Steps to support one another:
- Grieving style:
Find out what your partner’s grieving style is. Ask them open-ended questions, which prompt not just one response, like:
- How have you dealt with losses in the past? (It does not necessarily need to be the death of close person, it could also be relationship break-up or loss of job.)
- What did you experience then?
- How did you adapt to losses before?
- How do you respond to this loss? What do you feel/do/say to yourself?
(Re-read the description of “Intuitive and instrumental griever” in Chapter 5 – “Different Ways of Grieving”)
- Observe your partner’s way of grieving and their need for alone time or connection.
- Respect and validate their style. Don’t push them into an emotional place with might be uncomfortable for them.
- Help them to draw and build on their past strengths (how they dealt with loss in the past).
- Support them by normalising their responses and reactions.
- Ask questions like:
- What helps you? Where are the limits?
- What other kind of help do you need to deal with this?
- What would help you deal with, for example, that guilt or to memorialise your child or do something else? What else do you need to work with as you deal with this?
- Build on their strength.