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Supporting Your Spouse after a Parent Dies

At some point, almost everyone experiences the loss of a parent. When we lose a parent, no matter how old we are, our world feels like it has turned upside down. Changes occur in our understanding of ourselves, our identities, and we experience deeper grief than we may have ever felt before.

Sample ImageWhen it is your spouse that has lost a parent, you may wonder how to support your loved one. You may not know what to do or what to say. You may be much more on your own because your spouse cannot give you the time, attention, support, or help that he or she normally gives you. It may stay like that for a long time. There may be glimmers of the person your spouse normally is but then those may disappear as your spouse withdraws again into another expression of grief. Your spouse may experience anger, depression, anxiety, listlessness, and feelings of isolation. Those feelings may change on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Your spouse may seem fine six months after the event and you may think that everything is back to normal but then suddenly your spouse experiences another bout of pain.

This cyclical process is normal in grieving and it can continue for a year or even two years. The best thing that you can do is understand that it is normal and try to adjust to it as best you can. Remember, what you are experiencing in terms of reduced support or more emotional upheaval pales in comparison to the pain your spouse is feeling.

Throughout the grieving process, try to follow your spouse

Dr. Michael Clatch, Psy. D
Posted in: Grief and Loss
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