Ways To Be There For Your Partner After They Lose A Parent

Whether you're a child or an adult, it's never easy to lose a parent. For many, the death of a parent is a highly distressing and traumatic experience, and this type of loss can result in mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, per Psychology Today. Even those with complicated or negative relationships with their parents may find the loss of a parent painful and difficult to navigate.


A death can also be challenging for those who are close to people directly touched by the loss, such as the partner of someone whose parent has died. Many partners feel the need to support their loved one in any way possible as they go through this difficult time, but don't know exactly what to say or do. With emotions running so high and so much pain to process, it's easy — even with the best intentions — to say the wrong thing and make the situation even harder for your partner.

If your partner wants to talk about their pain or ask for a specific kind of support, listen and be there for them as much as you can. But if your partner doesn't ask for any kind of assistance in particular (and they're not obliged to), you can still offer your support in a few kind, helpful ways.


If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Let them know that what they're doing is okay

One of the most helpful things you can do for your partner is let them know that the way they're grieving is totally fine, according to Fatherly. Healthline explains that there's no right or wrong way to grieve, so it's important not to police the way your partner deals with the loss.


Whether they're crying so much that they can't breathe, staying in bed all day, or escaping to work and not showing emotion, it's all valid. If they don't grieve in a way that society or other family members expect them to, they might feel a sense of shame or guilt, so you reminding them that whatever they're doing is okay can take a load off their shoulders.

Give them a little space

Supporting your partner doesn't necessarily mean being in their face 24/7. Being there for them also means giving them space to grieve, process their emotions, or do what they need to make themselves feel better. Ashes With Art points out that you don't need to try and get rid of your partner's grief for them, and more important than being there all the time is being there when your partner needs you.


If they don't want to be alone, it's okay to stay with them longer than you normally would. But be aware that they might also want time alone or to be with their family members.

Run the house

The last thing that most grieving people want to worry about is household chores. It can be extremely helpful to assist your partner with the usual tasks of their daily life so they have the time to practice a little self-care.


The end-of-life planners at Cake note that it can be a huge help to take on the responsibility of caring for any children in the picture, as well as cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and running other errands. Your partner may want to do these things for themselves, as acting normal can sometimes make a big change feel a little less overwhelming. But they will likely appreciate your offer to help.

Offer them gestures of kindness

It can be difficult to know what to say to your loved one who's grieving. A gesture of love and kindness can often symbolize your support and let them know that you love and care about them, which may help them to feel a lot better as they deal with the loss.


A simple arrangement of flowers is the perfect way to show your love, as flowers have traditionally been used as an expression of sympathy and willingness to share in the grief (via Your Life Assist).

Help them to remember their parent

Remembering someone who has died can bring an enormous amount of comfort. CEO of Grief Coach Emma Payne tells The Zoe Report that helping your partner to honor their parent's memory can help them to feel better while they process the loss, because you're showing your partner that their parent "is special and won't be forgotten." Payne suggests listening to "music that the person loved" or "going to their favorite restaurant."


If your partner wants to talk about their parent, be there to listen. Once they begin talking, ask them light-hearted, non-invasive questions to let them know that you care. They might also like to hear any funny or heart-warming stories you have about their parent. As always, follow their lead and let them share their feelings.