How Can I Support My Partner While They Are Grieving?

Grief doesn’t wear one face. If your partner has lost a loved one, countless waves of emotions will likely come over them. They may cry, get angry, stay quiet, lash out, or want to be alone. This can leave you asking, “What can I do?” There’s not one single answer, but we do have suggestions. Here are some ways to support your partner while they are grieving.

Create an Honoring Ritual

An honoring ritual can look different from person to person, depending on what the griever feels comfortable doing. Some examples include:

  • Hosting a dinner every year on the deceased’s birthday
  • Re-creating favorite holiday recipes the deceased used to cook
  • Setting a plate at the table during Sunday night dinners for the deceased

Give Them Time to Prioritize Self-Care

Self-care may seem foreign to your significant other while grieving, but it’s still very important to encourage them to take time for themselves. Open up a conversation about their needs and suggest activities that might help, such as:

  • Nature walks when the weather is nice
  • An afternoon nap
  • Resting with a good movie, a blanket, and a cup of tea
  • A spa day

Avoid Comparing an Experience You Had

While you may feel like you’re “relating” to your partner, making comparisons could do more harm than help. They might not want to hear it, and an argument may sprout.

Take on More Chores Than Usual

Let’s be real: Your grieving significant other probably can’t muster up the right words to ask for help, but the last thing they want to do is a sink full of dishes. Do what needs to be done without mentioning it. Do the laundry, take out the trash, cook dinner, or clean the kitchen. If necessary, take on some funeral arrangement tasks to ease the stress.

Let Them Know It’s OK Not to Be OK

Sometimes, your partner needs to hear that it’s OK to break down and cry, just like it’s OK to get angry and scream into a pillow. It’s also OK to be silent. Whatever they need, let them know it’s OK. Pain and emotions don’t come out the same for everyone. If they need more assistance, gently suggest they seek professional help.

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