COVID-19 Alert: Manage caregiver stress during this health crisis. Learn More.
Call 888-575-0946 for Home Instead services in your area.
Sharing is Caring:

My father recently passed away. How can I support my mom as she grieves this loss?


Question:  My father recently passed away (married to mom 57+ years) and mom isn't sleeping well. She is positive in other ways and I would like to know the best way to help and encourage her. I visit with her often and call most days.  Is there something more specific I can do within this transition period?

Dr. Amy:  I am sorry for your loss. This is a big adjustment, particularly for your mother. Each one of us deals with grief in our own, individual way. This means that there isn't one answer to your question. In general, you can support your mother by:

  • Being there and providing company,
  • Allowing her to remember your father (sometimes, people feel awkward talking about the person who has died, and this only makes the grieving person feel more alone) ,
  • Helping her to experience activities she enjoys (going for a walk or a drive in the country, gardening, going to the theatre, etc),
  • Providing practical assistance (meals, help with chores, running errands, yard work), and
  • Listening, when she is ready to talk. 

Sleep disturbance is common among people recently widowed. If you continue to be concerned about your mother not sleeping well, ask her if you can take her to her doctor to get some advice. Perhaps, too, she might like to join a grief support group, or talk with someone from her faith community. I encourage you to follow your mother's lead and allow her to grieve in her own way, at her own pace.

Get helpful tips and articles like these delivered to your email.

Share your thoughts, stories and comments:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Ask Dr. Amy now!

    Dr. Amy would love the opportunity to answer your questions.

    Your personal information is kept private and confidential, and is used only to communicate directly with you regarding your question.

    All fields are required.

    By submitting this question, you agree to the Terms of Use and disclaimer for this site.

Find home care near you or your loved one: