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What happens when your husband’s first wife is dying

(11 Posts)
pigsmayfly. Thu 02-Dec-21 18:45:19

The grown up children of my husbands first marriage are naturally very upset that their mum is having palliative care and has few weeks to live. His son seems to think that his father doesn’t care about this and expects him to be more upset. DH has explained that he did his grieving years ago and that whilst he doesn’t want anything to happen to her and he does care, he doesn’t love her anymore. His son is quite angry with him. Have any of you had this experience who can offer some advice please? She has a long term partner who will be very upset at her passing.

Shandy57 Thu 02-Dec-21 18:51:25

Your poor step son, he is in so much pain because it is his one and only mother, he will be angry at the world. Your husband''s explanation is perfectly rational.

My daughter was angry when my husband died and couldn't accept the differences in our grief.

Shandy57 Thu 02-Dec-21 18:52:32

You've just reminded me of how nice my step mum was to my mum when she was dying - my Dad felt exactly the same as your husband.

Septimia Thu 02-Dec-21 18:55:52

I agree with Shandy. Your stepson's attitude is due to him trying to cope with his grief. He isn't thinking rationally.

Your husband can't be expected to grieve in the same way. That he is sad because she is so ill is a credit to him. But perhaps, for the sake of his relationship with his son, he could try to appear more upset. Not easy.

Blossoming Thu 02-Dec-21 19:01:57

I think all you or your husband can do is be supportive of his son. It is grief that is making him react like this.

ValerieF Thu 02-Dec-21 19:43:32

Yes my advice is step back and let your husband and his son take care of this and grieve together. Don’t try to be there, don’t analyze who he loved more just stay in background and learn your husband to support his son through this.

eazybee Fri 03-Dec-21 09:01:38

Of course your husband's son is distraught and angry; he is losing his mother. All you can do is be as supportive and kind as possible; I do think your husband should show a little more empathy with his son than he appears to be doing.
It often happens that when a previous partner dies, however distant the relationship, there is an unexpected surge of grief and guilt, so be prepared.

Katie59 Fri 03-Dec-21 09:28:28

It would be the same with a first husband, unless you really hated him because of abuse or betrayal, you dont love him any more but you respect him and dont feel any ill will towards him.
His family’s feeling are understandable they probably took his side when you split and believe you were unreasonable, now all you can do is give what sympathy and support you can but don’t get involved beyond that.

trisher Fri 03-Dec-21 09:45:53

Do we only grieve for those we love? Because that seems to be what your DH is telling his son. You don't say how much contact there was between your DH and his ex, if there was very little I think I would say he is being foolish. My ex husband died very suddenly. I'd always said I would dance on his grave because of the way he behaved, but I found it very upsetting. I think your DH needs to look more carefully at his lack of emotion. If she has a few weeks he has time to deal with things. The grief and distress of divorce is not the same as that of a death and not loving someone does not stop you grieving for them.

pigsmayfly. Fri 03-Dec-21 10:56:09

Thank you everyone. That certainly does give me food for thought. It’s good to hear your thoughts and advice

pigsmayfly. Fri 03-Dec-21 10:58:14

Thanks easybee for the tip. I will bear that in mind