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What Do I Do if My Boyfriend's Mother Died & He's Having a Hard Time Dealing With Her Death?

by Candice Coleman

Watching your boyfriend grieve the loss of his mother can leave you feeling uncertain about what to say or do for him. Although people process grief differently, there are things you can do to help your boyfriend during this trying time. Just letting him know that you are there for him can help him move forward.

Your Words

Reminding your boyfriend that you love and care about him, and asking him to share stories about his mother can be helpful as he grieves, according to Everplans.com, a grief support resource. You can also share any fond memories you have of his mother. Not all words are created equally, however. Comparing your previous losses to the loss of his mother, telling him not to cry, or reassuring him that he will "get over it" can be damaging. It is also important to consider your boyfriend's views on the afterlife. While some people might not want to hear the their mother is "in a better place," others might find this thought comforting.

Gifts

Sending a gift can let your boyfriend know that you're there and you care. Sending flowers to his house or to the funeral home can be helpful, according to Everplans. It is also common to give gifts of cash or make a donation in his mother's name to a charity. Gift baskets can bring relief to a grieving family as well. Your boyfriend may be preoccupied with his grief or planning his mother's funeral, and a gift basket of food can take remove the concern of deciding what to eat.

Helping Out

Daily concerns like doing the laundry or mowing the lawn can go by the wayside when someone is grieving. Offering to help with chores like these can bring your boyfriend relief, according to the 2001 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' LifeCare Guide, "Helping Others Cope With Grief." However, keep in mind that your boyfriend may refuse your help. If he does, accept this, but let him know that he can ask for it if he needs anything at a later date.

Being Aware

Grief does not end with the funeral. In the months and years after his mother's death, your boyfriend may find it difficult when her birthday, the holidays or the anniversary of her death come around. Letting your boyfriend know that you are there to listen can be helpful. Pay attention to his cues during these times; for example, if your boyfriend chooses not to mention his mother when the family is together for a holiday dinner, follow his lead and don't bring her up, notes the Emily Post Institute. If his grief seems to get worse, or if he discusses hurting or killing himself, you should advise him to see his doctor immediately, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

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