The 64 Hardest Lessons That Grief Taught Me

64 Things / 64 Things : Litsa

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You know we love a good 64-things-about-grief list around here. We have tons of them, on so many topics, often crowdsourced from tens of thousands of WYG readers and social media followers. Sometimes we plan them and sometimes they find us. Though you might think we planned for a list of grief lessons, this list found us.

How, you ask? I posted this image on social media the other day.

I realized almost immediately, as responses started pouring in, that we had a new 64 things list on our hands. By the day's end people had shared nearly 200 of their hardest grief lessons - big and small. Lest these grief lessons disappear forever in the history of facebook and instagram comments, we've compiled 64 of the most common grief lessons shared with us, anonymized and in no particular order.

Grief taught me . . .

  1. We have to choose every day, to see the positive to be grateful for all we had and what we lost and how loved we were.
  2. That the world continues to move forward around you, and that is okay. You can still find ways to honour the dead in your life. We don't have to move forward as if our grief isn't valid or doesn't exist. We can learn to move forward with our grief and maintaining a new relationship with the dead.
  3. I've found during my 3 months of grieving for my husband that I'm alone once again and I don't want to be alone. Having to accept that is the hardest lesson I've learned so far. 
  4. The hardest lesson was the memory loss, lack of concentration and the depression.
  5. I realised that after losing my mum when I was a young child, I subconsciously kept myself small and isolated, didn’t allow myself to dream or aspire to things in life cause the chance of losing them would be too hard to bear. I have wasted a lot of time and dreams like that. Now I see it I can change it. I’m now excited about a different future.
  6. The amount of time for grieving is always! You just do the best you can.
  7. After losing my teenage son to a rare disease he developed in childhood, that the friends and family you thought would always be around, pack up and leave and never look back because you losing a child makes them sad! That part has burned deep.
  8. I was not prepared for the "secondary losses" of living friends and family members who distanced themselves.
  9. I have learned that grief and joy can co-exist.
  10. After losing my teenage daughter to leukemia, I learned to take life slowly to cope with the unexpected loss. Slowly at first was an hour at a time. Life is fragile. I’m grateful to those who have reached out to me without me asking.
  11. I can still laugh at a joke and smile at a child; nonetheless, the concept that somehow what happened to my son will be "justified" or 'okay" is utter BS.
  12. I've learned that there are some losses I will never stop grieving.
  13. I was surprised at how many life options are still open and wonderful. I miss him but there ARE awesome life choices and possibilities still all around.
  14. One of the hardest grief lessons I’ve learned is that not everyone grieves the same.
  15. The hardest lesson I have learned is how much survivor's guilt comes with continuing to live.
  16. I learned that the real challenge is to simply to go on & do something positive with your new life. Minute by minute you can carve out joy & purpose. Start by doing for others.
  17. The hardest grief lesson I've learned is that my life would be so completely different after my teenage son died. The changes aren’t all bad, my life just feels so unfamiliar sometimes.
  18. That life goes on.
  19. I have learned you need to take the new landscape in your own time and in your own way.
  20. I have learned it is such a struggle to have ‘fun’ & be ‘happy’...have some elements of ‘joy’ now & again...but it’s hard to fake ‘happy’.
  21. There's no timeline and certainly no right or wrong way to grieve. Your loss is tremendous. You're doing great just to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. Keep talking about them. Keep remembering the joy they brought. You have a gift to share...just as they did.
  22.  Someone said to me once there is no getting over it; you just learn to live with it.
  23. I remember that the loss equals the love, that helps me when I feel low.
  24. I've learned that every loss is different and many people don't want to be around someone who is grieving.
  25. The hardest grief lesson I have learned is that to carry on is hard, but we need to create a new normal.
  26. I've learned that I have to go on living without my Mom. I knew one day she would be gone but I really had NO idea how hard it would be.
  27. I've had to learn how to be parentless at 22 and having to face and figure out a whole lifetime without them. It still feels unreal.
  28. I struggle to accept that good things will continue to happen for me in this life even after the most devastating tragedy changed it. 
  29. That love continues after death and that my son is still teaching me how to live even though he is no longer here in his earthly body.
  30. That sometimes a family falls apart and becomes a crap storm after a loss. 
  31. Even though a family has all experienced the same loss, family members sometimes have no clue how to connect with each other.
  32. At the moment I’m struggling with how normal life has become without them. That work and kids still carry on, I carry on. Then I question myself, second guess myself. Should I feel normal about this?
  33. One of the hardest grief lessons I've learned is that death is as close as a breath. One exhale could be our last.
  34. The tragedy of what happened will never go away, I will only move forward. It will forever be there.
  35. My life after the loss is a worthy life, a purposed filled life. But it will never ever be my best life. Never!
  36. That I have to forgive those who abandoned me in order to walk this healing journey. 
  37. I have to forgive myself for not being able to save my baby. I did my best.
  38. I've learned that little moments count and forgiveness and love should always be on your lips. 
  39. The hardest lesson in grief was realising that some people have helped me in my hardest days for their own agenda. They think because I’m grieving they can rule over me, like I’m constantly the weak one and they are strong. But that is not true. I’m stronger because of this grief. Stronger than they will ever know.
  40. The hardest grief lesson I have learned is that grief is not just one thing, it comes in many forms.
  41. I have learned that grief takes time and everyone is on their own time frame.
  42. The hardest thing for me to learn was that I could be happy again and that I can believe in something after all.
  43. I've learned it's ok to cry...and cry again, never apologize!!
  44. The hardest lesson I have learned is how to cope with regret - of the missed and wasted opportunities that come after the loss.
  45. The hardest lesson I have learned is that grief means not feeling like myself anymore.
  46. It has been hardest for me to learn that there will forever be unfulfilled dreams.
  47. I have learned that the things that used to matter don't matter anymore and that is okay.
  48. The hardest lesson to learn is how to put up with people saying stupid or hurtful things.
  49. That being lonely has nothing to do with being alone. I still have lots of family and friends, but I am still so lonely for my husband who died.
  50. I've learned that losing my son feels like I've lost my past, my present---and my future.
  51. It has been very hard to learn to hold in my heart both my gratefulness of having had her, and my fury that a long & full life was stolen from her.
  52. I have learned that "family" changes as they don't know grief. New relationships grow .....when we are open.
  53. I have learned it is refreshing, once you get a little energy, to make new friends who sometimes are closer than family. They accept you who you are now rather than hoping you'll be the old you. It will get better. Be open to old friends feeling uncomfortable and new ones unaware.
  54. Early in my grief I focused on how my child's death was more than anyone could imagine, thinking only other people who could understand were those who also lost children. One of the hardest grief lessons was learning that no one could understand, even those who had also lost children. But the bright side was learning that, since no one could understand, I should stop hoping for that. I learned I could find support from people with all sorts of grief - widows and children who lost parents and even parents whose children were still living but had addictions. It took me 3.5 years to learn that.
  55. I learned that the more I share my miscarriage, the more I learn I am not nearly as alone in this type of loss as I thought. I had to start telling people in order to learn this, and that was the hardest part.
  56. There are so many hard grief lessons. The hardest was learning I could part with places and things but keep the memories. Selling our home felt like I was losing my husband a second time, but I survived. And he still feels close.
  57. Therapists can be absolutely wonderful or absolutely terrible depending on whether they actually understand grief. Thankfully I finally found a good one.
  58. It isn't my job to be strong.
  59. When you're grieving, you become a reminder to other people of their greatest fear. They don’t want to admit that what happened to us is one stopped heartbeat away from being them.
  60. Even support groups for parents who have lost children will sometimes judge you and your child if your child died by an overdose or a suicide and not cancer or an accident.
  61. If I didn't make an effort to talk about him, other people would stop talking about him.
  62. Grief is seen as embarrassing and weak. So few people understand that time, gentleness, and kindness, are the things that should be offered to the bereaved.
  63.  The secondary losses are huge: identity, purpose, drive and motivation, memory, comprehension, strength, community, etc.
  64. That EVERYTHING has changed forever.

Keep the grief lessons list going . . . add your hardest grief lesson in the comments below.

We invite you to share your experiences, questions, and resource suggestions with the WYG community in the discussion section below.

We invite you to share your experiences, questions, and resource suggestions with the WYG community in the discussion section below.

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After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible, real-life book!

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100 Comments on "The 64 Hardest Lessons That Grief Taught Me"

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  1. Ann  February 17, 2024 at 1:06 pm Reply

    It has been just a little over a year that I have struggled. I lost my significant other after 14 years together. I allow myself to cry without shame. The things that have bothered me the most are: People assume after a few months that I am okay and should move on. People assume getting rid of all of his things will suddenly make things better for me. Friends no longer ask me how I am doing or if I would like to go to lunch. I live in this void of a life because I am not a widow as many point out to me. It’s like I have no right to feel lost. I wasn’t married and so the pain shouldn’t hurt as much. What am I? They have no word for those of us who were a couple, and now we are single. It’s almost as if they believe being married made their love more significant than those who didn’t go through a ceremony. People tell me they didn’t reach out because they didn’t know what to say. I’m so sick of hearing that. I would have been glad to have just been hugged.

  2. Susan  February 1, 2024 at 1:38 am Reply

    Thank you for sharing these lessons on grief. I’ve been researching about my own grief & processing through it all. I loss my brother at 14yrs old in 1994, my mother to Cirrhosis in 2010, and my oldest sister to Cirrhosis in 2022. Grieving is a never-ending process & it has transformed my life and living through all the stigma as an adolescent & adult. What I’ve come to realize is in my grieving & letting
    out all my feelings, crying, frustrated, confused, misunderstood in my way of processing has though me so much about kindness, empathy, caring and helping others if I’am able. This of course does not mean I will tolerate others toxic behavior or
    not stand by my values and boundaries which I unknowingly set in motion as I grieved as an adolescent alone. They kept
    me aware of my surroundings and conscious
    in observing people & their behaviors where i felt unsafe or uncomfortable. I have been
    fortunate enough to have met some really
    good friends who have been so supportive &
    kind. I’ve been isolating for a few years now after experiencing some seriously tough times. My sister who passed away would keep texting me to get out of the room and start living through it as the strong little sister who she loves very much. I didn’t realize she was going through her motions of dealing with her diagnosis & ending. It’s been so difficult knowing I was not there for her. So now when I feel emotionally overwhelmed and exhausted I must remind myself forgiveness is for me continuing to live my beautiful life. My grief for me means so much more than I ever knew about my own journey. To leave my beautiful imprint in this world by helping others & children grieving as well. One day at a time, allowing myself the days where I feel unable to cope with the outside world, because grieving never ever stops no matter how much researching and knowledge of coping healthy. We all need our time and space for it all. I usually get lost in music and cry and cry and cry some more while journaling. Thank you all for these lessons expressed. I have been keeping Q-cards that have words of encouragement, parts of an articles I really resonate with, positive thoughts, difficult thoughts, emotional intelligence, self help, all I can utilizing when I’m looking for something to read that helps me find comfort in my grief, or particular situations.

    Thank you!!

    • Litsa  February 2, 2024 at 6:56 am Reply

      A I love the idea of keeping cards to go back and reference when you might need some encouragement. I am so sorry for all the loss you have had to live with and am glad you are finding ways to tend to your grief.

      • Susan  February 4, 2024 at 1:22 am

        Thank you Litsa

        Yes, they really do help. Especially when I start questioning my choices.

  3. Christine M  November 23, 2023 at 1:18 am Reply

    When I list my husband, part of me was buried with him. I cannot love any man again.

  4. LIZA  October 10, 2023 at 12:58 pm Reply

    I will grieve the loss of those who are gone ( and my list is remarkably long), but AS LONG AS I REMAIN, THERE IS STILL LIFE TO BE LIVED. Live with a sense of purpose for each day I have been given to make my life and others better because I am still here. And perhaps in doing this, I make the memory of those I cherish who have gone one brighter and shine deeper within me.

  5. Heather R  September 18, 2023 at 5:45 pm Reply

    The hardest thing I’ve learned in the past 2 months, since losing my 12 year old daughter, is that I cannot muscle through grief the way I have any other adversity I’ve faced in life. There is no “getting through” grief. There is only going forward IN and WITH grief. She (grief) is my constant companion and I am trying to make peace with her so we can, somehow, coexist

  6. Jean  May 27, 2023 at 4:20 pm Reply

    The hardest thing I have learned is that the grief of being rejected by my adult children is never ending. The loss of their presence in my life is unbearable but to the outside world I’m ok. I’m screaming inside. No one can hear me. Sorry if my grief is not appropriate for this site. 😥

  7. PJ  March 3, 2023 at 8:52 am Reply

    1) I don’t want to be defined by the worst thing that’s happened to me.
    2) The only thing I could watch on tv was Schitt’s Creek.
    3) Later in my grief (like 2 years) – AfterLife on Netflix made a HUGE difference in my journey and helped me actually, to grieve.

  8. Diann  December 17, 2022 at 5:23 am Reply

    4-5 days ago my mother passed from a heart attack, she died on December 13th, the same day her sister died back in 2013. Days before the death she kept having chest pains, me and my grandma kept trying to get her to go to the emergency room but she wouldn’t listen to us and just kept putting it off, it took 2-3 days to finally get her to the emergency room. The night on December 12th is when she got into the ambulance, I thought everything was going to be fine and that it was just congestion, I wasn’t prepared for the phone call me and my grandmother would wake up to on December 13th. “Your daughter has passed away from a heart attack, there was nothing we could do”. My day went blank and I couldn’t even cry until later on that night. It’s very hard to get me to cry so it felt good to let all of my emotions out. One of the things I find the hardest about grieving are the realizations. It’s hard eating the food me and her would eat together, it makes me cry mid-meal and it hurts so much, a realization that hurts me even more is how I wish me and grandma would have went out to the ambulance with her, but since it was cold outside we didn’t feel like going outside. This is a new experience for me and I’m glad to share my story.

  9. 10 Lessons learned living with grief - Impurrfectlife  September 24, 2022 at 4:04 pm Reply

    […] and it requires healing to get past the event and move forward. While grief is painful, there are many things to learn from grief. Challenging times provide the possibility of growth. I know this to be true myself. So, today […]

  10. Andrea  August 3, 2022 at 6:21 pm Reply

    I’ve learned that I am living through my greatest fear and the one thing I thought I could NEVER live through- the death of my child. I thought if it ever happened to me, you’d have to institutionalize me and keep me drugged and numb for the rest of my life, or that I’d end my own life. But here I am. Living through it. I have strength I didn’t think possible.

    • Litsa  August 8, 2022 at 5:46 am Reply

      I am so sorry for the death of your child and glad you’ve somehow found strength you didn’t know was there. It is so often one day at a time – one breath at time.

    • Christine M  November 23, 2023 at 1:26 am Reply

      When my only son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after his father’s death, I experienced double grief. The grief of losing a husband and the loss of a son’s health. Relatives might not really understand how lonely one feels when they say move on.

  11. Angie McIntyre  February 16, 2022 at 1:21 pm Reply

    Sometimes grief hits you like an ocean, it comes in waves.

    • Connie Shomin  August 4, 2023 at 1:19 am Reply



  12. Sharon  January 2, 2022 at 8:15 am Reply

    I grieved for my young partner of 49 who died of heart failure. We were together for 4 years but only lived together for a year (after I sold my home). He left me alone in his house with a hostile family who assume I am a gold digger (like I planned his undiagnosed illness and death.) One of his family members has been talking to my partner’s friends and telling lies, so they are hostile too….and then I discovered via my partner’s phone (which I never looked at when he was alive), that he had cheated and had been sending nasty messages about me to his mother. Now I don’t know if he loved me. I don’t know if I can love him. Grief is never easy at the best of times. I really hope there are no more tests like this. Coping is an hour by hour prospect.

    • Tracieann  February 21, 2024 at 7:58 am Reply

      After losing my very best friend last week AFTERLIFE movie only gave me relief at this time .He’s everywhere not gone with me helping me my Angel. At peace no longer suffering with everyone else on this planet 🙏

  13. Cathern  January 2, 2022 at 8:08 am Reply

    I learned that most have no idea about how deeply grief goes and expect that life is back to normal after the first few weeks or months.
    Our son had only been dead six months when holiday greetings starting to arrive and most wrote the usual old notations they would have if our son was still living and expecting our lives had moved on already. No one few when mention our lose and one person that mentioned our son had named the wrong son…

  14. Lizzylou  November 26, 2021 at 12:28 pm Reply

    I have learned that the things you least expect to hurt and upset you cause you the most pain for exactly that reason. I didn’t expect something I did to cause me any real issue but for precisely that reason it did as I hadn’t prepared for it. It has taught me a number of things; those around me will catch me and that now is the time to leave everything else well alone and that no one can MAKE me do anything I do not feel ready to do.

  15. Lizzylou  November 26, 2021 at 12:26 pm Reply

    I have learned that the things you least expect to hurt and upset you cause you the most pain for exactly that reason. I didn’t expect something I did to cause me any real issue but for precisely that reason it did as I hadn’t prepared for it. It has taught me a number of things; those around me will catch me and that now is the time to leave everything else well alone and that no one can MAKE me do anything I do not fell ready to do.

  16. KH  November 16, 2021 at 1:12 am Reply

    On April 8th of this year, my 37 y.o. daughter told me she “didn’t want to have a relationship with” me anymore. She wouldn’t tell me her reasoning – just that I am more hurtful than helpful. I am completely broken. My heart. My mind. My soul.

    How do you grieve someone who is still living?

    I am learning that, for me, this is more devastating than losing both my parents in my young adulthood, to long-term diseases. I couldn’t imagine anything worse at the time but I was so wrong.

    • Connie Shomin  August 4, 2023 at 1:23 am Reply


      by far more painful to the deepest depths of your soul…I’m sorry

  17. Fiona F  October 20, 2021 at 4:42 pm Reply

    The hardest lesson I’ve learnt is that I can wish for absolutely anything in this world and there is a possibility that it will come true but no matter how many times or how hard I wish for the return of my husband, it will never, ever, ever be granted.He’s gone and will never walk through the door again.

    • Christine M  November 23, 2023 at 1:35 am Reply

      I can relate to this. I grieve for my husband everyday, because each day is a reminder of my loss. Hope of the resurrection keeps me sane.

  18. I will always continue to grieve & I will always continue to live. Life is transitional while love is eternal  October 9, 2021 at 12:12 am Reply

    Life is transitional, but lpve is eternal. I will always continue to grieve and I will always continue to live.
    5 months widowed after 35 years of a wonderful marriage

  19. JP  October 8, 2021 at 10:44 pm Reply

    I think the hardest lesson is…it is there day after day, it doesn’t go away and no one, No ONE can take it away. It’s something I, personally have to deal with, I have to walk through it. Or maybe the word is…with it.

  20. Sandra A Holloway  September 20, 2021 at 10:30 am Reply

    Now that I’m older,I realize that my 22 year old son was still a child,even though I viewed him as an adult.I realize he was fighting such horrible depression,and he needed me just to take time to talk with him about his problems.I turned away and I cruelly hurt him.As a result,he left and I never got to tell him how very much I love him.Now I live with shame and regret everyday.Sometimes I feel I can’t bear to go on Without him.I just wish I had a way to change things,but it’s too late.

  21. Shelly  September 19, 2021 at 3:40 pm Reply

    Value the time you have with someone. Becoming a widow at a young age, loved ones can be gone in an instant. If you love someone, spend time with them. Take pictures, capture moments (special and everyday), you will cherish those photos no matter what you looked like at that time. No regrets, take the time now to show someone you care. It is easy to put it off because you are tired or busy. You never know how much time you have left with your loved one.

  22. Victoria  July 26, 2021 at 12:17 pm Reply

    My mother was me. Now that she is gone, I have lost me. I feel like I am vacant inside and not interested in anything or anybody.

  23. Sudha  June 9, 2021 at 12:30 am Reply

    This comment helped me.. That death isn’t the end. Our lost children are safe in the hands of Jesus. What joy we will have when we meet them in the future and know them all over again.

  24. Dawn M Stangle  April 17, 2021 at 9:58 am Reply

    I feel that I’ve been sentenced to a living death. I wish I would have died when my husband did. I have my whole life to live alone now. My family have abandoned me. The only friend I have is my neighbor. I want the pain to end.

    • Isabelle Siegel  April 19, 2021 at 2:06 pm Reply

      Dawn, I’m so sorry for your loss. Have you tried reaching out to a therapist trained in grief and bereavement? You can find one here: If you are thinking of hurting yourself, or even if you just need someone to talk with, please call the National Suicide Helpline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website where you can do a live online chat

    • KT  August 28, 2021 at 10:30 pm Reply

      Your life is still worth living

    • Philip Treacy  October 8, 2021 at 3:48 am Reply

      I know that sentence well. I try to keep afloat each day carry on as best as I can. It’s really hard to go on but we have to. Now it’s like I’m watching life rather than partake in it. …so I guess the day my lovely woman died I died too.

  25. Paula  March 28, 2021 at 10:31 pm Reply

    Since my husband died almost eight months ago, I’ve learned how it feels to know that there is no longer a soul on earth to whom I’m the most important person in the world.

  26. Thalia  March 20, 2021 at 8:54 pm Reply

    I never expected moving on in life to be so difficult. It feels like the more that my life changes from when my mom was alive, the further away from her I feel.
    Starting my first real relationship, starting grad school, getting engaged, and then getting married… I can’t believe she will never know about those things.
    I never thought that marrying the love of my life would bring so much pain, just because she isn’t here.

  27. Michelle D Bethune  March 9, 2021 at 2:07 pm Reply

    That all the memories that my brother remembered and I forgot are now lost forever, never to be shared again. I also think how important it is to have some sort of recording with your loved ones voice on it, I dont have anything and I fear that I’m not going to remember his voice and one day it will be lost forever.

  28. Pamela Waters  December 3, 2020 at 7:03 pm Reply

    That life will never be the same it is a new normal. My past and future are gone forever. My present is a daily journey.

  29. Jessica Burne  December 3, 2020 at 7:16 am Reply

    Your death of your loved one reminds people of their own death or loved ones potentially dying and that scares people hence this is why people drop off the face of the planet when you grieve, not all but some!!:) Its a selfish move but unfortunately human nature!!

  30. Jessica Burne  December 3, 2020 at 7:14 am Reply

    Funerals, stop pretending to be “all together”, be a mess.. cry.. break down and don’t be embarassed.. the western world needs to learn to drop the facade and just grieve it is ok to not be ok after a death of a loved one!!:) Have self compassion and self care:)

  31. Jessica Burne  December 3, 2020 at 7:12 am Reply

    That sometimes you have to teach people how to support you and what not to say and do etc and thats ok. Educate them so they understand.

  32. Jessica Burne  December 3, 2020 at 7:10 am Reply

    Let go of all the bitterness of friends or family that said hurtful things or were not there for you when you needed them…. instead go and find new ways to help others worse off than you and find new friends/hobbies/healing things to do:). Bitterness gets you no where, trust me i know i was bitter for years!!:)

  33. Jessica Burne  December 3, 2020 at 7:08 am Reply

    That my sister suicided not “committed suicide” as it wasn’t a crime, that people have a LOT to learn about suicide prevention/mental health and how to not say hurtful or mean things when a loved one dies tragically by suicide. That losing my only sister to suicide would be so hard to explain to people enquiring how she died every single year… it changes the conversation and people don’t know what to say or how to react cos its very complex and hard. That no matter what suicide prevention worldwide is vital and we need more people to learn the signs and do mental health first aid, my sister’s life was not in vain and her life has taught me many life lessons where I am able to help other people too:). Best way to heal is don’t hold onto bitterness, forgive/let go and find people to help or volunteer to make others happy. Animals, nature, kids and the ocean somehow helped me in my grief journey. We need more suicide grieving support groups in Australia as its a very complex and hard grieving journey:(!

    • IsabelleS  December 3, 2020 at 12:01 pm Reply

      Jessica, I’m truly so sorry for your loss. YES! The language around suicide deaths really needs to change. Thank you for taking the time to leave this comment and to educate others.

  34. Cookie  December 2, 2020 at 9:38 pm Reply

    I’ve learned that even when you think you’ve gone through all the stages of grief, you are never completely done, even when you get to acceptance.

  35. Lori  October 3, 2020 at 6:46 pm Reply

    My Mom died September 2 2019, my sister Debra died March 19 2017, I still grieve for them they were my world, my best friend, now my world is gone. I will grieve for as long as it takes and that’s okay.

  36. bob schwarz  October 2, 2020 at 1:57 pm Reply

    After a lot of years, we (my beautiful family and I) experienced the passing of my wife 7 months ago. What does it mean when I feel I’m the only one who ‘feels’ for her having passed? Is this typical? Am I wrong in my feeling? I wish/want her ‘around’, almost as if she was.

    • Bradley Johnson  April 23, 2021 at 7:21 pm Reply

      You are not wrong. Your feelings are real and valid. Perhaps they were not as invested emotionally as you were? I don’t think you should blame them. Grief is so individualistic. The piece of your heart that is missing is not the same as the piece in their hearts. I do not know the answer. But I know that God helps me every day with my pain of grief. I hope that helps. If not, don’t despair! Keep searching. You are valuable. You just need to find your anchor.

  37. Debra Pennel  October 1, 2020 at 8:02 pm Reply

    The hardest lesson I learned was, that you can be in a whole room of people and still feel very alone.

  38. Maria  September 25, 2020 at 10:10 pm Reply

    That I have to say good buy to my son until we meet again to be able to continue. Not a, I will forget you goodbye, that will never happen.

  39. Norma Salcido  September 23, 2020 at 7:02 pm Reply

    Grief has taught me that in this world nothing is certain so make sure you are certain where you end up afterwards.. you are completely in charge of that.

    Rest assure that you are so much stronger than you feel right now.. if you don’t believe me believe that if you are given a chance to be around still tomorrow you’re stronger than you imagined cause the choice is yours and you’ve been given a chance to do it differently that’s how strong someone (GOD) knows you are…

  40. Gigi Friedfel  September 19, 2020 at 12:09 am Reply

    Please never ever apologize for sharing your story. I did not feel you were dumping on me. I am touched by the tones that it resonates within me. I too along with my late beautiful husband were caregivers to my mom. Now they are both gone and my beloved of 26 years has joined my mom. It has been 7 1/2 months since he became an angel and it still hurts like it did the night he died with me at his side. Please believe that little by teeny little the pain will subside all so slightly and some days will be better than others. I know I will carry the losses forever in my heart. It is the price of love. Stay strong my friend there is hope!

  41. Nindya  September 18, 2020 at 9:58 am Reply

    After I lost my mom, I don’t think life has any meaning. She is my most important person in my life….and I keep regreting for things that I’ve done or haven’t done to her.
    That it’s all my fault she is gone…..sometimes I think I killed her because I was not doing my best to save and support her.

    I don’t see anymore joy for seeing things that I used to love, since everything reminds me of her and it hurts.
    Everything seems bland…
    I want to drop my residency since I can’t concentrate and again… is her specialist too.
    In worst days, I even though to go to where she is now.
    Some people said that I’m being selfish for grieving like this…
    but I gave my whole teenage and adult life to treating my mother since first she was sick. Why can’t I being selfish once?

    The thing that keeps me going, keeps me to breathe and live, to just eat and drink, even to continue my study….only because I remind myself that I owe my life to her. That she done all her best to raise me up until this point. That at least I have to finish everything that she hopes for me before I can go to her place.
    Now I think that it’s okay for me to cry, for grieving….because even though it has been 6 months, the pain is still like just when I lose her warmth at ICU. Yes it still hurts, still weight my mind….but I learn to live with it

    (Sorry for suddenly dump all of it in here….)

    • Nessa  September 18, 2020 at 2:59 pm Reply

      It doesn’t matter wether it’s 6 months, 6 years or 6 days. Your grief matters and no your not selfish. Grief is really hard and it devastates your life especially when you have cared for your mum for such a long time. It must be so hard for you to come to terms with her death. You must do what feels right for you. This is your journey…nobody else’s and yes crying is good. I cry all the time for my beloved partner, he died 14 weeks ago. Hopefully time will help heal and all of us who are grieving will begin to move forward, taking our loved ones with us in our hearts and memories. Love never dies and your mum would be truly proud of you of that I am sure. Look after yourself.

  42. Gigi Friedfel  September 12, 2020 at 9:47 pm Reply

    The hardest thing about grieving for me is although my beloved husband and best friend of 26 years had been given a “time frame” due to cancer from Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War, I thought no words were left unspoken and that I was reluctantly envisioning life without him. Like the brave soldier that he was I tried to emulate him, thinking I have no choice but to accept reality. The truth is I yearn for just one more word, just one more hand holding, just one more I love you always and forever. My love left me a guide to follow during his absence and a bucket list to finish but I seem to move forward with teeny baby steps. It’s all I can do to keep it together. I lost him February 3, 2020. The caregiver positive mode that I kicked into high gear during the last years of his life has crumbled and I now suffer from survivors guilt. I know it’s illogical thinking but the pain of losing him leaves me crying for hours some days. I put on a mask each day when I go out and face the world but behind my smile will forever be a broken heart. I am truly grateful of our beautiful life together. It is with tears that I honor his memory.

  43. Olive  September 12, 2020 at 7:51 pm Reply

    The hardest thing is that I don’t know how to be with someone else when I am still in love with him.

  44. Melissa  September 11, 2020 at 12:10 pm Reply

    I’ve learned that I will grieve my mom in new milestones because she’s not around to see them. My daughter is 3 months old and she’s the best thing to ever happen to me. Yet, the more she develops, I find that I’m increasingly sad and resentful that my mom isn’t here to share it with me.

  45. Michelle  September 11, 2020 at 8:39 am Reply

    Grief showed me how strong i really am on the inside, and how powerful love is..

  46. Jennifer  September 9, 2020 at 9:47 am Reply

    Grief taught me that I am fearless!

    We have all suffered tremendous loss or we wouldn’t be here, and just when you think you can’t take anymore pain. Your family and friends completely let you down and you find yourself alone on a grief blog… hoping, praying, that someone out there will hear you and understand.

    For us, tomorrow still comes whether we want it to or not… and I am fearless! After all, I have lost everything so no matter what happens this day forward, I have nothing left to lose… I am fearless!

    So find your gypsy self – she’s still there and will emerge once again!

    “To the gypsy that remains faces freedom
    With a little fear
    I have no fear
    I have only love…”
    — Stevie Nicks!

  47. Angi Cirigliano  September 4, 2020 at 1:07 pm Reply

    that my family cannot communicate or talk about my little grandson who died at 6 weeks. I feel alone in moving forward and finding peace in my grief journey due to a strong rooted faith in my God and knowing that he is in the arms of Jesus.

  48. Vanessa  September 1, 2020 at 1:03 pm Reply

    After 3 months (today) from losing my lovely, caring partner it’s starting to sink in that actually no, he is never coming back home and I now have to face the future we had together by myself and that is a very hard lesson to take.

  49. Sheena Jack  September 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm Reply

    It has been 10 months since I lost my husband. We lived a quiet life and rarely spoke to other people as no close neighbours. My days start the same with the realization when I awake that I am alone. The feeling is so powerful, it overwhelms me. I know he is not there, we were together at the end but I can’t seem to accept it.

  50. Vanessa Black  September 1, 2020 at 6:26 am Reply

    One of my hardest grief lessons is I have no control over my emotions. This is definitely a rollercoaster ride that I’m on and just have to go with.

  51. Gilly M  September 1, 2020 at 3:57 am Reply

    The hardest thing I’ve learned is that (after nearly two years of losing my soulmate) I came to the horrifying realisation that I will spend the rest of my life feeling sad and unhappy, regardless of anything I try to do to improve my situation. I exist, I no longer live.

    I’ve also learned….
    *People can’t cope with other people’s grief
    *That people you thought would be there for you will often let you down, and those you didn’t expect to help will step up.
    *That you become an actor worthy of an Oscar to allow you to face the world
    *When people use the word heartbroken inappropriately I want to slap them.

  52. James Myers  August 31, 2020 at 6:37 pm Reply

    That I have to redefine my life and myself. My wife and I married when we were 20 years old, and we’re married for almost 40 years. All the things I did and lived for were associated with my wife.

  53. Cathy Senecal-Rice  August 31, 2020 at 5:56 pm Reply

    I learned the most difficult lesson of my life after losing my 57 year old husband of 2 blood clots on his way to work. I have to reach out to people & ask for help. I’ve always been extremely independent but this tragedy has opened my eyes & made me realize how important it is to have others in your life who truly care. It’s made me a better person.

    This website has been so much more helpful than any of the 4 therapists I went to. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do!

  54. Gertrude Baptiste  August 31, 2020 at 5:39 pm Reply

    It was difficult for me to realize that no family members mentioned my husband’s name at Family Gatherings. It is like he never existed. I kept quiet but I was dying inside. It was like if they talked about him I will burst into tears. It was a family reunion and no one said a word.

  55. Rhunette Humrich  August 31, 2020 at 5:14 pm Reply

    Tomorrow will mark 8 months since I lost my precious Husband to Alzheimer’s. I still feel so lost without him. Even though I have a support network of family, friends, and professionals, there are still many dark times.

  56. Juliana  August 31, 2020 at 4:52 pm Reply

    The hardest lesson for me has been that you can be genuinely sad about your loss and still feel relieved that they’re no longer suffering and you’re no longer being abused.

  57. Norma Webber  August 31, 2020 at 3:51 pm Reply

    I lost my spontaneous smile and my gut wrenching laugh
    Its been replaced by a constant frown and smirk which is a prompt to laugh again
    i dont have those feelings of guilt that i laugh or have happy moments I am just sad that
    Nicholas dont have those anymore
    The constant lists that you provide helps put your grief into perspective and is a kind of Veto that its ok to feel your feels and validates your state of emotion at various times

  58. Diane Sullivan  August 31, 2020 at 3:42 pm Reply

    When I speak their name OutLoud! amongst family members there is total silence and no response………..My broken heart for losing my husband, my Bestie, at 53 , was replaced with being ‘cut off at the knees’ by the loss of my daughter at the age of 28! to Ca.
    I feel shut down in my attempt to keep their memory alive! amongst those who I ‘thought’ were my biggest allies, and I feel guilt in my angst over mourning my daughter, perhaps greater!
    I want to believe if myLove could have saved My Loves, they would have lived 4ever!
    I am 12 and 3 years in, respectively. Every Day is a new day to continue thru my grief, and find continued purpose and Gratitude by giving back.
    In all this, I do believe it will always be my own ‘personal’ lifelong battle of survival, one in which on any given day, I am ‘alone’ in my Real Grief!

  59. Norma Webber  August 31, 2020 at 3:37 pm Reply

    Today my bout of crying and sadness is exacerbated by the media hype of Princess Diana having passed 23yrs it must be so much harder on her kids with this constant expressions today.
    I am crying because I dont want to live for the rest of my life counting off memorials like that of my son Nicholas Webbers’ death. Its 3 years now and l want to die sooner rather than X amount of years from now ….. but I cant say those words to any family or friends without a reprimand or their fear that i might commit suicide. I am NOT suicidal i am just overcome by grief. It feels like 25 years of my life has been wiped out with Nicks passing. Our future and our past.

  60. Erica  August 31, 2020 at 3:30 pm Reply

    That as the anniversary of my 36 year old daughter’s death approaches, the terrible strength of feelings of loss and missing her have become much much stronger. I hoped I might have started feeling…. not better, just feeling. I miss her so much every moment of every day.

  61. Jay  August 31, 2020 at 2:31 pm Reply

    My girlfriend and partner of 30+ years died early August 2020. Her house is big and empty, then grew on me as a home. I cry every day and find it cathartic; it can be summoned by a triggered memory, by realizing that she won’t be here with me to share a moment or a pun.

  62. Lorraine Nagle  August 31, 2020 at 1:11 pm Reply

    A recent insight: After four years, I can feel sad at times ; I can stop and think and
    remember and feel lost without Toni. I’m allowed that. I can permit myself that.
    It’s okay.

  63. Marti Demetrion  August 31, 2020 at 12:06 pm Reply

    My husband and I weren’t “joined at the hip”. We were often happy to do things separately, depending on our interests. But we were definitely a couple for nearly 40 years, 36 of them married. The hardest thing for me was figuring out who I am by myself, no longer half of that couple. More than three years later, living my new life and seeing a new man, I still miss my husband and cry for him almost every day.

    • James Myers  August 31, 2020 at 6:39 pm Reply

      I understand completely. There wasn’t a you without him. There was only a we.

  64. Martha Demetrion  August 31, 2020 at 12:05 pm Reply

    My husband and I weren’t “joined at the hip”. We were often happy to do things separately, depending on our interests. But we were definitely a couple for nearly 40 years, 36 of them married. The hardest thing for me was figuring out who I am by myself, no longer half of that couple. More than three years later, living my new life and seeing a new man, I still miss my husband and cry for him almost every day.

    • Pauline  September 19, 2020 at 3:23 am Reply

      Stan says to Ollie when Ollie tells him of his illness and they realise that they can no longer perform as the duo, Laurel and Hardy,

      ” I’ll miss “us” when you’re gone”.

      I don’t only miss my dear husband deeply but I miss “us”. In the years of caring for him , I think I lost my identity and now I’m struggling to know who I am, how to be……

  65. Tim Lundell  August 31, 2020 at 11:42 am Reply

    Wow. I realize and feel very deeply the impact of grief, but I was surprised that the “64 Lesson” list did not include more hope and healing. I have taken the path of finding meaning in the life and death of my wife, Penelope, supporting the causes I knew were important to her and sharing with the world the things she did and the person she was. My lesson learned: My devastating loss is an opportunity, through her memory, to help others.

    • Litsa  August 31, 2020 at 11:50 am Reply

      Well, to be fair, it may have been how I framed it when asking. I asked people for the ‘hardest’ lesson. I think the hope and healing lessons are often more welcome lessons, so they may not have been the lessons that came to mind for people.

      • Cindy Davis  August 31, 2020 at 12:41 pm

        My hardest lesson was how sheltered and protected I was with my husband. When he died I fell into many relationships that were not good. I didn’t see red flags. I trusted blindly. The worst lesson was losing half of my life savings that my husband and I had worked for to a narcissistic sociopath. I wanted my security back so much that and I was so naive that I was completely duped and taken advantage of. The shame and grief of the additional loss was devastating but also allowed me to wake up and find my strength.

  66. Tony  August 31, 2020 at 11:34 am Reply

    I lost my father, my sister and my spouse in less than a year. For the first time in my life I am completely alone. Grief has taught me that it’s ok to grieve over one loss more than another in that particular moment. I use to feel guilty for grieving more for one than the other. I also learned I am and will be constantly in a state of grief not just for the loss of my loved ones but grieving for the future we had planned that will no longer happen.

    • Kristine  March 14, 2021 at 11:29 am Reply

      I have experienced same loss. From 2016 to February 2021 I’ve lost my entire family. I have one son living several hours away. I don’t hear much from him as he’s young and in college and has no issue with the relatives that have passed on. Like you I’m grieving everything that will not happen and what do I with my life? I feel like a lost soul. I’m in middle of trying to sell moms possessions and house. People actually tell me how lucky I am to have been left a debt free house and now I can do anything. WTH? Most days I cry a lot.

      I’m praying for you!

  67. Ais  August 31, 2020 at 11:01 am Reply

    Grief is like weather, always there. Long term loneliness and sadness with some sun but often overcast with gusts and intermittent rain, sometimes pounding, overwhelming storms, and sometimes surges that aren’t predicted.
    (2 years and counting widow, 40 years of marriage and 47 years of happiness with the soulmate who was always my shelter from life’s storms)

  68. Michelle  August 31, 2020 at 10:56 am Reply

    I grieve each loss differently, and the same. Each truncated relationship was different, so my loss and grief are different. I experience some of the same elements of grief in every loss, but with different nuances. Grief is so familiar, and so unfamiliar. If I fight feeling my grief, it just pops up later. In my experience, grief insists on being processed — now or later.

  69. Annette  August 31, 2020 at 9:28 am Reply

    This is a “keep” article. Thank you for publishing it. It helps to validate feelings. A very wise person recently said to me how I have chosen to walk this walk of grief. “It’s ok not to be ok”. I personally look at 2020 as the year of losses.

  70. cindy  August 31, 2020 at 5:28 am Reply

    my hardest lesson in grief is that the love never dies which is a good thing .God is the only one who can heal and comfort the loss wounds .When you depend on other people to make you feel better or give you a sense of belonging you will always be dissapointed . No one really understands loss and grief unless theyve been through it

  71. Jose  August 30, 2020 at 10:14 pm Reply

    I lost my beloved wife of 32 years suddenly, 31 days ago. She had not been feeling well for a few days. On that fateful day, I asked how she was doing. She said she was feeling better. I went to work and called her at home at noon, but there was no answer. I thought she was resting. I called again at 3 PM and still no answer. I knew something was wrong so I hurried home. I found my beautiful wife in the shower; she was gone. Cardiac arrest. She was only 64; I am 69 years old.
    She was the love of my life. We were inseparable and very much in love. We still held hands when we were out in public. We were faithful throughout our marriage. The complete trust in each other created a strong, loving relationship. It has been very difficult without her. The house no longer feels like a home.
    I realize the life I had before my wife’s death no longer exists. I cry every day, every night and in between. I’ve read that the level of your grief is relative to level if your love. I loved her very much and miss her smile, her laughter and her joy for life. She was the extrovert and I was the quiet one, but I learned from her how to be more outgoing.
    Here is a little poem about us.
    Their love was like a shooting star, burning brightly as it shot through the heavens.
    And then, just as suddenly as it started, it was over.

    I know it’s a long journey.
    I’m grateful she chose me to share life.
    I will never forget her.
    She will be with me for eternity.

    • Gigi Friedfel  September 16, 2020 at 7:07 pm Reply

      Stay strong my friend. I know the future is hard to see or to comprehend that life must go on. I can only live one day at a time after caring for my beloved of 26 years who died from cancer and being there when he became an angel. I still find it hard to face each day. He was my rock as I was his we were there for one another whenever we lost another loved one. But little by teeny little the pain eases just enough to get you through today. May the strength from the memories and the love that never dies help to ease the hurt.

  72. Sandi  August 29, 2020 at 4:54 pm Reply

    That looking into the ‘rearview” mirror into the past for clues about our son’s suicide was horrific. So many little clues, habits, small comments, and things we thought were innocent gestures and not of any consequence were terribly important. Looking in the rearview mirror is nothing but painful and gut-wrenching.

  73. Dana  August 28, 2020 at 3:08 pm Reply

    Having the strength to find my own way in a world that sometimes, feels like a total and utter alternate universe from the one I am in.

  74. eric johnson  August 27, 2020 at 4:18 pm Reply

    That the history is gone. My mom and dad both died in last year and I was just looking through a family scrapbook and realized that the family history is just gone. Vaporized. Really hit me over the head.

    • Dori  September 1, 2020 at 11:47 pm Reply

      I lost my father in Aug 2016 and my mother in February 2017. They were married 63 years. I look at all the thousands of photos over the years of our family (including siblings, children & grandchildren)… I feel like part of me has been erased with their passing…they were/are such a part of me. My future doesn’t have them in it… Then in Jan 2018 i lost my oldest sister … consecutive grief can get very messy. And as #30 above stated: “ That sometimes a family falls apart and becomes a crap storm after a loss.” … this has happened with two of my remaining 3 siblings. Sucks…

  75. Caryn  August 27, 2020 at 8:17 am Reply

    This list is really great.

    I would add that the one (of many) lessons grief has taught me is that the world doesn’t stop for your grief. Which, feels painful to say, but it doesn’t. Meanwhile your own little world has, the world at large doesn’t. It takes a TON of time to slowly re-emerge back into the world bit by bit- and you aren’t the same.

  76. Val Johnson-Reed  August 26, 2020 at 11:20 pm Reply

    That when my brother,mother, and husband all died 2011-2012 I had to stop focusing on losing them but focus on my three children who are still here looking to me as their leader.

  77. Hannah  August 26, 2020 at 9:39 pm Reply

    That we had such a close relationship in life and I felt I knew her so well, but upon death I had absolutely no control over the funeral arrangements because other family members felt they were more entitled than me to make decisions. I just had to accept it and let it be.

    • Kath  September 8, 2020 at 5:14 pm Reply

      Hannah, that is so sad! I am sorry you did not get any say in the funeral. That must have hurt so much. It sounds really unfair!

  78.  August 26, 2020 at 10:42 am Reply

    Finding the motivation to care for myself, cook, clean, attend, participate…has been one of the hardest parts of being a widow for me (along with the word “widow”).


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