Sometimes I feel that I am just sitting and watching my surviving parent mourn; whenever I try to help he just wipes away his tears and tries to be strong. How can I help–watching him just make me feel sad and useless?
Feeling sad is okay. It is your way of being empathetic. Acknowledge that you are still a family despite the loss. Telling your parent how you feel can help both of you feel a common bond, and communication is oftentimes a key component to mental and emotional solace. Remember, we all also need alone time, and your parent needs that too. Striking a fine balance between the two is difficult, but try your best to do so. Keep in mind that if your parent is less than receptive to your efforts, it may be because he or she finds it to be emotionally available when they too are experiencing the stress of the loss as well.