HELPING YOUR SURVIVING PARENT COPE
The loss of a parent is one of the most heartbreaking things to deal with in life. But helping the parent who is still living cope with this great loss, and the reality of a new life without their spouse, is a very difficult undertaking. The thought of moving on after losing someone you have built a life with may be unimaginable. Taking little steps with your parent at the beginning will lead to greater independence and healing for them in the future. Here are some ideas to help your parent start their healing process:
Getting your parent out of the house is very important. Sitting inside and being alone all day is not good for anyone, especially someone who has just lost their spouse. Go for a walk together! Make time for some fresh air! Remember that "rest is rust" and you want to keep your parent as healthy and active as possible. Head over to the local senior center and see if your parent may be interested in some classes or volunteer work. This is a great way for your parent to meet new people and keep busy. If your parent has a hobby like reading, knitting or golfing, help them find a club to join. The possibilities are endless if you just help your parent take that first step.
There is nothing more comforting than family. Our lives seem busier and more hectic by the minute, but at this difficult time it is more important than ever to make time for family. Weekends are great for family dinners, and visits from children and grandchildren are the best medicine. If you don't live close by, introduce your parent to video chat. Scheduling a time of day to speak with them will give them something to look forward to. Invite them to your child's school play or soccer game. Being involved in the lives of their grandchildren is a great blessing for a grandparent.
Memory Lane is a Great Thing
Your parent just suffered a tremendous loss. Help keep the memory of your deceased parent alive. Encourage your children to ask for a story about their grandmother or grandfather. Ask how they met, what they were like as a young person or just sit and listen. Suggest making a family tree or putting together a scrap book or photo album. It's a fun activity for all ages and a great way to learn about your family history, all while keeping your loved one's memory alive.
Consider a Companion of the Furry Kind
If your parent is an animal lover, a furry companion may be just what they need to get themselves on the path to healing. A dog or a cat could bring a new sense of friendship, caring and responsibility.
Surround your parent with all of your love, your sympathy, your understanding and your patience. This may be a bumpy road. But just knowing that you are there to hold their hand through this most trying journey will bring them great comfort.