Chapter 4: Impact on family and friends

If you have a partner or spouse

My husband and my brother were best friends. I do my best to support him, and he tries to support me, but we are both just so devastated. It’s been hard to take care of each other.

My sister’s death has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever experienced. My wife has been a great support in all of this, even when I need space and time on my own.

If you have a partner or spouse, they may or may not be as supportive, patient, and understanding of your grief as you would like. Although it can be difficult, you may need to tell them what you need: specific ways they can be supportive to you; times when you feel like talking about your grief; and times when you feel like focusing on something else.

Conversation prompts

It can be hard to have these conversations and tough to know how to get started. Here are some suggested ways to begin:

I know you care about me and want to help. Right now, I just need a listening ear.

I know you want to make me feel better. I just don’t want to talk about it right now, but I would love to watch a movie together or go for a walk.

I know you find it hard when I cry and that you don’t like to see me hurting. You don’t need to try and make me feel better. I just need you to hold me.

Your partner’s grief

Depending on the relationship between your sibling and your partner, your partner may also be grieving. They may feel unable to share their experience of grief with you because they feel they do not have the same “right” to their feelings of loss. It can be comforting to both of you to talk together about your sibling who died and what they meant to each of you.