Heartbreak can be hard, especially when it stems from the death of a loved one. If you’ve ever lost a parent, then you know that all too well. Even if your parent was suffering and you know they’re in a better place, you might feel a pang each time Mother’s Day or Father’s Day rolls around.
But while you may be grieving the loss of a parent, you know that your parent is mourning the loss of their life partner. Suddenly, their routine is disrupted: your living parent may not have someone with whom to watch new Netflix movies or to share a morning coffee. They may suddenly need to take on tasks that are unfamiliar to them to keep their household running, all while experiencing loss, pain, fear, and grief. Although you’re grieving too, your living parent needs you now more than ever.
You can support your parent in their time of need by helping them with 3 simple tasks.
1. Assist with finances
In many cases, one person in the relationship takes responsibility for most or all of the finances. When the other spouse is left to manage these tasks by themselves, they can feel lost. If you know your mom managed the money, and your dad is clueless when it comes to accounting, you can help him stay on top of his bills and get his finances in order.
Here are some specific things with which you can help:
- Ensure bills are being paid on time, or help to catch up on bills if they have fallen behind.
- Go with your parent as they transfer all accounts to a single owner by removing the deceased spouse.
- Monitor financial stability and establish a plan for future resources and billing.
- Offering your parent this assistance will make life seem much more manageable and will keep them from feeling so overwhelmed.
2. Help around the house
Doing small tasks around your parent’s home can be a huge help during this time. Most couples split the housework, so it’s likely that your living parent is feeling challenged with the extra chores.
What are some specific tasks with which you can help? We recommend taking on some of the physical tasks, especially if your parents are aged. Examples of these tasks include the following:
- Helping with outdoor care: shoveling, raking, or mowing, depending on the season.
- Tidying up their living space each time you go to visit them.
- Step in to take care of household or car repairs that your parent may not be used to doing.
3. Provide emotional support
Another way that you can help your parent is to provide emotional support as you both grieve. Listen to them as they talk things out, and be there as a friend. Simply by spending time with your mom or dad, you’re helping them combat their loneliness.
Here are our tried-and-true tips:
- Share memories about your loved one and celebrate their life on special holidays like Christmas, their birthday, and your parents’ wedding anniversary.
- Visit a grief counselor together, if you both need to talk to someone.
- Go out and have fun together like going to a movie, dinner, or taking a walk.
- The pain may never go away from losing your parent, but it will get easier. Stay strong, and cherish every moment you have with your living parent. As you each provide the other with emotional support, you’ll find that, in time, the grief will subside.
If you feel that either you or your parent would benefit from additional grief support, contact us today to learn more about our grief resources.