Chapter 3: Impact of the death on family relationships

Your partner or spouse

My partner kept saying things to make me feel better and it just made me mad. All I wanted was for him to say nothing and just hold me when I cried. I was finally able to tell him this and it was helpful for both of us.

Depending on the relationship they had with your grandparent, your partner may also be grieving but be hesitant about sharing their grief with you because they feel that they do not have the same “right” to grieve. Open and honest communication can help the two of you to support one another.

Your partner or spouse may be a source of support, patience, and understanding, or they may not know how to “make you feel better.” You may feel disappointed by their lack of support and perhaps be expecting them to “just know” what you need. It is important to talk with your partner about what you do and do not need from them.

It can be hard to know how to start these conversations. Below are some suggestions.

Conversation Prompts

“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 to make me feel better. I just need you to hold me.”


If you and your spouse were dealing with conflict or stress before your grandparent’s death, this might mean that your spouse will not be available to support you as you would like. If this is your situation, look to other people who can provide support, such as a sibling or close friend.