I’m grieving how can I help my grieving step father

My mum, my best friend and best support died in April this year, totally unexpectedly. I have had brilliant counselling Through Sue Ryder But still struggle daily. I am going through a really bad spell of gastroenteritis and have issues with Stomach ulcers. I can hardly eat. A friend of my stepfather stayed with him for the last five months and it was a godsend but now the friend has left and my stepfather is alone. He was only on his own for about five or six weeks before his friend arrived. So for him, it will be like starting from scratch with my mum not being around and for me, I suddenly have more Responsibility looking after him. I am already a carer for my quadriplegic husband and we are having a lot of work done on the house. My stepfather won’t get out of bed unless it’s for me. He is somebody who has stayed in bed a lot anyway, he was and still is a musician so is used to being up at night and in bed in the day. I’m trying to encourage him to be independent and Contact friends to invite them round and go out with them. I’m at a loss and to inspire him to carry on living. The weight of his grieving and depression, but also his lack of motivation for life is weighing really heavily on me I am absolutely devastated for him and I can’t fix it. I would love to know what people have done to help the bereaved parent when they seem hopeless. He’s always been looked after by other people, all his life . I am trying to get well myself. I just don’t feel like I can do it all. He has three children from previous relationships, all of which live far away. There is one that phones him regularly I feel like because I’ve sorted out so much stuff at the beginning that everybody thinks that I will just do it forever. I do ask myself where is everyone? Thank you for listening. x

Hello Suki2,

Thank you for bravely reaching out. I’m so sorry for the loss of your mum.

When it comes to something as tough as grief, it can be hard to know what to say or do that might help someone you love. Our Grief Kind campaign has lots of resources that can help. You can:

  • Watch our Grief Kind classes. Our Grief Kind classes are five short video tutorials in which Sue Ryder bereavement experts talk you through what grief is like and how you can support others who are grieving
  • Listen to our Grief Kind podcasts. Our Grief Kind podcasts are hosted by author, journalist and Sue Ryder ambassador, Clover Stroud. She speaks with celebrities about their personal experiences of bereavement and the support which helped them most when coping with their grief.
  • Read our guide on supporting someone else who has been bereaved.

I hope that you find these resources helpful. Please take good care of yourself, too - the community is here for you.


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Hi Suki,

I am so sorry to read this, sounds like you are having an awful time. I clicked on your conversation as I have had feelings of not knowing how to cope with all my own emotions and in my instance my Mum and families at the same time, and I don’t have half as much on my plate.

Are you in touch with any of his children? It might feel overwhelming for you to get in touch with them but they need to be aware that help is needed and you can’t care for him by yourself. It might take time for things to change but without putting on your own lifejacket you can’t do anything else. Its such a easy thing to say and SO HARD to do. I think Women find it especially hard from how we are praised so much for being care givers, supportive and loving of others. Needing to take care of yourself isn’t selfish but I have spent the last few years learning to try and put myself first as its something I also find hard. All of this will no doubt delay your grieving process - take care.

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