Sunday, April 12, 2009

Understanding Your Grieving Wife

This post is inspired by my husband, Paul, who also greatly misses our daughter. Together, over time we are learning how differently men and women grieve. He loves me through all of my emotional outbursts, even the ones directed towards him. He always touches me tenderly when I'm upset. He speaks to me kindly even when I don't speak kindly to him. In essence, during the past six months he has loved me even when I am the most unlovable. Thanks, Babe!


  • Women grieve very outwardly; we cry, yell, get withdrawn or crabby, and usually show our grief in a visible way. But it may be very hard for us to tell you how we are feeling.

  • We may have a bunch of really good days/weeks and then completely fall apart with little to no warning.

  • We find that remembrance dates and holidays and the days leading up to those dates are especially hard.

  • Touch your wife gently when she is upset. Physical touch reminds her that you care.

  • If your wife shows anger towards you, this is part of grieving. She will get over it, but you will be the "safest" target for her anger.
  • Talk to her about how you are missing your child so that she is aware of how you are grieving. This will help her to feel that she is not alone in her grief.

  • Other upsets in life (i.e. problems with living children, a car accident, a bad day) will make us feel grief more intensely.

  • We may say we want to be alone when we actually need you close by.

  • Talk about your missing child. If you don't, she may feel like she shouldn't talk about him/her because you'll be sad. This is also important for living children - they may need to talk about the sibling they are missing, but if you don't talk, they may feel that they shouldn't.

  • Attend a support group with her. Try it at least twice before deciding whether you'll go again or not.

  • Do things in honor of your child like ordering an Easter lily at church, making donations in your child's name, and caring for your child's grave. If you do something that will be public, be sure to tell your spouse prior to a public appearance so they can have their first reaction (most likely an emotional one) in private.

  • Don't ever assume your wife is done grieving. Time does NOT heal all wounds. Nor does a new baby - in fact, it may make the grief stronger as you experience milestones with the new baby that you didn't experience with your missing child.
If I'm missing something you think would be a good addition to this list, please let me know and I'll add it.


Heidi said...

But I would like to be sure to add that you TELL your spouse if you order flowers for the Easter Garden...I forgot to tell Tim (I swear he knew I did it!) and he got all teary in church when he saw her name in the bulletin!

Great post though..full of good ideas!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

So glad I found your blog. Will be back to read more...Hope you will stop by and visit me.

Persuaded said...

your husband sounds like such a dear man... God bless him♥

Megan said...

rachel that is so good. wow, what so many wouldn't give to have that read by their husbands.

thank you Megan

alexandersmommy said...

Thanks for putting this out there Rachel. My husband and I know we're grieving differently over Alexander's loss and your post will help both of us.