How Spouses Can Talk About Grief After a Child Dies

At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with An Hooghe about loss and the relationship with spouses after a child dies.

An is a clinical psychologist who does research on bereaved parents who have lost a child. This research includes how the parents cope and how they talk to each other afterwards.

An is particularly focused on better understanding why parents don’t talk to each other about their grief, which is something An believes needs to be explored more.

In the video below, An explains why some parents don’t want to talk about their grief, and that those reasons should be valued.

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • An explains that parents have a lot of good reasons for not wanting to talk to each other after the death of a child. Including saying things like: “I don’t want to ruin the good moments that we had”, “This is private, this is my grief”, “I can see the pain in your eyes and I don’t want that on top of my own grief”
  • An says psychotherapists need to do more to understand why parents won’t talk to each other, rather than simply trying to keep stimulating them to talk.
  • Another factor may be that the parents want to talk to each other, they’re just never ready to do so at the same time.
  • An says the reasons why parents don’t want to talk to each other about their grief need to be valued and understood better – just stimulating them to talk is not the right strategy.

For more video interviews, please see the Open To Hope YouTube channel.

Gloria Horsley

More Articles Written by Gloria

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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