When your spouse loses a parent, it affects you too because you’ve lost your in-law.
And this situation to peculiar from person to person.
So how your spouse deals with the loss depends on how close or distant they were to their parent.
And the truth is you can’t perform any magic to make them feel better.
All you can do is be there for them the best you can.
This post will discuss ways to support your spouse after the death of a parent.
9 Ways to support your spouse after the death of a parent
When we lost my mother-in-law, it broke us badly.
My mother-in-law was a remarkable woman.
She was a great mom and a sweet and proud grandma to our kids—the type of grandma who’s ever-present in her grandkids’ lives.
And my mother-in-law raised the man I’m proud to call my husband.
So her loss hit us hard.
But here’s how we got through it:
1. Be in sync with your partner’s needs when they lose a parent.
When your spouse loses a parent they were close to, be there for them.
They’ll cry, think, wonder.
Please stay by their side and comfort them.
Knowing your partner well lets you know when to ask questions or if they want to talk.
Sometimes, you’ll sit in silence while they try to come to terms with the loss.
Other times, they want to cry or talk.
Please be there for your SO.
2. Listen when they want to talk
To support your spouse after the death of a parent, listen when they want to talk.
They might want to vent how they could have handled the situation better and prevented the loss.
Please help your spouse not blame themselves for the loss.
Also, your partner might want to talk about how the parent influenced their life, etc.
Who knows, you might help them remember happy memories of their parent.
3. How to support your spouse after the death of a parent? Please encourage them to take care of themself
When people lose a loved one, they might reject food or even refuse to take care of themselves.
To help your partner pull through the loss of a parent, please remind them to eat, bathe, etc.
They need to take care of themselves, not fall into other complications and be in good health for their immediate family – you and the kids.
4. Grieve with them
As I said at the beginning, if you’re close to your in-law, you’d be grieving with your partner.
But remember, they feel the loss more than you do because it’s their parent.
So give them lots of time to come to terms with the loss.
5. To support your spouse after the death of a parent, don’t hold back intimacy.
Intimacy in the time of loss varies from person to person.
When some people are grieving, they don’t want intimacy, while some do.
So if your partner is the type that still wants to get busy between the sheets, go for it.
Otherwise, remember to hug and kiss them to show you still love them.
6. Let your spouse grieve in their way
Most of us ask questions when we lose a loved one.
And some religious people say not to ask God why.
I don’t believe there’s a standard way to grieve.
So if your partner is asking why this happened, please don’t stop them.
Please don’t tell them not to ask questions.
Some people say when you cry, your enemy will be happy.
Who cares what the enemy does?
Your spouse only cares about the parent they lost, not the imaginary enemy.
So let your partner cry and grieve in their own way.
7. Keep words like they’re in a better place out of your mouth
When we lose someone we love, people say things like these:
- They’re in a better place.
- They lived a good life; it’s time for you to move on with yours. Or
- thank God they’re no longer in pain, etc.
We think these words are comforting, but they’re insensitive to most people dealing with loss.
So please keep them out of your mouth.
For someone grieving the loss of a loved one, they believe a better world is where their loved one is with them.
So telling them the parent is in a better place means you’re not trying to understand what they’re going through.
And if you have nothing to say, again, put a hand on their shoulder to say, “I’m sorry” or “I’m here.”
The shoulder touch says more than enough.
8. Keep your feelings aside, for now, to support your spouse after the death of a parent.
When your partner loses a parent, please give them lots of grace.
This is not the time to argue about them not giving you attention, doing chores, etc.
It would be hard, but you’d take on more chores to give them room to grieve.
I’m sorry, but your needs may take the back burner for a while.
And the more time you give them to deal with the loss, the sooner they’ll get better.
So bear with your SO.
9. Lastly, continue to support them
When we lose a loved one, even years later, we’ll remember them and grieve again.
Expect that your partner will remember their late parent and cry for years.
And some movies or stories might remind them of their loved ones and leave them sad.
Please be there to reassure them they’re not alone.
I still cry when I think about my dad, who died 19 years ago.
And my husband still comforts me.
So continue to support your partner.
Conclusion on how to support your spouse in the loss of a parent.
Lastly, how you support your spouse in the death of a parent varies.
The tips I shared are ways I helped my husband come to terms with his loss.
There are many ways to support your partner when they lose a parent.
If they had a close or distant relationship with the said parent, how they grieve and how you support them will be different.
Another thing that affects how they grieve is if they can attend the funeral.
Because not being able to attend a loved one’s funeral can be hard on them too.
So those are things to consider when supporting your grieving spouse.
I’m sorry for your loss.
Give your partner all the time they need to grieve. And be there for them.
Thanks for reading.
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