"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. I do that that we as Americans tend to want to rush through this process and move on to the next thing. For older adults, their mortality is really hitting 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. I had to do this with my own Father just recently and he actually really engaged in the reminiscing and it was very therapeutic.
Anniversaries of the death and special days like birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc. may be really tough. I encourage people to remember these dates and maybe even give your loved one a call to chat about their memories on these dates. 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 you loved on is to talk and listen.
Published on December 15, 2011.