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  • Good communication is necessary. People cannot read your mind. They may not know that this particular day is difficult or they may not know how to help you.
  • Talk about what is helpful to you and what is not helpful to you.
  • Be sensitive to the needs of your partner. Grief is different for each person.
  • By reviewing past losses together, you can understand how your partner may react to the recent one.
  • Avoid competition in who is hurting most. Each person will have difficult issues to cope with. Grief is hard for everybody.
  • Consult each other regarding birthdays, holidays and anniversaries. It is a mistake to hope the holiday will slip by unnoticed. Make plans and discuss them.
  • Try not to expect too much from your partner. People do not operate at 100 percent during the grieving period. The dishes may not get done or the yard may not be mown as regularly as before. Many chores can wait. Hire someone to help you catch up.
  • Read and educate yourself about the grief process. Go to the library and get an armload of books. Read ones in which you feel the author "is speaking to you" and return the others. Grief books do not need to be read cover to cover. Look for a book with a detailed table of contents that will enable you to select certain parts as you need them.
  • Consider the "gender" differences. Men and women grieve differently. Usually women are more comfortable expressing their emotions. Men often get busy, burying themselves at work or taking on projects at home.
  • Avoid pressuring your partner about decisions that can wait. Of course, some decisions cannot be postponed, and those you will have to deal with. However, many can be put off for a day or a week or even longer.
  • Take a short trip to "re-group." If a child has died, it is very important to re-acquaint yourself with the new family structure. Getting away from the telephone and memories for a few days can help you do this.
  • Seek professional guidance, especially if you feel your loss is interfering with your marriage or relationships.

Originally published by American Hospice Foundation © 2002 and reprinted with permission from the American Hospice Foundation.  All Rights Reserved.
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This content was last modified on: 08/26/2008

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