- About Us
- Bereavement Services
Click each question to learn more
This question is asked with the expectation that grief has a starting and ending point. This is simply not the case. There is no time in which our grief completely ends but there are a few indications that the hardest parts are over. William Worden explains it this way. "There is a sense in which mourning can be finished, when people regain an interest in life, feel more hopeful, experience gratification again, and adapt to new roles. There is also a sense in which mourning is never finished" (Warden, 2002, p. 47).
Pain is always a part of grief. Someone significant to you is no longer here and it hurts. There is no timeline on how long that pain will last and it will depend upon your relationship with the person who has died. Just know that the overall sharpness of the pain will eventually subside with time. Be prepared for that pain to roar back without a moments notice when you hear a song, read a poem, see a photo, or smell a fragrance that reminds you of your loved one.
Many people do in fact feel angry when someone we love dies. Angry at God, at our loved one for leaving us, at those around us that couldn't possibly understand how we feel. We may feel angry that "life goes on" for everyone else, that life has changed without our consent, and that our world feels empty and lonely. Anger is completely normal and justified and just like the other elements of grief, it will subside with time. Accepting those feelings of anger, speaking about those feelings, and even physically expressing those feelings (exercise, chopping wood, screaming into a pillow, etc) can all be helpful ways to cope with anger.
There are times we feel like we are going crazy during our grief process. This involves a lack of concentration, disorganization, and a numbness that we seem unable to move out of. Give yourself grace in knowing that your level of productivity may very well decrease. Utilizing planners and to-do lists may be especially helpful during this time. Prioritize tasks and push less urgent matters to the next day when you can. Anything not accomplished can simply be put on the list for tomorrow.
What was once "normal" before your loved one died, cannot fully be regained. As you adjust to your loved one not being present, you will begin to create your "new normal". With time, when you are ready, you may be able to continue with certain aspects of your life as you did before your loss.
As a special day, holiday, or anniversary approaches be sure to take extra care of your physical health as your emotional stress can take a physical toll. Give yourself the freedom to celebrate the occasion differently than you have before or exactly as you have in the past as if your loved one was still here. You may even decide to skip certain things all together this year. Any of those choices are perfectly ok. Give yourself time to focus on the feelings of your loss and consider commemorating your loved one in a way that pertains to the specific holiday or special day. Some recommended books on this topic: The Empty Chair: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions, by Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge and Robert C. Vries, Surviving the Holidays Without You: Navigating Grief During Special Seasons, by Gary Roe.
Feeling guilty after loss is common. It's very natural to self-reflect and question past choices and actions after losing a loved one. When trying to make sense of loss we tend to replay the weeks, months, and years leading up to our loved one's death and what we should have done, could have done, or would have done differently. It's safe to say we all would make different decisions if we could predict the future. The likely reality is that despite our regrets, our loved ones knew how much we loved them and there is nothing we could have done that would have prevented them from leaving us. Realizing that we have no control is sometimes harder to accept. Acknowledge that guilt is a normal grief emotion and that our feelings of guilt are often irrational. When rational, we must forgive ourselves and try and focus on the many things we did right with regard to our loved one.
Grief support needs are unique to every individual and often we don't know what will help us until we try. Many grievers find comfort in group support and by simply being amongst those experiencing similar pain. Others prefer a more private one-on-one approach with a grief specialist. Suffering alone in your grief is rarely the answer and often those that seek support wish they would have done it sooner. We have compiled a thorough list of local options to best meet your needs. For group support click here Grief Support Group Calendar. For individual therapy options click here Individual Grief Therapy.
Reach out to our bereavement coordinator anytime for more information or assistance.
Email: email@example.com Phone: 302-999-8277
The best way to support someone experiencing grief is to acknowledge their loss and the pain they must be feeling. Listening and simply being present are two of the best things you can offer a griever. If you knew the deceased, tell the bereaved a memory you have of them and how special they were to you. Checking in on a griever in the months and even years after their loss is equally if not more important than in the short-term. Click here for more practical ways to Support those Coping with Loss.