Supporting my grieving boyfriend

My boyfriend’s uncle (more like his second father) has just passed away. I knew him too and he was a lovely man so I’m saddened by his passing but my boyfriend is completely and utterly heartbroken.

He is back home with his family to sort out a lot of things his uncle ran and owned. These things are very private within his family and not something I’m hugely informed on. I only communicate with him by text and not really calls because he can’t manage them. And also I imagine feels so overwhelmed and broken.

I want to ask how I can better support him. It’s all about him right now and all I want to do is be a support. I let him know that I am here for anything he might need and can help in anyway I can. I try my best to listen neutrally, asking open ended questions and giving warm and loving support as well. I make it known occasionally that I’m here for him but also let him come to me sometimes so he doesn’t feel burdened by me.

I probably sound like a wally who’s overthinking this but I would so appreciate any advice or insight as to how I can better support him or anything in particular that would be appreciated. He’s a stubborn and reserved man but highly highly sensitive and one of the kindest hearts I’ve met.

It’s obviously not so easy to gage what to respond in messages with when I can’t see his face. I also have never experienced any bereavements in my family so don’t have any experiences to call upon.

Any help would be so appreciated and many thanks to you all.

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It will difficult knowing when or what your boy friend really needs help but just being there for him and letting him do the talking seems to help most people. I have a neighbour who did just that, she didn’t ask questions or give me advice but just let me talk about my loss.
Be kind and considerate is all you can do and wait and see when things develop.
You are a kind and considerate person to have come on this site looking for information, so just be yourself. Bless you for caring. S xxx

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In the first few weeks after losing my mum, i was just glad my partner looked after the house, the kids and did all the practical stuff so i could focus on what needed do with my mum.

However as time goes on, the most important thing is to look out for signs he wants to talk and just listen, be there, give hugs etc.

I found not long after the funeral no one asked how I was, or really wanted to listen or talk about my mum. It made me feel incredibly lonely. It’s been nearly 11 months now and it actually hurts more now that she has gone than at the beginning as reality has sunk in.

Also be mindful of important dates and anniversaries. The 6 month anniversary was extremely hard for me, it was made harder by no one remembering what day it was without me saying.

So the best advice I can is, just be there. Don’t be scared or avoid talking about it, be as normal as you can


Willow, what you have written is absolutely right even stating that people don’t want to hear you talking about your loved one which then makes you feel even more lonely. Just keep smiling because that’s what people want then close the front door :disappointed_relieved: S xx

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Hi @priestmanhilda

I think the fact that you are researching ways to help your boyfriend is really significant and really very thoughtful of you.
I have recently suddenly lost my dad and my boyfriend has absolutely no idea how to support me and has no desire to look in to ways to help. So I think it’s really touching that you recognise the importance of this.

I’d say from my own experience helping with the every day little things and making sure things keep ticking over would be of great help. I found it difficult to function and carry out basic tasks to begin with, I would’ve appreciated my boyfriend taking the brunt of the household chores. The little gestures can be so significant. Small decisions can be difficult as well, I can sometimes find it hard to decide what to have for dinner. As silly as it sounds. And sometimes being overwhelmed by silly questions from my boyfriend that I just felt were so unimportant and insignificant.

Also accompanying him to appointments/on car journeys/chores. My mum has found it difficult to go anywhere alone and do things for herself so I have gone with her to a lot of things - solicitors, funeral directors, dental appointments, shopping. Although I wasn’t actually doing anything I think the company was really helpful for her. This may not be an option as you said your boyfriend is sorting things with his family. However just offering to go along with him is just as important. He may take you up on the offer and appreciate your company.

Recognising that his moods may be unpredictable and not taking it personally.

Sometimes I don’t feel like talking about my dad and how I’m feeling. A brief distraction from everything is sometimes welcomed, so I have been seeing some friends to talk about them and what’s going on in their lives. So if your boyfriend has any close friends maybe encourage him to meet them for a coffee - if he is ready and up for that. Some people can’t bear to socialise. Both are fine.

There are certain times of the day that people struggle with. For me it’s the evenings and nights because I have nobody to talk to and I feel like I’m completely alone. So check in with him, even if it’s a text because it may just be what he needs at just the right time.

Just be available and there for him when he is ready to talk. Or even if he’s not.

Sorry to go on, I was just thinking about how I wish my experience had been better and I had better support.

Hope some of this helps.
Take care.

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Dear Flo5,

First off, thank you so so much for being willing to share your experience and help me with mine. I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your father and also to hear that you would have liked a bit more support during that difficult time.

I think part of the problem I’ve found is that I can’t be with him right now. He’s very much shut away with his family (rightly so of course) and so I can’t ease things by doing small tasks, cooking, lighting the burden of life etc. However, your advice about just being there when he needs me and being ready to talk about something completely unrelated should he need it were super helpful.

I think what’s also helped me everyday is the mantra “I’m not the priority right now.” This has helped purely because when he’s not in touch and I’m hurt, I know I’m not the priority, if he’s not using familiar endearing language, I know it’s ok because I’m not the priority etc.

I also know that in no way shape or form can I know and understand exactly what’s going on in his head and I also suspect that it’s 100x busier than what he does or says on outside.

Thank you so much again for taking the time to help me. It was so kind.

I hope you are doing okay.

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Hi again @priestmanhilda,

I understand it’s difficult not being able to be with your boyfriend physically. I suppose I have been similar in that I go to my mums daily for long periods of time. It is exhausting for me and I had hoped that when I return home my boyfriend would be there for me physically and emotionally.

I think you are absolutely right in your mantra. I don’t want to sound selfish but when you are grieving you cannot think of anything else and you can’t put anybody else before your grief. Although it’s not on purpose I can’t think about what my boyfriend needs at the minute. I feel fragile and like I can only think of one thing at a time. Even though there’s a lot going on in my head.

I think you have a really good understanding of what your boyfriend needs and though you may not feel like you’re doing a lot or you want to do more, I really think what you are doing is huge. And acknowledging that you don’t fully know what he is going through is also really important.

Also, the grieving process is long. Things may seem to return to “normal” but your boyfriend will be grieving for a long time and it’s not a linear process. That is something my boyfriend doesn’t understand. He thinks that I should be ok now (at the 2 month mark) and doesn’t understand that whilst one day I may seem to be coping well, the next day I can be a wreck.

It sounds to me like you’re doing a great job. Look after yourself as well, grief can be far reaching.

Thank you for replying and I hope I have helped a bit.

Take care xx