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As senior home care givers the time may come for many of us when we have to help one parent deal with the death of their beloved spouse. If this is also our parent, it makes the situation more difficult for everyone.
A few things that have helped me when dealing with the loss of close loved ones:
“Music can sooth the savage beast” and the sorrow-filled heart. I was tremendously blessed to listen to my favorite praise and worship music. It kept me focused on God, even when I couldn’t seem to focus on a anything else. A friend of mine prefers country western hymns such as those by Johnny Cash. Whatever music your parent enjoys, you might want to suggest they listen to it in their home as well as purchasing a CD of encouraging music in the style they normally like and have it playing when you take them out in the car or when they come to your house.
Staying busy can be good. I had one sweet pastor who wanted me to sit and do nothing while others did everything for me. That would not have worked for my personality. Staying busy and even helping others actually worked to help me as well. Though this is definitely a time to be helping your parent, you might also look for simple little ways they can help you. For many, this might prove to be an encouragement to them as well.
We are blessed with several excellent photographers in our family. As a result, we had many pictures of our loved one available. One of our family members made enlargements of several of the best shots and we put them around the house. Just seeing them made us smile, even though it was sometimes a bittersweet feeling. Even if the quality of your photos is more like mine, rather than semi-professional, they can still be an encouragement. I now have an old computer set up with a non-stop photo slideshow which we all love to see for a second or two as we pass through the room it is in.
Talking About Them
One piece of advice I read in more than one book was to make sure you talk about your loved one and be open to listening to others talk about them. Some people are afraid to bring them up for fear of hurting the surviving spouse. That spouse may then feel like they can’t talk about their loved one. Because of that advice, I would occasionally bring up the person in the context of telling a sweet or funny story about them and have found that has always been appreciated.
There is no perfect way that works for everyone. But hopefully one or two of these ideas will be a blessing to you and your family, as they have been to ours.