One of the most difficult losses that most people experience is that of a parent. When your partner or spouse loses a parent, part of them is often lost with it. Our parents are such a large part of us. They created us, raised us, encouraged us, and taught us, all while loving us unconditionally. If you’ve never experienced the loss of a parent, and even if you have, it could be difficult to help your partner through their loss because everyone handles grief differently. Equip yourself with the right tools, and understanding to love your partner best through the loss of a parent.
Helping Your Partner Through the Loss of a Parent
Silence Truly is Golden
Anytime someone passes away, the ones who are closest to those grieving often jump to talk. Things like, “I’m sorry,” and “I’m here for you,” are all words that can be left unspoken because they’re a given. It’s obvious that you are committed to supporting your partner through this loss, and being sorry for something that has happened, does not make it any better. Talking does not help the one who is grieving, but the one who is comforting. Nothing that you say will change the situation or make your partner feel different about the pain they are experiencing. Simply offering a warm hug, and silence will make the entire situation comfortable for both of you.
Gender Changes Things
It isn’t everything but it is something. If your grieving partner is a male, it’s likely that they cope by processing and thinking practically. For most grieving women, the comfort in coping comes from talking and crying at inopportune moments. Obviously these characteristics are pretty generic, and may not be the case for all men and women, but the scientific nature of how men and women handle grief differently is a great place to start when seeking the best way to help your partner through the loss of a parent. Gender is also a factor in the weight of the relationship between your partner and the parent that they’ve lost. Mothers and fathers play different roles in our lives, and understanding the closeness, relationship, and love between your partner and their parent is important in considering the pain they are going through.
Be Aware of Signs
Grief is hard, and losing a parent is never easy. It’s important that you give your partner space to determine what they need. After some time, life will start to go back to “normal” and while nobody completely recovers, healing does begin. After a few months, if your partner is still having trouble eating, being involved, and working back into their daily routine, it might be time to seek help. Symptoms of depression are often confused with lasting grief, If these symptoms go untreated, your partner may struggle to overcome two very different things.