What to do with mom after dad died: Supporting her through grief

Grieving the loss of a loved one is one of the toughest experiences a person can endure. Losing a spouse is especially difficult, and this is a fact that is not lost on the surviving partner. In many cases, the surviving spouse may struggle to come to terms with the loss, and this is where you, as their child, may come in. In this article, we explore the ways to support your mom through grief after the death of your dad.

Understand the Hidden Dimensions of Grief

It’s not easy to cope with loss, and understanding the various dimensions of grief can be difficult. Grief involves extreme emotional pain, and it is a process that requires time to manage. There are several dimensions of grief that your mother is likely to experience, and it’s important to understand these in order to support her:

  • Emotional: This is the most visible dimension of grief. Your mother may experience intense sadness, constant tearfulness, and overwhelming feelings of loneliness.
  • Physical: This involves a range of physical symptoms that may manifest in your mother’s body. She may suffer from fatigue, sleeplessness, and appetite loss.
  • Social: After the death of your father, your mom may also experience social isolation. Simple activities like going out with friends or meeting new people may seem unbearable.

Provide a Support System

In the aftermath of your dad’s death, your mom’s support system may weaken. As her child, you need to be the rock on which she can lean on. Offer to help with daily tasks such as grocery shopping, cooking, or cleaning. Simply spending quality time with her can make a significant difference in her life.

Call and check up on her regularly

Sometimes, all it takes to support a grieving loved one is a simple phone call. This will help to reassure your mother that she is not alone, and you are there for her.

Encourage therapy or counseling

Supporting your mother may require more than just your presence. Encouraging your mom to seek professional counseling or therapy might help her cope with her grief. Therapy can help her work through the different dimensions of grief and help her regain a sense of normalcy in her life.

Offer to help plan the funeral

Planning a funeral is never an easy task, and it can be especially difficult if it is the funeral of a partner. Offer to help with tasks like arranging the venue, making catering arrangements, or making cremation arrangements. This will not only take some of the burden off your mother’s shoulder but will also provide a sense of closure.

Be There to Listen

One of the most significant ways to support your mom through her grief is to lend an ear. Encourage her to talk about her feelings and fears surrounding your father’s death. Be present, and try and offer words of comfort and reassurance. Make sure you are actively listening, as this can provide a safe space for her to express herself.

Encourage her to share memories

Sharing memories with a loved one can help in dealing with grief. Encourage your mother to share memories of your father. It could be anything – a picture, a song, or a funny story. This will help her healing process and bring her some comfort.

The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself

When you are trying to offer support to your mom, it’s easy to forget about yourself. Make sure that you take care of yourself emotionally and physically, as well. Taking control of your mental and physical wellbeing will allow you to provide better support to your mother.

Take a break to recharge yourself

If you don’t feel like you are at your best, it will be difficult to support your mom through her grief. Taking a break will help you relax and rejuvenate your mind and body. You can either treat yourself to a day of self-care or take off for a short vacation.

Share the burden with other family members

You don’t have to shoulder the burden of supporting your mom alone. Sharing the responsibility with other family members can help ease your stress and make it easier for you to provide support. Seek the help of siblings, cousins, or even close family friends.

Closing Thoughts

The death of a spouse leaves a significant impact on the remaining partner, and coping with it will be difficult. As their child, it’s essential to provide support and reassurance to your mom as she navigates through this challenging time. Be patient and communicate your love and support as best as you can.

  • How can I support my mother through grief?
  • You can provide a support system, be there to listen, take care of yourself, and encourage her to seek therapy or counseling.

  • How long does grief last after losing a spouse?
  • There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The grieving process is different for everyone, and there is no specific timeline for grief.

  • Is it normal for a spouse to feel guilty after their partner’s death?
  • Yes. It’s not uncommon for a surviving spouse to feel guilty after their partner’s death, especially if they were the primary caregiver or there were unresolved issues in the relationship.

  • What should I say to my mom who is grieving?
  • Listen and offer words of comfort and reassurance. Encourage her to share her feelings and memories of your father.

  • How do I take care of myself while supporting my mom?
  • Take breaks, share the burden with family members or close friends and practice self-care regularly.


  • https://www.healthline.com/health/grief-support#supporting-a-loved-one
  • https://medlineplus.gov/grief.html
  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hot-topics- in-mental-health/201902/9-ways-help-someone-you-love- grieving

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