Helping Parents Heal: Working Through the Grieving Process of Losing a Spouse

Death is a natural part of life. However, that does not mean that it is easy to deal with the passing of a loved one. One of the hardest things any person will ever have to do is move on with life when his or her spouse passes away. Grief is the natural reaction to loss, and it is perfectly reasonable for your mom or dad to feel pain afterwards — even after some time has passed. While there is no one right way to work through the grieving process, we have put together a few tips that you can use to help your mom or dad during this time of transition and sadness.

  • Acknowledge his or her feelings – Make sure that you acknowledge that the feelings your mom or dad is feeling exist. Some people try to ignore the feelings and hope that they will go away. Acknowledgment can go a long way to helping your loved one feel better about experiencing his or her emotions, no matter what they may be.
  • Learn about the grieving process – The grieving process is more complicated than many people think. Many experts feel that there are five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). It is important to understand how far into the process your mom or dad currently is — and what you can do to help him or her work through these stages. A therapist or other professional may be a good resource.
  • Be available to listen – Simply being available when your mom or dad wants to talk may be the absolute best thing you can do. While you can not always be there in person, make sure your parent knows that he or she can call you, text you or reach you somehow. You never know when the urge to talk will strike, and you want to make sure that someone is available to chat when it hits.
  • Talk about the lost loved one – One of the worst things you can do is to fail to discuss the lost loved one. Make sure you talk about him or her. Paying homage to this much-loved individual will be a big help with the grieving process. If possible, have other family members and friends share stories and perhaps photographs or other mementos. It can make a big difference!
  • Offer comfort — but don’t minimize – Be there as a shoulder to cry on or with a hug. However, don’t ever try to minimize the grief. Comfort doesn’t mean minimizing the feelings that your mom or dad is experiencing. These are big emotions, and while they need to be let out, they don’t need to be pushed away by you or anyone else.
  • Provide practical assistance – While you are focusing on helping your mom or dad with emotional needs, don’t forget practical, physical needs too. Are there tasks that your mom or dad may have trouble completing now? If someone has never cooked or done yard work, for instance, trying to learn how when dealing with grief can be an impossibility. Provide assistance with these tasks, if possible, to make daily life easier.
  • Consider a support group – While not everyone will respond well to a group sharing setting, many people do. A support group can be an excellent way to work through emotions and may even allow your loved one to meet new friends that are in the same place in life.

As you can see, there are many ways that you can help your mom or dad to feel better and work through a time of grief. However, one thing to keep in mind is that some people have a difficult time adjusting to living alone. If this is the case for your mom or dad, it may be a good time to start looking at alternative living arrangements. Assisted living or retirement communities are a great option because these facilities offer a sense of privacy but still allow for someone to be nearby if your mom or dad needs assistance. If you would like more information about finding the right option for your loved one, reach out to CareChoice LLC online at or by phone at (404) 402-1499 today.