When your partner is suffering from grief or loss, it can be challenging to know what to do for them – and what to give them. Often, you can end up overwhelming and smothering them with your time and energy. Taking a step back and seeing what they need and would appreciate is important to help both of you get through this period. Below are ways to support a partner who is grieving following a loss.
Be there for them
Even if you cannot physically do much to help a loved one or partner, you can still be there for them, both physically and emotionally. You give them confidence and reassure them when you are there for them.
They may have times when they simply need comforting or a listening ear. Being there for them can take shape in many guises, and being prepared to bend and flex to their needs and requirements is going to be important. Of course, you do not want to lose yourself in this process, but you want to be sure you can give all you can in a time of need.
Be a support: Encourage your partner to share memories
No matter how fresh the loss and grief may be, it is always important to share memories of loved ones lost. This can be done through reading funeral guestbooks from Commemorative Cremation Urns that capture what others thought (and felt) about a loved one. Or, it could be through memory books, photos, or videos.
No matter how small or old the memories are, they are valid and important. When they share memories, they can express their grief and loss while at the same time reconnecting by reminiscing and reliving those memories. When sharing memories, good times can be recounted, and that involves reliving good feelings.
Give them space
Even if your partner needs you to be mentally strong with them through this process, it does not mean they need you (or even want you) to be physically there for them. Some people prefer to grieve and get over the loss by working through the process alone. Meanwhile, others prefer having loved ones around.
Giving them space and respecting their boundaries and wishes is important. You can sometimes miss warning signals when you are headstrong about helping someone.
It’s possible to misinterpret certain types of behaviors too, so be aware of that. It is essential to give them the space that they both want and need (and do so when they need it).
Supporting your partner by accepting silence
You may want to talk about what has happened with your partner. However, that does not always mean they want to talk or express what they are experiencing or going through. Silence can be difficult, especially through periods of loss and grief.
However, often, silence can help someone have closure. It can allow them to reflect and think about what they need now.
You might be tempted to fill in long silences. But remember that silence can be a way your partner grieves and processes what they are experiencing at the moment. Respect their process and be there when they need you the most.
Read more about dealing with grief, often called the universal human equalizer, in this contribution from author Julia A Nicholson.