I think you are right to be concerned. Your husband seems to be leaning on the idea that his sisters need him when it may be that he is needing them. They seem to have started the path back to regular life. Your husband seems stuck. I wonder if he understands that feelings of shame and anger as well as grief and loss are normal at a time like this. He may be having great difficulty reconciling his father’s violent death with the father he knew. Since he is the only male child, he may be scared that there is something in the male line that he will “inherit.” It’s unlikely, of course. But such feelings aren’t rational. They are born of grief and fear. He may think that only his sisters, who grew up in the same family and who knew his father as he did, can truly get what he is going through.
You didn’t mention how long the two of you have been apart but since his sisters seem to be reclaiming their lives, it’s time he did as well. It may be that one block is that your husband thinks that being with you will add your grief to his and that he will be overwhelmed by it. He may be afraid that you will be offended if he asks you to give him some space for awhile. Your job is to tell him that you understand that everyone grieves differently. Reassure him that you will take his lead about what to talk about and how much to talk about it. Let him know that it will be enough for now to just have him home so that you can quietly support each other.
If, when he gets home, the two of you can’t find a way to move forward without hurting each other, it might help you to see a grief counselor for a few sessions. You’re right that few of your friends will be able to really get what you’re going thorugh. A counselor who specializes in loss will. Some support and specific suggestions about how to move forward may be what you both need.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on August 18, 2010.