Dear Maura: My wife won’t talk about our daughter’s death and I don’t know how to help
“I’ve tried to talk to her and I’ve suggested bereavement counselling. I told her I’d go with her but she insists that’s not necessary, she doesn’t need it”
Dear Maura: Our daughter died of an overdose two years ago and my wife has never talked about it. In the early weeks when we did open up in some way, she argued with me that my daughter and myself were always close and she felt left out.
This is so far from the truth — we were always a family in every sense of the word. I’ve tried to talk to her and I’ve suggested bereavement counselling. I told her I’d go with her but she insists that’s not necessary, she doesn’t need it.
She’s so lost and if only she’d talk I know it would help her. We’re just going through the motions. Friends tell me I’m fading away — it’s the worry every day, thinking of her and not being able to reach her. The problem is, she blames me for something I think even she’s not able to put into words.
I’ve planned a week away and booked her in for some spa treatments. We haven’t had time to ourselves like this in a long while. I want to give her a gentle push to make changes in the new year.
I know it will take more than a few spa treatments but I’m hoping some time together will help her relax and, who knows, maybe we’ll talk.
Answer: Such a terrible loss for both of you. I can clearly see this letter is all about your attempts to support her and help her work through the loss of your daughter. But how are you? Have you ever considered the effect your daughter’s death has had on you?
While your wife is concealing her feelings under arguments, perhaps you’re focusing on her because that’s easier than confronting your own sense of loss. Have you ever thought of that?
I think it would be hugely beneficial for both of you to go to bereavement counselling.
So much has been left unsaid and that leads to deep pain. You both deserve to begin the healing process now.
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