wonder if you could arrange some of his friends to visit and try to lure him out of the house??
1 person likes this
@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
16 Jul 11
I've pointed out to him that Mom would be sad to see him so miserable & he even agrees. Sadly he hasn't been able to process his grief!!!
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
22 Jun 11
He has lost his true "other half." I hate to hear he is so sad. My grandfather,which was like my father, was the same way when my grandmother passed. I was only 10 or 11 I think. If it wasn't for me being a responsibility and caring for me so much, he would have been the same way. He was to a certain extent anyway. I can not imagine having someone in my life that long and then suddenly they are gone. I know that you are trying to do the best you can to take care of him. It is hard to see the people we love so sad and nothing we do seems to help. If there was someway to get some of his friends involved...maybe. I wish you the best of luck.
1 person likes this
@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
23 Jun 11
I totally understand why he is sad!!! I just don't understand why he is satisfied to remain miserable!!! He raised me that it's OK to be sad for a little while, but there is a point where you really need to "fix the problem". My brother felt he had grieved long enough somewhere around 6 months. I felt that a 75 year love affair deserved more than 6 months. Around a year, I felt he should begin to show some healthier thoughts & I thought I was seeing him improve some. He seemed to be happier in general & I thought he was going through phase of where he still missed her but had accepted the fact that she's gone.He did pretty good for about 3-4 months when he reverted back to being miserable & I noticed that his friends had stopped coming over to visit him & he quit telling me what his friends had to say when they called. Then close family members would call me & ask what was wrong with him because ALL he did was cry when they called. Now most of them have quit calling him too. He won't discuss it with me; but he told my brother that he's fine when me or my brother is there with him & then when we leave he gets very lonesome again. He goes out to dinner with a couple of guys from church & he's fine when he's with them but goes back to being lonesome when he returns home. About once a month he goes out to breakfast with the guys that retired from the company he works for & he's fine while he's out with them but is lonesome once he returns home. It seems to me it should be common sense for him to notice that he's OK when he's away from the house & out with people. Both my brother & I have suggested he go out to lunch on the 4 days we're not there with him. That way his mind would be occupied with getting ready to go out for several hours in the morning. He's a very slow eater, so he'd be out & away for a couple of hours. Plus he always needs a nap after he eats & he could nap for a couple of hours. Then the number of hours he'd have to feel miserable would be less. I've even suggested he visit people from church who are in the hospital or nursing home as that would keep him out most of the day. He just keeps coming up with excuse after excuse why he can't do any & every activity we can think of for him to do. Even his best friend has just about stopped visiting him because he says he just can't be miserable with him!!! My biggest fear at this point is that he'll alienate himself from everybody who cares about him & he'll have NOBODY & he will go deeper into his misery!!! My brother & I even tried to increase our visits to help fill his time & that doesn't make him happy either!!! At this point I'm at a loss as to what to try & get him to do!!! His doctor tried to help & he won't take the meds that should help him It's hard to help someone who refuses to help themselves!!!
@dragon54u (31340)
• United States
20 Jun 11
I see you have a lot of good suggestions but that you've tried them all. What else can you do? Have you talked with him honestly and told him he will die if he keeps this up and won't let anyone help him? Be blunt and to the point. It used to be that we could take a loved one like this and put them in a sanitarium where they would be cared for and helped until they were better. Thanks to the ACLU, we can no longer do that. I really don't know what to tell you at this point. I would favor just leaving him alone and telling him your intentions but if he's already down to 125 he needs some serious attention. I'm sorry you're having such a painful situation with your dad and I wish I could say something to help.
1 person likes this
@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
20 Jun 11
Yes, there have been many good ideas offered here. I have exhausted every idea I could possibly think of before asking here!!! He's becoming very adept at lying too!!!My brother & I have gotten to where we compare visits so we can figure out what he's really doing!!! He was the one who taught me my bluntness & honesty & I find it soooo out of character for him to look me in the eyes & lie!!! At 87, I don't feel like he has a whole lot of years left & I sure wish he could find a way to enjoy the time he does have left!!! He has gotten so fragile that I can no longer hug him as it upsets him & he pulls away. We have many frank discussions & he'll respond as though I'm getting through...then a couple of days later, he's back to his pity party!!! I'm almost at wits end...yet I just cannot give up on him!!!! Thank you for your thoughts. You do realize that just knowing you're here & listening is a HUGE help don't you??? One of the benefits of myLot is that if you're willing to listen long enough & you let me talk long enough that I usually can finally see my own solution!!! At this point it hasn't come to me yet, but there's still time!!! I have had a couple of ideas that I may implement soon!!!!
@bird123 (10376)
• United States
20 Jun 11
Yes, this is a tough one. When the love of your life goes after so many years, it sometimes seems easier to give up than go interact with someone new. Perhaps you need to bring the interaction to him. If you know a nice single lady around his age, have her call him up. Most every guy will talk with a sexy voiced gal. Maybe the lady's car could run out of gas in front of his house. Most men will help rescue women. For a reward, she could cook him supper. Lots of conversation and interaction will only open his mind to the possibilities that there are others who care. Let's not forget physical contact can mean a lot so tell her to get in his space. A pat on the back, a hug, or even a good hand shake touches people. New love gets one over lost love.
1 person likes this
@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
20 Jun 11
He runs off girlfriends faster than we can find them!!! In the beginning, his friends would take him out to dinner; but they are also giving up on him now!!!