Hello Lovely People,
Firstly I would like to thank all my clients and newcomers, for all their patience with our (ZenCentre's) services. We had a server issue this month in the middle of updating and working on improvements to the website. The problems were corrected and service is back and better than ever.
This month the subject is about mourning and things we can all do to help the healing process when it comes to, facing loss with a partner.
When two people are romantically involved for a long time, there will be times when we will see each other at our worst, in times of life’s most tumultuous and traumatic experiences,
whether that be illness, loss, failure or death. In these circumstances, you will often be the first person that your partner turns to in times of trouble. It can be very overwhelming; it can also be a wonderful and necessary aspect of a strong relationship, which is why you must have the best tools to help your grieving partner.
An important note before we go on; although you have survived your life battles and know how it felt for you, you must remember that everyone’s battles are unique and individual to them. Do not assume that what worked for you, is going to work for your partner. The best you can do is be there to listen, hug them, go do bits and bobs for them or just sit in silence and be present.
Allow them to let go
When seeing your partner cry do not respond “don’t cry,” even if it was meant as a comforting gesture, as it can disrupt their healing process.
First of all, crying can be extremely cleansing and freeing. Secondly, if your partner is crying, then they need to let go to move on. So let your partner know there is no judgement in the act of crying and that it is safe to break down in front of you.
Reassure your partner that their emotions are valid and that they don’t need to pick themselves up and carry on right now. Just be accepting of their expression of pain or maybe their need to avoid their emotions.
Give them some space
Remember, we are all different and have our unique ways of feeling lost and so there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Your partner may need to cry, or take a few days off from work, or sit in silence, so allow them that space to do as they wish. It’s also ok to ask them what they need. They may well need to talk or be held or go for a walk in the local woods and scream. It's ok to check in with them, as it reminds them that you're there and also gives them a chance to explain how they’d like to be helped.
Silence is golden
Don’t feel you have to fill the silence while your partner grieves. Often, people who are grieving just don’t want to be alone, but yet have no words. Instead of talking, spend time together in bed, on the sofa (wherever they feel most comfortable) saying nothing.
Give real help
All your partner wants right now is for their grief to be less intense. Unfortunately, you can’t make that happen. But you can help them with daily tasks that could make their life a little easier. Don’t wait for them to ask, as you could be waiting. You could offer to do some shopping, bring some dinner over, do a load in the washing machine or a bit of gardening. You may need to make the calls your partner is not up to, or help with funeral plans. Let it be known, you are the “go-to” person for them.
Don’t add to their pain
There are so many statements I have heard that have made me cringe when I have been at funerals or wakes. “They are in a better place.” “God moves in mysterious ways.” “Look on the bright side.” “Everything happens for a reason.” “When my.......died, I...”
Not everyone will find these as a comfort. Your partner may not believe in a god or a higher power. They may do, but that still doesn’t justify their loved one’s death. There is no bright side to them at the moment. All that matters is that a very important person is gone from their life. The best course of an act is, if you don’t know what to say, say nothing.
Repeating the story
During this awful time, your most important role is to listen. At first, your partner may not want to talk or show any emotions. Let them know that you are ready
to listen whenever they are ready to
Once that moment comes, your partner may need to talk about the same emotions or memories over and over. This is very normal and beneficial for the mourning process. If they need to talk about the cause of death of a loved one or take a walk down memory lane, let them do so as many times as they’d like.
Multiple people may reach out to your partner, following the loss of a loved one. Their sympathy is usually beautiful and appreciated, but it can be overwhelming. Your partner may not have the energy to respond to countless phone calls, emails, or Facebook messages, not to mention the odd person asking an invasive question. Take the pressure away and reply to those messages and thank them for your partner. Give your partner one less thing to worry about.
There is no end date for grief
Your partner will stop crying every day. Their routine will return to normal. It will get easier. They will laugh again. But grief doesn’t end. It's always there under the surface and it’s important to come to terms with that. All you can do is be there when they need. Birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, anniversaries are all going to be tricky, but together you can learn to get through it.
The warning signs
If time goes on and your partner has shown little or no emotion or they still aren’t functional after a few months, gently bring up the benefits of seeking outside help. Are they missing work or falling into a depression, for instance, then it’s time to reach out to a therapist for support and advice on coping.
Thank you everyone for reading, remember that to take care of your partner, you have to take care of yourself. Get enough rest, eat well and relieve your stress with friends, family and relaxing activities.
Thank you for reading,
Online Couples Counsellor