How To Help A Partner Grieve

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death, grieving partner
Everyone experiences grief differently; here are some universal tips for helping your partner cope.

Bob says his girlfriend suggested he undergo a Mikvah—a Jewish ritual bath—which he performed to cleanse himself a month after mourning his mother's death. "That was very meaningful for me, but [that may be] an unreasonable expectation of someone not in rabbinical school. I would say try to help the person find meaning in the loss as best as possible."

Temes agrees with the idea of healing through a ritual. "Rituals are terrific," she says. "All religions have rituals. If you're not religious, it's still a great idea to establish a ritual, which can range from setting aside a particular time to go through a photo album to lighting a candle and saying your memories." Losing My Husband, Then Learning Of His Infidelity

 

5. Grief doesn't follow deadlines.

"It is a long process," according to Temes. "Those who are grieving will get back to themselves when they are ready, not when you invite them to a party or demand they pull themselves together."

A month after my dad died, I thought I was feeling like myself again. Then I saw a family huddled around their luggage at an airport, and it reminded me of all those vacations my dad loved to plan and how we'd never get to travel with him again. Or I'd see an older man in a wheelchair and get a flashback to my dad's last few months. Grief can come in waves, but as time passes, mine has become more muted and less frequent.

While everyone's healing process is different, Temes says that if a month or two as passed and your significant other cannot eat, sleep or function at work, or if they become obsessed with the deceased person, it's time to get concerned. She suggests you "tell your partner you are worried about them and so you made an appointment with someone who knows more about bereavement than either of you."