Husband lost best friend and employee

by Deb Sims, MS,RNCS,LCSW

My husband just lost his best friend (who was also his service manager for the past 10 years at his business), suddenly in a motorcycle accident. They were very close and were like brothers for the past 15 years.

It was very quick and, of course, unexpected. My husband is totally devastated. I knew this man also and was very hurt by his passing, but he was much closer to my husband. My husband was also hurt by the fact that he didn't really get to say "Good-bye." Don's organs were donated, and by the time we got to the hospital, they had already moved his body to another hospital for the purpose of harvesting his organs. They did, however, in the week previous to his death, have a conversation in which they both expressed their love for each other. (My husband had been very ill and Don told him to take care of himself because he loved him like a brother; my husband told him the same in return) I told my husband that I was happy that they had at least expressed their feelings for each other, as so many people don't ever say the words that they feel in their hearts.

Now, the situation is that not only has he lost his best friend, his stress level at work has doubled because Don's death also meant the loss of a very valued and needed employee. My husband is trying to take up the slack, but is in constant turmoil between his emotions and trying to keep the business together.

My question is: How can I help him? He has pushed me away, is very nasty to me, won't speak to me, and in general, a terror to live with. I have done my best to try to ignore his rude comments to me, and have done everything I can to make sure nothing goes wrong at home, so that his stress isn't compounded. He is acting horribly to me and our daughters. I realize that he is in a great deal of pain, but I can't handle how he has been treating us....it's awful.

How can I help him deal with his grief, yet at the same time, let him know that his behavior towards us is intolerable? I have tried to tell him how much I love him and that I will try to help him as much as I can, but I can't if he keeps pushing me away. He is cold and angry to me. Last night, for the first time in many years, he slept on the sofa. There had been no provocation on my part except that I had to take my daughter to a meeting at school and brought fast food home for dinner instead of making dinner as I usually do. This sent him into a tailspin, when it normally would not have been a big deal.


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