Watching a parent struggle with a terminal illness or life-threatening injury can be especially devastating for younger people. You may be left wondering what you can say when your boyfriend is losing his mother. Though only time can help your boyfriend process his grief, there are things you can say to help him feel better. There are also other ways to support your boyfriend and help him through his grief.
Words of Comfort
"It is OK to cry," and "I am ready to listen if you would like to talk," can be comforting for your boyfriend to hear, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' LifeCare Guide, "Helping Others Cope With Grief." You can also ask your boyfriend what he needs from you during this time. You might share happy memories you have of his mother. For example, "Your mom kept all of us in good spirits on that camping trip last year. She has a great sense of humor."
Phrases to Avoid
Some phrases should be avoided when trying to comfort a boyfriend whose mother is dying. It can be hurtful to say, "You should focus on when your mom was healthy," "This is for the best," or "Her pain will be over and she will be in heaven," according to Heart2Soul.com's article, "Sympathy Messages." In general, it is best to avoid telling your boyfriend what to do or trying to put a positive spin on his mother's death. A comment that alludes to religion should only be made if you are certain of your boyfriend's and his mother's religious beliefs.
As his mother nears the end of her life, your boyfriend may find himself handling his mother's medical treatment and planning her funeral or memorial. Ordinary concerns, like grocery shopping or picking up siblings from school, may go by the wayside. You might say to him, "I can pick up your sister from school next week," or "I can make dinner for us tomorrow night." When you offer to help, mention a specific task, according to Everplans.com's article, "Offering to Help When Someone Has Experienced a Loss."
Saying, "How about lunch?" or "Are you tired?" can remind your boyfriend to look after his health during this time, according to "Helping Others Cope With Grief." Pay attention to your boyfriend's behavior during this time, too. If his depression seems to intensify, you might say, "I've noticed that you are having a difficult time. If you would like, I can go with you to see a doctor."
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