How to support your bereaved partner

Bereavement can be an overwhelming time especially to those directly affected. For instance in the most African communities, bereavement is accompanied with elaborate ceremonies to mark the send off of

How to support your bereaved partner
  • PublishedOctober 1, 2021

Bereavement can be an overwhelming time especially to those directly affected. For instance in the most African communities, bereavement is accompanied with elaborate ceremonies to mark the send off of the departed. That aside, a lot of financial, emotional and cultural burdens befall the bereaved family that only a clear minded person can be able to handle with ease.

Therefore, when a partner(husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend) loses a member of their family it is important that he/she gets as much support as possible. Support may come in the following ways:

Taking over the planning and coordination role

Universally, people believe that life is sacred and that every person has a right to proper treatment and care in life and death. This is even more pronounced among most African communities hence the ceremonies that follow a death.

The amount of energy and emotional involvement required to plan such ceremonies can be overwhelming. Therefore, rendering support to your partner during such a time is necessary.

Lending a listening ear

When a loved one loses a member of their family, it takes an emotional toll on them. This may sometimes call for them to talk about their experiences with the departed as a way of getting closure. When this times comes, a partner who will be available to listen without judging is important.

These moments may also require you to remind your partner of their worth since some people may be severely affected to the point of questioning their reason for being alive.

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Comfort them on the day of the burial

Find a way to sit near your partner so that they can have a literal shoulder to lean on. The emotional tension that comes with bereavement can break an individual. Therefore, make sure that your partner is not defeated by these feelings by standing by their side.

Accompany them to grief counselling

Emotional pain from bereavement may require a loved one to seek the services of a specialist. This can be in form of therapy or counselling. Help your partner secure a good service provider, and where possible, accompany them to the specialist for moral support.

This will be an indication that, you care about their mental well being.

SEE ALSO: Talking to your children about the death of a loved one

Helping them get back to their usual routine

Photo by J’Waye Covington / Unsplash

Bereavement distorts the usual emotional capacity of an individual. As a result, they may pull back from from their usual routine and social involvement. As a partner, sometimes, it may require you to plan impromptu visits to places the individual enjoyed before.

If abrupt plans are not your partner’s cup of tea, then avail yourself for when they feel ready to visit a location. Make sure to keep  them company so they are not overwhelmed with thoughts of the deceased loved one.

Planning for getaways

A change of scenery can be exactly what your partner needs to feel better about their current situation. Psychologists encourage the utilization of outdoor spaces as a way of healing emotional wounds. Therefore, take advantage of gateways.

These range from a simple walk in the park to a whole vacation. Take the time with them to understand what the new phase of their life means for them.

Introduce a spiritual enlightenment activity

Photo by William Farlow / Unsplash

Certain African cultures demanded for an event that marked the departed’s last days on earth. These events were also significant in offering the bereaved closure. However, this may not be sufficient for your partner and they may wish to do something more intimate and significant to just them and the departed.

For instance, they may want to go on a long/short sabbatical or do certain physical things like planting a tree, or creating a shrine to honour the departed loved one. Helping your partner determine the best activity is one way to show support.


Support varies in magnitude. Therefore, render what you are mentally capable of since bereavement can, sometimes, affect even the distant members of the family severely.

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We catch up with Ben Kitili and his wife, Amina Mude as they tell us about their love story and interreligious marriage; as you get to know how they are navigating the intersection of social media and the limelight in a candid account.

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