The death of a partner and co-parent can be one of the hardest things to deal with. Not only do you have your own feelings of loss, there are your children’s too, as well as realising that you are now a ‘single parent’.
Over time, feelings usually become less intense, but you can’t predict when it will happen, or force it to come sooner. There’s no set timetable for starting to feel better. But eventually most people feel able to cope with their lives, whilst remembering those who have died.
It’s important that you have support so that you can also support your children. This booklet from Cruse Bereavement Care on understanding grief may help.
It’s helpful to talk about your feelings with your children because it gives them permission to talk about theirs.
There are some practical things you’ll need to think about straight away and you may need advice about social security, childcare, housing or your rights at work. See our main support and advice pages for information that might help. Remember you can call or chat online to our Lone Parent Helpline which can advise you on these kinds of issues.
The effects of a partner’s death can last a very long time, and the death of a parent will affect your children for life. This is natural.
- Make it a priority to be with your children after the death of their other parent. Talk to your employer to see if they will offer extra time off (compassionate leave).
- There may be financial issues for you in the short and long-term. Try to make sure you get all the help you can for you and your family. Citizens Advice can help with this.
- Think about bereavement counselling. There are free services listed in the links below.
- Cruse Bereavement Care has resources for parents to help children of different ages cope with bereavement. There’s information on what you can do to help a child or young person who is grieving, how to understand the concept of loss in children and young people of different ages, and how to recognise potentially complicated grief.
- This NHS site has information about children and bereavement.
- Winston’s Wish offers support for children after the death of a parent or sibling. It runs a helpline, online chat and email, and has online information to help you with speaking to children about death and grief, and activities to help them understand and talk about their feelings.
- If a bereavement is linked to alcohol or drugs, Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs has a helpline and can put you in touch with a counsellor in your area.
- If your partner or another family member has taken their own life or died as a result of violence, Families Affected by Murder and Suicide (FAMS) might be able to help you. Its helpline is open every day. There’s also a befriender service and support with mental health.