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My Nephew has concerns

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Need Advice Please...

I received an email from my nephew today. He has some concerns about his dad (my bro-in-law). Apparently my BIL is asking the same questions over and over, as well as repeating the same statments. I'm sure he is still experiencing some depression over my sister's death (it was 6 months ago on May 27). And I don't know if that may have something to do with his behavior

My nephew is a fabulous kid (age 21) and has been forced to grow up very quickly. However, I don't think he should be putting himself in the position of "the child must act as the parent". Now I'm beginning to worry about them both. Has anyone else experienced this "forgetfullness" after the loss of a loved one?

We live 2,000 miles apart so although I talk to my BIL often, I haven't seen him since my sister's funeral. As always, I appreciate any help. Ellie

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So very sorry to hear of this latest development in the family. I can see how worrisome this is for you being so far away. Grief can manifest itself in so many different ways. I hope that it is okay that I'm responding, as I am still fighting side-by-side with my husband.

This is from my heart and I have tears as I write this information for you and your dear BIL.

Speaking as a current spouse/caregiver, I can say that my mental acuity has slipped terribly over the past 26 months. I ask Tony the same questions over and over, as he constantly reminds me. I will tell you, and all joking aside, my mind has become numb. It's almost like a cloudiness in my head that I can't clear. I don't seem to be able to comprehend and assimilate new information the way I used to. I think that is the reason I unknowingly ask the same questions repeatedly, to try and penetrate the brain fog. I've forgotten things that were second nature to me just a few years ago. (I have other ongoing family issues that we are dealing with too.) I also repeat myself constantly as my three adult children can attest to -- they tolerate it well, I have to say. But, I can quote book and verse about lung cancer and my husband's treatment.

I have not lost my spouse and I can't even imagine the additional stress that the actual loss causes. I don't even want to go there mentally.

All of the worrying, stress, as well as the complexities of being a caretaker suddenly ends with the death of a spouse. New stresses enter the picture in facing life alone with only you to deal with family, home, and finances. You enter into totally foreign territory. You don't have your beloved with you and suddenly your time as a caretaker is over. One of your purposes for being is over. Depression can hit big time when you combine all of these elements.

My SIL went on anti-depressants and therapy after my BIL's death and she is just pulling out of it after three years. (and now she has cancer ) My friend's mother entered a center for a few months about six months after her husband died. She had been caring for him for many years and suddenly just "lost" it.

I've been on anti-depressants for some time and it probably has been my only salvation. Your dear BIL needs some intervention to go see the doctor and maybe even a therapist to aide him through this most difficult time. He should have a complete physical, as there could be changes in his body that could also be causing these issues. Your nephew might think about seeking therapy to assist him in dealing with his Dad. It is just so very hard to try and find your bearings in a world turned upside down, that therapy & anti-depressants can help.

Hugs and my very best to you as the struggle to pick up the pieces continues for your family. I'm sure others will come and post far more wisdom with their own knowledge of having lost a spouse.

(Sorry this was long --- just another little quirk I've developed along this journey.) :wink:


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My uncle lost his wife last Oct. He does a lot of the things mentioned, repeating, forgetting, etc. Part of it is the grieving process and of course he is very lonely. A doc needs to assess the situation. Antidepressents can be very helpful. Often people don't realize how depressed they are so with lots of love and gentleness he needs to get some medical care. pammie

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I'm similar to Welthy - I can quote LC studies chapter and verse, question my husbands doctors like a trial lawyer, and recite the statistical chances of specific side effects of every drug he has been on - but I am in a fog in certain other ways. It's as if this illness has caused a constant background noise in my brain, 24/7. As a result, I'm distracted a lot and (my 20 year old would gladly confirm this) ask the same questions multiple times. I apparently also black out entire conversations we have had, resulting in a lot of "I TOLD you that last night". I've just accepted it. I feel that your BIL's behavior could very well be grief and depression, and I really hope someone can get him some help.

As for a 21 year old having to take on Dad's welfare - not ideal for him, but it happens, and sometimes there is just no choice. At least he has you to support him and guide him.

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Stress can cause memory loss - that is a fact. I am sure your BIL, although we call it "grieving", is under a great deal of stress due to the loss of your sister.

I would ask your nephew to make sure his Dad hasn't started any new medications as memory loss is a frequent side effect of many drugs.

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I have been quite forgetful since my hubby passed, along with many other significant changes. I must say that grief is necessary and it has to be experienced. It is so important to be concerned and aware of changes for your loved ones, and I do not know to what level of support he has, if he is allowing himself to feel the devastating emotions of losing your soulmate, if he is reading about others who experience grief, going to grief gatherings but I think they are all vital. I believe the anti-depressants mask the intense emotions and emptiness that has to be allowed and felt.

Sorry if that seems harsh. Maybe a phone call to say you are there no matter what, gentle suggestions of your supportiveness...even sharing with him how you feel about the loss of your sister can be helpful. I can give reading tips if you would like too...???

Many warm hugs...Flowergirlie

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Thank you all for your helpful comments. My BIL has been getting grief counseling as well as some antidepression meds. When we last talked, he told me that the 6 month date really got to him. I understood completely, since I had the same emotions. He knows that we are in the same boat, and we continue to talk and email. I shared your comments with my nephew, and I think it really helped. June 10th will mark the one-year date that Maura was diagnosed with cancer. Another hurdle to overcome. The "year of firsts" is so very difficult. Thanks again to everyone. Ellie

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