Sunday, August 7, 2016

Grieving With a Spouse Who Did Not Raise the Child Who Died

Grieving with a spouse who did not raise the child who died - workshop

When you are grieving the death of a child and your spouse is not the mother or father, it is difficult for you to talk to them because they feel you don’t understand. They did not raise your child, they did not go through life’s experiences with the child, so how can he/she share this journey into the past with you, you might think.

Trying to grieve with a spouse who did not raise your child adds an element of loneliness to an already isolating loss. How do you keep this reality from wedging a deep crevase between the bereaved parent and the current spouse? It is true that some couples do okay coping, but at this workshop, parents shared some thoughts about how they deal with this problem.

One husband puts a shield up and doesn’t share his anger and deep grief with his wife. The wife says she suffers for him and tries to imagine what he’s going through. The wife was told by the moderator of the workshop that she shouldn’t expect to understand; that it’s inconceivable to relate to the one who is isolating himself.

Another man who had four children and told his wife to be, "If we marry, we're in this together, She chose to be his children's mother after the death of one of the children. Their marriage is strong because of patience, understanding and good communications.

Whether it’s the mother or father who is suffering, they will never be the same person. We have to recreate a new life to stay together in a different world. It takes a long time to realize you’re a different person and to actually function again. But eventually you do realize that.

Another spouse said her family broke completely and were never the same after the death. They found it impossible to talk to one another and share feelings. They divorced when it became impossible for both to communicate.

One mother said she sat down and wrote a letter explaining her feelings after her child’s death, saying this will all take time, that you are fighting this grief and want the relationship to continue, but it will take time. Let the spouse read it and understand that she, too, was suffering in her own way. She realized things would never be the same but didn’t want the relationship to falter, that there was hope for them. Sometimes a written form of communication can open channels to understanding.

This is also true for siblings left behind, who think parents favored the one who died and react accordingly. They cry around their friends and say they are not loved. This is simply not true, but sometimes a mother or father doesn’t have the capacity to let go of his/her grief for a very long time. If they sat down and explained this to the sibling, matters might improve significantly until things become closer to creating a new normal.

An exercise suggested by the moderator to help calm you down to talk is as follows: sit relaxed on a chair or on a sofa, breathe in through your nose slowly and hold it for a minute. Exhale through your mouth slowly. Do this three times during the day for as many days as needed. It is a form of Yoga. If you can do this in a quiet place, it is a great way to quiet the mind.

No comments:

Post a Comment