Key Tip 3 Grief is stressful, and stress impairs the immune system.Grieving people may have more colds, suffer lingering illnesses or have flare-ups of existing conditions.By Helen Fitzgerald, CT Basics It's never easy to console someone whose spouse has died, but it can be especially challenging when the deceased is your parent.How can you comfort your surviving parent while dealing with your own loss?It may help you to remember that every person experiences grief differently, and that losing a spouse isn't the same thing as losing a parent.You shouldn't assume that you know exactly how your father feels. You can help him by: • Attending to his physical needs • Listening to him and encouraging him to talk about your mother • Making sure he gets the care he needs • Patiently allowing him to express his grief • Remembering and acknowledging important dates and anniversaries It's not always easy to do these things, however.They're also susceptible to unexpected crying spells. We just die anyway," or "I was doing all this for your mother, and now she's dead. " Let him express his feelings, and offer him love and support.Warn your father to be extra careful when driving or handling potentially dangerous equipment, such as a lawn mower or even a garbage disposal in a sink. But if you worry that he might actually hurt himself, or if you notice him dealing with his sadness by using alcohol or drugs, talk to his physician immediately.
Key Tip 1 In time, grief will diminish, although it sometimes takes a year or longer.But then he may hear a song, find a note written by his wife or pass a favorite restaurant and fall back in the throes of grief.These aren't setbacks -- they're just typical ways that the grieving process resurfaces.If it's too difficult for her to eat three regular meals each day, suggest that she try four or five small ones. Or, if you're far away, ask one of her friends or neighbors to walk with her.In addition to the exhaustion brought on by grief, your mother may be having problems sleeping.You can help by highlighting important points, or even reading aloud with him.Bereaved people can be dangerous on the highways due to their inability to concentrate.If her sleep problems persist, she should see her doctor.Emotional health You may find your mother is more likely to snap at you or others. Be understanding and patient; remember that she probably isn't really angry with you, she's just angry that your father has died.And because you have to deal with your own loss, you may be frustrated as you try to help your father move on with his life.As part of his grieving, he may experience depression, forgetfulness, disorganization, preoccupation with the loss and a lack of interest or motivation in activities that he used to enjoy.