Partners in Grief
Partners in grief – are you struggling to connect? In any relationship, there will be few events more difficult than the loss of a child. Your partner in grief is one of the best tools to have on your side during this experience. It is an entirely subjective and personal experience, too — nobody will know quite how you or your partner feel. In all likelihood, you may each even experience this grief in entirely different ways.
It’s certainly difficult, you’ll be attempting to deal with your own pain, while doing your best to support your partner. That said, your best tool in emerging from this period is one another, and though your relationship may be strained at times through the grieving process, you are experiencing this together.
Honesty Is The First Step with your Partner in Grief
You cannot support one another through this process if you are unable to be honest. Be open about how you are feeling, and encourage openness from your partner. There are probably even going to be times when each of you needs some space from the other — be honest about this. Make it clear that this is not a matter of not wanting to be with them, but just needing to be alone. Let them know that it’s healthy and natural for them to need space too.
Don’t Try and Fix the Grief
It can be natural, when you love someone, to want to repair any situation that causes them pain. However, it’s important to know that this is not a situation that either of you are able to fix. The moments of confusion and anguish that have resulted from your child’s passing are essential elements of the grieving process. They are hard, sometimes devastating, but don’t spend your time trying to find ways to fix this grief. To do so is to deprive your partner of a vital expression of their love for the deceased. Instead, concentrate on being there with them, sharing in the experience when they need you to, just being present.
Juggle Responsibilities Together During Grief
There are going to be times during the grieving process that one or both of you are going to drop the ball in your day-to-day duties. One of the most useful things you can do for your partners in grief is to pick up the slack wherever necessary. The absence left by a death can be overwhelming, so be kind to each other when something slips, and be vigilant about areas where you can lighten the load on days that are particularly difficult.
The same goes for those additional responsibilities that death brings. Even if your partner is usually the one who takes care of finances, or you tend to be the organizational ninja; team up to take care of researching the cost of cremation urns, or the arrangement of the funeral. In some ways these can seem like mundane administrative tasks, but they are loaded with difficult emotions. If you can tackle them together, you can help balance the load.
Keep Talking and Keep Listening During Grief
This is one of the areas in which people can struggle the most following a death. Keeping the lines of communication open. Often, it’s a case that we simply don’t know how to find the right words, or simply feeling awkward in an unfamiliar situation. Unfortunately if we give into the excuse of not knowing exactly what to say, we run the risk of appearing uncaring, or that we don’t want to talk.
The sad truth of the matter is that you have both lost a child, and you are both partners in grief. To say that it’s a devastating scenario is a wild understatement. If it helps, prepare yourself for having the deeper conversations with notes, or even utilizing positive words if you feel as though you might make a verbal mis-step. In the circumstances, there likely are no “right” words to say. The only wrong thing to say is nothing, if that’s all you ever do. Keep talking, keep sharing; the good, the bad. Listen to what each other has to say, and be patient — they may be trying desperately to vocalize feelings neither of you could have imagined having.
Nat Juchems is the Marketing Director at Green Meadow Memorials. Nat helps those grieving the loss of a loved find the right memorial to cherish.
Before becoming the Marketing Director at Green Meadow Memorials, Nat worked for six years in the memorials ecommerce industry as a Marketing Director and Ecommerce Director, using his skill set to manage powerful paid search and organic search campaigns as well as implement merchandising strategies and manage the software development teams that made everything work.