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How to help a grieving parent

(5 Posts)
madetomatch Tue 12-Jan-16 21:00:07

My mum died at the beginning of December leaving behind my Dad. They had been married for 50 years. I'm an only child and both my parents were only children so there is no extended family around him for support. I live 2 hours drive from my father but don't own a car and it's a difficult public transport journey, so can't just pop back when i feel like it.

I speak to Dad on the phone every few days but every time i do it breaks my heart because he gets upset. Luckily none of my close friends have lost parents yet so I can't get any real life guidance on how best to deal with this. I know I can't stop his pain away but is this just a process we have to go through or is there anything i can do to make things easier for him?

MrsMiniver Wed 13-Jan-16 13:53:54

This must be very hard for you OP. My dad died a few months ago leaving behind my mum but I have two brothers. I also only live an hour away and have a car so I see mum once a week and she phones me every night. It sounds like you care very deeply for your dad but do remember that you're bereaved too and have lost someone very important.

Practically there's not an awful lot you can do but perhaps you could try speaking to him at a regular time every day, even if it's hard for you to hear him upset. Does he have any friends, acquaintances or interests? He may not feel like doing much at the moment but perhaps in due course you can try and motivate him. As long as you visit him regularly (can you manage once a month?), try not to feel guilty. Is him visiting you an option?
If he's open to it, there are organisations that offer free bereavement counselling or befriending.

This is of course something that he (and you) have to go through and how long it takes depends on all sorts of things. In the meantime, show him that you love him but I'm pleased to see that you know that you can't take his pain away. This has been the hardest thing for me to do with my mum; I've always felt responsible for her feelings and am only now realising that they are hers and hers alone.

Enkopkaffetak Thu 14-Jan-16 07:46:40

My mum died last year and I can still hear the loss and grief in my stepdads voice who she lived with for 39 years every time we speak. I live in a different country to him so can't get to see him on a regular basis. So I have got into the habit of just sending him little texts.msilly things the kids say. Stuff that's going on in my everyday. This way he knows I am near and thinking about him. It may be someone g you could do if your dad is ok with a text?
It's so hard though isn't it? May is the 1st anniversary of my mothers passing and I still can't always process it happened.

ChocPretzels Thu 14-Jan-16 08:07:09

My mother died a few years ago leaving my Dad, who lived a couple of hours away. I initially managed weekly, then fortnightly trips on the trains to see him for a long time, but it was difficult.

About 2 years after she died, he moved to the town where I live. In some ways he was heartbroken to leave his home, but also it was a respite from the constant reminders of their life together and therefore his loss.

It is lovely to have him so close to me now, for both of us. He is still heartbroken, we're still grieving and aside from that major and practical step of moving, I haven't found other ways to help him sad

So sorry for everyone's loss.

GnomeDePlume Thu 14-Jan-16 19:42:52

I am sorry for your loss. Remember to look after yourself.

A piece of advise my DM was given (from the greengrocer of all people!) after DF died was dont make any major changes until you have seen a year round.

DM followed this advice. She did eventually move but by the time she did she was ready for it.

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