Counsellor: It's like he's died tooQ: Five months ago, my father-in-law died suddenly from a heart attack. He was 67 and fit and healthy. My husband is absolutely devastated. He isn’t sleeping well, he shows little interest in me, the children or even work. I’ve been as supportive as I can be, and have been doing everything with the kids and around the house to give him a break, but I am exhausted. Please tell me what I can do.

Issy, Herefordshire

A: While there is no timeline for grieving such a sudden and profound loss, your longer letter suggests that your husband’s grief is becoming worse, rather than ebbing and flowing.

In situations such as this, it is important your husband’s doctor is consulted. He may need antidepressants and/or some grief counselling.

Neither of these things will ‘fix’ your husband’s grief, but they may help him come to terms with his loss and move on and embrace what is still in his life – namely you, your children and his friends.

I recognise that this is yet another ‘to do’ in a long list of things you are already taking care of, but you don’t have to do all this alone. Cruse Bereavement Care (daytime helpline 0844 477 9400) also supports the family members of the bereaved. As you say yourself, grief – yours or someone else’s – is exhausting.

Emma Marlin, Counsellor

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