Dealing With Grief

How Do People Deal With Grief?

People handle their grief in different ways. Some ways people can use to deal with grief:

  • Find the right type of support for you
  • Read books about grief
  • Talk with a counselor
  • Watch videos about grief
  • Join a grief support group
  • Go to a grief information session or workshop
  • Do things that have helped them in the past to work through a tough situation

What Do People Need To Help Them Deal With Grief?

This will be different for everyone. Most people find they need to:

  • Grieve in their own way and in their own time
  • Hear the advice of others, but choose what they need or what feels right for them
  • Take care of themselves
  • Rest, relax and exercise
  • Have time alone
  • Spend time with someone they trust
  • Understand what has happened & make sense of the changes that are happening in their lives
  • Be with someone who is has patience, is willing to listen, respects feelings, is not upset by tears, will keep the person’s story private
  • Make as few changes as possible until they feel they are ready, usually about a year

How Long Does Grief Last?

Many people find that:

  • Grief comes and goes in waves for a long time
  • The intense feelings may begin to ease a little after the first year
  • Coping gets easier over time and confidence begins to return
  • They slowly begin to develop new interests and find that life starts to have some meaning again
  • It may take a long time to go back to some places or do the things they used to do before the person died
  • Although they can manage to have a new and full life, it may take years before they feel they can be fully themselves without the person who died
  • Even when they thought they were over their grief, feelings may be triggered by memories of such things as places, songs, movies, poems, even smells
  • They never forget the person
  • They never stop loving the person
  • They carry the memory of the person with them throughout their lives

How Can People Help Themselves While Grieving?

Some ideas that may be helpful are to:

  • Learn what is normal about grief from books, people who understand, or by going to a workshop or support group
  • Be creative, by making something or trying a new hobby
  • Reduce some of the stress in life by occasionally saying “no”
  • Be alone for a while
  • Do things at a slower pace and take one day at a time
  • Work through thoughts and feelings and admit what you do and don’t miss about the person who died
  • Sing, listen to music, pray, write letters, keep a journal
  • Do a sport, exercise, dig dirt or chop wood
  • Remember the good times
  • Make a lasting memory in a photo album or scrapbook
  • Be with people they enjoy
  • Take hot baths, long walks, naps and vacations
  • Ask for hugs
  • Have fun once in a while and know that it is ok to laugh
  • Face guilty feelings by looking at what they did do, rather than what they did not do, for the person who died

How To Help Others Who Are Grieving?

It is not easy to help others with their grief. It is even harder to help someone when you are dealing with your own grief. Ways to help may include to:

  • Listen as they repeat their story over and over and the story of the life of the person who died (the good and not so good)
  • Accept what they are saying without denying it or making their grief seem less that what they say it is
  • Talk with them about what has happened. Do not lessen the importance of their grief with comments such as “it was God’s will” or “it was for the best”
  • Try to understand their fear and what the loss means to them
  • Find out what is helpful to them, what they need and if they need you to help them get it
  • Give help like cooking a meal or babysitting

When Is Grief Most Difficult?

Important dates, celebrations and anniversaries are hard to deal with. Family gatherings remind those who are grieving of who is missing. Sometimes grief is most difficult when doing routine activities that are no longer able to be shared.

How Do People Handle These Difficult Times?

People often manage the same way they do with other difficult situations. Some ideas:

  • Only be as involved in the celebrations as much as they want to be
  • Choose ahead of time how to spend the day and let others know their plans well before the event
  • Only keep up the traditions that mean something to them and let others go
  • Create new ways to remember the person who died
  • Relive past celebrations by looking at photographs or home movies
  • Celebrate the life of the person who died as well as grieving their loss