How can I help my Mother-in-law cope with her daughters death?

by DW

It was nine years ago when my Mother-in-law lost her daughter. She was killed in a car accident and died right away. The daughter wanted to be cremated and was. My Mother-in-law will still get Christmas presents for her and has a memorial set up for her in the house. She still hasn't gone through all the stages of grief yet and no matter how we try to help, it seems to only make it worse.

My family is planning to leave after dinner on Christmas day but she got so upset that we are planning to go that she pulled the ashes out and sat down and was stroking the urn. I told my husband that he needs to get his Mom some help with a therapist, but he just keeps making excuses that everyone goes through the death process their own way. But it has been nine years now. Can someone give me advice on how to help or what you think I can do in any way?

Comments for How can I help my Mother-in-law cope with her daughters death?

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Apr 29, 2013
saddest mom ever
by: Anonymous

My daughter was killed April 18 2013 . I have another son and daughter. Its so hard losing her no words can say. I'm scared to grieve to much around any one for fear they don't understand the love I have for her I have for them. I just miss her want her need her. I can't think about going on with out her. I still keep holding my breath finding it impossible to breathe. Brandy was killed in a wreck she was pinned under the car. Her boyfriend was the driver . Speeding on wet roads to get to his grandmas House where his papa just passed away. He lived my daughter died. She was gonna b 29 May 8 . She had plans for her day. Please how do I go on . Please someone how do I deal. And what do I do to deal with my feelings about her boyfriend. Tragedy for two families.

Mar 27, 2012
by: Anonymous

When you lose a child,even writing the words just doestnt seem real.How can a mother ever put into mere words The total horror or try to explain how it feels to have your heart ripped out of your body and the pain,the nightmares,not knowing if your child is crying out for you to be with them ,but not being able to because you have other children to think about.Sometimes things happen in life that you will never recover from, and its ok.We can smile ,put one foot in front of the other,let our families believe we have come to terms with things,cos thats what mothers do.But we mothers know,the day we lost our child,we stopped living,and i think its not us who are mad,just everybody else who thinks its time for us to move on

Feb 22, 2012
complete agony
by: jodylynn

I just lost my daughter 28 days ago. I can not contain my grief. This is absolutely the most heart wrenching worst time of my life as it is. No one can help me. It does not get easier at all. I am angry! I am sad! I am devastated and I am so entirely lost! This can not be happening! I am so damn alone!
My daughter was a beautiful 29 year old woman who died on her 29th birthday of a cancer she was diagnosed with 4 mths earlier. she has 4 daughters who will never know just how much they meant to her. They will never know just how fabulous their mother was. and two will never remember her face as they grow. I am so afraid they will forget. everyones lives just seem to go on yet my daughter is not here to live it. I miss her and love her so much!

Dec 11, 2010
mom grieving
by: Anonymous

My mother is grieving the loss of her oldest daughter who was 64yrs old and passed 2 months ago. My mom is having a hard time with how she died. Mom and I were taking care of her at home where she wanted to be to die. Hospice came in to help 2hrs a day. My sister was talking and laughing and did not complain of pain. Her daughters, my nieces, helped occ. in the evenings.

One daughter who is a LPN felt she would give morphine which hospice ordered as needed. We know her daughter gave more then needed because when I would ask her if she wanted morphine she said no. She was not in that kind of pain.When my mother and I left to take a weekend off and came back on Monday my sister was no longer responsive. Her daughter said she was helping her to go. She died two days later. My mom and Myself feel her daughter helped her mother die sooner then she should have. How do we deal with this?

Her daughters are no longer speaking to us. I tried to help my mother by telling her I didn't think my sister had much longer but she feels that they cheated her out of one more day or week or what ever time she had left. I feel the same but try to just tell her anything that will give her closure. thanks for letting me express my feelings.

Dec 26, 2009
helping a mother-in-law
by: A Mom

Dear DW...I lost my 30 year old son six years ago, we found him dead in bed, and the holidays are so hard....

The last person to write you is right..Your mother in law has to grieve...My husband and I run a breavement group for parents who have lost a child...It helps to be in a room with people who know your pain...I tell everyone: you have to go through the pain, you can't go around it...

Sounds like she does need some counseling...My heart goes out to her...Unless you have lost a child you can't understand...And yes everyone mourns in their own way ...

My son went to Africa to do missionary work and picked up a parasite that destroyed his kidneys... We do clothing drives and give the clothes to the poor and whatever money we can make we send to Africa... They started a parish in Africa in his name...It does help to help others in my sons honor...

And I definitely agree, people do not want to talk about our children...They must think they will hurt us... But it hurts when people do NOT talk about them...I never want to forget my son...He was a great guy...My prayers are with you and your family...

Dec 23, 2009
by: Anonymous

To Another Mother,

Your comments were very heart felt and so true, please keep giving your advice and help others to heal through time. Seasons Greetings from Down Under, Australia.

Dec 22, 2009
Another Mother
by: Anonymous

Dear DW, my 19-year-old son died this last February and I will do my best to share my experience so that you may help your mother-in-law.

Your husband is correct in that everyone grieves in their own way, however, nine years is a long time to be in the grief stage that she is.

My experience is that my life literally stopped and I was in a fog for at least three months. Then came the pure anguish, heartache, immense sadness and begging God to make it not so. That existed for 4-5 months.

I am now in my 10th month. I am getting better, but it's taken a lot of work. The holidays are difficult times. My husband and I are taking a vacation for Christmas instead, and I have made a conscious decision to find happiness, fun and even joy on our trip.

I miss my son more than words can say and the heartache and sadness is still there. We just learn to live with it. I don't know if you are a parent, but the loss of a child is a very harsh trauma.

Attending a grief support group specific to the nature of my son's death has saved my life. If your mother-in-law won't attend, then you attend. These people can help you to help your mother.

At Christmas, and often, take her hands in yours, look her in the eye, and gently tell her that you know she misses her daughter (by name) and that it still hurts. Look at photo albums with her, cook her daughter's favorite cookies or meal. Please acknowledge her pain and allow her to cry. She can only go through the grief process by grieving. Put aside any discomfort you may have and allow her to grieve. Give her permission; grieve with her. Sometimes we just want to know that others miss our loved one, too, and that they haven't forgotten.

Bless you and I wish you the very best.

A Mother

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