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Bereavement and relationships


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In the last 6 months my girlfriend lost her mother. As some of you can imagine such a bereavement has proved a profound loss in her life.


We have been together for 4 years and to be perfectly honest this was the year that we took the relationship to another level, well in my eyes anyway as I saw my life with this woman. However a few weeks ago she raised a question mark over the relationship! She explained that she didn't know what she actually wanted anymore. I was sick.


There is so much that I could write and I realise that anyone reading this will not be able to make an informed opinion based on the significant gaps of your knowledge in respect of this situation.


The crux of it is, I guess, can anyone relate to significant behavioural changes in a relationship post the death of a parent?


She is clearly unsure about our relationship now that since the death of her loved one she is feeling futility, helplessness and being lost. My concern is that she has asked for space which I have conceded although I suspect she is grasping onto day to day solace... which is what she may need... but I can't help feeling that the distance is detrimental to our relationship. I am reluctant to burden her with the overwhelming sense of day to day confusion and pain at the thought of losing her and I am kindof clinging onto the hope she will get fed up at not feeling responsible and that through gentle contact I show her the path out of that sad feeling and we both reconcile to a future together.


I love her so much and feel helpless that I can't be there for her although i HAVE MADE IT CLEAR THAT SHE CALL ME 24/7.


Is there any hope, or should I begin the process of realising that I have lost her. I really appreciate that if anyone who has undergone a similar pattern can at least share the experience. Thank you

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I don't know if I will contribute anything here that you are not already aware of, but I will relate to you a bit of my experience anyway.


The end of my relationship with my ex was triggered by a death. Although I didn't have a direct connection with the death, it was what triggered a period of serious introspection (about his own life which I was only one part of) and ultimately led to him realizing that he wanted to be alone.


I should probably insert here that he had always had bouts of wanting to be alone even before he met me and that this traumatic event made him put everything in perspective again. (I don't know if your girlfriend is that loner type or not.)


Back to what I was saying -- a death that has a profound impact on a person will inevitably cause them to think about their life and ask a lot of unpleasant questions. It can be a wakeup call sometimes. It's a point in time that is irreversable and the people left to grieve are always left wishing they had somehow been able to affect the outcome had things been a little different. (That is where the guilt comes in.)


But even without the guilt factor, one is bound to reflect on life choices and the paths that they are leading. It is also a time when people can be extra critical with themselves and other aspects of their lives. There was no real issue in my relationship at the time of the breakup -- it was still in the honeymoon period pretty much. The realizations my ex had were all a result of forecasting into the future, asking himself whether he wants to be with himself or whether he wants to be with someone in the journey of his life. In the end he chose to be alone.


As for behavioural changes at the time, he did want to be alone a lot. He needed time alone to reflect on all the memories and to reflect on his whole life. He went back home (out of the country) for a month to mourn. I should also add here that the death exacerbated his loneliness in this world not just by feeling a sense of loss but because no one really understood their relationship and the death hit him the hardest.


It's been about two years now since the death and he's still alone. He tells me that he is slowly accepting it better but that it will never be something that he is comfortable with. If your girlfriend chooses to end the relationship with you at this point, it will be a very thought out decision. If you are affirming to her that you are here for her and that you will always be here for her, and she still comes out with that decision to be without you, then you know it was a very difficult decision for her but that she had sound reasons behind it. I don't know enough about your relationship or your girlfriend to comment on what kind of things she will be thinking of exactly, but I don't think people just break down at a time of death for no reason. There are a lot of factors and circumstances that affect one another.


The best you can do now is to comfort her as best you can and support her healing process and give her lots of time. I hope she sees that you want to be there for good and that you are one of the only people who can help her through something like this.

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In your crisis you need to adjust to focusing on your woman.


Of course, you have already begun that in your actions and words. You are doing the best thing for her now by making yourself available for her.


Continue doing that for her and checking on her but don't take anything personal if she does not respond or realign herself with you anytime soon. Things will soon change and I am sure it will all work out.


Approach her with the bible and show her that the lord has not left her and that she will get through this loss.


Good luck to you.

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