Belfast Telegraph

Can I help my grieving daughter in law?

Fiona Caine is here to help if you have a relationship, sexual, marriage or family problem.

My grandson, who was nine years old, recently died from leukaemia.

Naturally we are all desperately sad and miss him hugely. My son is, I know, struggling to cope, but my daughter-in-law has gone completely to pieces.

He finds it hard to help her because he’s struggling with his own grief and while I feel like crying myself, I hold it together when he’s with me or talks on the phone.

I would like to find some way of helping her. She lost her own mother a couple of years ago to cancer and doesn’t have any family (as far as I can see) to turn to for support.

My son says she doesn’t talk to anyone and he’s in such a state himself I don’t like to push him to talk to her.

Should I try to talk to her myself or will that make things worse? We weren’t that close before this happened but always friendly enough. EB

FIONA SAYS: COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS GROUP OFFERS SUPPORT

When a parent loses a child, the grief they feel can be so intense they may never completely recover from it.

In time the pain may become more manageable but there can still be triggers that cause the pain to feel sharp once again.

I believe you can help your daughter-in-law, but she may not feel ready to talk yet. But just having someone with her, perhaps holding her hand or putting an arm around her, might be all the support she is ready for at present.

You could perhaps help both her and your son by staying with them for a while and taking over the day-to-day tasks that they probably can't cope with.

I strongly suggest that you contact The Compassionate Friends, an organisation of individuals who have also suffered the death of a child.

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