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Mum taking Grandfather's death hard watch

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    • Thread Starter

    Hey all,

    I just wanted to ask you for advice and sharing your experiences here, I'm after advice on how to deal with this.

    So, my mum is the type of person who gets worked up over stuff easily (gets nervous and takes things personally). She's also a teacher so that helps . Recently, my grandfather, her father, passed away in Ukraine (He was Russian). She left home when she was 16, came to the UK around 30, and hasn't seen him in a while. We went to Ukraine 3 times before his death and she always sent him money and talked on the phone and stuff.

    Anyways, from what she tells me, she was always much closer to him than to her mother (who died when my mum was 11). So two weeks ago she went to Ukraine for his funeral. In Ukraine/Russia they keep people in the house until the funeral (no morgues etc), and it's customary to spend the night talking about the person etc.

    Now the thing you gotta understand is that the part of Ukraine she went to is an ethnic Russian-populated city, very industrialised, huge nuclear power station close by, dam, metalworks, that kind of thing, but it's not very affluent, and a lot of the infrastracture that we take for granted in the UK is not there. This includes public transport, reliable street lights and roads without holes in them.

    The place she went to is on the outskirts of the town. It's more like a large village than a city. After 1530 in this time of year it gets dark - there are no street lamps, everything is quiet around, complete darkness, there is a fair bit of crime, stray dogs, moonlight, the wind with trees and various metal and wooden knick-knacks knocking around in the wind - that kind of thing. So it's a little spooky.

    So they spent the whole night in the same room with my grandfather's embalmed body, and then the next day had the funeral.

    I dunno what it was but my mum got really freaked out - the night after the funeral she told me that she couldn't sleep, that she thought someone was walking around the house etc. The dead quiet, stuff bouncing around in the air, dog's howling etc made it impossible to sleep. The next night she phoned me at 0700 in the morning and practically begged me to get the tickets changed so that she can fly out the next day instead of 4-5 days later as she originally planned. The next day she went to sleep to another family member's apartment in the more "urban" part of town where it's much safer.

    She was outta there the next day, and back in London in the afternoon. There probably was some legitimate reason to be afraid there, because it's not the safest place in the world, but not to this level.

    Since she got back she is scared to sleep alone (she gets the dog and me to stay with her), she keeps saying how scary it was in Ukraine etc. Last night she said she could hear me shouting for her??? I told her to go councelling but she seems reluctant. But it's weird that she is scared to sleep alone, that she was so spooked out by the place in Ukraine and that she can't sleep?

    My question is, any of you had similar experiences? Or your parents? Can anyone offer any insight?

    Thanks very much for anything you can offer up,

    Jesus that went around the houses....

    Yeah I'm sure she'll get over it. My mum couldn't sleep alone for a week after seeing the movie scream.

    I've never experienced that, no, but I'm sorry about your grandfather's death and I hope your mother can come to terms with it.

    All i can say is i wish i was as close with my mum as you are with yours. We never talk to each other about personal stuff, my family is pretty formal.

    She will deal with it how and when she likes. She knows she has your support so just be there for her if she needs to talk, and give her lots of hugs.

    I expect it's her way of dealing with the very first shock of your grandfather's death. Take everything she says with a pinch of salt, to be honest it's way too early for counselling. She's just undergone a major bereavement, it will take her years to come to terms with her father's death and there's no point trying to rush her. Let her deal with it in her own way and just be there for her. If in a few months or so you seriously are worried about her mental state then speak to a doctor, but right now she's only just in the very beginning stages of grief and it does do funny things to people. They will say and do odd things that they later can't explain.

    At the moment she sounds as if she is dealing with her father's death and is still in shock. Maybe going back to the Ukraine was hard for her and her mind was all over the place.

    As for her not being able to sleep alone it is doing no harm for now, but of course you cannot let it go on forever. She may be worried that something will happen to you or her if she sleeps alone. Soon you could suggest that when she falls asleep you go back to your room and the dog stays with her, then eventually she will get back into the habit of going to bed alone.

    For now leave the counselling suggestion, as JennyBean said, it is too early and people deal with death in many different ways.
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