"Mom is grieving the loss of her only brother but she always tells me she's fine. How can I help her if she doesn't want to talk about it?"
If it's been less than a year, they may still be in the early grieving process. Don't rush through this process because it's difficult to just "move on" to the next thing. For older adults, greiving the loss of a friend or family member is another reminder that mortality is staring them in the face. One idea is to sit down with your loved one and go through some old photographs of the deceased. As you begin to talk through the memories, good and bad, it may open a door to being able to talk more specifically about the loss. You're not asking anything of your loved one, you're simply talking.
Anniversaries of the death and special days like birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc. may be really tough. We encourage families to remember these dates, even call them to chat about their memories. There's no really pattern to the way people grieve. Sometimes it can creep up on you and you find yourself feeling blue. This is all a normal part of the overall process. The best thing you can do for your loved one is to be present with them and listen.
Published on December 15, 2011.