Grieving Your In-Laws: How to Support Your Spouse When Their Parent Dies



At some point in life, many people will find that their spouse has lost a parent. When this troublesome time comes, it’s important for you to provide your spouse with the emotional, communicative, and financial support that she or he needs. Read on to learn more about simple strategies you can implement to support your spouse when they discover that their loved one has passed away.

Let Your Partner Take the Lead

One great way to support your spouse when their parent dies is by letting them take the lead. If they are ready to discuss what happened, listen carefully and closely. If they are not ready to talk, don’t attempt to drag them into conversations. If your partner wants to be alone, give them space to really let your partner take the lead. You can ask them a simple question such as “What can I say or do to support you during this process?”

Don’t Try to “Fix” Them

In many cases, individuals think that their role and responsibility during the spouse’s period of grief is to “fix” their partner. For example, if the partner falls into a period of deep despair marked by constant crying and isolation from others, individuals often feel that they have to get their significant other actively engaged in social activities again. This is not the case. Grieving is a process, meaning that it will take a substantive period of time for it to end.

There is a wide range of non-normative or negative behaviors that can surface and remain prevalent throughout the grieving period. And you generally just need to let your spouse go through all these stages and phases in a supportive, nonjudgmental way. Unless your spouse begins to engage in behaviors that include self-harm or suicidal ideation, you probably shouldn’t step in and try to “stop” or “fix” their actions and attitudes.

Assist With the Busywork

Another strategy you can deploy to assist your spouse when their parent dies is assisting them with the funeral home & crematorium services. This approach is effective because, in addition to dealing with the emotional and physical toil engendered by grief, there will be financial obligations that have to be taken care of. With this reality in mind, make sure that you’re offering a helping hand with key processes such as financial arrangements for the funeral and deciding whether the body should be cremated.

Have Healthy Conversations

Although it may be unhealthy and unhelpful for your spouse to talk about their deceased parent all the time, having periodic conversations about the mother and father at some point is almost always a good idea. When people bottle up their feelings (whether positive or negative), they can experience a wide range of unhealthy outcomes, including physical disease and mental anxiety. For these reasons and more, be receptive to the reality that your spouse may want to look at pictures, tell stories, or share fond memories about their parent. Participate in these healthy conversations so that your spouse knows that you are willing to be there for them.

Don’t Delay: Start Supporting Your Spouse Today

If you’re ready to support your spouse when an in-law dies, now is the time to access and implement specific strategies. You can use some or all four of the techniques outlined above to help your spouse move through the stages of grief in a healthy manner.


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