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Assisting a greiving parent

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I'm looking for advice on how to help my dad cope with losing his older sister. She died of cancer about two years ago when she was aged just 54, and my dad has never quite recovered from the loss. Though she is well meaning, my mum isn't exactly supporting of him, so I feel like I ought to do something myself to help him. Adding to his troubles, the death has greatly harmed the rest of his family. His relationship with his surviving sister is troubled, his mother has been completely destroyed emotionally and worst of all, his father is now facing a battle with dementia. For all these reasons I'm sure you can see why the loss of my aunt still greatly affects my dad 2 years on. Though he rarely talks to me about his feelings, saying I shouldn't worry about him so much, I can see he feels like his life has greatly changed for the worse and he often sounds like he is on the verge of tears. The trouble is I never know what to say in response. Whilst I got on well with my aunt when she was alive, I never really knew her well so coming up with a sensitive response is difficult. I know that just saying it will be OK is rarely enough, so what can I do to help him?

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Dear Jessica,

I know you love your dad very much and it is hard to see him struggle with so much pain and sorrow. It is hard to lose a beloved sister. I don't know if your dad would feel like talking to a grief counsellor or joining a support group. I think its hard on men to admit they need or even want to talk. I think you are doing everything right by expressing your concern and letting your dad know you care about him.

I also found these websites helpful. Maybe your dad would like to read through them and see if anything here might help.

What's Your Grief

Grief in Common

The Grief Healing Blog


The Grief Recovery Method

Tiny Buddha


Thinking of you and your family. Dealing with grief is very hard and it affects everyone. My one therapist said it could take up to 5 years to come to terms with a new normal, but each person's journey will be different.

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