Dad Spends All His Time by Mom's Grave
"Is there any reason for me to be concerned with the amount of time Dad spends at Mom's grave? Even though Mom died five years ago, Dad still visits her grave almost daily, rain or shine. To be fair, he seems relatively fine, otherwise. He socializes a little, attends family events and seems fine when we are together. I'm just worried he will never move on." - READER
Please understand that “moving on” does not necessarily mean completely letting go of the past. The past is a part of all of us.
Your dad should visit your mother’s grave whenever he wants to. If that is daily, so be it. You see, some people journal about their grief, others talk about it with a close friend. Your dad has a different approach. He is visiting the grave of the person he was closest to, your mother. He is likely telling her everything, just as he did in life. It is his way of staying connected and mourning the loss. Do not be concerned that he is spending too much time at the graveyard.
His loss is profound. She was likely the person he was closest to in life and now, even in death. He is grieving in the way that is best for him. Yes, it is solitary and maybe not the way you might choose, but it is alright to grieve this way for the length of time he needs to.
You have described a man who is still functioning with family and friends. He is present and engaged. If your mother was the primary organizer of social events, it is unlikely he will suddenly become a social butterfly. It is important, however, that he stay socially connected on some level. Humans are social animals, after all. You could help him join a group, class, or destination that connects him with others in his age group and engages his curiosities and interests. Make sure you are patient and do not push him too quickly. With grief, we must take small steps into our new normal, and that is appropriate.
Talk to Dad about your mother, as he may find solace in the conversation. The older we live, the more we have to share about life. Do not be afraid of talking about your mother's death or your father's grief. Your dad will likely find comfort in these conversations and share more about his life and thoughts if you are comfortable with the conversation.
I wish you the best on your journey together.
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