My wife of 30 years seems to be sleeping a lot lately. Her niece was murdered 1 1/2 years ago and the perps trial is coming up next month. What can I do to be supportive?
Sleeping more is sometimes a necessary coping tool. We naturally expend an enormous amount of energy when our bodies are under physical or emotional pain. It drains us!
But getting too much sleep may also have a negative effect on mental health. A 2014 study that links sleep duration to the developmental course of anxiety and depression disorders found that those who were regularly sleeping longer than the recommended time period resulted in greater rates of inflammation and reported pain. They also had higher risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
I don’t know if your wife will be attending the trial but attending the trial may bring up lots of emotions and may require your shoulder to lean on. Every person processes loss differently. It doesn’t matter the type of loss; sudden or a long battle with an illness. Going thru grief with someone who cares about you makes it more manageable. Your desire to support your wife is commendable and will be invaluable.
One thing to remember is that If you acknowledge a feeling it makes it less intense. Tears are as natural as laughter and are healing. Crying helps release bottled up sadness, anger, guilt, exhaustion and loneliness. Hold her if she cries! Rub her back!
Don’t avoid the subject. If your wife opens the conversation up, be sure to direct it into reminiscing over the good times she may have had with her niece. Try to keep it positive without the awful details that are not needed of circumstances surrounding her death.
Activities and distractions can help as days, weeks and years continue on. My experience seems to show that being there means the most.