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Girlfriend Lost Mother, I Struggle With Her Grief.

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Hi all,

I find this a very hard subject to broach, especially since I find it hard to convey my thoughts without sounding heartless and selfish.

Basically, my girlfriends mother died last year - we are both 22.

We have been together for 5 years this September and getting married in December 2007.

At the moment I've been struggling to cope with her grief and I don't know what to do. She must sleep with TV on to distract her from her own thoughts, she often sobs and says how her life is ruined, that she will never enjoy life again because whenever something good happens she wants to share it with her mum. I am moving away to start my career (which she supports) she will move in with me next year because she says she cannot leave her brothers and father at the moment. She gets incredibly homesick if she is away from home for more than a day or two and revealed yesterday that she can't imagine a time when she could move out of her parents' home because of the memories and connection with her mother.

She asked if I would give up my career to be with her at home if she wasn't ready to move. I said not to think about it and see if it happens but she says she is worrying now.

I understand that these are normal feelings and possibly I would feel the same if I were in her situation. I just don't know if I can sustain a relationship with someone who can never be happy. I realise it's an awful thing to happen to someone, especially at that age, but I don't know if I can handle this responsibility at this young age. I don't want things to be potentially worse than they are now in 5 years time and have suffered in the process. I know all this may sound callous but I just don't know if I'm too young to have to support someone in this way perhaps forever. Where do you draw the line?

I just don't know whether to cut my (since she obviously wants the relationship to continue) losses and break up.

Every aspect of our relationship is fine, we are very much in love and I would marry her tomorrow if her mother was still with us. I want to stay with her, without question, but I don't want to live in the shadow of her grief indefinitely. She will struggle without me and she says splitting up will destroy her since she will have "lost everything" but surely that can't be the reason to stay?

I guess I'd just like to get this out there, talk about it with someone so please do your worst!

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First off, I am sorry to hear that you are having to deal with this at such a young age. Your girlfriend is still in the first stages of grief the first year is very hard. If she hasn't started to get personal cousling by now, it is something she might want to consider. She has her whole life in front of her. To say that she will never be happy again is not something she could possibily be able to tell. When my wife died 4 months ago, I said the same thing, that there is no way I could be happy, now that time has gone by, I see things much differently, I can be happy at times. It being a year since this has happened, tells me she is holding on to hard. She needs to let go and move forward.

You have some hard decisions ahead of you, being 22 doesn't make it any easier. You need to look at your life and where you want to go. There is a point where you can be selfish, you have to look at is this something I can help her with, and are you willing to stay to help her with it no matter how it turns out. Marriage now days is way to easy to get out of. I believe that when you get married, it is a life long commitment no matter what. You need to look at is this relationship and determine where you want it to go especially when it comes to giving up a carreer. You need to think about if you give this carrer up, you can't blame her for it latter, it is your descision and yours alone. If you choose to not follow it and stay with her because she can't leave it is still your descision. Basically you need to decide if you won't have any regrets. You are not married yet, so you have time to do some real soul searching. If you are truly in love with her, it won't matter where you are living or what you are doing for work as long as it is enough to support your family.I am by no means telling you to break up, I am just saying that you need to take a long hard look at yourself, you are still young and have a long life ahead of you. It breaks my heart to hear of someone breaking up during hard times, but there are other hard times to come, can you handle those as well? I would rather see someone break up before marriage than afterwards with a child involved. Pray and ask God for the answers, they will come to you. Is this someone you can see spending the rest of your life with no matter what happens? You are the only person that can answer that question. I hope al;l goes well and you might think about having your girlfriend come to this forum she will find a whealth of information here with very helpful people.

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Paul C,

Derek gave you some excellent advice. The only other thing I thought of is that maybe the two of you need a short "seperation" for the time being. Let her know that you are not abandoning her, but you think you both need some time to think. It will also help you both find out how much you care about each other and how you do without the other. Since she has a father and brother, she will not be alone, or otherwise I might not suggest this.

You are not being heartless and selfish. Just the fact that you came to this site shows that you honestly love and care about her. And that you have given this a lot of thought in a remarkably mature way! Unfortunately, when someone dies, the people left change forever. Sometimes the change is so overwhelming to others that they aren't sure about things anymore. Everything is different. You are really doing both of you a favor by giving this situation such serious thought.

I wish you the best of luck and that things work out the best way for both of you,


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I just want to add that your girlfriend is expressing what she feels. The best thing you can do is listen. Tell her you will do your best to be there for her, and don't try to "fix" her. That is always the temptation, to try to tell a grieving person to focus on the positive, or try not to think about the loss, or whatever. It doesn't work. What a grieving person needs is a listening, compassionate ear. Of course she will not be unhappy for the rest of her life, but she will be grieving for awhile. Eventually she will be able to think of other things besides her loss. The recommendation for a major loss is not to make any big changes in your life for the first year. So if you truly love her and want to be with her, stick by her and let her grieve. She may well feel that she can't leave her family right now -- you are right that it's best to wait and see how she feels when the time comes, but for now, it must seem to her like she will always feel this way. So just tell her that it's fine to feel that way now, it's understandable. You might have to change your plans a little, but I think what she needs is to know that you realize that she is in pain, and that you will do what you can to help her. Mainly, it's listening to her and not judging what she says. Just let her express her feelings. They are powerful, but they won't last forever. She will always miss her mom, but the grief will get easier to bear as time goes on.

All this is assuming you feel you do still want to spend your life with her. If this is still true, then the decisions need to be made by both of you together. You need to both weigh the pros and cons of you giving up the job, or her moving, or what your options might be. If she is not in grief counseling, I would definitely recommend it. She can meet people who have had the same kind of loss, but she can see how they are dealing with it, that she is not the only one who has suffered this, and that there is hope for a happy life even with such a loss.

I don't mean to come across as telling you what to do, these are just the things that come to mind. Bear in mind that life does have its sorrows, and learning to deal with that now is not such a bad thing. I know when I was in my 20's, I thought everything that upset me or my husband meant there was something wrong with the relationship, but in fact it's just life, and you learn how to cope with it, hopefully together.

Good luck to you!

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