When a friend loses a close relative, most of us know how important it is to show our support. But what about when a spouse loses a close friend or relative? As their spouse, you are in a unique position to help them through the grieving process. You will likely have a front row seat to their grief and emotions. You are also in a prime position to support them during this difficult time. Here are five practical ways to support your grieving spouse:
Pen a Thoughtful Sympathy Note
One of your first thoughts in consoling a friend who had a loved one pass may be to send a sympathy card with a note. This can also be very healing for a spouse. A well-thought out, written expression of your sympathy allows your spouse to absorb your caring thoughts without having to respond immediately, or even engage in a conversation if they are struggling. It is, however, important they know how much you care about them and want to support them through this loss. A personal sympathy note written and mailed to your spouse may be a momento they keep forever. Don’t underestimate how meaningful it can be.
Increase Your Level of Attention and Affection
This may not always be as easy as a spouse in grief may withdraw from family and friends, including you. Even little forms of attention like cuddling, holding hands or gentle touches can do a great deal in helping them heal. You certainly don’t want to poke or always be in their presence, but increasing expressions of affection can be appreciated.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Them How They Feel
Talking is always helpful if your spouse is in the mood. Don’t be afraid to bring up the subject or to ask them how they feel. Be prepared, however, to back off if they appear unwilling to open up.
Give Them Permission and Space
You can support your grieving spouse by giving them permission to do some of the things they enjoy and giving them the space to be themselves. Your spouse may feel it is selfish to take time for themselves, but you are likely the only person to “give them permission” to do so.
Help Them Balance Between Grieving and Moving On
Be supportive in their grief while supporting their efforts to move on. Let them know it is alright to experience grief and sadness and you are there to help them. Let them also know you are available to help them move forward.
As the spouse of someone who is grieving, you play a special and important role. Be kind, affectionate, supportive and encouraging, but be willing to give them a little space. Grief is experienced differently by everyone, so don’t feel compelled to force them through the process. You don’t have to know all the answers, but knowing the right questions can be helpful. “Are you OK?”, “How are you feeling?”, “Anything you want to talk about. honey?” can all be good places to start.
If you are new to the Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky area and don’t have a relationship with a funeral home, we invite you to learn more about Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory. We have the only privately owned crematorium in the Greater Cincinnati area and have been serving the region for generations. Whether you are in current need or pre-planning for your own funeral, we would appreciate the opportunity to assist you.