64 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Grief

We think about grief a lot around here – we write about types of grief, grief theory, personal reflections, creative expression for coping with grief, practical ideas for managing grief, and on and on and on.  But there are some days that all seems like a lot to take in.  We think back to the basics.  Not the theory stuff, not the ideas about how to cope — just the really basic things that people never tell you about grief.  So, with your help, that is what we have today — a quick and dirty list of the things we wish we had known about grief, before we knew anything about grief.  If it’s in quotes, it is something one of our fabulous readers shared with us on Twitter or Facebook.  If you finish this post and you’re annoyed about all the things we forgot, leave a comment to keep the list going.

I wish someone had told me . . .

  1. No matter how prepared you think you are for a death, you can never be fully prepared for the loss and the grief.
  2. You can plan for death, but death does not always comply with our wishes or plans.
  3. “Stop avoiding and be present”.
  4. “Dying is not like you see on TV or in the movies.  It is not peaceful or prepared.  You may not have a spiritual or meaningful moment . . . It’s too real”.
  5. A hospital death is not always a bad death.
  6. A home death/hospice death is not always a good death.
  7. “There will be pressure from others to move on, even minutes or hours after a death, and this can lead to regrets”.
  8. “Death is not an emergency – there is always time to step back and take a moment to say goodbye”
  9. Death and grief make people uncomfortable, so be prepared for awkward encounters.
  10. You will plan the funeral while in a haze.  If you aren’t happy with the funeral you had, have another memorial service later.
  11. When people offer support, take them up on it.
  12. People will bring you food because they don’t know what else to do.  Don’t feel bad throwing it away.
  13. People will say stupid, hurtful things without even realizing it.
  14. People will tell you things that aren’t true about your grief.
  15. Death brings out the best and the worst in families, so be prepared.
  16. There is no such thing as closure.
  17. There is no timeline for grieving.  You can’t rush it.  You will grieve, in some form, forever.
  18. “There will always be regrets.  No matter how much time you had, you’ll always want more”.
  19. Guilt is a normal part of grief.
  20. Anger is normal part of grief.
  21. “The pain of a loss is a reflection of love, but you never regret loving as hard as you can”.
  22. Grief can make you question your faith.
  23. Grief doesn’t come in 5 neat stages.  Grief is messy and confusing”.
  24. Grief makes you feel like you are going crazy.
  25. Grief can make you question your life, your purpose, and your goals.  And that isn’t always a bad thing.
  26. We all grieve differently, which can create strain and confusion between family members and friends.
  27.  “However badly you think it is going to hurt, it is going to be a million times worse”.
  28.  You may find comfort in very unexpected places.
  29. “You should go somewhere to debrief after care giving”.
  30.  “The last 24 hours of their lives will replay in your mind”.
  31. Trying to protect children from death and the emotions of grief isn’t helpful.
  32. “It’s sometimes necessary to seek out new ways to grieve on your own, find new guidance, if the people who are supposed to be supportive simply haven’t learned how”.
  33.  “You grieve your past, present, and future with that person”.
  34. Big life events and milestones will forever be bittersweet.
  35. Grief triggers are everywhere – you will see things that remind you of your loved one all over the place, and it may lead to sudden outbursts of emotion.
  36. “You lose yourself, your identity, meaning, purpose, values, your trust”.
  37. Holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays will be hard forever.
  38. People will tell you what you should and shouldn’t feel and how you should and shouldn’t grieve.  Ignore them.
  39. “The grief process is about not only mourning the loss, but getting to know yourself as a different person”.
  40. There is no normal when it comes to grieving.
  41. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.
  42. “It is normal to feel numb after it happens.  The tears will come. They come in waves”.
  43. Grief can make you feel selfish and entitled, and that’s okay (at least for a while).
  44. Meeting new people, who never knew the person who died, can be hard and sad.  But eventually it can be nice to “introduce” them through stories and photographs.
  45. The practice of sending thank you notes after a funeral is a cruel and unusual tradition.
  46. “People love to judge how you are doing.  Watch out for those people”.
  47. You can’t compare grief or compare losses, though people will try.
  48. Any loss you grieve is a valid loss, though people will sometimes make you feel otherwise.
  49. “Just because you feel pretty good one day it doesn’t mean you are cured of your grief”.
  50. There are many days when you will feel totally and completely alone, whether you are or not.
  51. Grief can make you do stupid, crazy things.  They may be what you need at the time time, but you may regret them later.  Cut yourself some slack.
  52. Grief can make you a stronger person than you were before.
  53. Grief counseling doesn’t mean you’re crazy or weak.
  54. It is okay to cry sometimes.
  55. It is okay NOT to cry sometimes.
  56. “Time does NOT heal all wounds”.
  57. “Grief re-writes your address book”. Sometimes the people you think will be there for you are not.  People you never expect become your biggest supporters.
  58. “You don’t get over it, you just get used to it”.
  59. It is okay to tell people when they are not being helpful.
  60. Watch your drinking– alcohol can quickly become an unhealthy friend.
  61. You will have to face your emotions eventually – you can avoid them for a while, but they will catch up with you in the end.
  62. Talking isn’t the only way to express and process emotions.
  63. You will never go back to being your “old self”.  Grief changes you and you are never the same.
  64. Nothing you do in the future will change your love for the person who died.  Eventually you will begin to enjoy life again, date again, have another child, seek new experiences, or whatever.  None of these thing will diminish your love for the person you lost.

What do you wish someone had told you about grief that we left off the list??  Leave a comment to keep the list going. 

April 19, 2017

483 responses on "64 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Grief"

  1. Lost my boy in a motorcycle crash Thanksgiving weekend 11/25/2017. He was 2 weeks shy of 22. Still learning the grieving process but someone should have told me that having photos of your loved ones from the past show up randomly on Facebook, etc are shocking and can trigger huge emotions. It is much better to have photos of your loved one in planned “safe” places that you can see.

  2. Thanks to [email protected] com for bringing my ex lover back,

  3. We lost my father on the 25th of September at 00:45.
    I was with him to his last moments, I don’t think he was suffering.
    My mother lives with me, I’ve dealt with everything for her and sorted out her pension etc…
    I was ok, I was too fine I suppose, I cannot cry, I found smoking pot has helped a little, though I only have a little every now and then.
    Suddenly I’ve become really depressed and don’t want to get out of bed.
    I took a week off work and that was the result, depression and anger.
    I called my gp and he told me to call the local cancer charity as they do counselling – they are over subscribed so I was told to call someone else, who never returned the call.
    I’m writing this from my bed, I got up and just went back to bed.
    I feel so confused and low, I had one day back at work then a day off, work seems to pull me out of this.
    Anyone who can help, please help.

  4. I lost my mam on 6th Dec 2017, it’s now 15th Jan 2018, and I’m still hurting like hell, I’ve had no phone calls or anything From my family since the day of mam’s funeral, I feel so alone and depressed, please somebody tell me it gets better, cos I don’t think I’ll ever get over losing my mam, i was there with her when she passed, and i cant sleep cos all i have going on in my head is them final moments, when all i want is my mam back with me, to tell me everything will be ok

  5. My wife of 44 years passed away four years ago after a four year battle with the dreaded cancer. I have run the gamut of emotions, I have listened to advice, comfort, and thoughtful words from family and friends, and, like most of us, I found some solace. The one thing I cannot do and don’t think I will ever be able to do is forgive myself for the many thoughtless, hurtful or stupid things I must have said to my wife over the years. She, like many others, was to me, a life-long supporter of all that I did, a comfort during loss, a joy in the good times, and my champion at every opportunity, but like most of us, sadly, I took all this for granted, thinking because I loved her, that was enough. Now, after four years, apart from the ‘normal’ unexpected outbreaks of sadness, regret and tears, I have realized just how many times I must have said or done something that truly hurt her and I can’t do anything about it. I will always love her in my heart, even though I have learned to live what is euphemistically called a ‘normal’ life, and I have also been privileged to have the responsibility of raising my grandson, for reasons I won’t go into, but I will never stop loving her, and I cannot forgive myself for what must be many hurtful words I might have said. In short, if I could talk to her now I would spend eternity saying ‘I’m sorry’. Being sorry is my burden to bear and if God sees fit to grant me peace, then maybe someday this pain and regret will go away.

    • Dear John, I really feel for your loss, especially the regret of things you did or said to your wife. A life time of regret can’t bring back the wife you loved in the only way you could.

      I lost my son, aged 29, following his mental ill health. If I could bring him back for even an hour, I would tell him all the things I didn’t say to him when he was here. I would tell him that he was the best and most valuable person in our family. And how much we miss him and love him.
      Sadly without that chance to go back and relive our life with him, where we would all do everything right and say all the right words, at the right time, we are all just here, in the present, and there is nothing we can change in the past.
      So, what is the answer?
      John, you talk about finding peace, and that you recognise that it’s only God that can give you peace. I think you are spot on. It’s not a natural peace you need but a supernatural one, which only God can give. He is the one who can forgive our mistakes, but we also, to move on, need to forgive ourselves. We get it wrong at times, but your dear wife ( and my dear loving son) would have forgiven you. So forgive yourself. Thank God for the years you had together. Thank God for your life now, with your granddaughter, Live each day as if you will see your wife tomorrow, and enjoy the days you’ve been given. God bless you.

    • Sorry John…your Grandson, not Grandaughter!

  6. People will prey on you after your loss. They will attach themselves to your life as an important supporter and shoulder when they are really waiting to see if you get a big “pay day” from life insurance, pension, whatever.

  7. i was so heartbroken butafter 3 days of contacting [email protected] com, my lover came.

  8. I wish someone had told me how very different each grief journey can be. I expected the same process when Mom died as I had experienced with Dad. But it was so different. I needed a lot more support the second time. It was like the first one was happening all over again. Hard stuff. But it’s been 9 years and the tears are rare but the smiles if memory are frequent.

    • I was told during a grief counseling group I attended that grief is cumulative. I found that to be very interesting,. I also learned that if you didn’t process losses properly in the past that it sort of combines with this one. One thing I did need to do was not feel guilty for not doing it “right” before. I hope you find some happiness in the new year.

    • I have come to realize we were so concerned strong for our surviving parent we didn t actually get to grieve. On top of that we are now an orphan with no parents. It is a very hard process the second time around. So much unresolved grief from our first parent that it is truly a different process and so painful. It will get easier in time, but will always leave a void.

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  11. I dearly loved a guy who was the loveliest, kindest and funniest person anyone ever was lucky enough to meet. I knew him for a few years but never thought I had a chance with him, and my best friend had dated him in the past so it seemed appropriate to admire him ‘from afar.’ Then, one night, he sat with me and talked for hours, and there was disappointment on his face when I went home. It was the first time I thought I stood a chance with him.
    I never saw him again.
    My best friend, his ex girlfriend of years ago, told him and our group of friends terrible lies about me. And that was the end of that. I couldn’t bear to try seeing him after that – either he believed what he heard and so I was a terrible person, or the shame and embarrassment that someone could hate me so much to say such things – either way, I couldn’t face him. So I never saw him again.
    So, 19 years later, in March this year I heard he had passed away in the previous December. I am completely destroyed. I married a lovely man and have beautiful daughters, but I am broken. Broken for a lovely man who deserved the world more than he got, broken for not having been in his life (even just as friends) and able to fundraise, to assist in anyway while he fought a terrible illness. Broken for the time I did not get to share with him. Broken for the promise and potential that did not get to be explored. Broken for the most loveliest guy to go through something so horrible when undeserving others are still living good lives. Broken broken broken. I don’t feel that I have the right to feel as I do, it has been so long since I have seen him. I certainly wouldn’t expect to react how I have. But it’s been seven months now and I think about him ALL the time, I have visited mediums and psychics, I won’t let him go. I think I am being unfair to my husband and children as I am not the happy person from before, but all I can do is honour him by remembering moments we shared, things he said and did, and wish to go back and do things over. Broken. Perhaps if he had married and had children I would not be so deeply affected as I would not – even from this distance – wish to tread on another’s toes but he stayed single so I hold him in my heart and hope dearly that there is existence beyond this life where we can meet again.

    • I stumbled onto this site and your post. I don’t usually make comments to these kinds of post however, your story made me think of the time and the lives that life has challenged. I won’t pretend to tell you whether your male friend did or did not have something sad in his eye that evening when you parted company. However, I believe had there been something there between you nothing would have stopped him from contacting you again. It was not meant to be. Neither of you sought the other and now that the knowledge of his passing has caused some grief in your life you have taken the time to express remorse. I feel sad for your husband and children. If you feel as badly as you expressed then I must surmise that you married a man and offered him a consolation prize, only part of yourself. I don’t mean to insult you but your husband should have all of you. I don’t mean being physically present I mean your heart, your thoughts, your dreams, your truth belong to the man you married. Your children too are being short changed by not showing them all the love that you have for their father. Children learn how to love and forgive by what parents teach them. If you did not give 100% to them how will they learn to give 100% to themselves and their partners. I am sorry you feel so broken and suggest you also need counseling to understand what was never meant to be. Not every person we meet in life will be the best of friends with or to us. Whether your girlfriend was jealous or had other motives I can’t say. Whatever her motives, or judgement is something you have put on her and may not have the same truth you believe. Forgive her, forgive him and most importantly forgive yourself. Either learn to be in your marriage with all your heart or let your husband go to be loved the way everyone deserves to be loved, Completely…. I wish you well.

    • I lost my daughter on January. 10, I was looking for guidance and experiences I can share in my grief.

      Then I chanced upon this post, and my trance got shattered.

      I guess a post can poignant and astoundingly uncomfortable.

      You made me forget about my pain for just a few minutes.

      I hope your husband reads this.

  12. This past first year following the unexpected loss of my husband, I just plowed through, trudging along, marking all the monthly milestones, holidays, etc. Somehow, I’d naively assumed that by getting through that period in time, would somehow make things begin to get easier. It hasn’t. You’re just kind of left asking yourself, now what!?! When you’re at that in between place, frozen in time. Past – Present – Future… And how do you move on from here.

  13. I really wish there was a handbook and a neat and orderly way that some people passed over. I had time to address my dads diagnosis. We laughed and cried together every day before. The time we spent together was the best and worst time of my live. I was sure I was ‘ready’ to help him pass. I was expecting something otherworldly, angelic and a beautiful death. It’s definitely NOT what’s portrayed on the media. There was no heavenly light, no peace. And that’s what I wished I knew before. A year on now, and the thought of the way he passed is growing smaller, his memory is still as large! We’re all human, imperfect, and you know, as long as you loved that certain person with all your heart? Don’t beat yourself up. We all have to go eventually. Wherever that might be. Just care, and love deep. Don’t take anything or anyone for granted. Don’t be complacent. [email protected]

  14. Don’t assume that two people who suffer the same loss will get along any better than they did before.

  15. Don’t be so quick to share your sentiments of your loved one with anyone, especially with family. Remember, they are “your” valued moments.

  16. My brother and I took care of our parents for 12 years. My Dad died first after being with us for four years. My Mom got dementia. We took care of her at an independent living apartment complex for seniors where she and Dad lived. As her dementia progressed, so did her care needs. We were both with her each day of her journey. We were with her when she had a stroke and was in hospice for a week. We were both with her when she died. One thing I did not see in the list about what I wish someone told me about grief, was reminding someone that the person lived a long life. Grief is grief and loss is loss–no matter if someone lived a day or years. I would prefer that someone just say, I am sorry for your loss. How are you doing? As a full-time caregiver, there are so many changes to deal with after your loved one dies. I was busy taking care of everything for Mom. My phone rang constantly. I was around a lot of people everyday. We had caregivers helping us, so I had a lot of contact with them. After Mom died, the phone stopped ringing, and the people contact ended. I did not have a full-time job, because I was taking care of Mom, so I did not have contact with coworkers to lean on or to be around. My husband was still working, so I was with him at night. My Mom and I were very close. I treasure all the time we had together. As far as I am concerned, there would never be a time I would want to say goodbye to a loved one, a friend, or a pet.

    • Hello,
      I can relate to so much of what you said. It’s been 2 years since I lost my mom & I feel a great loss. It was difficult at the end, we had aides but I was the main caretaker. I was being pulled in many directions and felt like I was running 2 households. After she passed I felt a short sense of relief because I didn’t want to see her suffer. I almost feel more grief now that time has passed I I miss how we used to spend time together, lunch dates, shopping, etc.
      She was 90 when she passed but until the very end, looked and acted much younger.
      I felt hurt when a coworker smiled and said “well, she was 90”
      just wanted you to know I understand your loss.

  17. i forever be thankful to [email protected] for bringing my ex to me and you can contact him for your help too

  18. Reading about other peoples experiences with grief and death has been helpful to me. Some people’s accounts of how their loved one’s murdered body was found, is almost unimaginable to have to deal with. Not knowing what their last hours were like. I was by my wife’s side for her last hours (died of cancer) and though it was hard to see her gasping for air and turning blue, and standing helpless by as she slipped away, I do take some comfort in having been able to be with her for her last moments on this earth. I have been crying for 29 days straight now, last night being one of the worst. Just when you think you are getting “better”, expect to get hit with a wave that just takes you right back to the beginning of it all again. Another strange thing for me and perhaps others is, that even in my first month of grieving, I have had women who knowing what I am going through, still have decided to kind of get their foot in the door to a future relationship now that I am single again. Maybe there’s something appealing for them, to see a man lamenting so hard the loss of his wife, and they want that kind of love too, who knows. And at first I thought it was nice that someone was interested but I told myself I will not enter any relationships with other people for at least a year. Getting distracted by their advances only made me feel more guilty and disrespectful to my wife, so I made it clear I was not interested. Lastly, for some reason, I keep expecting her to come to me, in a dream or a vision or some kind of way to let me know she is fine. But this hasn’t happened and it troubles me a lot. In the entire past month, I have had no dreams of her still being alive with me, only a few dreams where I was aware that she was gone. My first thoughts were that I will never give my heart to anyone again because I don’t ever want to feel this kind of pain again. That is changing though to just the opposite. I know that one day I will probably love someone again and I will love them with all my being and never take a day or a tomorrow for granted again. All I can say at this point is that if you have a spouse, treat today like it’s your last day with them, because it might be.

    • Dave, I am sorry for your loss. I understand your pain. It is almost a year since my husband passed away suddenly and I still have horrible days. I don’t think it ever really goes away. I believe in life after death.
      Your wife knows how much you love and miss her. She will always be with you. Love never dies. Love transcends. It continues into the next life. In fact you may find that you love her more than you ever did before. I often feel my husband around me. I hear him talking to me. I still talk to him. I tell him every day how much I love him. I know he is waiting for me and I know there is life after death. Follow your heart. She will always be with you.

      Buy yourself a beautiful box. Every time you remember a memory you shared in your lives, write it down as if you were both laughing and talking about that memory. Put the note into an envelope and don’t seal it. Just put it in the box. Keep doing this. Eventually you will have a box full of memories that you can pull out and read whenever you want to have time together. Sometimes you will cry and sometimes you will laugh when you read them. Whenever I start to get in one of those depressed and lonely moods I go to my box and pull out a few memories. They bring me comfort and help me never to forget.

      Find a church that you feel comfortable with. I was raised Catholic but I found myself a wonderful Anglican Church in my community and it has been a great help to me to reach out to god again in my life.

      I wish you well Dave and I understand what you are going through. Just remember that she is always with you, now and forever. Love never dies. You will be with her again.

    • Man, I am going through the same thing with the loss of my wife. You really hit the nail on the head with some of the things that you said. I am filled with so much guilt and everything I do has lost meaning. Can you tell me how you are doing now and if you are in some way coping with the loss.

    • I have dealt with similar issues of men suddenly pushing themselves on me after my husband died. I just passed the 1 year anniversary and still to this day get messages and friend requests. While I understand why some people feel the need to reach out in this way, I was totally unprepared for it. I wish someone had told me how hard it was to have people throwing themselves at my feet when all I wanted to do was cry.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. I experienced much the same after caring for my soulmate who passed away in May (cancer). A lot of what you said hit home and I am thankful you shared it.

    • I was told you won’t dream about them because they are at peace now. I found that helpful.

  19. Something in the future, at some point or time will trigger a memory that will bring you to your knees.

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    • Although I am listed as a potential organ donor, as having become a widow recently, I do not feel this is the time, place, forum to solicit donors. Have some empathy, compassion and respect for those that are grieving.

  21. Read number 38
    Makes the list just what others have felt. Not what will happen to you

  22. restore your broken relationship by emailing [email protected] com

  23. People at work will and do move on, even when you’re not ready to do so. And, they should move on. Which is to say one cannot really depend on co-workers, en masse, to support them through the long process of grieving. Which is why it is important to identify one or two people at work that you trust who can help you through the rough patches.

    Also: Most people at work will be there when it counts. Then, they will move on.

    The aforementioned were told to me by a dear friend and colleague who is a psychologist, and who has supported me through several work-related difficulties. She is now supporting me in the aftermath of my mother’s recent death.

  24. I am sharing this testimony to let the people know about Dr.Mack, I recently caught my husband with his ex girlfriend. Recently, he has been distant unloving and disrespectful towards me. I had a feeling he was going to leave me in no time and he later did this was After 3 years of marriage, my husband left me and never returned. I felt like my life was about to end, my life was falling apart.. I contacted Dr.mack via email:d[email protected] com and explained my problem to him. In just 3 days, My Husband rang me 6 times, He came back to me. We solved our issues, he said he was sorry for leaving me, he said he wants us to be together again. I am so happy this finally ends with joy! I feel my heart beating again! and we are even happier than before. My life is back!!!! Many thanks to Dr.Mack

  25. “When my spouse left me, I contacted Dr.Mack for relationship restoration. I was given the opportunity by Dr. Mack to have my Lover back. He took the obstacles out of the way. my lover proposed to me and we got married last week, If you need your Ex back contact [email protected] com “

  26. I had a problem with my Husband 3 months ago he was having an affair with a friend of mine that happens to be my best friend, i was so sad that i never knew what to do next, during my search for a way out, i came across this Email [email protected] com, i never believed in spiritual stuff, i thought it will not work for me but to my surprise i got positive results and i was able to get my Husband back from my so called friend, if you are having a similar problem contact DR.MACK and your problems shall be solved,

  27. Thanks. This helped a lot.

  28. I was shocked by how much my willingness to trust others changed. I didn’t expect it and didn’t realize its normal until I read it here.

  29. Remember it’s okay to laugh when you are grieving and it’s okay to cry. If people judge you for laughing too early or crying too long, ignore them. Let your emotions be okay no matter what they are, don’t feel guilty! . And an interesting fact from science: there are many types of tears (tears from sorrow, joy, cutting onions, etc) and they all have different chemical make ups. Tears of sorrow actually have pain relieving chemicals, so let yourself have a good cry!

  30. I wish I knew at the 1 year anniversary of my dad passing I will be living that night over and over in my head for a few nights just like it had just happened. I feel the paid just like it’s fresh.

  31. I know some grievers on here dont like to think 1 loss is worse than another,but HOW
    a loss happens can certainly be worse than how others happen.My teen daughter went out +never came home ~+6 weeks later was found murdered laying naked in a stream.Wouldn’t most of you on here have recurring nightmares imagining childs last
    moments,how it happened(perpetrator wouldnt speak in court}thinking about the rats
    ~+insects eating,etc eating away at her? of course the police wouldnt let me see her in that state,so i never got to say goodbye. If she had an illness +i was prepared and she was lying in comfort on a hospital bed surrounded by family, may be i could cope
    a lot easier with that? or if she had been in a vehicle accident ,at least its just that, an
    ACCIDENT, not done on purpose, so may be i could even deal with it easier even if i
    dont get to see her because of the state of the body.but to cope with this happening
    +seeing the cops walk away with the body bag on the news,(i shouldnt have watched
    it,I know) then the trauma of the trial, the trauma of constant documentaries being made against my wishes(because a serial killer did it)constant exposure,it never goes away,~+on the 10th anniversary recently it all came out in the media again. A lot of
    people think murder wont happen to them ~+have no idea what its like. the only way
    to stop the suicidal thoughts i have is to think of my son/partner/siblings+carry on for them.im not living, just existing, 1 day at a time.

    • Charlotte, thank you for sharing your story. My heart aches for you and your daughter.

    • Indeed there are those things Time may never heal, and there are more things around us that cuts open the wounds than bind them. I am deeply sorry for your pain.
      Grief is a consequence of love, and love motivates. You can live again, for those still in your life, for a purpose – maybe to help those who may right now be suffering as you did – in memory of the one you loved and lost.

    • Michael McstravickMay 9, 2017 at 5:59 amReply

      So sorry for your loss.when you see somebody’s loss which is more tragic than your own,it doesn’t make you feel any better.but it does make you feel united.god bless you.🙏

    • Charlotte, Thanks for sharing you story and being open with your grief. I really feel for you and your daughter, and how hard each day must be for you. Through my own grief I struggle every day with shock and trauma like living in the strangest reality / nightmare, but I try and push on like you for others and the ones we have lost wouldn’t want it any other way. I agree with you that the way someone was lost can have a more profound effect and I have always felt angry that they even talk about such evil people on TV or show footage of private scenes and I’m sorry it’s your story they are telling without your agreement.

    • Thank you for sharing your story. I feel a lot of the same things you feel. My Father was murdered and it was horrendous the way it all happened. I don’t know if it helped me seeing him after everything because seriously you wait for there eyes to open or there chest to move and it never happens. I find myself wanting to find evidence and thinking I’m going crazy but I know it is all normal feelings. I also know that there is a BIG difference in emotions when a loved one dies versus a loved one who is murdered. It’s not the same at all. I’m not going to say sorry for your loss because as I know all to well that doesn’t make anyone feel better; just know you are not alone on all your feeling and emotions.

    • Charlotte…I recently lost my husband. He was way too young.

      The way your daughter died has to be the most difficult thing a mother can ever face. I am so so very sorry. The most difficult of all losses. I wish I could hold you, and take a magic wand and make your grief disappear. I am heartbroken…but your loss must be 100 times worse. My love to you.

    • Charlotte, May God bless you😔 I am so very very sorry for your horrible loss😢 You are right, all grief is so unbearable, but the way a loved one passes does cause different types of grief😢 If only there was a “magical pill” to make this unbearable pain go away🙏🏻

    • My heart brakes for you Charlotte I can’t even imagine how you feel grief of the loss of a child is terrible.i have terrible thoughts about my sons death he tragically took his own life and I’ll never get that imagined how I found him out my mind.im absolutely heartbroken and miserable without him the world is a cruel excistance at times x

    • So sorry Charlotte.
      A true living nightmare. Death is different just as grief and religion etc are.
      No one can tell you how to feel. I just lost my Mum 5 weeks ago and then 3 days ago my stepfather in law. I can not bring myself to talk to my husband as he has lost 2 brothers. The whole relationship with loved one is different.
      I can not offer any advice only a cyper hug.

  32. I lost my parents within six months of one another after they passed from various complications in their resepective health about two years ago now. I had also lost my eldest brother back in 2000, and my baby daughter 3 months before that. I find now that I’ve really just learned to live with all this heartache, as the grief is a real and normal part of the human experience. I have to fight it when it hits and boy, does it hit when it is at its worst, almost like a blackness within and without, but I thank God for comforting me with release in tears, with friends, work colleagues and the like to help me through. It’s touch to receive help from other people when one has been brought up to soldier on by oneself. In the case of my parents, I had cared for them for about 20 years, so I was very much their go-to person for anything. When they passed, I felt like my world made no sense at all. I had memory loss, confusion, utter brokenness and sorrow I am amazed, looking back, I was brought through and able to understand and build from again. But I must say quite strongly that if anyone is in trouble from any grief (and my sincere condolences for all those who have lost here), seek counselling, seek friends who love and know you and are prepared to listen. Fight your own desire not to seek such help, because it will help, perhaps not at first, but over time it does. God bless you all, thank you for this website, it’s an encouragement to know one is not alone.

  33. I was not prepared to not receive any condolences or support from my family members. Strangers have been kinder. They are wrapped up in holidays and the election, yet say they have no time to attend to my loss of my spouse. That is abandonment at it’s worst.

  34. Life is all about good and bad experience
    Life is all about good and bad experience. It was all good and lovely when i met joelly, she was a good business woman until things become rough for her and her business empire started liquidating. I was a very courageous and hardworking man so i decided to sell my inheritance to assist . We both struggle together and built the business world again. This time around the business was growing from strength to strength. I was surprise one Sunday evening when she came home with her secretary and told me that we cannot continue with this pretense called love. I was shocked and heart broken, i was in a friend, house for three weeks frustrated until i met Fernando my old friend at the supermarket, he directed to me to Dr saka. I contacted saka and he told me that Joelly was been manipulated by some spiritual power and he told me to provide some items which he is going to use to destroy the evil spirit. I never believe in voodoo but i had to give him a trial. To my greatest surprise, Joelly called and started apologizing 2 days after i sent Dr. Saka the email. I am very happy and will continue to be happy for the good work the Saka has done in my life. Problems are been solved when good people like Saka are on this planet, please contact him through [email protected] if you need any support in any problems in life. I love Dr Saka … 🙂

  35. My name is Ricky Victoria from Chicago,I really appreciate this site that linked me to the solution to my problem,Few weeks ago i was here to request for some prayer regarding my marriage when i saw a testimony that was posted by a lady names Lucy… On how Dr ATILA help her to restored her marriage back,I also give a try and i contacted him for help and DR ATILA ask me what do i need his gods to help me with i told him what happened which was last month my husband and i had a little misunderstanding which resulted to many things, coming home late at nignt and also his attitude towards me all of a sudden changed. well i knew something was not right, so when he came at night i checked his phone i saw a photo of him and a lady on bed together and some love text messages they sent to each other, WHICH I EXPLAINED TO HIM and DR ATILA told me to do some prayers which i did and after 48hours that DR ATILA did his prayers,well i was so surprise to see him asking for my forgiveness on how he slept with another lady and some other things he did wrong at my back which was just the way DR ATILA said to me will happen,My husband now show me more love than even before. i will advice anyone in need of help to contact him ( [email protected] ). ….thanks to you DR ATILA.

  36. Life is all about good and bad experience
    Life is all about good and bad experience. It was all good and lovely when i met joelly, she was a good business woman until things become rough for her and her business empire started liquidating. I was a very courageous and hardworking man so i decided to sell my inheritance to assist . We both struggle together and built the business world again. This time around the business was growing from strength to strength. I was surprise one Sunday evening when she came home with her secretary and told me that we cannot continue with this pretense called love. I was shocked and heart broken, i was in a friend, house for three weeks frustrated until i met Fernando my old friend at the supermarket, he directed to me to Dr saka. I contacted saka and he told me that Joelly was been manipulated by some spiritual power and he told me to provide some items which he is going to use to destroy the evil spirit. I never believe in voodoo but i had to give him a trial. To my greatest surprise, Joelly called and started apologizing 2 days after i sent Dr. Saka the email. I am very happy and will continue to be happy for the good work the Saka has done in my life. Problems are been solved when good people like Saka are on this planet, please contact him through [email protected] or call +2348081186438 if you need any support in any problems in life. I love Dr Saka … 🙂

  37. I cannot get over the death of my boyfriend.. it’s been 5 years since he died and we were together for 5 years… we met when I was 15 and he was 14. We were friends for a year before we started dating. I was in an abusive relationship when we started dating. After several broken ribs, he convinced me to leave. We started dating a month later. 6 months into dating, I was sexually assaulted at my job. He, again, was there for me. After this I began to have severe issues with depression and attempted suicide a couple of times and developed anorexia. Each time he was there and got me through it. After a year, I overcame my depression for the most part and was happy with him and my life. Then his mother, who didn’t like me because of my beliefs, made us break up whenever she found out we were together (we would only break up for a month max) and she began to abuse him.. she had a pill and alcohol addiction. And DCF failed to do their job.. he began to smoke weed and drink (I thought he was being rebellious even though I didn’t like it.. and never pushed him to stop). Then it turned into pills.. and escalated from there. I moved an hour away for college and she didn’t stop abusing him despite me being “gone”.. so he began to use even more. The next year was rough because I tried and tried but I couldn’t get him to stop.. He was two weeks away from moving in with me (he would be graduating and moving with me to go to college).. And I had to leave town. I told him not to drive under the influence because “I don’t want you to kill your self”.. as I was always his ride on the weekends so he wouldn’t drive. But he did it anyway. I wasn’t gone for more than 12 hours before I got the call that he was dead.. and my world ended that day. I felt angry because he didn’t listen, cheated because we were so close to being “free”, sad because I lost the love of my life, and, guiltily so, relieved.. because I knew he wasn’t going to hurt anymore. Every bad moment in my life put together wasn’t even half as painful as hearing the words that he had died.. I had to go on medication and extensive therapy for almost a year before I felt like I was able to function somewhat normally. I met a man, who’s now my husband, and I’m happy..

    But half of me is still empty. I love my husband SO SO SO SO much but I constantly feel guilty when I think of him.. and I think of him every day despite him being gone for 5 years.. I still have nights like tonight where I can’t sleep because he’s all I can think about.. and nothing can calm my anxiety. Is this how the rest of my life will be? I want to move on.. selfishly, I wish I could forget sometimes.. My guilt for moving on from him haunts me.. along with my guilt of feeling like I’m betraying my husband. I lay in bed and cry when I have nightmares about his death, while laying next to my husband. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fantasize about what life would be like if he were alive. And I know it’s “weird” for my husband.. he’s such a wonderful man and so patient with me.. but I feel so bad that half of my heart is still hurting when it shouldn’t be.. I can’t move on from all of this guilt..

    • Correction** I was in an abusive relationship when we first met.

      • It’s good that you are writing about it. If you can realize that you provided a lot of opportunity for him to give love during his life, and that you gave that to him, that is the gift you gave and maybe he would never have known that intimacy without having met you. You clearly have a lot to give and to prevent that in your life moving forward would be to deny another person or people of your beauty that you’ve been born with. Let some light into your heart step by step and forgive your husband he just didn’t know better. And you did all you knew how to do. Sometimes life’s seasons are quality not quantity. Bless you and please heal, you should live well as life is short.

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  39. It was a very violent and traumatic suicide with the entire city watching. I found out about it on social media and on the news. And sad down with the police officers and the helicopters and FBI and Special Victims Unit and it went on and on and on for 7 hours before they would give me any information. I can’t even express most of you I’m sure already know the level of this party and Beyond physical pain that I’m feeling and it doesn’t stop. Anger has started to take over lately not at my son but at anything and everything around me.

    • JANA,

  40. I feel that I truly can’t go on. My 32 year old son’s death was February 10th 2016. He left behind five kids and I have the twins 6 year old boys. I want to do everything right for them so they can work through this process but unfortunately I feel like I’m making it worse. I cannot get a grip I am over-the-top loss angry depressed it’s awful. My husband asked me to smile yesterday and I said about what and he said you’re alive aren’t you and I really thought at that moment wondering is that really something to smile about?

    • Jana,

      You are grieving and you have also taken on the role of caregiver for twin 6-year-old boys – this is a lot. I imagine your grief is immense and, at the same time, your responsibility/stress-level/etc has increased. I think it’s natural that you would be feeling overwhelmed/angry/depressed/etc. That being said, if your distress level is increasing/staying the same over time and you truly feel as though you don’t know how to deal with the day-to-day, it might not hurt to talk to a counselor (if you haven’t already). Sometimes it helps just to talk things through and seeing a counselor would allow you to carve out some space that is 100% focused on you and working through everything that’s happened over the last year.

      Now I know you didn’t say that you were having thoughts of suicide, but I do want to be overly cautious and say to you, or to anyone else reading this, that if you are ever in crisis, if you are ever having thoughts of harming yourself, or if you simply need someone to talk to, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

      Please feel free to email us at [email protected] if you want us to point you in the direction of specific articles on our site or other online resources. My heart goes out to you. Hang in there.


  41. Why don’t the links on the site redirect? I’ve tried to post articles on FB from the WRG site and they don’t go through. They will work from FB directly though

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  43. I lost my wife to cancer on April 28 2016 Maggie was my only true friend for 39 years we were both 17 when we met and enjoyed many happy times together ,the list is very helpful as I don’t know what I’m feeling some days and I can associate with a lot of it I thought I was alone in my feelings but can see everyone who is grieving goes through the same,one of the worst feelings I get is as we have been together from a young age that I have to start my life all over again

  44. i am Emily Luke my heart is full of joy for what Dr Ogun Root and Herds the traditional healer has done for me, i was diagnose with cancer for the past four years, i thought my life was going to end like that, cause i thought there is no cure for this deadly disease, untHiil i came across a testimony of a young man who said that he was cure with the herbal medicine of Dr OGUN, initially i thought it was a scam testimony but i said i must also try this man to see if it true or false testimony. so i contacted this man through his email and he response to my emails and told me what to do, i kindly did what he ask me to do, and he sent me his herbal medicine and instructed me on how i will be taking them daily, i kindly follows the precaution and after some weeks i went for medical check up and my result came out with Negative.i want to use this medium to inform everyone living with cancer to stop wasting time on medical drugs and contact Dr OGUN the traditional healer for some herbal medicine that will cure you once and for all. Please contact him through his email:[email protected] please note that this man is 100% trusted and guarantee.

  45. Am writing this article to appreciate the good work of DR OGALA that helped me recently to bring back my wife that left me for another man for the past 2 years. After seeing a comment of a woman on the internet testifying of how she was helped by DR OGALA. I also decided to contact him for help because all i wanted was for me to get my wife, happiness and to make sure that my child grows up with his mother. Am happy today that he helped me and i can proudly say that my wife is now with me again and she is now in love with me like never before. Are you in need of any help in your relationship like getting back your man, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, winning of lotteries, herbal cure for sickness or job promotion E.T.C. Viewers reading my post that needs the help of DR OGALA should contact him via E-mail: ( ogalasolutiontemple @ gmail. com ) You can also call him on his telephone number +2348110496023

  46. They never told me my loved one’s earthly remains would never be returned to us or how that would constantly mess with my mind to not have ever received confirmation of death, as opposed to getting a certificate with a “Presumed finding of death” written on it by the coroner. They never said how it would feel when one of the people responsible for doing it (Osama bin Laden) would get to HAVE his earthly remains or that people in his family would complain via an Islamic representative about how insensitive it was for us to “bury ‘the Sheik’ at sea, which violates Islamic law” and then insist that we should have given them his body for a proper Muslim burial.
    I could have screamed a blue streak when I read that. I was happy that President Obama actually responded to it by saying that “burying him at sea was giving him more respect than he gave to thousands of people” and didn’t give in to them trying to imply we were totally terrible for giving him a watery interment. It’s not like there wasn’t a heavy canvas shroud around him before they put him into the ocean, he’s not even going to be eaten by any marine life down there. Not even nibbled, and he gets to have his earthly remains, which is more than I can say for Eric and 79 others who died that day.

    They never tell you that the justice system for homicide victims works for the murderer’s benefit and not the victim of the homicide. It’s supposed to work for people who truly aren’t guilty but it ends up benefiting criminals and not just those truly innocent of the crime.
    The rest of the ones who didn’t die the day it happened (i.e, those who didn’t fly the planes) have gotten even more honor than that. One of the members of Al Qaeda who’s still at Guantanamo gets to have a computer, TV and refrigerator in his ‘cell’ and even gets to grow mint tea in a garden that he shares with another prisoner, a man known for making bombs before he came to Guantanamo. They have 10 million TIMES more rights than Eric and all the others who were killed bc of Al Qaeda which Salahi, the author of the best selling memoir, was OBVIOUSLY part of. Now just because he wrote a successful book while in prison everyone thinks he should be released to continue his writing spree. That’s what he says he’ll do. I don’t care if he promised to join a convent for Allah and cloister himself away from the world after he’s free. He’s already done what he did, you don’t let someone go when he was with an organization that killed thousands of people in one day.
    I was raised to believe guilty people stay in prison and innocent ones don’t usually go there. The reality is that guilty people make multiple bids for their own release and sometimes innocent people go to prison.

  47. Wow finally something that explains grief in detail. This is the most honest and helpful list I have found. I am changed after losing my partner of over 5 years. He changed my life, he was a magical person. Turned my world upside down in the all the best ways. Made me open my mind and open myself up to the world. He had had the key and he unlocked all my potential. He inspired me and taught me how to be better. He was there for me night and day. I was there for him too. We healed each other of past hurts and we both agreed just by the way we felt and how close we became that we were each others soul mates. I talk to him all the time its the only thing that seems to help. I thank him for everything he did for me and taught me. Because of him I am functioning quite well in this world and and I am a better human being because of him. I had no idea someone could care and love me so much to want to better me and make me a better in every way. We were engaged twice for over 3 years. We wanted to grow old together we decided we were meant to be together for the long run. He especially and I never expected that he would get terminal lung cancer with just 6 months to live. His lymph nodes were already affected and he didn’t ever want to go through chemo again. He survived cancer before but this time he wouldn’t. It’s unbearable painful to watch your soul mate slowly waste away before your very eyes day by day. Its very traumatic for everyone especially Steve. He was the one that was dying. He pushed me away because he wanted me to remember him when he was healthy and young and vibrant. But I said there’s no way, I am here for you through thick and thin. And I will be here for you. He was grateful that I was there for him through it all. I definately felt like I was dying too. Any moments of laugher or joy I felt selfish. Got a clean bill of health from the doctor and it felt bittersweet. If only I could give him my health and i would take this cancer bullet for him if it was possible. At times I wish I could just go with him. I didn’t know if I was strong enough to get through this or even survive when it was time for him to go to heaven. Endless doctor appointments and hospice visits. To be honest Hospice is overrated. Sure they drug them up to feel no pain but they are still very much feeling pain and mental anguish and probably 10 thousand other things that I couldnt even fathom. The emotional has to be the most immense pain for the one dying. I know deep down he didnt want to die and there was moments he wish he wasnt dying. I sure as hell didnt want my magician my magical soul mate to die. But no matter how many prayers you say or beg god to spare him. It was his time to go and Steve accepted that. One night I waswatching tv with him and he wanted me to put him to bed and he said give me a hug and Hugged him and kissed him and put lotion on his feet. He kind fell asleep a little bit and then he jumped up out of bed and yelled help. I was right there and he was sitting in his wheel chair and he said give me a hug so I hugged him and told him I loved him while hugging him He whispered I love you back and then his body went limp while I was holding him. He tried saying something but I couldn’t understand it. I believe he was seeing his angels that he had been seeing for about 2 years. I believe they were there to take him home. As I saw Steves lips turn blue my heart felt immense pain like it was dying. I sensed him in the room his soul. His spirit was buy the window, I sensed him. I cried with his mom as we waited for hospice to come.

    I thought the pain of watching him slowly fade away was the most excruciating pain I ever felt. But its a close second in having to go on without him. Grieving my soul mate has been the most worst and hardest experience I have ever gone through. And I lost my mom 4 years prior. I thought that was excruciating but this was worse. Mostly because its different kind of relationship. Its been a little over a year now since steve passed last February 2015. In a weird way in a loving way. I am glad he didnt have to watch me die and have to survive me. Because I wouldn’t want him to have to go through as much grief and emotional hurricane that I have gone through. I am still grieving, some days are better than others, but I surprised myself. I am much stronger than I ever realized. And I am still learning from Steve. From what he taught me and the example of his life and the great magical person he is. I know his soul lives on and one day when its my time I will get to see him again. Thats what gets me through the worst and most horrible days of grieving. My friends and therapist have tried pushing me to date again but it all seems way too soon. And well impossible. And kind of offensive. How could I ever possibly find someone like Steve again. I really just don’t want anyone else but my Steve at this point.

    • Hi Tammy,

      Firstly your story touched me and i’m truly sorry for your loss. My story is very similar to yours…;-(

      Stay strong for Steve.

    • Michelle ColebournApril 29, 2017 at 9:31 pmReply

      Tammy, I could SO relate, to pretty much every word that you wrote…quite similar to our situation at the time and my predicament now.

      I lost my darling husband Mark, to cancer Dec 30th 2014. We were fortunate to have had 28 wonderfully loving years together…but it was still not enough. I miss him more than words can say. I am so sorry for your loss… and also for mine. It’s a terrible road that we have to walk isn’t it? I personally find it totally incredulous that I have continued on thus far… the space/time since he changing his address to heaven, seems surreal… like it hasn’t really happened…yet it has. It’s odd… I cannot explain it.

      One of the last things my Mark said to me was… ‘I just want you to be happy when I am gone’. It is the hardest thing that I have ever done… and I have not succeeded yet. I doubt that I ever will.

      I got guided to a sign, in english, which said ‘You are stronger than you think’ and I had to buy it. This was unusual as I live in Finland, so an english sign stood out. I knew I was meant to have it. It has helped me so much… just a silly sign! Yet, I have yelled at it, smiled at it, cursed at it and agreed with it. 🙂 I also bought one for a fellow friend who became a widow. We ARE stronger than we think. We also have them helping us from the other side… and we WILL be reunited one fine day! <3 Take care! x

  48. It is my darling Mums funeral tomorrow, I need to be strong for my Dad, they were together for nearly 75 years. I need to grieve but feel selfish if I am not taking care of him. I just hope and pray that the day goes well, and we make her proud of us.

    • My Mom was a photographer. She took pictures all the time of the family. When we were gathered together to write her obituary the thought crossed my mind that we needed a befor and after photo of us. We looked like wrecks.
      There is nothing that makes the loss of a Mother ok.
      The thing is is just being together is enough.
      The shock is so much on everyone. Pass the tissues and hankies, hold hands, hug, drink plenty of water and make sure everybody eats something.
      This is agony. This is what agony is like. Keep breathing.
      My Mom use to say” remember the happy times. ”
      I learned so very much more about my fathers life after Mom died. Listening and being there and letting him be there for you is just about all anyone can do.

  49. Miss V, I hear where you’re coming from–please hear this: as long as you are still present in this earthly domain, IT IS NEVER, EVER TOO LATE, and you are never “too old.” (For life, for hope, for fulfillment, for love, for loyalty, for ANYTHING any human should deserve.) Life is never “winding down” until it’s winding down! Yogi Berra said it: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over!”
    I, too, came from terrible abuse, am also now no longer young, and I’m certainly not out of the woods, but a thousand times better than ever in my long struggle with life. I grew and learned deep lessons especially from a group called Adult Children of Alcoholics. But there were other lesson-givers, too.

    You are most welcome to email me and share stories, & I could do the same, if you want; or I could just listen. I don’t mean I’m this big teacher or anything, just a wounded sister traveler. Don’t go through what you’re going through alone. (Forgive this corny email I use for PayPal, I’ll give you another one if you feel like writing me.)

    With empathy, Sami

  50. Grief eventually fades a little but it never disappears. I have been grieving since 1988.

  51. I lost my only child to suicide. I have lost a husband a mother and father. Nothing compares to the pain of losing my child.

  52. It has been just over three months since my lovely Pete died. He was such a loving husband and a kind, funny, clever, optimistic man. I feel like a little boat that has lost an oar and I am so afraid of the future without him. I don’t think that I can go on without him and that scares me.

  53. My partner of 12 years and I recently separated and 3 weeks later he was found dead at his home. It was an unexpected death and a great shock. A post mortem was held and there is no indication of how he died, therefore an inquest will need to be held. I am totally devastated, despite the fact we separated I loved him dearly and it was a very amicable split. He was gutted that we separated and now the guilt I am feeling is terrible. It is only 5 weeks since he was found and I feel that life has no meaning whatsoever, I can’t see a future and I honestly can say I don’t feel particularly happy about anything. I’ve been coping pretty OK, going through the motions anyway, but a song on the radio or talking to my partner out loud or looking at a recent photograph reduces me to tears. I’m sleeping a lot, feel genuinely like I have no feelings for anything other than my own situation. I’m incredibly lonely but not sure why I feel like that, especially when we’d split up anyway? I’ve had good family and friend support but now a few weeks have passed, I don’t hear from people anymore. It’s been difficult even loading the washing machine and cleaning the house; they feel like major issues. I’m at university in my final year and can’t summon up the motivation to carry on with my coursework, despite the fact my partner wanted me to complete my course more than anything. I’m just in abeyance to anything that’s happening around me, I don’t see the point to anything at all, and my moods are just in a gray place, neither happy nor sad, just existing. Is this normal? I’ve got a dog who is keeping me sane as I have to take him out but apart from that, it would almost be a comfort to never wake up again. I suffer from anxiety (have done for many years) and am taking Citalopram which helps, and I’ve had counselling and CBT for issues from my childhood. I’m wondering if the medication is making me almost ’emotionless’. My partner was a very positive person and I know he’d be looking down at me telling me to pull my finger out and live my life but I’m just not bothered whatsoever. I feel as if I’ve reached an impasse that I’m finding impossible to cross.

  54. Your loved ones remain a part of you. What part of you is your choice. The memory can be a spring of gratitude for the love and time you shared or can be a fountain of bitterness and pain for what is gone.

    -paraphrased from Richard Paul Evans

  55. “When we bury someone we love, we must also bury a part of our heart. But we should not bemoan this loss. Our hearts, perhaps, are all they can take with them.” — Richard Paul Evans

  56. Don’t worry about trying to heal the hole in your heart. That may be God’s way of keeping your connection to your loved one.

  57. I lost my husband suddenly 22 months ago yet still feels like yesterday-I am lost without him I don’t recognise myself anymore he was my soul mate my best friend I still wake up and reach across to hold his hand and then reality dawns he’s not there.Iam scared to walk alone without him and today I feel caged by grief just when I thought I was doing better its taken hold again-it won’t let go the pain takes my breath away I panic no-one there I am alone me and grief and the fear this is my life now-we used to laugh and his smile sealed our 40yrs of love and when he died suddenly in front of me I lost our world the only one I knew that moment we both died!!Who do I see when I look in the mirror and see a stranger with sad eyes what should I do where should I go without you there’s no sign posts no map to guide me I keep looking for a sign I keep asking please help me find a way??????There’s no time limit to grieve and only those who have walked the same walk and understand not our friends who promised to be there then cross the road or don’t call they are not my friends anymore new ones appear and just know -one day I hope we shall meet again and hold hands until then I reach out……….

    • You’re right. There is no time frame for grief, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. I’m suffering a similar loss, and I feel that the people around me are getting tired of hearing me grieve and not seeming to make any progress toward healing. It sounds like your husband loved you dearly, and you had something I can only hope for some day. If he could communicate with you from Heaven, what do you think he might say about your grief? I believe he’d say something loving and comforting. I believe he’d say “Live for both of us. Live the dreams and the adventures we planned together but I wasn’t able to. Someday we’ll talk about them and laugh about them when we’re together again. And, I will tell you how proud I am and how happy seeing you happy again made me. If someday you find someone to share these things with on Earth, that’s okay because in Heaven those things won’t matter. Our God is infinite, and He has a plan for everything. But until then, live for both of us.” I can almost hear him saying it. He sounds like a wonderful man, and I’m sorry you lost him too soon. I hope this helps.

  58. One thing that should be added to your list is the fact that when we lose loved ones we lose others too. I had close family and friends I believed would stand by me no matter what. The reality is those more associated with your loved ones don’t stick around. I lost my son after a two and a half year battle with a brain tumor. 5 months later I lost my husband from heart failure. My daughter in law, whom I love very much, has since moved on and I am happy for her. She is sharing her life with her family and her (nice) new boyfriend’s. I don’t begrudge her that but it seems the only thing we have in common now are the grandchildren. I feel I have l lost her too. Also, my son and daughter-in-law had a lot of friends I considered friends of my husband and I as well and I rarey, if ever, see them. My husband had a large family I had been close to and part of for over 40 years. When he was alive some of his sisters and I were inseparable. Now that he’s been gone two and a half years they don’t call although I call them occasionally, and we don’t go places together.I am not the type to cry all the time or wallow in self pity around others so I don’t know why this has happened. I have another son and he’s not handling his grief well either. He is recently divorced so in a sense I have lost two daughters in laws. My grandchildren are my only happiness and they are involved ,rightfully so, with their friends, school, and sports. i have joined some social groups and a gym and I go to church. I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I have also been to counseling.

  59. Thank you to the people here who’ve commented that death is the only form of loss that must be grieved. My husband of 23 years walked out in May 2015. I loved him with all my heart, and his leaving feels like his death, even worse, if that’s possible. I am grieving and will continue to do so forever, it seems. There are good days and bad days, but knowing he could and did choose to leave me still gives me uncontrollable crying-fests and very sad dreams. My disappointment in a man I thought had stonger character and more fidelity is overwhelming. I appreciate the statement that there’s no timeline for grief because a lot of people feel I should be past this, and I’m not. I’ll always miss him and grieve what I thought was a life-long love.

  60. I lost my husband after 52 years together. He died on the 4th November 2014 after a short illness. Family came to say goodbye our son from the U. K. our daughter. But nobody told me you grieve all over again when family leave to go back to their homes.

    Every moment of our life together is etched in my memory, I hear your footsteps coming down the stairs, but you are not there. I hear your chuckle, I look around but you are not there.
    Even though almost 15 months have passed I miss you darling, I will always love and miss you”

    • Hi Maureen, my name is Kay and I lost my husband on March 21, 1994, we had been married for 38 years, we were very close and did so many things together. When he went on to be with the Lord I had so many people coming around bringing food and offering this and that but is wasn’t real to me it all seemed as though I were in another world an unreal world, they were trying to be helpful but nothing sunk in until years down the road. I can still see him walking down the hall way to go take his daily shower, I can still see him sitting at the kitchen table eating his breakfast, I can still hear him in the night, I can still smell him. It’s been 22 years, I’ve never remarried because I felt that when I took my marriage vows that it was forever, and I had to finish raising my two granddaughters and I had three sons that were very loving and helpful and most of all I had my precious Savior the Lord Jesus to help me and walk me through it all, but you never really get over the death of a loved one. Take care. Kay

  61. I wish someone had told me about the “existing” that happens while you are learning to cope and grope your way through the grief. It seemed as though life went from vivid color to merely black and white, and I wondered if I would ever feel anything BUT the pain. I don’t know that the pain lessens, just that I changed. And I learned it was okay to let the good moments in until the memories and love became what I thought of more than the hurt. It’s still there, always, just under the surface. I also think that this list should include: You will hold on to what you need to until you don’t feel you need to anymore. If that loved one’s room, for instance, stays untouched for however long you need it to—good! If you need to clean out/go through their things right away–good! Don’t let anyone else tell you when it’s the “right” time to do these things. Your heart will let you know.

  62. “When your heart is broken and you put it back together…. there are still a few pieces missing.” –Valient Shadows~
    “Grief is a black emotion– it comes in all the colors combined; grief creates a mess that can never be completely mended.” –Valient Shadows~

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  64. I’d like to thank you for your thoughts, no wonder why this article is checked for years and I expect it will remain checked regularly as long as love for the missed ones persist.
    I cried while reading it and I’ll keep crying everytime I remember my brother, death of a family member have always been my biggest fear for so many years, and I first faced it is now by 27 yrs old as my brother passed away, he hurt himself to death, the feeling that I could help him to live happier will alway pass by my thoughts, I mever told him that I love him, actually I never thought that I do.
    Its been 61 days nw and I can’t get over it.
    May Allah be with us all.

  65. It’s hard to laugh like I use to. I didn’t realize that my laugh would decrease. I hang on and hope that my laugh will come back.

  66. Thank you for this list ,but no one talks about the physical pain it hurts so much in your body . I lost my husband of 36 years I have pain in my body in my tummy, chest, head and it never seem to go away it has been 8 weeks maybe its too soon i don’t know

  67. You will pull away from those who are closest to you because sometimes its easier and more comforting to be alone.

  68. I definitely agree about not comparing or trying to belittle anyone else’s grief. I once read a self help type pamphlet about grieving the loss of someone close to you, and it said “The worst pain is the pain you’re going through and the worst loss is your loss”. I think we all feel this way. How could we not, when faced with such unimaginable anguish. Grief is not a contest, and we should try to help support each other rather than tear each other down.

  69. My friend died, and nobody told me. We had said we’d make plans, and then I texted, called, left messages for
    3 months, and her message was still on her cell phone, so I figured she was busy. Went to see her. Nobody home. Found out she died while Googling to
    see if she had another number.

  70. I have lost close friends before and grandparents (I was especially close to my maternal grandfather and I miss him still 10 years later), but nothing even remotely prepared me for my dad’s death 14 months ago. He was sick for many years leading up to his death but we were not expecting it to happen when it did. And then 9 days later was his birthday, followed by my younger brother’s 26th birthday only a few weeks later, then my 30th birthday about a week and a half later, and the same brother’s wedding a week after. All these joyous occasions for our family suddenly felt a little emptied without the larger-than-life presence that was my father. I am having an extremely difficult time and sometimes I feel like I’m just not making any progress through this grief. However, this list is unbelievably helpful and rings extremely true for me. It makes me feel significantly less lonely, and comforted. It also gives me hope that I might be able to provide some similar comfort to a friend of mine who just lost her mother.

  71. Sympathy Card MessagesAugust 25, 2015 at 4:00 pmReply

    Great list and very insightful. Some of them are extremely pertinent.

  72. Bang on…thank you…surrounding everyone with love…comfort and compassion…

  73. I wasn’t prepared at all and the whole *** country watched while he died, we have a tape of his dying – and we never recovered his body, which the coroner thinks was consumed by one of the many fireballs that were bursting from the body of the main fire that was started by jet fuel (which burns hotter than any other type.)
    The most difficult part of it has been something I never expected – the loss of his bodily remains so no identification could be made bc no comparison to the DNA we provided could verify his final remains, and he had to be “presumed dead” by the coroner instead of “confirmed dead.”

    On the tape I finally listened to this year, almost 14 years after the death occurred, he’s begging for help, screaming in pain every 7 seconds for at least 3 minutes and saying to the 911 dispatcher “No I can’t breeeethe, please help me!” While they ask him questions I understand, I’m a paramedic myself, but feel angry that they never ask why he’s screaming in obvious and sudden pain. Then gagging, coughing, unable to speak through the choking on smoke.
    The scenario lasts for 5 minutes, then he takes a giant gasping breath and is cut off, although not disconnected, for 2 to 3 minutes. Then he comes back on, says “I can’t breeethe, help.”
    He says he’s on the 79th floor and trying to hang out a window to breathe but it isn’t working. Then he gets on the floor at the 911 operator’s direction. Then they lose touch for the final time and we never see him (literally speaking) again.
    All this happens to him an hour and a half before the tower he’s in begins its descent to the ground, killing at least 70 people stuck above the 80th floor by crushing them to death under tons of building. The South Tower has already collapsed and FDNY’s Incident Commander has no choice but to recall the firefighters in the North tower before they die the way hundreds in the South Tower just did when it fell: by being crushed into death by tons of steel.
    We never saw our loved one’s body again, never saw any of his belongings (one of the surviving relatives had a piece of her husband’s watch that matched the DNA sample she gave them) never received a positive ID to match the stupid DNA sample we gave to the coroner’s office. It bears repeating bc I’ve never been able to accept this part of it – and wonder if I ever will. I’m frustrated with myself for being so incapable of processing this part of what happened. Why can’t I come to terms with and just “get over it?”
    Why does the absence of earthly remains feel this devastating to the survivor? Or is it just me?
    I can’t even read the poem that begins:
    “Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not here, I do not sleep…”
    Not without becoming too upset.
    I don’t stand at his grave and weep; I stand at his grave and wonder why the hell so many other people get to have their earthly remains and he doesn’t.

    • Vivki,

      I am so sorry for your pain. I’m not sure I can even imagine how difficult it must have been for you to listen to that tape years after your loved one’s death. Emotions as complicated as those caused by sudden death, death at the hands of terrorism, death in such a national tragedy, the ambiguity of never having his remains identified – these can take a long time to process and I am certain that listening to a tape like you described can bring them all rushing back.

      I can assure you, it’s not just you. There are others who feel the same way about not having a loved one’s remains, especially when no remains have been identified. Your comment has made me realize this is a topic we haven’t written about in depth, but which we should. I’d like to take a few days to get some thoughts and research together and then we will put a post together and we’ll let you know when we do. Not that this can take away any of your pain, but I sincerely appreciate you sharing your feelings and experiences so others who are struggling with similar circumstances might someday, in some way, feel less alone.


  74. You will obsessively think of your loved one, his illness, his death, your life togehter and how you could have done everything better. You will think of these things so much you will begin to wonder what you ever thought about before the illness stuck.

  75. Thank you so much, not just for posting this list in the first place, but for continuing to moderate and reply to comments! It’s always so weird to me to find places to vent online, but feeling as though I’m just rambling into the void . . .
    My brother Russell was 21 when we was killed in a car accident 13 years ago. Some days it still feels like it was yesterday, but those days are definitely farther and few between as they used to be. I have had a lot of trouble adjusting to my new normal . . . I literally had to re-learn how to BE me. I didn’t know who I was anymore without my brother, my partner in crime, my sounding board for the world. It is an ongoing process for me. I am very active in my local Compassionate Friends group in NYC – I facilitate a support group for bereaved siblings that meets twice a month. I have found that talking about it with other people who are going through something similar has been been the most helpful thing to me, as it validates every one of my crazy thoughts, and allows me to be myself, if only for a couple hours at a time.
    I also started a podcast called “Where’s the Grief?” where I interview (mostly) comedians who have experienced tragic loss.
    Thank you to everyone who has shared part of thier story on here. It really is heartwarming to see so many people connecting and reaching out even if it’s from the darkest parts of themselves and their history.
    Jordon Ferber

    • Hi Jordan- so incredibly sorry for the death of your brother. As we say time and again, glad you found us but sorry you needed us! Glad to hear the Compassionate Friends has been a support for you and thank you for the work you do facilitating a sibling group. We spoke at the Compassionate Friends conference last year. It was our first time attending and it was amazing to be there!

  76. That you may feel that you are not grieving enought. That your response to your lived one’s death may feel inadequate and not at all representative of how much you loved them or how much their loss means to you. That you hope one day you will crack, lose it and break down, and are frightened that that may never happen.

    That the rest of your life will seem to stretch out in front of you; just a too-long wait until – you hope beyond hope – you can see them again.

  77. Your point 8 “Death is not an emergency – there is always time to step back and take a moment to say goodbye” is not always true. I travelled many thousands of miles only to miss my sister’s death by 5 minutes. I was allowed time with her but it was heartbreaking

    • I agree George. All those in quotes are reader submissions, but certainly not universally true. Rather, things we wish we had known for our own situation. I lost someone close to me, who was in his 20s, totally unexpectedly and there was no time for anyone to say goodbye. It is a painful but all too frequent reality

  78. My 25 yr old son killed himself 24 days ago. He was bipolar and it had gotten really bad. I tried so hard to help him but he wasn’t willing. He was mixed up with a girl that faked a pregnancy, and cancer the entire situation was like watching a very scarey movie that you didn’t know the ending to but you knew it was going to horrifying. I’m so confused hurt and angry. Yesterday I was completely unconsolable and could hear him crying. Today I’ve exercised and cleaned house. I spent the last 3 or 4 years so worried and terrified of a phone call that came 3 weeks ago. Now what? And people are so very hurtful! Everyone has an opinion or sad story to tell to try to compare or compete with ours! I miss my son! My body vibrates with pain. I’m scared all of the time of everything. I see things that aren’t there and I hear him! And to be perfectly honest I just don’t know if my body can handle this! I want to scream ,punch and claw. I am his mother and I couldn’t fix or even help my son! How do you live with that!

    • Barb, I am so sorry for what you are going through- there are no words. I wish there were easy answers on how to cope, how to manage to get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other, but there is not. It is often a matter of taking it not just one day at a time, but on some days one minute at a time. I have not lost someone close to me to suicide, but I have lost someone to a drug overdose. I felt so much of what you express, from the pain of others words, to the unimaginable guilt. I am a social worker with experience in substance abuse, why couldn’t I fix or help him? One thing that has always helped me is remembering that mental illness is no more ‘fixable’ by friends or family that a physical illness. When my dad died I never blamed myself for not curing/fixing his bone marrow disorder, but when John died of an overdose I felt personally responsible. It took a lot of time and work to find peace and self-forgiveness, but understanding what was actually in my control and what was not did help in some small way.

      With the intensity of all you are coping with, seeing a counselor maybe an important place to start. There is that unfortunate myth that time heals all wounds. Time certainly changes our grief, but when the intensity is so great, as you describe, a counselor can be such an important support.

      This last thing is going to sound crazy, but you mention your body, wanting to punch, scream and claw, etc. Some people experiencing those things find energy work helpful- like reiki. I have never tried this myself, and it isn’t for everyone, but there are some who swear by it when they are having such intense physical experiences.

      I hope our site is of some support. Coping is so personal, but we do have a lot of ideas to fit different styles of grieving.

  79. There was plenty of time to tell my sister everything I wanted her to know. We had quality time when I spent so many nights with her in the hospital. We held hands and talked and laughed and even sang her favorite songs. But…there’s STILL some more things I wanted to tell her. There’s plenty more I want to say. Now that its too late, I keep calling her work number and I’m angry because she’s not there!

  80. Today we are preparing for my mother’s funeral and I have been helped by all the above comments as nothing in the world could have prepared me for my hurt. It is so raw. I want to crawl into her arms and stay there. How on earth will my children cope when I die and I’m not there to comfort them?

  81. Some friends say nothing at all, and that hurts! I know that grief makes life awkward, but I can’t continue being friends with people who’ve said nothing to me about losing my mom. They send party invites and emails telling me about everything that’s going on with them, and I’m baffled. I am interested to see how others feel about this. Please feedback if you have an opinion, but be kind!

  82. No one tells you how physically exhausting grief is. There is a physiological response to grief that would make you think there is something seriously wrong. It causes aches in your jaw and neck and back. It can be a drain on the adrenal function, cause your immune system to be weaker, making allergies hit harder or other illnesses pop up. It can effect memory, focus and even vision. Of course sleep patterns are impacted. All of this can be scary if you do not realize that the root of it is in the grief you carry.

    Thank you for this list that affirms so much.

  83. Live on , You can not live with the dead.

  84. You will always regret the, “Why didn’t I”. Why didn’t I go to lunch with her that last time she invited me? Work could have waited.

  85. Grief isn’t the only thing you have to contend with. Learning to live alone, and being comfortable with all that time you spend on your own is hard work. Often you’ll feel lonely but being alone and being lonely should not be confused, spend time working out the difference.

  86. Thank you for this information. I just lost my fiance 4 months ago.. I dont know what my purpose and meaning in life anymore.. I feel like i want kill my self and be with him, i want to say im sorry to him since our last conversation ended up badly.. I said something bad to him and it made him sad. I will never forgive my self..no mater how often i say sorry, it didnt make me feel better.And apparently my grief make other people uncomfortable. Sometimes they said something really bad, judging me that i dont have a faith to God.. How can i trust god loves me? He took my happiness, my future, my life..

    • I’m so sorry about the death of your fiancé. First and foremost, if you are having any thoughts of suicide you should talk to someone right away – you can go into your local emergency room, call a suicide hotline (we have the contact to one over on our sidebar to the right) or contact a therapist. Feeling hopeless after a death us common, but with time and support I promise you will find ways to cope. Guilt is a common emotion that so many of us feel after a loss. A few of our posts below may help you consider guilt, regret, and faith and begin to think about how to cope with these complex and overwhelming emotions.

      Coping with guilt

  87. I’m 28 and lost my dad a couple of months ago. I seemed to cope very well, I returned to work a week later. I never realised the downwards spiral I was on. I used weekends to drink heavily and go out and party. I got drunk to the point of not remembering and turned to another man for comfort. Nothing happened between us but I sent inappropriate texts. I have no idea why I did this, I am deeply in love with my partner. He has now asked me to move out and said the relationship is over. I wish someone had told me grief will creep up on you and snatch you back when you think you’re nearly out the door and make you steer your life towards self destruction.

  88. I remember as I planned my sisters (my best friend) funeral that everyone else was so sad all the time and crying. It wasn’t that I wasn’t sad (I was devastated) but I just couldn’t have an emotion. I remember feeling guilty because I wasn’t loosing it like everyone else. I remember looking around at everyone else and feeling like I was watching it as an outsider. As I look back I realized I ended up stepping into the role of needing to be strong and get things planned because my parents and other sister were incapable of doing so at the time. I just remember feeling a lot of guilt and not wanting others to think that I loved her less because I wasn’t a puddle.

  89. Thank you so much for posting this. I lost my mom almost six months ago due to brian cancer. I’m having such a difficult time right now with the holidays fast approaching and not having my mom with me is devestating. But by reading this list, I can completely identify with so many of the statements. Even by just reading everyone’s comments, I feel some sense of relief in knowing I’m not alone when it comes to grieving.

  90. People do try to grief-shame you. Like grieving over the loss of a grandparent isn’t a valid as grieving over someone younger, no matter how big an influence they are in your life.
    The scene from Ugly Betty comes to mind, where that Natalie girl at grief counselling with the character Daniel mocks another girl who was with them for being there for the loss of a grandmother while her and Daniel are there for losing their same aged lovers so she doesn’t know real pain like theirs.
    I didn’t notice it at first but as someone who is currently losing their grandmother to cancer now I can safely tell you 2 things, the pain is very flippin’ real and that is just a downright shitty opinion!

  91. Thank you for this post. I lost my brother very suddenly and I am having an especially difficult time leading up to the one year anniversary. I am finding that I now understand why some people say the second year is harder than the first. In the second year, you won’t be able to say, “last year we did this with—.” In the second year, people expect you to be over it or think it no longer hurts because you are living life and trying to put on a happy face. But the reality is that it is like living with a missing limb- it is always hard but you just learn to live with the missing limb. And some days the pain comes rushing back just like the first day they were gone. I agree with what some have said in that it is important to talk about the person that is gone. It helps keep them alive when you can laugh about the good times. Thanks for the post and God bless.

  92. I lost my husband on the 1st October , he was only 53, he died on a beach in front of me in mexico , its been the nightmare of my life trying to cope with this, I loved him so much and still do, I couldn’t get home from mexico took 5 days, people have been kind, but I living in a nightmare I haven’t woke up from,

  93. 16 years ago my husband passed away. There was grief and much sadness but my memories are happy ones. However, my 43 year old son was recently killed and I can tell you this is like no other grief that I have ever experienced. My life feels completely void and empty, he was my only child and my best buddy. I can’t seem to make it through one day without utter pain and sorrow totally engulfing me. Maybe some day I will feel better, I don’t really know. I pray about it and hope for a little ray of sunlight to pop through but it just doesn’t happen. I know my life will never be the same, I just wish I could get a few minutes of happy.

  94. I lost my oldest son on October 12th of this year. I only had two boys. Thank God my youngest is still alive. My oldest son, named Rich had colon cancer for four years. At the beginning we were told he was only going to live six months. In the four years I saw him battle the cancer and be in too much pain. I lost my mom four years ago and my dad last year but nothing can compare to the grieve I had for my son. Right after his birth I divorced my first husband and he was my only one I could cuddle and hold. I used to sing the song Me and You against the world to him. He was my pride and joy. He was very smart in school and got a master’s degree. He became a teacher. This year he was going to get his second master degree. He got his junior high certification. He taught school for ten years. It really upsets me to know that his seven year old son will grow up without him. He also has a 21 year old daughter who is getting married in April. He was only 44 years old. He lived in the park next to me in Florida. There are days where I feel I can not go on with out him. We used to text on the phone sometimes 10 times a day. I am thinking of going to the bereavement class that hospice offers because that is where he passed away. I was with him when he passed. I had to tell him to let go and his time on earth was done which is the hardest thing I will ever have to do. I try to keep busy I know the holidays will be terrible and his birthday is December 4th. I do not know how I will get through them.

  95. I lost my first husband and my sister 2 years apart over 20 years ago and some days the raw pain is just as bad as it ever was. Thank you for showing me that it is normal and ok to have those days

  96. Hi Misty
    your comments resonated with me. I also lost my eldest son.There is no end to grief. But there is joy in the morning. Thankfully. God bless you and all on this blog. Loss and grief are not measurable by when they occurred or the relationship. Its just loss and awful tragic grief. But there is an end sometime. And joy, one day.

  97. Thanks for this. I can relate to so many. A few months ago I lost my husband. I’m only 24 (we’d been married for just under 2 years) and knowing absolutely no-one my age that has gone through this it’s really nice to see that others have gone through and felt the same things I am.

  98. One other thing: People try to push their religious beliefs on me, telling me to let god handle things, or telling me that I will see the one I loved and lost again. This is Not my belief, and to have someone keep trying to shove these concepts down my throat when I have indicated, respectfully, to them that these concepts are not helpful to me, is incredibly disrespectful and ugly. If you don’t know a person’s spiritual inclinations, don’t try to tell them yours, and if they indicate that they don’t see things the same way you do, it is best just not to talk spiritual matters at all. Most especially, I deeply wish people would Not tell me that if only I had their religion it would make it “better”. To say this to someone is the height of cruelty.

  99. Two things:
    1) There is no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve, or to do anything regarding your loss or your grief.
    2) It doesn’t ever “get better”. “Better” would be, that one you loved so much had not died. But it can, and does, get different. And you become more skillful in your ability to cope with the loss and the grief.

  100. I just came across this page. It’s been 8 1/2 months since my husband died suddenly. I can so identify with these posts. Especially the one about losing identity, direction and purpose. I feel like a walking ghost so much of the time. I felt amputated as well. Like someone walked up behind me and cut off my arm without me knowing they were there. Today I just decided to embrace the ‘ depression’ and stop fighting it. To stop trying to push past. This past year has been a blur and I am feeling an inner pressure to be better, as the one year mark is coming next February. In some ways it is like a part of me has been sitting in a chair and immovable, the months have gone by without me noticing or being inside my body, even though I have done so much this year. I can see the progress, which is encouraging. I can go out, laugh, have fun again. But, the weight of the loss, the grief is like a stone and I do feel I will never be the same again. Free. I feel like a solider marching towards my own death. Not in a fatalistic way, just now friends with death, and always talking to it, him. Yes, to what another person wrote. He was my best friend, husband, lover, clown. How does one get over this loss without him there to help? I’ve become very metaphysical as well. Thank you for listening.

  101. the process of grieving can create more grief- catch 22

  102. Thank you for this list and it’s follow-up. It really helped me. I was having a really hard day, dealing with a lot of anger and stress and tough memories from my past, and I kind of just thought I was losing my mind. This helped me understand that in part what I’m dealing with is still grief.
    It is weird that this death caused a chain reaction where now I’m dealing with a lot of really difficult memories that have nothing to do with the person I’ve lost? Has anyone else experienced that?

  103. Thanks so much for this very comprehensive list. I’m printing it for my fridge.

  104. I lost a brother (Second eldest) 24 years ago and have been grieving since then. Over time you learn to live with it. The 10th of November 2013 I lost another brother (Eldest brother) along with his wife, my nephew (11 years old) and my 6 year old niece. I felt like I lost my everything but not just for myself. My mother is a single parent mom and I cannot imagine how she wakes up every morning. I watched my 65 year old mother cry for her babies and it breaks my heart almost a year later. Nothing really makes sense anymore. Taking one day at a time <3

  105. I lost my wife 2/2/14 and I just cannot get over it. I think of her all the time
    I don’t know what to do.

    • Owen, I am so sorry about the loss of your wife. Eight months is not that long after a loss, so it is not surprising that you are still thinking of her so often. The reality is, after we lose someone the grief often persists much longer than we are led to believe. People often say things like that grief lasts for only one year, but the reality is that we grieve far longer than a year, and in many ways we grieve forever. Overtime the emotions become far more manageable, and it does get easier, but there will always be tough days.

      In terms of what you can do, that is a very broad question and there are many answers. One thing we would always suggest is considering a support group or talking to a grief counselor. Many people are put off by the idea of counseling or support groups, but there can be a tremendous comfort found in connecting with others who are going through the same thing that you’re going through. A counselor can also help with sorting through some of the extremely difficult and painful emotions of grief.

      If counseling or support group doesn’t seem like your thing, there are many things that you can do on your own to work through some of the emotions of your grief. If you check out some of the categories on this website, we have ideas for using writing and journaling as a way to express grief, using photography and other kinds of art, and also many articles to help you understand grief a little bit better. Many people who know about grief are only familiar with the “five stages” by Elizabeth Kubler Ross. But there are actually many different grief models and reading through them may help you find things that you connect with that can help you in your own loss.

      It is hard to know what will work for you specifically, since I don’t know you personally. But these may be some places to start. We hope you’ll stick around on our site and please let us know how things are going.

  106. Thank you for this beautiful list. My family and I lost my 37-year-old brother this year. One of the things I didn’t know was that I wouldn’t just grieve for my loss. I grieve for people I love who lost him too- when I see my parents, sister-in-law, nieces, friends in pain. I don’t just grieve because he has died. It hurts more than I could have ever imagined to watch people I love grieve.

    • Teri,

      I’m so sorry about your brother’s death and for your families pain. I understand what you mean – you care about these people and so of course you will feel your own pain and theirs as well. I guess the best you can do is be there for one another. I’m so sorry.


  107. -the first year isn’t necessarily the hardest.
    -it’s normal to be confused.
    -it’s normal to not believe it happened and to go into denial.
    -your “friends” do sometimes turn against you.
    -People will probably blame you
    -there is a possibility that people “bully” you as their way of dealing with it

    -personal experience.

  108. It says it’s ok Not to cry.. but I think more importantly it would be great to have known. I remember after losing my sister I was at a theme park and almost enjoyed it so much then I thought of my sister and I felt bad for having fun.

    It’s ok to laugh and have fun.

  109. Good list. Having lost my parents and then my son – for me- the loss my son has been the hardest. We have expectations about life and almost all are unrealistic. One thing missing from the list or maybe I just read over it is “the mask”. At some point we all adopt a mask. It is something we cultivate with time so that we can walk in the world and hope no one notices that we are walking wounded. The thing we don’t realize is that it is for us not for others – because no one pays attention to us for that long. They do assume we are better and moving on because our life altering event did not alter their life. http://ofmenandmountains.com

  110. Journeys Mom, All loss are painful and no one should have to deal with this kind of pain but then it is a cold reality of life. However if you want to begin to compare the loss of a child with the loss of a spouse, then it means you still have your spouse. I lost my dad in 2010 and my wife in 2014 and know the difference. My dad hurt. My wife, a part of me, a huge chunk of me died! I ran into this classification of the level of trauma from different things in life on line. Death of a spouse was rated the highest…100% trauma…Little wonder i feel the way I feel. All loss is painful! Don’t even try to rate or classify

  111. I consider grief to be the flip side of love. The only way to avoid it is to never love or care — so — bring it on.

  112. I lost my 19 yr old son 15 months ago to suicide. People don’t realize what they see as ‘so long Iago’s is still yesterday to the one’s who grieve!

  113. I am very happy, I wish to share my testimonies with the general public about what this man called Dr Adodo has just done for me , this man has just brought back my lost Ex husband to me with his great spell, i was married to this man called Steven we were together for a long time and we loved our self’s but when i was unable to give he a child for 2 years he left me and told me he can’t continue anymore then i was now looking for ways to get him back until a friend of mine told me about this man and gave his contact email ([email protected]) then you won’t believe this when i contacted this man on my problems he prepared this spell cast and bring my lost husband back, and after a month i miss my month and go for a test and the result stated am pregnant am happy today am a mother of a baby girl, thank you once again the great Dr Adodo for what you have done for me, if you are out there passing through this same kind of problems you can contact he today on his mail ( [email protected]) and he will also help you as well

  114. my husband and i have been separated for a long period of time, I came across different spell caster and they were all unable to bring my husband back. I was so sad and almost gave up on him when i met a man called DR Lawrence who helped me get my husband back. Ever since then i have been so happy and couldn’t believe it would happen. He also helped me with success spell, Thank you very much i will for ever testify your good work [email protected]

  115. What you may have missed is how you deal with a family who howhard it difficult it can be to say goodbye if you can’t really accept that d lost someone suddenly in such horrific circumstances that there is little visible, physical evidence of the loss. Several years ago a family friend was caught in a vicious bushfire which made headlines around the world. Personally, I found it very difficult to accept. I had just spoken to him a few days earlier in a chance encounter and we all said we’d see each other on Sunday. Sunday never came. It was very hard to know what to say to his family as, although I know they said they’d accepted that it was over, 2 days of not knowing and little evidence I’m sure there was just a little hope that it was all just a mistake. I certainly hoped it was! I spoke to a relative on the one year anniversary and sure enough it seemed as though they’d felt like they’d been waiting for him to come home from one of his many business trips. It would have been good to know how we could have helped this family in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

    What I did learn was the closure that a body provides and how hard it is to say goodbye when you can’t really accept the loss of such a vibrant person. Previously I had been of the mindset that thebody only served a purpose when housing a soul

  116. I’ve been avoiding the death of my grandfather , my family and I haven’t even brang up the topic .. But I feel like I’m going insane . I see his face in peoples faces at times…. I’ve never experience death before and I’m only 19 don’t know what to do, advice ??? Please

  117. well I stumble on the web site feeling really down.2011 I lost my mom to colon cancer.2012 I lost my nephew,my husband,my 1st grand child. I lost my grandma on jan 27,2013 then my sister jan 29,2013..then I lost my daughter great grandmother then her only child which is my daughter grandfather.And then my favorite cuzzin nov 2013.my sister was 46 went in the hospital with the flu I visit wasn’t home 15mins from visiting her they call and said she died.im numb,ive shut out a lot of family and friends.i cried everyday since my mother left May 19.2011.this year made a year for my sister…now I feel the way I felt when my mom died all alone.im into my bible now..i feel god is tring to tell me something.how do everybody I love and depend on left me.im a nurse and I basically was who everybody come to.i suppose to be the strong one.i scream at everyone and said im tired and im weak and who could I lean on nobody.so sitting in my grief,i realize I have god to lean on and that’s how ive been coping.but I still cry every day fir my baby sister.

  118. Grief means you may accidentally impose all of your emotions on the first person who is “there”. They may be taken aback and leave your life for awhile until they feel you may be “better.”

  119. It’s been 33 years and I still am at a loss for words so thanks for including this message. Might be not right to say but I believe, that at least death would give me personally closure!

  120. That people seem to put a time limit on grief and make you feel like you’re weak and just trying to get attention when you haven’t gotten over it as soon as they have. Namely family. Newsflash…..I will grieve for as long as I need to, even if it lasts the rest of my life.

  121. The opposite of 41. Sometimes it gets better then it gets worse…

  122. My daughter died in a tragic car accident driving home from work one night. she was only 19, and she was everything in the universe to me. I was newly married as well (5) and just beginning a new chapter in my life. The loss of Katie as well as the way in which she died is eating away in my mind. Sometimes i wonder if I will continue on. I never would’ve imagined in a gazillion years that I would lose her. I wish i were stronger. I wish someone would have told me that …i would lose her..i would’ve held her tight and never let her go :

  123. Amy-I can identify with you-after 20 years teaching school I was no longer able to carry on. It was terrible-It had been my whole life involvement-suddenly I wasn’t a part of that wonder experience
    any more. It has taken years for me to find fulfillment in life. I have found it in volunteering at my
    church. I do have a wonderful caring husband. I thank God for showing me love, moving us to a new wonderful place to live & new friends. I found what helps most is to reach out to other people and make their life better. There are always ways-phone calls, cards . . .

  124. The world does not stop just because you’re grieving. You have to learn how to continue on. You still have to be able to work, care for your family, care for yourself. Some days it will seem a bigger feat than others. Nothing stops for your grief. Also, people will slowly forget, and although you’re still very much dealing with the grief, it seems everyone else’s lives are moving forward at a steady pace. It’s OK to still be hurting.

  125. Saw this on Facebook and it felt so poignant to me.

    “Invariably, someone asks about closure. It’s a made-up word and it won’t go away. Do people really think that when we tamp the dirt down on the grave or send the ashes to the wind, we brush our hands off and are done? … The dead are always with us. They sneak up behind us at a party and whisper a joke in our ear. They rise like fish on a calm stream and present us with a memory from years before. They wander through our days and nights like dreams.

    “And over time, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you learn to live happily with them again. Grateful for all they gave you and still give.”

    From http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/tmb-first-time-found-husband-died/#sthash.F29CdeRl.dpuf

  126. My beautiful mother passed away yesterday, the grief is so painful, it feels like it will never end. She was the most beautiful women in the world, I miss her so badly and can’t control my spirally emotions. I hope this passes, she was incredible strong and I want her to be proud of me. I love you mom.
    Thank-you, greg

  127. I just lost my mother in March, I was with her when she passed. I was holding her hand but had fallen asleep after 3 evenings of sitting next to her, just waiting. People said that I was so strong during her 12 days in the hospital-I wasn’t-I was just numb, not really present, except to be with her. I dozed off, when I awoke at 2:15 a.m., I realized she had stopped breathing. I kissed her face, told her that I loved her and always will, I told her she was finally free from her broken body and her constant pain. I told her that I would take care of my disabled brother -I told her to finally be at peace but to please watch over us and to please be our angel. I believe her love for us transcends her death-she is with my brother and me and will be until we are again with her. My heart is broken, I miss her so much, she was a beautiful and strong woman. ” I love you Momma”.

  128. Me and my partner buried our 2 year old daughter a month ago. We adopted her from birth and she was the light of her mommies eyes. I wish we would have known #12. I felt so bad dumping trays out in the garbage. An important thing I think is for people to realize that family is family no matter what form. We got a lot of people saying because we are a same sex couple it shouldn’t be so bad, because she was adopted it didn’t hurt so bad. If someone says they lost a brother, and you find out it’s their best friend, realize they called them their brother because they meant so much to them.

  129. My Dad died of cancer when I was 12 years old, my sister was killed by a drunk driver less than 2 years later. It’s been 36 years since Dad passed away. # 37 is so true. It does get easier, everyone deals with grief differently. I’m just thankful for the time I had with them while they were here.

  130. #57 is very true. Grief can STRENGTHEN your faith. It has for me, I hope it can for you. Count your blessings each and every day.

  131. People will say they are there for you until after the funeral then every one backs away to get on with their own lifes

  132. I just lost my new baby boy less then 2 weeks ago. And came home days later to disconnection letters as we had been in the hospital for weeks. Some of them just said tough luck… Most just were silent and silently said tough luck. And one man actually told me its too bad but that I better pay my bill today or they will call
    me and harasse me several times and day and slammed the phone down on
    me… A few nice people said I should have phoned them and made arrangments…. Like I was thinking that last month when they told me heart failure. ‘right, ok well I better call the bank and all out vendors and make sure they know we are living in a nightmar hell so bills may be paid late. I was in a great frame of mind to set up a payment plan…

    It’s almost funny to think about. Your right. We are among millions of broken hearts and no matter what happens. Or who says to “take is slow” we don’t have luxuries like that. We still need to pay the gas bill when the baby dies.

  133. My mother died suddenly 10 months ago very suddenly when I was with her. She hadn’t been ill or sick. She was the only person in my life who put me first before everything. Although I have a lovely dad his devastation at my mums sudden death have not made us closer. Neither of us can talk about mums death as it’s too painful. I feel guilty as sometimes I wish it was dad who had gone first and that is so bad to think that. My partner was kind of supportive but as he admits himself he doesn’t really know how I feel. We argue and I feel he should understand I will never be the same carefree person I was before my mum died but then why should he she wasn’t his mum. Work and keeping busy have been my main coping mechanism. I hope everyone who has posted here finds there own way through the pain. Take comfort in the small joys of life

  134. Exactly. ……..how did the world not just stop on its axis. And how cruel it ferls sometimes that time ticks by relentlessly. ..dragging my away from the last time I held her little frame

  135. I lost my Dad on May 19th. My Mother was unable/unwilling to make any of the arrangements for his funeral. My younger sister and I had a small service for him. I was the “strong” person and took care of everything. Now that is over I can’t seem to get back to “normal”. I haven’t been back to work and leaving the house sends me into a panic attack. When will I feel normal again?

  136. I have found this so helpful I have just recently lost my dad and after loosing my mam 7 years ago this feels completely different! All I hear is you have done it once you will do it again! I find this ridiculous as every grief is so different. I feel a part of me is now missing me and my dad were amazingly close as I looked after him after my mum passed. I feel like I’m grieving for myself and my children as they are still very young and are now not going to remember either of my parents. I can also relate to the quote about your address book changing I am loosing close friends as they seem to think I should be over it now!! If only they knew.

  137. My husband of 43 years was the only person who “got me”. My life will not ever have anyone who knew my true soul. This is the saddest part.

  138. Strangely , I know how you feel . The world just kept going on & that was a very humbling experience . I just wanted to shout & cry like that would bring my Nanny back. I still pray every night that the lord would let me see her one more time. I find myself wanting people to know how wonderful & how much of a saint she was . Then I realize people all over the world experience the loss of a loved one. I am just one of many & I need to stop it & keep moving forward. Another odd thing is that I have kinda been a slacker my whole life , she was still proud of me. Kept telling myself I needed to do something with my life went back to school & now working. Sometimes grief can be motivation. Thank you for sharing

  139. p.s. number 46 ” People tend to jugde how you’re doing. Watch out for those people”. This one is very useful…thank you again.

  140. I felt so lonely when my mother died. So true…is not like in the movies…I laugh about it in front of people not to make them feel unconfortable and I say that I’m fine, but you know when I’m alone I still feel awful.
    doesn’t matter how much time goes by. it’s always gonna hurt.
    Thank you for telling the truth and thanks everybody for sharing : ) It is great to share things with others.

  141. Ms. Woods,

    Ms. Woods,
    I felt the relief for my mother, after I had been with her during her death. Seeing her finally at peace after 2 years in pain and discomfort, being relieved for her (them) is not bad thing.

    As for my grief, I wake in the early morning really missing my mother. Some mornings I cry, some I just talk to her, sometimes out loud. There is section in town that I just can not stand to pass through, it is close to her home and the hospital she passed away at. This Mothers Day ( first w/o her) we passed by going to her favorite steakhouse of course the water works came on. I have people telling me the time for the grieving process is X amount of years. Blah Blah, I do not think there is an amount of time. Losing my mother is going to be apart if me until I meet her again. Peace to all.

  142. A year later im still grieving for my nan, I cared for her and we had a very special connection and I stayed by her bed at the hospice till the bitter end, there is no timescale for grief, I think it will take me a long time to sort myself out and I will always always miss her.

  143. What do you do when you’re grieving over a person or people you don’t know at all. Never met them, spoken to them, or any form of contact….I cannot stop crying and thinking about this baby girl that died because of her own mother. She died a horrible death that could’ve been prevented. Easily. Yet it still happened. Why?? I wish so much that I could’ve been there. I would’ve saved her. She didn’t have to die. It was also 2 years ago but I just recently heard about it. I have two daughters myself and one is the same age as the girl that died. It hurts my heart so much. I have been crying myself to sleep for a while now. I don’t know what to do.

  144. Grief is inevitable, you can never prepare for the worst, you can be sure that one day it is coming. When it is near, set up something’s around your environment to help you stay a little ground if possible and take each day at a time. Never think you can re-handle the same grief until you know you are ready!

  145. Contact {[email protected]},for any kind of problem you think that there will not be a solution i promise you that you will be a living testimony just give a try to him okay
    he do it for me,and i have a strong believe that he will also do it for you…contact him now….([email protected])

  146. Hi ,
    My name is Mary. I lost my beloved husband on May 1,2014. I lost my mom in July 2012, 2 weeks before her great grandchild was born. My only sibling passed away 25 years ago this year and dad passed away 10 years ago two weeks before my birthday.
    I am a teacher of young children. I took a leave of absence after Easter with a letter to parents that I would be taking care of my terminally ill husband. It was for the rest of the year. When my husband died, there were some parents who expected me to come back after the funeral. My choice was not to come back . Now , I decided to come back on the last week of school for my kids. Is it normal while grieving to have second thoughts about your choices.
    I feel as though I was not able to really grieve for my mom because our wonderful little granddaughter was born two weeks later and within six months my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I feel between my mom and husband I had been a caretaker for the last three years. Is grief suppose to make you think so much?

  147. I enjoyed reading this, it was rather helpful. I’ve been grieving over someone for 20 years, have been racked with feelings of guilt and what ifs. I’m glad I’m not alone. I’ve bottled up my grief and have never really talked to anyone about it. It’s like a weight that lingers over my head with a fraying string holding it up.

  148. Lulu

    What a beautiful poem – so true.

    At least we all know that grieve is not a unknown road – it is road to a destination that only God can predict and we can complete our journey by holding onto His hand.


  149. Hi Cecilia !

    I lost some one wonderful too and i know exactly what you are saying. The 12th of May marks the fifth month since his been gone and i know I’m facing a long journey . Every 12th of the month i set a balloon into the sky with a note attached it helps sooth the pain. Every morning when i open my eyes I wonder how i made it through another day if all I want is to be with him. We must trust in God just as they did. They are living the dream and someday we will be with them. I will share with you one of many poems i wrote in this time of grief.

    His Departure

    I’m not a Poet or a Writer nor a Artist for that matter.
    I’m a simple woman that cared for a simple man.
    When he departed I was left broken hearted.

    A door was shut a window never opened.
    I was left with excruciating pain I never knew existed,
    for days, weeks, months. Until I go insane is my guess.

    I lost my smile and all my style, my happy wit far
    from being upbeat. I’m not myself I miss me.
    What is happening! I can’t break free…

    Nothing is yours in this world not a soul.
    When you reach happiness something greater
    takes it away and you’re left with only pain.

    Should I go on with this story? of self pity,
    feeling so needy. When did I become this
    person no one wants near. People become
    afraid! They never know what to say they


    They never seen his smile his tender style
    his quick wit. If they did they understand
    why his departure changed me.


    Dedicated to Jeff Muller 12/12

  150. I read this article and it truly made me realize that I am not alone – or stupid or going crazy.

    My husband got cancer 2 and half years ago – he was an healthy, happy, successful person – a true man of God. He lived life to it fullest every day and we never thought anything like this will become part of our happy family life. The cancer he got is rare and not a lot of research is available – Gastriontestinal Stomach cancer/tumor. He had a full gastrectomy – in short he lost his stomach – but the cancer was aggressive and already spread to the limphnodes by the time he was diagnosed. His illness lasted 7 months from day of diagnosed.

    Our family were so shocked and we just took it day by day. He lost 60kg before he died and at the end seeing our father and husband dying every day was a very traumatic episode – he grieved for leaving us and we grieved for loosing him.

    It is true that hospital death is not bad – to us it was a great blessing – as we had the medical staff available that guided us through the process which helped us being there for him in his last hours.

    We are 2 years later – and it is worst than what it was shortly after he passed away. All 3 of us share the same feelings – we feel cheated, we lost our laugh, we miss the love we shared, we feel alone without him and the feeling that you will never be the same…..this feeling is like a toffee without wrapping – it just stuck on you.

    Some days I get up and I just put any feelings in to my hearts “pocket” and face the day – other days I get up and I hardly talk -not because of any other reason than the feeling that my heart died the day he passed away.

    Some days I’ll be somewhere and the tears will just start running. One of the worst feelings is the one that you experience when you realize so much was lost the day your soul mate passed away – I feel vornurable and so lost. I dont tend to tell the world about my feelings – I face them, I carry them and live them – to me each day is closer to the day that I will see my amazing husband in heaven – and that keeps me on the go.

    To grieve is road that you need to take, face it and live it – no shortcuts. Some days the road will be smooth without any problems but be pre-paired for the days that a sudden speedbumps occurs.

  151. I lost my darling mum 8 months ago, my dear brother 2 months ago and my precious dad 1 week ago… I have read all that everyone has said and although I know what you are saying is true, I’m just so emotionally broken..I have beautiful children and grandchild but I just don’t know how to get out of bed each day and I have to at the moment…
    I thank you for all that you have written…so sadly i am not alone

  152. Josephine MilewskiMay 9, 2014 at 4:31 amReply

    “Something new, or different” is never new or different enough.

  153. The hyperactivity that you may experience afterwards as a coping mechanism to take your mind off things for a while or to avoid people. I started a craft business, take weekly dance lessons in styles I’ve never done before, undertook a finance course, and basically struggle to keep still. Then I flop every once in a while because I have no choice. I seem to be slowing down a bit now, nearly 3 years on, thank goodness.
    I also had insomnia for quite a few months, which I had never had in my life. Horrible when you have to go back to work and you are SO tired, but cannot shut your eyes because they burn so much. Grief counselling is a MUST. It is a strength to admit you need help. They know what they’re doing. Certainly stopped my nightmares (when I did sleep) and helped me to deal with the people who said hurtful things.
    I have actually enjoyed meeting new people through classes and my business because I felt like friends expected me to bounce back to who I was before.

  154. Bob, my apologies for the delay in my reply! People so often say ‘the first year is the worst’ but it is not at all uncommon that we hear from grievers that the second year is even worse. For me it certainly was. In year two a lot of the support of others is gone. Nothing is a ‘first’- instead it is just the reality of ‘from now on’. Hang tight and know that you are not alone if year two is harder than you thought.

    Meeting people can be so daunting, but so meaningful if you connect with the right people. Have you considered a widow/widowers group. You may find great companionship, from others seeking the same who also relate to what you are going through.

  155. Jan, I am so sorry to hear about your mom. Your response is very common and you may find this post about anticipatory grief useful: https://whatsyourgrief.com/anticipatory-grief/. Glad you found our site and hope you find support here.

  156. this list has been helpful…i have been going insane and wracked with guilt over the very recent death of my beautiful Mum (only a week ago). I was expected to go to work and be the strong one*..i did.
    My mum had been very ill for a few years and we knew she would pass from the illness..i think i have been pre ~ grieving bit by bit,,if this makes sense.
    When she died last week, i was devastated, but seem to be okay?..i was even relieved for her….i have felt guilty about this and people tell me how i should be, then the guilt starts all over again..thankyou for listening.
    My focus is now to my Dad x

  157. Bob,

    I liked reading your message. Although I am 24, I could kind of relate to it.
    After having lost my 35 yr old best friend last year, I have found that it has been more difficult in the recent months since it has been a year and people expect me to have moved on. I still miss my friend. I miss her and would like to talk to her often but cannot and this causes me great pain. However, its as if, in the eyes of others, I shouldnt dwell on her death and move on. Thats because they didnt know her like I did. And also I believe its because they dont grieve the same way I do.
    I think we should take the time we need to grieve and it helps me to talk about my friend because she was a person we should all admire. But it is difficult to talk to others about her when frankly, they dont care to hear about it anymore.

    I can also relate to wanting to have companionship and it not always being easy to find that companionship.
    Since I love socializing, I tried in the months after my friend’s death to find other friends I connected with. Ive never had a hard time making friends but it just seemed I wasnt clicking with anyone. I was trying hard but it just wasnt happening. It was hard for me at first to accept that maybe I should just relax a bit and that I might connect with someone with time, when its meant to be. It has been months now that I have relaxed and that I am just content with spending time with my family. I enjoy reading too. A good book is good company. I look forward to having a close friend someday and I hope that I will meet her when its the right time for her or him to come into my life.

    Its not easy adjusting to the death of a loved one, thats for sure.

    Hugs and best of luck finding a friend 🙂


  158. Wherever they are they’re grieving too. Remember to talk to them…

  159. I can’t not even imagine the amount of pain you must’ve gone through. I know this might sound weird, but I admire you, I admire you for being alive, for being here, for sharing your story. I wish you and your family the best.

  160. Thank you for this list. Number 64 is what I needed to read. I went to bed late last night and woke up confused, I stared at my dad’s portrait and I felt this profound emptiness, a mix of guilt with sadness, ashamed of looking at my dad, someone who I loved beyond words, as a stranger or someone who’s no longer part of my life, and that I don’t miss anymore. It saddens me and confuses me because I feel like I’m a terrible, selfish person, m dad loved me, and I loved him, but I just don’t miss him, I’ve gotten used to not having him around, of him not being in my life, it feels as if he was part of somebody else’s life a long time ago, it hasn’t even been 5 years! Number 64 has told me what I needed to hear (well, read). I know that I love him, he knew that I loved him, I should be okay with living a happy life, a life that’s full and rich even without him around.

  161. Litsa, perhaps you and others can provide me with some guidance and insight. I lost my wife very suddenly sixteen months ago, so I have been through the first year of dates and anniversaries and birthdays. But in the second year of my grief, I seem to be recycling through all those feelings of being alone and lonely. The rest of the world seems to have gone on and left be in its wake. At the age of 74, finding some companionship seems to be a daunting task, although I have had some success. As it can never be like having my wife back, I seem to find it to be less than satisfying. Our marriage was the second for both of us, I have two grown children, she has four; and we have fourteen grandchildren. But I would still like to spend some time with people of my age.

  162. Its a LOT more expensive than you thought. (or planned for). By way of practical matters. I am so glad people sent money. But it still wasn’t enough.

  163. Erica,

    Thank you for the caregiving support suggestions. I was just struggling to find a good resource for a reader caring for her husband, so I will definitely file this away for the future.


  164. Nice. My insurance company of thirty years dropped me because of a paperwork snafu that was not even my fault. Wife died? Tough.

  165. Independence is not all it’s meant to be.

    I find it interesting how losing a partner in life could change the life of a person. I always thought of myself as an independent, someone capable of living life in solitaire not needing the assistance of a man. All though our relationship was short and before him I was single for eight years. I find my life turned upside down. I find myself angry with my emotions that can’t be controlled by my mind. I always took pride in the fact that I was a strong independent woman. Whether I had a man in my life or not I would be able to move on. He was taken away by death not by another woman not because he didn’t care. DEATH! Something I had no control over something I never experienced, something that changed my outlook in life completely. Men never made a great impact in my life or I never chosen correctly, always a sad disappointment that eventually came to an end. I found it easy to entertain myself I found it easy to tell myself that men would not control me, or hurt me. If closure came in the end so be it I would move on and continue to enjoy life. The one thing I never told myself was if I lost a man to death what then? Move on? Go on as if nothing ever happen as I always done in the past when I lost relationship when there was always a disappointment and I was used to it. I lounged for a few weeks letting my heart heal itself then move on.

    Life took me by the horns and I lost all control losing him after living in completely happiness telling myself he was different seeing the uniqueness in his style. Seeing him in me I felt that he was me in a man’s body and this in my eyes made him perfect. Every single thing he enjoyed in life was on my bucket list. His personality was charming, witty like I never seen, not in front of me, not holding me, never with me. He was a well-educated man who loved God and had morals. If I had to guess one man of one hundred have those qualities. Many would say I didn’t know him long enough and I have to agree one month spend with a man is not time enough. I do defend the fact that I met many men and some known more time and some less. I’m clever enough to see the qualities. I have experienced enough to see the signs stamped on their foreheads. Jeff had a pure good heart. Not capable of hurting anyone for any reason and capable of killing if he had to defend anyone he loved. He had rounded baby blues eyes with eyelashes long as the sun could set. His skin was light and I loved his arms and hands attached were beautiful his light brown hair was soft and his voice was amazing. The fact that he was an extremely good looking man generated the feelings I had inside of utterly perfection but without a personality to match he would be nothing.

    I once promised myself that I would never let a man hold me back I been alone to long to cluster into loneliness for years at a time. I think I was wrong I was not expecting this outcome. Being near a man makes me feel as if am being unfaithful that one word was a huge importance to him. Somehow I feel as he is watching me and I don’t want to disappoint him. Maybe because at this moment and time my heart still belongs to him. How do you belong to a dead man how does one comprehend this?. I try to make sense of things myself. Every morning I feel the emptiness he left behind every day I miss him as much as the day before. Not one day goes by that I don’t shed a tear sometimes so much so that I can’t breathe. Time has healed the ache in my body, that makes me hopeful that time will heal the pain in my heart. And I will only share the happiness he left behind. For now I wonder if I will live in solitaire until I see him again. Or life will grant me another opportunity of a great man, difficult to say who could hold a candle to him. Sometimes I feel he pulled me away from a world I didn’t belong too that was his task in his life to me., a rude awakening to show me there is more to life than what I was living. He came briefly show me that men are more than just skin deep. The right man could make a difference in a woman’s life. This could make life a warmer place worth waking up for. Give a woman a glow she didn’t know existed. If he’s the right man a good man a man of God. I was in solitaire because I was looking in the wrong direction. If I keep my head study my eyes will see the right path and my heart may feel again.

  166. Maggie,
    This is so true – grief running in the background means driving distracted, forgetting things more easily, and making decisions that are less than well-considered.

    It’s true of pain in general – we talk about how ongoing debilitating pain takes up mental “slots” for my husband, making it harder for him to retain his train of thought, or tolerate interruptions and chaotic surroundings. If most people can remember 7 things at a time, we estimate that on a good day he can remember 3 or 4, and on a bad day it might just be one thought at a time.

    It’s even true of stress in general. Cutting yourself some slack, and/or having enough slack to begin with that things don’t fall apart when you miss a few calls, is a huge factor in surviving any difficult transition.

  167. Hi Colleen,
    If you’re looking for caregiver support resources – one good one that I found helpful was a group course called “Powerful Tools for Caregivers,” hosted by some local nurses.
    Most people attended while still active caregivers; but as it turned out, many of us care for more than one person over our lifetimes, and it’s possible to be both “before,” “during,” and “after” at the same time.

    If there isn’t an organized group, I think it’s still helpful to talk to other people who are “in the club,” so to speak. You don’t have to have an identical experience with any one person, but talking to 3 or 4 people who have had roughly similar experiences can give you some perspective.

    I appreciated the fine distinction between sympathy and pity, and the realization that two people could mutually look at each other’s situation and say “I don’t know how you do it!”, and the ability to laugh at our situations or even make black jokes about it without being looked at like an insensitive sociopath. Be careful with the jokes – but in the right company, they’re quite a relief!

  168. Kaylin, thanks for bringing up the different kinds of crying. There are so many!

    For me, crying over stress or an argument feels futile, because it just upsets my husband and I feel like I can’t control myself. Crying over a serious grief feels more appropriate; kind of like, that’s what crying is for. When it’s clear there’s nothing to be done about a sadness, but crying, he can sort of understand that.
    I would like to imagine that even though you still feel bad, being able to cry is helping at some level, and that eventually the relief will start to come.

  169. Cherish – I was wondering whether anyone was going to bring that up.

    The other responses tell it better than I can – you’re definitely not alone in feeling that the very lack of closeness in an important relationship caused extra pain when the person passed away. In a less-than-perfect relationship, death can be the final abandonment. Whether you craved love, reconciliation, forgiveness, vengeance, a relationship as mature adults, or just a few honest answers, those hopes often die along with the person who disappointed them. And the grief process in these cases can be very surprising to people looking in from the outside, and even to the person experiencing it.

    I can’t speak for the grieving parents, children, and spouses on this site. But I do feel that being close to my grandmother in her final years was a comfort. I don’t know if my cousins who were more distant at the time now miss her “more;” how could you measure such a thing? But I know some of my cousins were somewhat frantic on their last visits, wanting to make up for lost time. I am grateful to have had the chance to make fond memories, and few regrets. I can only imagine the mixed emotions if the person dying was hard to relate with, even at their best.

    As Tolstoy put it,
    “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

  170. Maggie,

    This is a very powerful statement. Being that you were only 13 when your father died, I can imagine how much you probably had to struggle to find this kind of clarity. You are so right and I know it can be hard to own this reality because people always feel as though they should only speak well of the dead, especially when the deceased is a parent; but the reality is that our parents are imperfect people like everyone else. It’s important to learn what we can from our loved ones – this means from both their positive and negative qualities. I admire your willingness to articulate this because it’s an important lesson. I’m sorry about your father’s death and I know you probably miss him all the time.


  171. I lost my dad when I was thirteen. That was five years ago. When he died, I was of course devastated because right before he died, we hadn’t been getting along. I was a very ungrateful child, I didn’t exactly appreciate my dad the way I should have. I was just starting to rebel against him, and I just remember “hating” my dad (when he was still alive) and not knowing why I did. And I felt so guilty because I never got the chance to say goodbye, or say sorry for being so self centered, because he really was a great guy, and he loved us kids. But I didn’t see how much he loved me until after his death. And over the years it has forced me to reflect on the kind of parent that he was to us. Because although he loved us so much it hurt him, he didn’t always express it in the best ways. I was constantly scared of him. He had a very violent temper and apparently it was getting worse as we grew older, so I think that I began resenting him for that as I grew up. But I couldn’t know that, because I grew up with this kind of treatment, so I couldn’t have known that he shouldn’t have done those things to us. And my dad was the one person who believed in me, he was ways pushing me to do things I thought I couldn’t do. He would always say, “There’s no such thing as I can’t.” But the point of me saying this is that I realized that it’s okay to resent your dad for doing things he shouldn’t have done, and at the same time, he can still be the man who loved you more than anybody else ever could. When looking for y soulmate, I know that I will look for my dad in him. And yet, at the same time, I will be wary of that. Because I now know that I will not tolerate it, the way I did when my dad was still alive. So I guess I’m saying that it’s okay when you realize that you don’t want to appreciate All of the things he’s done and sacraficed for you, even though everyone tells you you’re supposed to. Our fathers shape all the wonderful things we want in a man, but also the things we don’t want in someone, and that’s okay.

  172. Hi Natalie,

    I am so sorry to hear about your friend. It is difficult to say what his concerns were, but I would guess that one possibility is, with her age, he may have had concerns about her grief adjustment. Rather than viewing you relationship as supporting each other, he may have been concerned that she was now taking on your grief, in addition to her own. I imagine another possibility is that he could have had concerns that his daughter would grow attached to you and, depending on the trajectory of your own grief, you may have ‘moved on’ and no longer needed the relationship with Joann, leaving her with another loss. Another thought is that he may simply not have felt comfortable with his teenage daughter having a friend in her 20s, for all the reasons that may concern a parent. It is impossible to say what his concerns were/are. You may never know. Perhaps down the road, when Joann is an adult, your paths will cross again.

  173. P.s. I guess I should also mention that the family was seeing a therapist. He told me that the therapist recommended that no one tries to replace Eva and he seemed to stronly agree with this, hence why he decided I shouldnt be in contact with his daughter.

    This is all the info he gave me anyway. Perhaps there were reasons I was unaware of.

  174. Litsa,

    I am wondering if you could tell me your thoughts on something.

    When my 35 yr old friend passed away last year (we’ll call her Eva) I felt the urge to get closer to a younger friend of hers (we’ll call her Joanne). Eva had loved her so much. Joanne was her grade 6 student a couple years back and now she was in her early years of high school. When Eva passed, I wanted to make sure Joanne would be ok. And, I also wanted for both of us to be there for one another as we could understand what a great friend each one of us had lost. I am 24.

    Eventually, however, her dad told me he didnt want me trying to replace Eva (take Eva’s place in Joanne’s life). So he asked that I not speak to his daughter.

    Its been months since I’ve cut contact with Joanne but I still wonder about this. Eva had loved this family and I had wanted to get to know them. I didnt think I was doing anything bad by wanting to get to know them and also being a good friend to their daughter. I dont believe I wanted to replace Eva exactly. No one could replace her. But why not try to make the most of it and make some new friends?

    If you have any insight on this at all, I would appreciate it. Thanks!

    I guess I’m just still confused as to why he believed so much that it was not a good idea that we (Joanne and I) help each other out during this difficult period after Eva died.

  175. Thanks for your concern, Carolyn. Those comments are definitely spam, but the somehow keep getting through our spam filter, even when we flag them! It is really sad when people are ‘phishing’ on a grief website, where people can be vulnerable. We try to delete them quickly when we see them.

  176. I am very concerned about people that use these spell castors. That kind of stuff if from the devil and definitely against God. Why would you want someone that doesn’t want you. If my ex used a spell castor to get me back and I ever found out about it, I would leave and not let him know where I am. That is a very evil trick to play on anyone. I’d be very careful about playing with that kind of fire as you will eventually get burned. Just a warning from a Christian that Loves the Lord and hates His enemy, the devil.

  177. This is a beautiful ritual Lulu. Thank you for sharing . . .

  178. Drugs don’t dull the pain forever. Eventually you must wake up from the fog that has become your life and face the pain head on. It hurts but you will survive it!

  179. So as it isn’t self destructive there really is no right our wrong way to grieve.

  180. April 12th marks the fourth month of the passing of the man I spend a brief time with. It was a wonderful relationship as new relationships usually are. Being with him even if it was a short time was wonderful. And his death turned my life upside down in ways I would have never imagined. All the beautiful emotions are left inside with no one to share them with. Felt as if I was left standing in a dark hole. I blink my eyes and he was gone. So many plans left undone. So much pain left inside.

    Every twelve of the month I release a single balloon with a note attached. April brought a Silver Star balloon. It was a windy day in Los Angeles and the sunset rays hit the balloon as it flew up high. It felt soothing it was peaceful, help release some pain.

    I would add HOPE to the list if it’s not added. H=Hold O=On P=Pain E=ends

    Silver Star

    A silver star balloon was April’s pick
    I stamped my kiss, tied my warm note
    set it free on a sunny windy day
    to commemorate your memory.

    The rays of the sunset shinned the
    balloon as it went up high heading
    east. I could see it glow like two
    little eyes blinking goodbye.

    It was soothing to heart to see it
    fly! See it free! Dancing with the wind.
    Heading east as I use to be, it knew
    exactly where you lived.

    Dedicated to Jeff Muller 12/12

  181. I was wondering , what would you suggest that people say to the ones dealing with this type of loss? I was 19 when my dad passed away and I personally appreciated the Sorry’s cause I knew at least they tried to understand and were trying to do what they could which is obviously not much of anything to help. I don’t know what to say at times like that and I’m sorry for your loss sounds the nicest to let them know I care and I feel for you. I also include that “if you need to talk or blow off steam, please call me I’m here for you any time.” That’s what I do for my friends. I’m always available to talk to just be a sounding board for anything. They all know that but I tell them just to remind them. I really would like to know what you think would be a more correct thing to say. I would like to tell folks on my page a more appropriate thing to say at those tough times. Thank you.

  182. Although this isn’t for the person grieving, but more towards those that try to help, I wish people would quit saying sorry. I don’t know who started it, but you hear it person after person when standing by a casket while people file past you. It’s always “I’m so sorry for your loss” and “I know exactly how you feel.” Majority of people have lost a loved one, but that doesn’t mean you know exactly how I feel. Every love, every relationship, and every person are different. We handle things differently, we see things differently. At almost every funeral I’ve had to plan and attend I hide out. Away from all of our so called friends with their apologies and concerns. I know they’re trying to help, but saying you’re sorry doesn’t fix anything and it definitely doesn’t make the person grieving feel better.

  183. Terrye i been crying my eyes out feeling the pain everyone feels here and feeling my own pain trying to make sense of things. But i have to say your comment put a smile on my face and laughter in my heart . Even stupid idiots could make us laugh in hard times. thank you

    “S/he is dead for gods sake, you are an idiot, how can she look good..”

  184. Happening to me

    He places his palms on my face says you’re doing great!
    Staring at me with those beautiful puppy eyes of his.

    Scratches my tear with his fingernail, slow like a trail.
    Releases the responsibility of what is Happening to me.

    Tears honor a strong emotion. The fuel my body discharges
    keeps me mobile. Beautiful devotion.

    Real strength dose are the traces he follows,
    in the tip of my tears which flow in his fingers.

    Heals the unbearable pain while seeing those eyes fade away.
    Pauses the cage bereavement stage until the next day.

    Dedicated to Jeff Muller 12/12

  185. #30…”the last moments of their life will play over and over in your mind.” God help me, I cannot get that picture out of my head. It IS NOT like they show on tv…it was awful. All I could do was stare at him in disbelief. I wanted to grab him (my husband) and say “stop this.” I wasn’t even sure what was going on. But it didn’t seem peaceful to me. I have visions of it all the time. I wonder if this is PTSD? We were trying to be positive and hopeful in a hopeless situation…utter denial, probably… The last thing I said to him was, “You’re not going anywhere, it’s just your body.” I wish I had said, “I love you” instead. I didn’t want him to be afraid throughout his experience with disease and dying. I wish we had spent more time talking about “what if”. I don’t know… I just hate that there is no closure and never will be. I half expected him to “visit” me as a spirit and tell me “what to do” now. I had felt like my dad was so close to me after he died (22 years ago). I felt closure with my mom, like I had settled things with her and loved her. But I am getting NOTHING from my husband since his death and I fee abandoned by it.

  186. I can relate to the “why” and “what if”….I keep thinking if I can find the answers the result of death will reverse itself. Or somehow things get FIXED. I know it’s not rational. But I think that when death and fatal disease comes suddenly, the denial just puts you over the edge. I found that after my husband died, I was still trying to process the diagnosis of his cancer 6 months earlier.

  187. Bravo, Jennifer!

  188. I really wish I could talk to your children. They are only causing pain for themselves in the future. My father died in 1969 when I was 18. My mother is still grieving for my father, the love of her life. But she date some in the past and when she got serious and was talking about marriage I threw a fit and said that my kids would never call him grandpa and he would not be my dad. She ended up not getting married b/c of what I said and now at age 82 she’s in a care facility with her sister and has been alone all of these years. I was just being selfish. Anyone she married wouldn’t be taking my dad’s place as I was married with children at the time she was talking about marriage again. I wasn’t looking from her point of view just my own and I didn’t want any one else to be my father. I made my mother have a long lonely life because of my selfishness. The children need to grieve their fathers loss but they need to understand that we are suppose to bury our dad and that mom has to go on the best way she can. You are very blessed to have found someone you have known for so long that understands your pain the loss you will always feel. I pray that your children will wake up before they make the same mistake I did and put you into a lonely life. I will keep you all in my prayers.

  189. Jennifer,

    I have lost my husband too. It’s been a year and a half. We were together for 29 years. Due to uncanny circumstances, I am in a relationship with another man. We’ve known each other for 16 years, he lost his wife 6 months before I lost my husband. Of course, we have been able to support each other in grief and we’ve also become happy together. My children are upset and I understand, but they cannot know my position. I wish their father was here to talk to them and tell them that it’s OK. But he’s not, so I am going through my loss of him and the tension my new relationship has caused between myself and my daughters. I loved my husband very much and would do anything to have him here with me again. But he’s not and I’m trying to teach my girls that one can still be happy and move on. I’ve lost both my parents and my husband. I am the youngest of 6 kids and the first to lose a spouse. I still have nightmares over the last moments of my husband’s life. But the greatest pain I have is of the kids distancing themselves from me…empty nest WITH their dad would have been a grand time for us to rekindle the marriage…but he’s not here anymore. I am trying to be patient with them, but seeing life end so suddenly makes me fret that things may not resolve before one of us dies…you just never know. But I am trying to lead by example…honoring my husband and our life together and moving forward in my life and grabbing onto new happiness. It’s a dance of one step forward and two steps back at times… Hang in there everyone! We’re definitely not alone. And we should just be easy on ourselves and allow the grief to express itself. We will NEVER forget those we loved and lost as long as we are alive…but I think we can honor them by enjoying the rest of our lives as much as we can.

  190. You know…when someone has disassociated with you thru upset or unknown…divorce or otherwise…I think it can be a little worse because you are being rejected. That is hard to deal with alone. When you lose someone to death, they didn’t leave because they wanted to. My husband, during his illness said to me, “Kathy, I don’t want to leave you alone anymore than I want to die.” He just didn’t have control. And watching his process made me realize how very little control we have when our time comes.

  191. I lost my mother 3yaers ago .Time doesn’t heal the pain. You never get use to the pain. You become a recluse. You will go through the rest of your life pretending. Nothing makes it better. No amount of talking to a therapist helps. You pretend to live life. You pretend to be a wife you pretend to be a mother you pretend to be a sister, friend………….

  192. Funerals are for the living and not worth a family feud over what the deceased “would have wanted”. A one or two hour service is not “how he/she will be remembered”

  193. You feel the passage of time most acutely when you lose someone you love.

  194. Your personal relationship with the person you lost was different than anyone else’s personal relationship with the person you lost, your grief will be also. You do not have to “share” in your grief with anyone. It is personal, and intimate. Just as your relationship was.

  195. it helped me to send thank you notes

    the only real long term problem is that GRIEF and BEREAVEMENT lasts alot longer than sympathy.


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  197. I would add that you sometimes start thinking of things in terms of “that was before xxx passed away” or “that was after xxx passed away”. I will remember an event or see a photograph and think, my brother was still alive then, or this was after he died…

  198. It has been 16 years since my husband Matthew passed at the age of 38. When it occurred, I immediately immersed myself in work, various activities, moved and started a new relationship within six months. While I am happy with my current life, I wish I had taken the time to stop, grieve and think before I leaped into new home and new relationship so soon. Monday, March 17 would have been our 24th wedding anniversary. There isn’t a day I don’t think about him.

  199. On 12/3/2013, I lost my husband of 9 years very suddenly. He was only 32. We have an 8 year old daughter. All the emotions I went thru made me feel like I was going crazy. A co-worker of mine, who lost her husband to suicide in Aug. 2013, gave me a copy of this article. I’ve read it several times and it makes me feel not so crazy and alone.

    I never would have dreamed how hard it would be to simply check the “widow” box on paperwork. I shouldn’t be a widow at the age of 29. It took every ounce of strength I had not to break down in the dr’s office that day. Serious reality check for me!

    We are in the process of moving so I’ve pretty much been forced to go thru all my husband’s possessions. I’ve been trying my best to prepare for this, but in all reality, it’s just not possible.

    I’ve had the opportunity to share this article with another co-worker (lost 2 sisters within 4 months) and a sister-in-law (lost her husband about 3 weeks ago). I greatly appreciate everything ya’ll put out on here! It helps out more than you know.

  200. I would add to have someone take a picture of your loved one in the casket. You can always throw it away but you can never get another.

    I totallyagree with the difficulty of writing thank you notes. It took me 6 months to get it done.

    If you can’t afford a headstone, it’s ok. You know where your loved one is.

  201. One of the hardest things that I am facing since my mom died two weeks ago are: Thinking that my husband would be there for me, and then finding out that he doesn’t want to be there for me. Making things 100% more worse. not having moral support at home is the hardest thing for me right now. Not being able to express my feelings to him without him being rude and judgmental. He thinks it should be a walk in the park, but its not. He has never lost a parent not alone planned a funeral. I wish I had a good person to go for comfort and to have the heal process go more smoothly. Its not like it takes one day to grieve and move on, it takes several months to years.
    Has anyone else had this problem?

  202. I’m sorry for you as I wouldn’t want to force anyone to come back to me with a spell of any kind. If he leaves of his own will he would need to return of his own will. Casting spells is a very dangerous thing to be involved in as it comes from the dark side. Jesus never cast a spell on anyone. Only the enemy of God would do this awful thing. Do I believe these things are real, yes I do but they are not of God, they are of God’s enemy Satan and I would run as far from it as I could run. I’d rather be alone than to be with someone that a spell was used on to get them to come back to me. How happy can you either really be knowing this has happened. Best of luck to you and I pray you see the light of the Lord very soon.

  203. I am Mrs Matilda Morgan from USA, i want to share a testimony of my life to every one. i was married to my husband George Morgan, i love him so much we have been married for 5 years now with two kids. when he went for a vacation to France he meant a lady called Clara, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage. i was so confuse and seeking for help, i don’t know what to do until I met my friend miss Florida and told her about my problem. she told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem before and introduce me to a man called DR OKOGBO who cast a spell on her ex and bring him back to her after 3days. Miss Florida ask me to contact DR OKOGBO. I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that the gods of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by three days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After three day my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started crying for forgiveness. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth for what this great spell caster did for me and my husband, you can contact DR OKOGBO on any problem in this world, he is very nice, here is his contact ([email protected]). He is the best spell caster.

  204. Liz, I am so sorry. Please know the way you are feeling is very common, even though it makes you feel like you are going crazy – we have a post about that very topic! https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-makes-you-crazy/

    I would recommend the book “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion if you haven’t read it. It is her memoir about the year after her husband’s death. Her ‘magical thinking’ is the many ways that she believed and hoped her husband would come back to her. http://www.amazon.com/Year-Magical-Thinking-Joan-Didion/dp/1400078431

    I hope you find some comfort and support in other posts on our site that may help you during this impossible time . . .

  205. Donna, this is such a great point. Pets can become like members of our family and the grief that comes with the loss of a pet is very real and extremely painful. I am so sorry for that you have had so much loss in such a short period, and you are so right that others often don’t recognize pet loss as a valid loss. We have another post that may interest you on disenfranchised grief, which is about just that – dealing with losses that society doesn’t acknowledge. You can find it here: https://whatsyourgrief.com/disenfranchised-grief/

  206. I agree with all of your points. I would just add that losing a pet can cause as much grief as losing a human, particularly if you do not have a husband or children. I was a caregiver to my cat Bonnet for 3 months before I had to make the “decision.” Nine weeks later my other cat has been diagnosed with either IBD or small cell lymphoma. In between that time I adopted a wonderful kitten. I had him for four months before he developed “Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP).” He was started feeling poorly on the Sunday and was gone I the Thursday. Many people think my grief is not valid because they were pets. But so many of your 64 points resonated with me.

  207. I just wish that me and my wife had left a letter to each other so who ever went first the other person could read and treasure those words for ever.my wife passed away on march 29th 2013. so so lost without her.love you kim. forever in my thoughts. NICK.

  208. Some days I feel like I’m losing my mind. It’s only 15 weeks since my soulmate of 20 years died suddenly. I still keep begging him to come back to me even though I know that’s impossible. I feel like I don’t “belong” anymore as half of me is gone.

  209. how badly your heart aches after you lose a loved one. I understood first hand the meaning of a “broken heart”

  210. I agree with you completely. No two people grieve in the same way. I lost my brother last April, and I was devastated. I can’t imagine how a person feels when they lose a spouse, or when a parent loses a child. Each loss is a unique and devastating tragedy, and it will always be the greatest pain ever felt by that person.

  211. Grief begins before the actual physical death/loss of the loved one.

  212. Dear Jennifer, Out of grief for my mother, brother and baby in heaven I found this blog. The most recent death being my mother in Aug 2013. I have my husband and seven children. I read your paragraph and cried my eyes out.I wish I could hug you and take you into my family. I’m terrified to allow myself get close to my loved ones now because the pain has been so acute, I still do though. My mama was my anchor. People tell me cling to my husband make him my new anchor. How – hes going to die too. I am so sorry and cry tears for your pain. I can’t even imagine your heartache and wish I could so I could help you feel loved. I encourage you to seek to contact your husband and children through a Christian Medium. Yes they are out there and to those of you who disagree keep your comments to yourself. Its not for everyone but it gave me great comfort and a smile though brief to know they were right there with me. You can contact Lizzy Star International Medium. Just google her name. She is a christian and loves the Lord with all her heart. Her son died and they never found out why. Just in his sleep. She has had the gift of relating to spirit since a child. It is a God given gift. Honestly she saved my life. When my brother killed himself and I couldnt save him I couldnt breathe. Didnt want to live. She is amazing. You pay her online and she will contact your for a time that is good for both of you. Tape record it – you will listen to it over and over. She is Truly full of the Holy Spirit. So ignore anyones comments about it being Satanic. Its not – we are not to rely on psychics and mediums to tell us how to live our life – but the legitimate God Given Blessed with Gifts of the Holy Spirit are real – I am a deeply devoted Christian, Saved, etc. My Grandma was a Saint – per everyone. I don’t think she ever hurt a soul and a deeply devoted to Christ Christian. She came through in the read. If it was evil – she wouldn’t have come through. Don’t let the name Lizzy Star fool you. It sounds quirky – she has to protect her identity. Once you hear her beautiful maternal English accent you will feel right at home. I promise. She has a facebook page also. She makes jewelry to sell to help children who have this gift of seeing and to teach them to use it for the light. Yes there is evil out there and evil mediums. You don’t tell her anything at all about anything – just your name. Thats it. Don’t tell her the name of your loved ones, nothing. She will stop you if you accidentally do. She wants them to PROVE to you beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are ALIVE and THERE with YOU! Your husband probably kisses you every night. Ever feel a little tickle in her hair – thats him or your mom or daughters. I have learned to pray for Jesus and the Angels to let me discern if they are there. You will learn if you seek it out. I hate it when people tell me I need to say GOODBYE! Why? My brother said to me through Lizzy – “I am alive – I am not dead – please don’t call me dead – I am free. I am there just call out to me and I will be there.” Ask for signs… I did and started seeing blue jay feathers everywhere in weird places. My mailbox, inside my porch? how, in my car. It has become a game. The next reading I had with Lizzy she said Daniel wants you to sing the song about the Bluebird on My Shoulder – I didn’t get it til weeks later then put the two together – Zippity do Dah – and the feathers. My brother was saying he is now the Bluebird on my Shoulder!” Please take the leap and try. If it gives you just a little hope – heaven help who would say its not good. Blessings and I pray they post this long post without deleting anything. I gave Lizzy’s name as I know she is legitimate, there are ALOT of quacks out there. She was recommended to me and gave me air!

  213. Oh Peggy, I’m so sorry about both of these losses. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to read that your marriage was ended due to death because he will always be your husband and you will always love him. Your comment reminds me of this recent post on the ‘Continuing Bonds Theory’. I’m not sure, but maybe it will be helpful. The theory says that when a loved one dies you slowly find ways to adjust and redefine your relationship with that person, allowing for a continued bond with that person that will endure, in different ways and to varying degrees, throughout your life.


  214. I am crushed, I am broken, I lost my dad last year and my husband this past Nov…….the two most important men in my life. I was so devastated when I lost my dad I could not imagine anything more painful other than maybe losing a child but then the unexpected happened. I lost my husband of 41 years, my childhood crush, the boy next door. I always thought he would live to be at least 80 because he was such an easy going guy. A few days before his 62 birthday we were told he had only a few mths. It is over and I am still in shock over the diagnosis. The thing that smacked me in the face was when I had to go over some paper work and there it was…….the marriage ended due to death. I know that even in our vows we say till death do us part………but my marriage never ended…..he was just taken from me….and I feel so lost……think I always will….thank you for your list…..

  215. Reading through the thread i sense that the loss of someone who is your rock or you have invested most emotions in causes most grief(whether it is child or spouse). Thus my grief is greater than yours is an unjustified discussion. This applies to work as a physician too.
    As a medic who sees death amongst families every week with different stories of loved ones to hear and grief shared, i do believe answers come from within on the grieving process- its duration and impact. Bills needing to be paid are useful as they bring a purpose to the next day-an anodyne to the pain you are going through like taking one step and then the next just to cope with the impossible boulder that you have suddenly been asked to carry. Not sure if this helps but just thoughts added to the pot. Neeraj

  216. I m an adult man now Its very hard for me to believe some one is gone, My Grand mother died when i was 16, i didnt cry a single tear then few year back my friend a good and a close friend died coz of a road accident still my situation was same, then few months back my uncle died in front of me at the hospital, i went to hospital thinking he is discharging but he had his last breath right in front of me i stood helplessly watching him struggling awfully to breath, I really pray he should just die at that moment and he passed away in few moments after the thought i just had. and i was the only one who was crying standing, Then all of a sudden i stopped. I have many regrets for no reason. That event memories still very disturbing for me.

  217. Narya, I am so sorry about the loss of your dad. Glad you found our little corner of the internet. I suspect lots of people think #45 is a crazy tradition, but like so much about grief and tradition, no one wants to talk about, leaving people stuck writing thank you notes during the worst weeks of their life. Cards may work for some, but it should be a choice, not an obligation!

  218. “45. The practice of sending thank you notes after a funeral is a cruel and unusual tradition.”

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thinks this. I finished mine a few weeks ago and it was one of the most torturous, exhausting, agony-ridden experiences of my life, second only to the death & funeral of my dear dad.

  219. Debbie,

    I’m sorry about your mother’s death. I’m very sorry for your pain, the guilt is tough and it sucks to live with any amount of it. That video you linked to was fan-tastic! I loved it, so well put. Thanks for sharing and I hope you don’t mind if we re-share =).


  220. My mother was recently diagnosed with a very rare disease (Stiff Person Syndrome) died Feb 5, 2014. She fell in her home and died instantly although not discovered until the next day. I’m very raw and vulnerable right now, very much a zombie and riddled with guilt of “wish I did more” or of our last conversation which occurred 4 hours before she passed, “wished we talked longer.” This site is very comforting to me. Bless you as it’s helpful to read other’s stories. I cry every day and its seems so unfathinable that we won’t talk again. We talked almost every day and she was my best friend too.So glad that I listened to her complaints…….grateful that I got to a place of compassion. I even included her in our 2014 “Happy New Year” card. Strangely, I knew 2014 would be the year of her passing.

    Dumb things people say need to watch this video. I sent to my Hall of Shamer, good friend for worst comments. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw

    It’s called sympathy vs empathy on youtube. Provides a cartoon visual w explanation. It’s brilliant. The sympathizers start with “at least she didn’t (insert unhelpful comment). I have to laugh and say “they only know what they know and venture elsewhere (like here) for guidance.

    Bless each and every one of you. Truly, I had NO IDEA how painful until Feb 5.

  221. Its been a year and a half for me also, my dad and I were extremely close also. Many days I struggle also and I know people are thinking that I need to move on from this. It is okay to grieve my dad loss, he was my hero and my best buddy. He died August 21, 2012 so many good memories I have with him. Love yah dad, Ill see you again

  222. Big hugs. You don’t know me but even total strangers can offer comfort at times that you need it the most. My hope is that this helps. I would like you to know that people really do care. Let us be your rock right now.

  223. Rivkah, your feelings are very valid, not ramblings at all. I understand.

  224. Melody, thank you for that description (about the hand grenade) – very true.

    I am so lucky to have SUCH a great car insurance company and agent. She phones me EVERY month to take my autopayment – just so I won’t forget. Isnt that great?

    For people whom the concept of grief and death are STILL abstracts – it is a rare individual amongst them that knows how to show true compassion.

  225. Thank you so much for this post. It has been 5 1/2 years since my husband passed and I am just now seeking professional help so that I can move on with my life. # 58 “You don’t get over it, you just get used to it” hit me hard. I think this is what I have really been struggling with. The idea that i’ll never be over it…and that’s ok!

    Thank you again

  226. I found that the birthdays, anniversarys, and holidays were tough. I expected them to be, and they were. What no one told me was that the celebrations would be even worse. I steeled myself for the known dates, knowing they were coming up. The celebrations blind sided me; I hadn’t prepared for them. When my son became an Eagle Scout, the pain of his dad not being beside me on such a proud day brought me to my knees. I wasn’t prepared for that.

  227. i am so sorry for your losses and i can relate to both, i have been there and done that also, but i do find relief by writing letters to my husband and keeping them in a file in my computer. i share with him the events that have occured and the good and disturbing things that go on in my life while i am missing him so much. i thank him for all the wonderful times we had in our lives and all the wonderful memories he left for our children. these letters to him give me some bit of peace and i talk to him and share my life as it is today.

  228. People wind up saying things that you just cannot believe they would say when you are already dealing with such terrible pain. It takes extraordinary grace to navigate it all.

  229. Callista, I was 12 when my dad passed. I’m 45 and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. Its ok. The grief gets easier, but always comes back. For me it’s events that he never got share. Birthdays, graduations, grandchildren, all of it. You are the only one who can say how you should feel.

  230. I know how you feel…and you posted this comment on my angel in heavens 2nd birthday 🙂

  231. Paula, I can relate to your journey as my mother died at 57 from Pancreatic Cancer about a year after she was diagnosed. It is my experience that in time you’ll get used to life with out her, but life will never be the same.

  232. *correction- “God takes the best”

  233. No One knows the true extent of ‘YOUR PAIN’ . Even if they say ” I know exactly how you feel”

    And people will tell you “Good takes the best” it’s ok if that doesn’t make sense. It’s still hard for me to understand.

    Reading this brought tears and a smile to my face. So many things listed are right on point. I lost my Mother 3 days after her 55th bday. She was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and lost her battle 6 months after her diagnosis. She was my best friend, mother and soul mate. I feel as if the world that I knew is no longer the world I enjoy. But I know she is in a better place with no pain. And MAYBE with time I will learn how to get use to this life without her.

    • Terri, I am so sorry for your loss. I wish there was an easy answer to your question, but unfortunately there isn’t. We all grieve differently and for different periods of time. Though a handful of people only feel the intense emotions for the short period you have been grieving, many people don’t begin to feel ‘normal’ again for many months or years. The emotions typically get less intense and easier to manage over that time, but grief is work and it often requires giving it time and attention. There is tons of information, ideas, and activities that may be of help on this site. It also can be helpful to find a grief group or counselor to support you in this early phase of loss.

    • Oh, and sorry for spelling your name wrong in my reply, Teri!

  234. Oh, I so hear you, Stacy; this place where you are is so hard. Decades later, I don’t live there anymore, but I can recall it to mind and remember it as if it were yesterday. I was 23 when my Dad died.

    The country of the orphan is a scary place at first. Later you will discover joys and freedoms here, but first there is this awful feeling that nothing is in the right place, that if I had just done everything even more right than I could have done it, that somehow he wouldn’t have died.

    Just now I hear the rawness of new loss. I remember it as so overwhelming, I couldn’t even look at it for more than a few minutes at a time. I felt like I wanted to jump out of my skin.

    This part passes. It does. But not quickly. The body recognizes that this can’t go on, and finds other ways to cope. The mind gradually accepts what cannot be undone.

    I have some advice, if you want it – take what you need and leave the rest. Or even, stop reading right here if ‘advice’ is not acceptable just now. I send you my love either way.

    First, if I were you I would go ahead and tell people what’s going on. Something like ‘my Dad died last week, it was sudden, it was traumatic, and I’m a little fragile just now.’ Most people will cut you a break. Some won’t, but they’re usually the ones who wouldn’t cut you a break if your leg got broken right in front of them.

    Later, I suggest you look around for a grief group near you. Local hospice organizations often host them; sometimes they’re even free. In groups of 4-10 or so, they meet weekly for a couple of hours at a time, for 4-10 weeks. It can really help to be able to voice what’s going on for you and to hear in what others say just how much your experiences are similar. It also helps to hear something of what to expect from this grieving process, in real time when you’re going through it.

    So much love and light to you. Most of us do lose our parents, soon or late, easy or hard, and we do get through it somehow. You will too, even if you can’t see how, even when it’s far too early to imagine. So much love and light to you for the journey.

  235. Thank you. A million times over for this. I lost my dad a week ago. He was ill and I knew eventually this day was going to come. In his illness I became frustrated easily & thought I had time to say the things I needed to say. When he literally fell at my feet & his heart stopped beating I rolled him over & began to do CPR. Through sobs I begged him to come back. I NEEDED to tell him everything I was so terrible at expressing. He didn’t & I now sit here so angry with myself. I know that he knew I loved him. But I hate myself for not saying it as freely as he did. I lost the only person on this planet who believed in me. I can’t do anything but I want to do everything. I’ve always been a very dedicated & hard worker. I can’t work now. Not even for 5 minutes. I am 29 and never experienced anxiety. I always felt horrible for people who did suffer from it but never knew first hand. Now I feel like I’m going to implode at any given moment. I can’t sit still. I want to rearrange everything in the house and did just that. I keep changing everything for no reason whatsoever. I can’t sleep but I’m so tired. I get hungry but can’t seem to bring the food to my mouth. I feel disabled. I had someone tell me today “why can’t you just get over it” and I shook from head to toe in anger. Don’t you think I want to feel better? Don’t you think I want to sleep? I’m so frustrated & confused by all of this. I’ve never experienced grief. I’ve never experienced something hat is so many things all at once. My heart is beyond repair. I feel like someone cut my feet off at the ankles & switched them onto the other leg & I’m expected to just know how to run a marathon. I’m sorry if this is all just a ramble. But I found some comfort in this list.

  236. Wow what a list. I have experience all of these. I lost my father 12 years ago, a year after he passed I went away to college and would wake up with nightmares about losing my mother and could not go back to bed. I had a hard time dealing with death and was afraid of dying. I took a death and dying course in university that helped with this. I think it’s normal to get these anxieties after the death of a loved one.

  237. Christopher, thank you so much for this addition. It’s funny I was literally just talking to someone about how we really ought to write an individual post on this topic. Thank you for your perspective, I am sure many many many people who find there way to this list are indeed struggling with understanding their faith in the context of profound loss.

  238. This is a wonderful list, and thank you so much for developing it. My only cavil is that, with the exception of #22, there is no real mention about the impact of grief on one’s religious, spiritual or philosophical beliefs, or conversely, the impact of those beliefs on coping with grief itself. I have experienced at least two traumatic losses in my life: my mother died under pretty tragic circumstances and, as a therapist, I lost a client to suicide. In addition to many, many clients I have worked with over the years who were impacted by bereavement, grief and loss issues, I also spent a year as a social work intern in a hospice agency. The latter experience definitely helped to deepen my own understanding of the grieving process. As a result, I believe strongly that this is a period when those Meaning of Life questions hit us smack dab in the middle of our faces and our guts. Personally, my Christian faith, and its implicit belief in a life hereafter and the continuation of our consciousness in a realm beyond this one, has made an enormous difference in how I view the loss of my loved ones, as well as the suffering that has accompanied the twisting arc of my life journey. While it might seem like a quaint notion to some, I truly believe I will eventually encounter family and friends who have passed on when I reach that Other Side (an afterlife conspicuously missing the archaic notion of hell, I should add). Those with a strong religious faith along these or similar lines (such as reincarnation) should feel that it is okay and fine and blessed and amazing to feel solace, comfort and hope because of their faith. And those who remain convinced that our consciousness does not continue after death should feel empowered to say and feel whatever is congruent with their own existential take on life, without feeling pressured to believe something they cannot embrace. The fundamental point I am trying to make here is that when death knocks at our door, it involves more than just dealing with the clinical dimensions of grief and bereavement. It strikes to the existential center of our being, and challenges us to ponder our core philosophical and spiritual stance towards life. So…….I thought something like the following should be added to this list: “My grief might cause me to question or modify my belief system, my spiritual faith, or my philosophy of life. It’s okay if I need to give up part or all of those beliefs as a result. It’s also okay if I cling to those beliefs even more strongly, realizing in the process that, although my beliefs might be shaken to the core, they remain a fundamental part of my being.”

  239. As a Daddy’s girl, it was extremely hard to have my Daddy go home when I was only 24. My grief did heal in time but I learned not to push myself. I still miss him and post on his birthday and Father’s Day. When my Mom left I was fifty. I nearly lost my job because even though I thought I was functioning properly I wasn’t. Thank God for a supervisor who knew what was happening and gave me a deadline for my work. Nearly forty years after Daddy and over ten for my Mommy, the grief is different. I don’t mourn like I used to but I miss them still, not just for me, but for my children and grandchildren.

  240. Grieving never becomes easier- just “less hard”. Grief doesn’t have a timeline, but for me, memories are what keeps Mom alive. I now see her in my mind when she was healthy and she lives in my heart forever. I passed thru the tunnel of grief, and came out on the other side. So there is hope and comfort in knowing that.

  241. I did not read all the comments, but wanted to add to the list that grief is a good time to be careful of people who, even if you thought they were friends, will try to take advantage of your financial situation. I was offered paltry amounts of money for vehicles and other valuable items by people who claimed to be trying to help out but where essentially counting on me being not in right mind and assuming I needed money quickly. Also not to let too many strangers know you are recently widowed. Unfortunately there are a lot of predatory people out there. Of course I don’t want to eclipse all the wonderful people that will be there to help you if you let them, just to understand that you’re in a vulnerable state of mind, to say the least. It’s good to have a true close friend to run all these issues through since you aren’t thinking straight and won’t be for a while.

    Hang in there, it does hurt a million times more than one can imagine hurting. But you live through (if is never over) changed but still capable of finding peace and happiness. – Lisa

  242. So very true. I have a daughter who cut off all contact with me ten years ago this month. No one knows why, her dad doesn’t know, we have never been able to understand. I was and am a good mom; no drinking or drug addictions, very involved and stayed home with my kids. We had a wonderful, wholesome life. I have have another daughter who has never shunned me and through her, I now have two beautiful grandsons. My estranged daughter is having a baby next month, whom I may never see. I have sometimes had thoughts that if she had died, it might have been easier in the long run. No offense to those who have lost a child, that is a pain I can not begin to imagine. These are just the ramblings of my mind……

  243. I am a nurse. I do grief counseling, death preparation, and I care for people when they face death. Nothing, absolutely nothing, in my education prepared me for the experience myself. Tears flow at sometimes the most embarrassing times, just from out of the blue, for no apparent reason. No regrets-but I don’t think one ever gets over a great loss. It’s about learning how to deal with it in the comfort of memories and thankfulness.

  244. I absolutely agree. I think each loss, and the grief that follows, is as unique as the relationship we had with the person who died. I think it also undoubtedly is influenced by where we are in our lives, other losses we’ve experienced, and countless other things. I am so sorry for both the devastating losses you’ve been through.

  245. Oh Vikki, I am so sorry for all the loss you have suffered. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to grieve, even when it is terrifying to let go and feel those painful emotions and tears. There is a well know book called The Empty Room about sibling loss. Though the authors lost her sibling as a child, but the book is absolutely applicable for anyone who has had the devastating loss of a sibling- a loss that isn’t always as acknowledged by society. Here is a link to the book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0743201523

  246. I am 57 yrs old, And I the only one left….my brother dropped dead at the age of 56, that will be 2 yrs in Feb,,, to see my family, I go to the cemetery, and see my shadow standing over them…..
    I have not grieved my brothers death,,,he was my only sibling,,,,,now I have this huge hole, an emptiness I can’t fill…I am afraid to cry, so therefore, I haven’t,,,,,
    I have 3 beautiful grown kids, and one grandson,,,they are my world,,,,but. It’s still empty.
    Thanks for hearing me out..

  247. Is there a difference in losses? I think so. I lost a child of less than a year old and at times I still grieve over that loss that happened 50 years ago. I lost my husband a year and a half ago and there are days that I don’t think I can bear that loss. Maybe it’s due to time and to my age now. I don’t know.

  248. Some people are athiests and are completely not comforted by religous platitudes. I don’t believe i’ll see my dad again or that he is in a better place. Every time someone patted my arm and said they would pray for me I wanted to scream. It is important to be aware of the beliefs of the person who is grieving, otherwise you can end up making that person feel angry, isolated, and even more bereft.

  249. Number 21) is not always right as I do regret loving as the pain is so bad. I wish I had never met my husband and had three children as he has left up up the swanney now and I feel that he caused his own cancer by being so highly strung and not dealing with his childhood issues, made him push his limits physically, emotionally and financially in all areas. He has left me now completely devastated to live the same life without him bringing the kids up with no money, a sad mother and a shit future. So, yes, I do at the moment regret loving. All you ‘floaty people get a grip.’ Grief is not pretty.

  250. Lori, I agree with you. I lost my husband when he was 35, and it was the hardest thing I have ever experienced. It is hurtful to have people tell you it is the natural order of things, or make your grief feel invalid. Please do not be so hard on yourself. 2 years was a hard time for me, the first year as special dates came and went , I would think last year we did this or that last year, and have a memory, but the 2nd year, all I thought was he wasn’t here last year either. It was an extremely hard year for me. It has now been 22 years, and I have gotten used to it but not over it. God Bless you, I will remember you in my prayers.

  251. I am so sorry- what you experienced in your family is all too common, unfortunately. We have a post about exactly what you describe here: https://whatsyourgrief.com/family-fighting-after-a-death/. Not sure if it would be helpful for you at this point, but I figure it couldn’t hurt to pass along. Wishing you continued healing in the new year.

  252. Yes, death brings out the best and the worst in families but I have found that the money, the estate and money brought out the worst in my family. Behaviors I have never seen… I am just glad it is all over and divided but still have some healing because of it.

  253. Glad to see someone who feels like I felt. Thanks for sharing.

  254. 1) Whatever you are feeling is right for you to feel – trust yourself.

    2) If you find you can’t picture their face, don’t panic – that ability will return when to do so is not so painful.

    3) Religious faith can also be strengthened by loss.

  255. Read the list, but not all the comments so apologies if someone has already mentioned this:

    Not only should you “debrief” after care-giving but also during care-giving. I took care of my late husband for 10 years before he died. Eventually a weekend away every 3-4 months wasn’t enough, but it was better than never taking time away.

    Also, with every new loss, the old ones rise up in memory.

    Eventually you have to stop feeling sorry for yourself and embrace joy again — because joy is possible — eventually. It may take some time, and every one has a different experience, but it will come…if you allow it.

    Recovering joy in your life is not a bad thing.

  256. I would only add that grief is not about death, it is about loss. I lost my mother to cancer and my father to alzheimers. Watching them suffer was one of the worst experiences of my life. My mother’s death was like literally watching the worst horror movie ever made. It is nothing like death is portrayed in the media. It was nasty, smelly, nightmarish; the adjectives fail me. While my father’s actual death was much more peaceful, his life during those final years was disturbing and very painful. I lost him years before he actually died.

    I have breast cancer. As a result, I lost my health, my career, my financial stability, my marriage, my home, many “friends”, my children’s innocence, my ability to mother. I endured amputation of a beloved and important body part; I endured incomprehensible physical pain; I endured significant physical changes; I live with the fear of an excruciating death by a known and monstrous enemy; I lost “me” as I knew her. I cannot really even describe the losses caused by serious illness. I can only tell you that I have had days where I nearly prayed for the cancer to kill me just to avoid more loss and pain. Grief did not destroy me only by God’s grace and mercy.

    So, I say that grief is fundamentally about loss. Deep, permanent, profound loss. There is no comparison between loss because each of us experience losses differently. It is critical that we respect each person’s truth. Respect your own truth. DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU HOW OR WHAT TO FEEL WHEN. They will try. RESIST. Own your truth.

  257. This may be true but I have seen in the last 6 months 2 mothers say in groups that their grief was worse than others. One was a mother telling one of her surviving children her grief was worse than sibling loss. The other a mother said that her grief was worse than losing your spouse of 25 years. When you are in grief it is the worse one. It is a very bad idea to compete for who is grieving the most and making it into a competition rather than being supportive.

  258. Carolyn, that is a great point about the physical pain. I am surprised others have not mentioned it! That pain is such a common experience, coming in different forms, but effecting so many grievers. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father and brother . . .you are very right that grief never ends.

  259. Everyone has to grieve in their own way and at their own time. Though I am sure your children just don’t want to see you suffering, the reality is that you have to grieve in the way that works for you. It can be very hard to part with belongings and there is no ‘right time’. Some people cannot bear to look at things and want to get rid of them right away, other people keep things for years. We have some tips and discussion around this topic here: https://whatsyourgrief.com/sorting-through-belongings/

    Videos and photos can be of great comfort and those can be a part of your life forever. In my mind “looking forward” isn’t about one day turning off the past. Instead it is about integrating the past with a new present and a new future — it isn’t about “letting go” so much as finding a way to incorporate the past into a present and future that we can feel positive about. That can take a lot of time, but take it at the pace that is right for you. Seeing a grief counselor or going to a support group can sometimes help with that. Take care this holiday – you’ll be in our thoughts.

  260. Years later, you may have a moment when you forget that person is dead, and you will lose them all over again.

  261. Death has no time frame nor does it have an age limit. Guilt accompanies laughter. Let the guilt go.

  262. (((Jennifer)))

  263. ((((Melody)))

  264. This is a great list but I would add that there are people who will become better friends because they really want to help but they don’t always stick around. They move on and their increased friendship was brought on by good intentions but it’s over for them or they don’t know how to handle the grief or new you.

  265. Even when you are half insane from grief , bills still need to be paid. On Time. Sounds like a no-brainer? At the time it struck me as odd – don´t “they” know I lost my child? That I walk out the door like a zombie with two different shoes on and talk out loud to my daughter in the street? That´s a mighty humbling lesson – the world goes on and your broken heart is one of millions and milions and millions and is just that – your own private broken heart. Felt like I swallowed a hand grenade but still had to balance the checkbook.

  266. I have to agree, Carol. My God, there are no words for this at all. I tried to use words but the best I could come up with was – Now,I believe in Hell because I´m in it. That was 9 1/2 years ago. My daughter was 14 1/2. I would´ve gladly thrown myself in the grave so she wouldn´t be alone and, yes, so I could escape the pain.

  267. I’ve got a couple.

    Members of your immediate family will began to play a strange little game called “I hurt the most. ” It will consume them, and may simply fail to see the grief in others.

    My father moved to CA when my mom passed away. My brother wanted to move into the house, and I was not allowed to stay. I was forced to find a place in a month.

    I felt abandoned and alone. It wasn’t easy, but I had to let it go, it was destroying me.

    Nothing will ever prepare you for seeing a loved one on a respirator for the very first time. It is extremely mechanical, and was the farthest thing from breathing normal I’ve ever seen.

  268. I wish someone had told me about the physical pain that is felt. I was 19 when my father passed at age 41 and I was sick to my stomach for weeks after. Then when by oldest brother died at 59 and I was 61 I felt like someone kicked me in the stomach. I felt that pain every time I would think about him. It’s been 3 years since we lost my brother and I still feel that pain at times. My mother has never gotten over grieving for my dad or for my brother. Sometimes grief never ends. We just learn to live with it.

  269. I totally agree…My prayers are with You…

  270. My Husband passed at the age of 44 due to complications from diabetes on Feb. 4th 2011. We were married 23 yrs. and have 3 children. I will never get over losing Him in this life. Our love Story is not over and I believe We will pick up when My time comes to join Him in Heaven. He was My Soul Mate and My Children have said I need to look forward…sorry but I can’t….not now……I can not let go…..I still have all of his things just as they were….His cologne and tooth brush still on His side of the sink….I still watch the video that was made to play at His Funeral….I still need to see Him…just wished I could hear Him say…I Love You…one more time….

  271. Although I agree with these for the most part some are different when it comes to a child. I lost a husband and a daughter. I find myself on a weekly basis grieving over the things I didn’t get to experience with her.

    I’ve lost more friends since their passing and cut more family out of my life in the last several years because people just don’t get it. I’m never going to reach a point in life where “POOF” I’m better and back to my normal self. That part of me died when they died.

  272. oh, I am so sorry Hilda. Thank you for sharing. I am sure so many people can sadly relate . . .

  273. Kristen, I am so sorry that you lost your husband – an so young. . . I think our initial inclination is to run from the grief and the pain. I mean, why would we want to do anything but run from it! But I have no doubt you are right that it can make us stronger, fiercier, and more amazing people than we ever knew we could be. If only we didn’t have to find such pain to grow into the people we become after a death.

  274. Oh Ruth, I can relate so much to what you say about measuring life in deaths in your family. Period in my life are defined as before or after the loss of certain people. Friends and significant others can be defined by whether they met or did not meet certain important people in my life. I suspect you are right – the best we can do is remember the good times, and treasure each day knowing exactly how precious life is. Thank you so much for sharing your experience here.

  275. Michael, sorry for the delay in my reply. The thing about grief is that it ebbs and flows — we can go for months or even years and feel pretty stable, then have something trigger our grief to resurface with a vengeance. It is normal to feel crazy, but if you are concerned about the degree or duration I would strongly encourage you to see a counselor or attend a grief group.

  276. Oh Tonia, that is an unimaginable amount of loss in such a short period. If you haven’t already, it may be helpful to check out our post on cumulative grief. It may give some insight into some of the unique challenges of coping with so many losses. I am sure these holidays will be so tough — wishing you comfort and strength.

  277. This is so true and an under-recognized loss. We can grieve so many futures we will never have, for so many reasons, and this ‘losses’ of things we never had can be extremely devastating. Thanks for mentioning this one, Melody.

  278. Lori, I am so sorry for your loss, and for the pain and regret that has come from the actions of your family. You bring up such an important problem, which is the deep and painful impact of losing someone who your family may not have loved and cared for in the same way that you do. I think this is a more common experience than many people care to talk about. I am so sorry for what you went through with your mom, but I suspect your words and experience may inspire someone else facing similar challenges to stand up for their own wants and needs. This can be so hard when you are grieving and when others have forceful personalities, but it can be so important. I am know you will never be able to get those items back to share with your children, but I hope there is some comfort in the memories you can share with them of your husband.

  279. Oh Elisa, that is so much loss and I cannot even imagine the pain of the 6 months not knowing where your son was. Thank you for sharing here, and you are in my thoughts this holiday season . . .

  280. This is so true, Ruth. So many (even who have been through a loss) may not relate to caring for someone through their death. Have you considered a grief group through a local hospice? That may be a space you could connect with others who share that common experience.

  281. I drank more beer in the two years following my wife’s death than in the fifteen years before. Nothing prepares you for the death of a spouse.


  282. Jennifer – I signed up to applaud the bravery in what you’ve just said.

    I agree that speaking out the truth is healing, which you have done. I am not as strong as you, the death of my dear sweet husband has just about killed my will to live.

    I lost both parents young (aged 14 / my father) (age 22/my mother) lost a child, first husband pretended to be married to someone else when actually still married to me @ time (so divorce age 27), multiple serious losses and trauma due to The Troubles in Northern Ireland, and I fought back, somehow sprung back to live again … but the recent loss of my husband who embraced me with the love of Christ and gave me the happiness I’d always missed, has just about destroyed my will to live.

    I have felt like I have nothing else to loose – but my professional career as a health care professional, I pray I never loose that, but nothing can replace my husband, even I met someone new – which I hope God sends my way, because this just isn’t practical, I have nothing now, and live in a strange new place as we’d left Northern Ireland due to The Troubles.

    Your bravery has helped me tonight, as it is now 4am and after having an intruder in the house last week who traumatised me further, I can’t sleep properly now. Thank you for your encouragement by ‘speaking the truth in love’.

  283. Losing a child, in our developed culture, does not “seem” like the normal order of things… I.e. Is not normal. But in reality in most of history losing children to illness or accidents or miscarriages, or in birth, was not that uncommon and still is part of the “normal” that many people in the world still live with. And in fact, it happens quite a bit in our USA. People just assume that it won’t happen to them, and for many people they are lucky that it doesn’t.
    “You aren’t supposed to outlive your children.” Who says?? Certainly no one wants to, but we really have no idea what is or isn’t “supposed” to happen. As one who’s lost 2 children I actually find this reAlity helpful to me, to realize I am not special, my grief is not special, I am not a victim of an unjust world, I am not entitled because my loss is somehow “worse”. Life is hard, terrible things happen. My lesson is to be open to the pain of the world and try to have, more and more, a compassionate heart. In honor and memory of the angels I have lost, I hope I can live up to that lesson.

  284. I have buried my only two children (one from a car wreck and one from cystic fibrosis) and my mother (I was the only daughter and we were very close), but losing my husband 21 months ago has been the worst loss of all. We loved our children and I still grieve over their loss, but now I have no one to share those memories with and have lost my love, best friend, partner who was my “rock” through all the other trials of life. I have no rock to lean on now.

  285. I lost the love my life nearly 13 yrs and tho I have accepted that “hes not coming back” and have done my best to continue on with life as much as I can, the pain and sadness still grab me at some point every day!! I still cry……alot!! I do what I have to do but its just always there. He was my heart, my best friend, my rock, my everything. We grew up together, married at 18 and 22, had and raised our babies together, had lots of plans for “when the kids are grown and gone and we hit those golden years”, looked forward to hanging out with our grandchildren,……….unfortunately it was all taken away too soon, the kids were 21 and 24, so we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and “our time” was coming………but cancer took him instead, I was 46 and he had just turned 50, married 28 great years and not a single regret, but been such a struggle since. 🙁 As for people “comparing” and giving advice that makes you want to run and scream is a given. My “worse” came when about a month after he died, I had just gone back to work……….when a co worker came up to me one morning and said “Well now I really know what you went thru, cause last nite I lost my best friend too”. (She was single, divorced for years, her babies were all dogs and cats which I knew she was very close to) So I said “You lost your best friend last nite? Then why are you here today”? Shes like “Well I am really tired thats for sure but thought it better to come to work and be distracted. My arms are killing me tho cause I spent the whole night, never even went to bed, digging a hole in my backyard, buried him, then showered and came to work”. Well my mouth dropped………I said YOU BURIED YOUR BEST FRIEND IN YOUR BACKYARD”???? Turns out she was talking about her DOG!! I truly wanted to reach out and choke her!! I do get it, I know people do very attached to their animals, but to say you now know how “I” felt………..you are comparing losing your dog to my losing my husband??????? I had to get away from her………..quickly!! 🙁

  286. I wish some had told me how it hurts to sleep without your life partner and it breaks your heart when you give the clothes away,

  287. A death of a loved one does not prepare you for the death of the next loved one.
    Being in ones life daily leaves a bigger wound to heal and a scar to remember forever.

  288. I was lucky,we were given a time frame, the longest was 2 years , we planned his funeral as a family , he picked it all out, wrote thank yous to the doctors, pallbearers, father and goodbye letters to our kids, they were also involved in all the medical choices, ( my dAd died when ias 16) , we had kids that age so they were involved, he got rid of his things in his time so I didn’t have too ,he made the transition a bit easier for us, however he was burn on Christmas , died at Easter time and our daughters birthday , married around thanksgiving, he nailed them all, I still talk to him very loudly and throw things just in case he’s here and I hit him, lol I get mad at dome things he left for me yo take of yet which is one , we went to our lawyer Nd accountant , to start the process of taking care of things before he died, give yourself the extra day before the funeral it’s easier , I even made the entire funeral lunch , most of the time when people ask is there something we can do let us know , bare in mid they really don’t mean it!!!! Be kind to yourself and find a really good pillow to sleep with ! I wish everyone well wishes on your personal journey !!!!

  289. *People will say crass and cruel things that devalue how you feel and discredit the deceased as a human being while sanctifying other deceased family members that they valued more.
    *Sometimes you’ll feel like ending your life (I hope not). Just validating that those feelings are in even unlikely people. If this is you, do what I did and find a. Support system.
    *Beware of counselors who are not grief related. My experience, I got diagnosed with all sorts of new Ailments and got pills thrown at me. If your dr is a good dr he will not treat you like you’re crazy. Grief is not a mental illness.
    *Be on your own terms . If you do have to attend potentially uncomfortable family functions beware of triggers. Go in your own vehicle so you not stuck being dependent in someone else’s terms and always map out an escape route. You may need one.

  290. Not all grief is from death! Betrayal is a loss that you grieve!

  291. P.S. This was painful to read. I had to keep taking breaks. But then I shared it with all my grieving friends. I lost my 41-year-old husband two years ago this month. I want so much to run as far and as fast from the grief as I can…while at the same time acknowledging that I like the woman I’ve become since surviving loss so much better than who I was before. It’s just one contrast after another of resisting and accepting.

    • So happy for you that you like you you have become. My husband died six months ago and I only want to die too. I don’t like who I have become and I don’t want a new life.
      I keep reading about a “new normal” I am living an “abnormal” and don’t want it!

  292. Grief puts you in a club you wish you were not in…but the connection is so strong and so emotional with others who grieve, that you’re thankful for the club at the same time as wanting to escape it!

  293. Litsa, thank you for all your replies to those who posted about your list.
    You are really thoughtful and kind. I lost a beautiful, smart daughter who was 23 years old, in 1980. That’s 33 years of pain for our family. My husband only survived 10 years after her death, he was devastated by it. He was just 46 when we lost her, (she suffered for many years with epilepsy) but he never got over it. At least he lived long enough to have had a life, but my only consolation about my daughter is that she didn’t have to suffer anymore, and would never have another seizure. Losing a child is indeed the worst thing that can happen to a parent, no matter what their age. My younger brother died at 50, when my mother was 85, and it destroyed her, a very strong woman all her life, but his death just made her fall to pieces and she died a year later…so my life is measured by the deaths in our family. We who survive try to remember the good times not the deaths, that’s all we have, so we cherish the photos and the memories. You never “get over” it…

  294. Feel like i’m going crazy but #24 and #40 say that is normal. Does that remain so 7 years after losing 3yo son.

  295. Hi Janna
    I lost my brother (my only sibling) and I worry about having enough energy to do for my parents when they need help in the coming years, and losing them eventually. Know what u mean.

  296. another one:

    You will think back on all the wrongs and the hurts. There will be anger. You will survive that too.

  297. Thanks for the list. I have had to grieve too many over the last 6 months. My father on May 9, my mother on Oct 3 and my father in law on november 17. I have been up and down so much over these last 6 months. Its true the ones you thought would be there aren’t. It has made me bitter. It has torn at our family. I havnt had time to grieve one before another. My father was unexpected and sudden and was just a huge blow then my mother just 5 months later was slow and painful to watch and was absolutely agonizing then to top it of my father in law was short but drawn out in the 2 1/2 weeks it lasted. I ask the question over and over why. This has truly been the hardest year of my life. My husband and I jokingly say we are orphans now but it feels real. I feel a if my heart my soul and every being of me has been shattered into a million pieces and there is not enough glue or tape to fix it. I know I don’t want to hear it will be alright because it won’t. I want to cry, scream, fight and laugh. I just want you there when I need you there.

  298. LW, I am so sorry for your loss. I am sorry you didn’t get to say goodbye.

  299. You do grieve what you never had, children never borne because of cancer.

  300. Do not allow anyone to tell you how to grieve. They will tell you to let go and get over it and stop crying it won’t bring them back…etc…DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM. I have found that these are the people who have never experienced a tragedy let alone an sudden unexpected tragic death of a loved one. You have to go through the steps of grief in the order that they come to you and resolve them and work through them in the tine that it takes you. Do not gage your grief by the way others grieve as everyone is different. A large regret I have is not putting my for down to my family when certain members took it upon themselves to control aspects of my husband’s death that were quite frankly not their business to handle. My husband’s mother went through all of his belongings and took what she wanted for herself and her husband, then allowed her other son to go threw everything and take what he wanted. Then gave what was left to my kids and I. My children had every right to their fathers belongings and instead of fighting for that I let it go as to not make waves and never cause them any more pain then they already were going through. I know I had the most respectful of intentions and I’m happy to have not upset any of them but my children have nothing of their fathers. The little that was allowed for us to take was clothing…This brings me to my largest regret. My own mother…My mom, not having liked my husband therefore having no love loss with him passing took it upon herself to remove all of his clothing em she could grab before my coming outside to her car and she took it all away. I attempted to grab some shirts out…favorites I bought him or the kids would remember him in but she took it all away. I was able to call her and beg her to not dispose of them as she planned to give it all to charity. (Again…NOT HER PLACE TO DO SO!!!) but as she is a seamstress I begged and pleaded for her to at least do a quilt project with our 2 kids and allow them to select from his clothing special pieces and cut quilting squares out from them and sew blankets so they can always have a special keep sake to feel close to him. They selected their favorite pieces of their daddy’s clothing…she set them aside…and she got rid of all of it. I wish that I was not ands respectful towards her when she took all of his clothing. I wish I would have fought her on it harder and to any means possible. I wish I would have stood up to both mothers…my children’s grandmothers, and demanded his property back and had the balls to put them both in their place so my kids could have some of their daddy’s belongings. In the moment when all I could do was try to get up everyday and keep moving forward comforting my kids, raising them and providing for them…The last thing on my mind was anything material. He had multiple cars. Some specialty mustangs that Kurt kind of “disappeared” on his own family’s side. Our kids would have lived and cherished those and used them as well. I wish I knew to fight for their rights to their daddy’s belongings from theft, thoughtlessness and destruction. I just had so much more on my mind that it hardly registered. If i went back I would have taken it all and locked it up and kept the key hidden away for my kiddos. And every time anyone told me to get over it…I now wish I would have slapped em all. Not to be violent but quite frankly they deserved it. I should have kept the kids and my own needs in front of others nosey rude ways and fought them all. But i wanted to keep peace and never cause any problems for anyone. Now I’m left with regrets for not having a backbone and there is nothing I can do about it.

  301. Everyone grieves differently and no one death is the same as another. My husband died at 42 unexpectedly and I thought it was the worst thing that would ever happen to me.2 years and a week later my son disappeared, it took 6 months to find him in his truck in a canal. I learned never to say this is the worst thing that can ever happen. I learned that all the comments made about losing a husband were true. I learned losing a child is a lot worse than losing a husband. But, I also know you live your own experiences and realities and telling that to someone grieving over a spouse or parent makes no sense. Their reality is their grief and it’s the worst for them.

  302. All of the things on the list touched me so deeply. death is so final. My wishes are to just touch Mom again and feel her angel kisses on my cheek and say my name, which noone does, would make me so happy. I need someone who has been by a loved ones side and talked them through the dying process and felt their last heartbeat. Not many have done this and I find that lots of people cannot understand what death is all about. I cherish that last moment. I feel at peace that Mom is in a better place now, but only if I could hold her again.

  303. Thank you, Litsa! I did share this article on my Facebook. Thank you as well for your permission to share the article further (and likely others too). For sure, I will make this one available to others whom I think would need to read it. Now, I’ll check out your “grief overload” article.

  304. Thank you Hank, both for your service as a pastor to those grieving, and for your outstanding comments on this list. Please feel free to share this (and any other post on our site) with anyone who you feel may benefit.

    I think your comment about cumulative grief is especially important. We have a post about that here that doesn’t get nearly as much play around the web as this post has, but I think it is such an important consideration in grief, as I am sure you are aware having suffered numerous losses. The link to that post is here: https://whatsyourgrief.com/cumulative-grief-aka-grief-overload/

    Thanks for visiting and sharing!

  305. Thanks Maggie! Everyday I get excited about the more great things added to this list. I think soon we are going to need a 64 MORE things list.

  306. This is a very comprehensive and helpful list. As someone who has lost both parents, a brother-in-law, and a daughter–as well as presided at more than 200 funerals (yes, I am a pastor), I found it generally very accurate from both observation and from my own personal experience. I especially appreciate comment #16; I actually cringe every time I hear someone talk about bereaved people “finding closure.” Those words have to come from someone who has never really experienced grief.

    I have also found that for myself, I cannot say things have “gotten better;” I find it more appropriate to say they have gotten “less difficult.”

    I would also note that for many people grief is cumulative. Each subsequent death of a person important to us is amplified the grief we experienced over those who predeceased them.

    And there is one other very important thing I would stress: People of great faith, profound, belief, trust in the Divine, and anticipation of an afterlife are not immune to grief. Those who say if you grieve you don’t truly believe are woefully wrong.

    In my retirement, I am still called on from time to time by local funeral homes. I hope that it would be acceptable for me to copy this list and make it available to people I work with who may need to read it.

  307. I would add:

    Don’t throw away the deceased’s personal possessions too soon, or too quickly. After things quiet down, you may find that you actually wanted to save more of their ‘stuff’ than you thought.

    Don’t be surprised if you have difficulty focusing, even on important tasks. After a big loss, it’s not uncommon to find your ‘mental computer’ slowing down like a laptop with too many programs running, while the grief runs in teh background of whatever you’re trying to do.

    Let somebody else do the driving for at least a few days.

    It DOES get better. Slower than we would wish, but it does.

  308. Interesting list. Here’s my comments on it:
    12. Nobody brought me food, but I wasn’t able to eat anyway.
    16. I hate the term “closure.” Bank accounts are closed, windows are closed, but the love we carry for those closest to us never closes.
    17. But too many people want to impose time limits for us.
    27. I never knew there was pain this deep.
    28. And pain too.
    38. And it’s always people that don’t know what they’re talking about. Nobody can tell anyone how to feel.
    42. I’ve always been jealous of widows who say they are numb. I wish I were numb so I wouldn’t feel the pain.
    49. So don’t make big decisions based on the fact that you feel good or bad that day.
    53. Just the opposite.
    54. I got sick of being told “It’s OK to cry.” As if men don’t know that, and I hadn’t already cried a river.

  309. Thank you Sherry- that is such an important point! We grieve so many things- loss of home, loss of job, divorce, loss of friendships, loss of health/mobility, and on and on. What is also important is that each of those losses is deeply individual and unique. One person may move from a home and adjust quickly and easily, another may find that loss devastating and struggle to adapt. There is not recipe for grief- it is as unique as each of us and our relationship with whatever or whoever we have lost. Thank you for your insight!

  310. Hi Pamela, glad you enjoyed the list. Those in quotes were things posted on our facebook page (I said I wanted to make a list and asked people to comment with suggestions) so I will see if I can go back to that facebook post/comments and see if I can perhaps embed the post and comments here. Thanks for the suggestion!

  311. This is a really good and comprehensive list. Thank you for the contribution.

    Where author’s are quoted (and thanks for doing so), please also give attribution to author and/or book title. Their words are their living and it would really help them out. Remember, sage as they may be, they are our fellow “grievers” and have put words to our emotions. They deserve credit for helping us break out of our sorrowful shells. Thank you.

    And thanks again for this spot on list.

  312. Thank you for this, what a gift it is!

    One thing I would add: death is not the only thing we grieve over. Some things we (or those around us) may not think of as the “loss of a loved one” bring grief – the loss of a job or career (even if the choice was yours), the end of a relationship, moving your home. (What we call “homesickness” is a form grief.)

    Another thing I’ve learned is that in our “get over it and move on” culture, people often (usually, in my experience) need permission to grieve.

    May you grieve deeply and well.

  313. I was off from work for 11 months, caring for my husband. The hospice CNA could only stay 2 hours, 2 days a week, for me to get away. The nearest city was a 20 minute drive. Some of that time away I was “drive-by shopping” for a house in town to buy. I knew I had to plan ahead, that was part of my self induced therapy. Day dreaming and setting goals kept me sane. I wasn’t sure if this running away
    statement was aimed at during the loss or after. He was with hospice 6 months before he passed of COPD.

  314. Grief can make you push people you love away a bit. My mom died by self inflicted wounds when I was 16, I was in a fog first, struggling through each day with waves of sorrow, empty spaces, and reruns running through my head for months. After the numb walking came the blame stage, what could I have done different? this stage lasted for two decades. Nightmares where she was hidden off with my dad that she had divorced when I was three and suddenly there they both were. Guess my grief of not knowing him blended in with my grief of losing her. Then came the anger stage, I am still mad at her for leaving me in such a way. I am angry because she missed knowing my children and my grandchildren. Then I think of the love she showed us, the choo choo trains of all of us dancing through the house in a line singing who wears short shorts? the sacrifices she made to keep all of us together. I am in my fifties now and I just wish she had been here for my life. Reflections on how it would have been different with her guiding me instead of me being thrown into a world too soon with so little ammunition to cope. But I had her mother there with her pearls of wisdom to guide me when I would listen. It’s hard to listen when your head is full of grief and you put on a face that ‘I’m alright” to the world.

  315. Hi LW, I am so sorry for the death of your husband. Sudden deaths can be especially devastating for exactly the reason you describe (and many more). This list is not intended as something in which every item will ring true for every person. Losses are each so unique that there are no universals. We asked our regular readers to submit something they wish someone had told them. Number 8 was a reader submission, so I can’t speak to how it was intended. As someone who has lost someone suddenly and unexpectedly, I absolutely agree that there are emergencies where you can’t literally say goodbye to that person. Later I found other ways to say my goodbyes -for me- but of course I never got to say them to him, so it totally different. I included everything submitted (the ones in quotes) on this list, whether I could relate or not, because the goal was not a list where everyone could relate to all things, but rather where people could share lessons they learned personally that they wish they had known. Sadly, one that isn’t on this list and should be, is sometimes you just can’t physically say goodbye. And that can be devastating.

  316. Lori, I am so sorry for your loss. Being a caregiver is so physically and emotionally draining. When a person dies caregivers are often in a place of total exhaustion. ‘Running away’ can get a bad rap, but I think what you describe can be a positive and important way to get time to yourself. Getting space from the location of the death can be important or space from other people can be very helpful. I am glad the space was good for you at that time. Thank you for sharing!!

  317. Hi Barb, sorry, I saw your other comment first and replied, so the replies may overlap a bit! I suspect this list seems negative because it is based on what I wish people had told me, not the things they did. Everyone focused on the positive- that things would get better, grief could be transformative, it would make me a stronger and better person, etc. Dozens of my posts on this site are dedicated to the ways that is true and helping others get to that place.

    The problem for me was people focused on the positive when I needed people to validate the pain. I went to several grief counselors who I stopped seeing after a couple visits because all the could conceptualize was the transformative nature of grief, when in the early days that was the LAST thing I wanted people shoving at me. It takes time to get to that place. I ultimately saw a therapist who was the most helpful because he did not throw the ‘positive’ ‘transformative’ stuff at me when I was not in a place to hear it. As a counselor myself now, many years later, I believe ultimately people can guide you there, but you have to come to it on your own. In my experience people telling me those “positive” things that would come only made me feel alienated and alone. So many people are seeking validation and understanding of the negative and gentle guidance to the positive.

    Thanks for visiting! Hope you take some time to visit the rest of our site!

  318. Hi Barb! I think there is much good that comes from grief. If you have clicked around our blog hopefully you have seen that much of our site is dedicated to the incredibly powerful, transformative nature of grief. This list was things I wish people had told me, not a list of all things about grief. Way too many people told me positive things- it gets easier after a year, this will make you a stronger/better person, etc. The reality is that take a lot of time. In the early stages of grief everyone tells you that and my experience was of constant frustration that no one wanted to talk about how devastating the loss was, but instead wanted to focus on these positives or avoid all together. It made me feel my experience was crazy or abnormal. The goal of this list is not to say there is not good that come from loss- in fact we founded this blog around that premise in many ways. It is to say I wish someone had acknowledged these things so I (and so many other grievers I have worked with) wouldn’t feel crazy or abnormal.

  319. A bereavement by suicide is not only unexpected but it’s unnatural and in many causes extremely traumatic. Some of us can’t even begin to grieve because we’re in shock or denial. Where the death has been traumatic for your loved one, you can develop PTSD. We have so many questions about why the death has occurred and why your loved one never asked for help. And if you’re not the next of kin (because your child has married or had a child of their own) the Authorites (Police,Hospital and Coroner) in the UK won’t even speak to you to inform you of any developments concerning the death. You don’t even have the right to bury your own child and if you’re not in contact with their spouses for any reason (and tensions are usually quite high at this time) you may also experience difficulties in seeing your grandchildren.

    Barb – I’d be interested to know if you’ve come across this situation before with your bereavement counselling.


    Raising awareness & funds for Survivors of Bereavement By Suicide in the UK

  320. Is there good that comes from the hard times?

  321. Seems so negative. If I was grieving and read that list, I don’t know what I would do. Thank God I am a trained Bereavement Coordinator.

  322. RE: #29
    I lost my husband on April 1, 2010. I got the Hell out of Dodge 3 days later….for 10 days I drove around California, landing in Cambria because I needed to get away from our home, where he died. I just could not cope with being in that house. I was my husband’s caregiver for the 6 weeks he spent in hospice and I just needed a break from reality. I don’t know if you’ve lost someone (and I really hope you haven’t!) but, for me, running away was a lifesaver.
    Take care friend.

  323. Number 8 is a big fat lie. Death is an emergency and you don’t always get time to say goodbye. My husband dropped dead at work. Where wasy chance to say goodbye??? What about that wasn’t an emergency?? Just out of the blue to have only one symptom – sudden death. You don’t call that an emergency?

    That really ticks me off.

  324. There is a difference in ALL losses. That is the point. Comparing losses and sticking one loss up as being more special, more important (and if anyone disagrees it’s because they don’t love their children enough,) is exactly the kind of hurtful behavior that this article was hoping to help people learn to avoid. With varying degrees of success.

  325. When someone dies from an alleged suicide – people don’t say “I’m really sorry for your loss”. Quite often they don’t say anything at all. They should acknowledge your pain of loss, regardless how the death occurred.

  326. Tracy, So, so true! That was one of the worst parts of my grief. It’s real and so final. And it WILL happen again. The thought of that is almost too much to bear at times. I lost my dad this year and he was the first person who I loved with all my heart to go. The thought of my mom or sisters… I can’t even think about it.

  327. Oh Nancy, I am so sorry about the death of your husband. You are so right that grief makes us lose focus, especially early in. Concentrating can feel almost impossible. I find, even years later, that is still the case for me on especially tough days- anniversaries, birthdays, etc. Glad you found our site and hope it is of some support in the coming months.

  328. Grief, makes you lose focus . I lost my husband suddenly 10 days ago. I find I can’t focus on any thing, I just can’t focus, I go from thing to thing and it is so hard to complete a task. My husband and I loved each other very much. The one thing to me has really come out was everybody around us new this, I guess in my own world and did not realize people felt that way about us.

  329. Thank you so much for this list, it came at a time when I was doubting myself and wondering if I was going crazy. I just lost my husband on June 30, of this year. We would have been married 25 years in Jan 2014. It was all of a sudden even though he had been sick for sometime. I have been experiencing all of this. In fact I started crying after reading this list and relating them to how I have been feeling. Funny, I did not feel this way when my mother or grandmother passed away. When they passed, I felt relief for them and comfort. I know my husband is in a better place, and I know he is with me, and I take comfort in that.

  330. It’s ok to feel relief that your loved one has passed. After a long illness you may have most of your grief behind you and feel a sense of relief, release and freedom. Don’t feel guilty. It doesn’t mean you didn’t love them very dearly.

  331. Thank you for this list. My wife died a little over a month a go after a 15 year battle with breast cancer. She was to an inspiration to all of us. The list you provide certainly will help my family as we grieve our loss.

  332. This is so true and so important. its a different type of loss death grief

  333. Thanks so much Chris for sharing here. I just visited your blog and appreciate so much the incredible strength of your family and support from your friends — I was not familiar with mealtrain, but what an amazing effort from your friends. Though we often think about grief as associated with a death, grief comes in so many forms and around so many types of loss. Wishing you many happy days with your sons and continued strength, sense of normalcy, and sense of humor!

  334. Thank you for this post, I have two children that have a degenerative brain disorder called Juvenile Batten Disease. Grief is a daily occurence in our lives as we watch them slowly lose abilities. Batten Disease causes blindness, seizures and eventually the loss of motor skills such as walking, talking and even swallowing. We have not yet lost either of our children, but I grieve every time I recognize a decline in skills, I find myself angry because other 16 year olds are getting drivers licenses, and I cry. Alot. But, I also try to find a sense of normalcy and try to keep a sense of humor, it helps. Accepting help and support is a big challenge but we are trying to get better about this. I dread the day that is coming when we will lose one and then the other of our children to this cruel disease and this type of post puts it into perspective. Thanks again for sharing this.

  335. Every death is sudden.

  336. Also know that the person grieving may have never had such a loss before, and they themselves may say ignorant things. When my dad died almost two years ago, I was 29. I had already lost most of my grandparents, but I was not very close to any of them, so my dads death hit me harder than I was prepared for. I often said that it would have been easier had I been older and thus “expecting” his death. I now know that that’s of course not true.
    And telling me he had a nice long life never helped, because the age gap between us (41 years) meant that even though i was only 29, he was 70, and the unfairness of spending more of my life without a dad than with one is sometimes too much to bear. I’m glad someone pointed out the guilt associated with the passage of time; that’s been the only thing that hassle me truly feel like I’m crazy. “I want to keep hurting because that means that it just happened and I don’t have the possibility of another 50 years without dad looming ahead of me.
    Also, is it possible to make a printer-friendly version of this with the helpful comments somehow included?

  337. I agree completely, Litsa, that every loss is an individual one. People sometimes attempt to “comfort” by saying, “It could be worse…” measuring one person’s grief against another’s. It’s never helpful. When my son Max died in utero, the comparisons sometimes got absurd — was it worse to lose a child at full term (as we did) than to have a miscarriage? Is it worse to lose a child who is 10 years old than one who is 6? Is it worse to lose a parent or a spouse?

    Grief is always an individual process. It’s messy and it’s complicated. IMHO, the best thing we can do for each other is to honor a person’s own experience. Pain is pain; it lasts as long as it lasts; it is as devastating as that individual experiences it to be. All we can do is love one another through the process, without judgement or keeping score.

  338. When I saw the heading I thought to myself that 64 things was rather a lot….
    As I read through the list I found myself jumping ahead looking for the one that would make it better….no surprise it wasn’t there….
    What I did find though was a common thread, and guilt seems most prevalent ….along with the many many positive comments …..

    I lost my dear Bros earlier this year……it doesn’t matter why he died, as I’m fairly sure we all will eventually…..what matters is how he died….
    He died as he wished, at home and with his Wife and Son at his side……for honouring his wishes I am eternally grateful… it just fills me with equal parts of joy and sorrow.

    When I feel sad I just thank god (with a small g) that my Bruv was lucky enough to have been so loved….better to have loved and lost…and all that……

    Ps a damn good blub and medium dose of self pity mixed with fond memories helps me.
    …and as many post….’cut yourself some slack’ and.take solace where you find it
    Pps. Love you Bro….xx

  339. Stephanie, I’m so sorry about all the loss you’ve had to experience in your life. Thank goodness though that you are cancer free! That is an interesting comment about these being able to apply to something like cancer, you are very right.

  340. Thank you so much for this list! In 2007 I lost my little brother, age 40, who was my best friend to a single motorcycle drunk driving accident. Then 1 year later I lost my Grandmother who was instrumental in my childhood. In 2009 both of my parents (who had been divorced for 34 years) died from cancer only 6 days apart. In early 2012 I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. During treatments I was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer, unrelated to the breast cancer. Today I am cancer free. I wish I could have seen this list when I was experiencing all of the loss. It strikes me that in many of the lines Cancer could replace Death and it would also apply. I love #57. Death/Cancer does rewrite your address book. I can only agree that grief lasts forever. And it blind sides you. Like a kick to the stomach at times. Like a warm embrace at others. I love with my whole heart and don’t ever regret it.

    There is a moment in the movie Rabbit hole where amother who lost a child talked about it being as if she carried this brick in her pocket and sometimes she forgot for a while and lived her life but then aftef a few minutes she put her hand in her pocket and thoughf ” oh yeah. That.” Very well said.

  341. Thank you for your post. I’ve not heard people speak of this before and it is helpful in my circumstance. My wife was mentally ill and became abusive. So much so I had to move out. I spent her last night with her to get her to a court hearing in the morning and she took her life during the night while I was asleep. I still had love for her but there was too much fear to remain with her. Now I deal with all of the bad memories and try to forgive her for them, but there are so many of them the thoughts keep coming. We did have good times and I work to remember them. I have had some counseling but am starting another series with someone else to help deal with the PTSD associated with finding her. Thank You again.

  342. “No one ever told me that grief was so like “fear””… The more I read on this site, the more I enjoy what I read here. This site is like having a group of silent friends. The speak, they touch your soul in a way that even the closest of friends can’t find you …

  343. Colleen, I agree very much with what Diane says. #29 was submitted by one of our readers, so I cannot speak for what she intended, but for me the reason this was so important to include was because caregiving can be all-consuming. Your time, energy, and identity are deeply connected to the person who is ill. When that person dies the loss can have additional dimensions after caregiving. There can be complex feelings of relief and guilt, as well as a need to re-establish life after caregiving. Taking the time to acknowledge those emotions is so important. That may be through time away with friends you can talk to, a grief retreat, or on a smaller scale just talking to a counselor or support group if ‘getting away’ isn’t an option. Finding a caregivers support group while someone is sick can be a big help as well.

  344. Tom, I loved this book as well. In the very first passage is one of my favorite quotes about grief: “no one ever told me that grief felt so like fear”.

  345. Colleen
    re #29. I understand this. My mom was taking care of my aunt when she had cancer. It was the same time I had my daughter. My mom was afraid to leave my aunt to fly and see her first handbaby. She was afraid my aunt would die while she was gone and that my aunt only wanted her there. My mom’s dr told her to go or she was going to have a nervous breakdown. It was her debrief coming to see me. Being a caregiver is a very stressful event especially if the person is a family member. It takes it toll on a person.

  346. This is interesting to read because when my sister died suddenly my mom used the amputation as a comparison. My dad was an amputee and my mom said she felt like someone had severed both her arms from her body. She said the pain was so unreal she prayed to die, she felt like she was bleeding to death, she wanted to bleed to death even but she couldn’t just choose to bleed to death.
    She said I have to learn to live my life all over again without any arms. I won’t don’t but my life will never be the same.
    This is the most accurate reflection of the pain that death causes that I have ever read.
    God Bless

  347. I found CS Lewis’s book, A Grief Observed to be very helpful. He opens with the notion that losing a person you love is more like an amputation that, say, having your appendix out. After the removal of their appendix, there’s a recovery period and the person never thinks of it again, except occasionally when they catch sight of a small scar in the mirror. But with an amputation, you have pain in a limb that is not actually there, often for years and no matter how well you learn to get around on your prosthetic leg, every time you strap it on it reminds you that you will never again be a biped. But this is not to say that you can’t have a good and happy life as an amputee. But you don’t ‘get over’ an amputation, you adjust to it.

  348. Some people don’t know what to say, or will say, or will say the wrong things, but this doesn’t mean they don’t care. Consider whether you would have understood this grief before it happened to you.

    Sometimes grief will become a habit, it feels safe because you’ve been grieving so long that it starts to feel like part of you, like you don’t know how to be happy, or content, or calm. Grieving will feel like you are keeping that person in your life, but you can be happy without ‘letting them go’.

  349. Thank you, David. I believe I can understand some of the reasoning behind that woman’s feelings. When she lost her son, she had the support of her husband; when she lost her husband, she didn’t have her best friend to lean on anymore.
    For those who continue to insist that losing a child is the worst pain or grief, please understand that what you are doing is basically telling the rest of us that our grief is not as valid as yours. I can tell you that I am already struggling enough with feeling that I haven’t progressed as far as I had hoped at this point (it’s been almost two years since my husband passed away), and to hear that it’s not as bad because “it’s the natural order of things, unlike when a parent outlives their child” doesn’t help. It’s not natural to find your husband has passed away in his sleep without warning when you are only in your thirties. Yes, I have friends and family who are extremely supportive but at the end of the day, I’m alone in my house and wishing I could talk to my husband. I cannot begin to express how sad it is to know you are alone in your grief. I am not only grieving the loss of my husband and best friend, but also the future and family we will never have.

  350. I am a bereaved mother. I lost my youngest daughter in a tragic car accident on May 30, 2011. She had been 16 years old for only two months. Having lost both my parents, as well as all of my in-laws, grandparents, and some uncles, aunts and friends, I can tell you that there is no comparison. My father-in-law was brutally murdered in a crime that remains unsolved to this day. As horrible as that was, this is worse. I buried my baby. With all due respect, until someone has put their own child into the ground, they have no idea.

  351. I disagree with just one thing, death can be emergent. Sometimes you only get that one moment to say good bye, or hear good bye. There may not be closure but I believe it would be easier to face the death if you have the opportunity to say a few things before they die.

  352. A wonderful couple who were members of a church I pastored lost their son in a freak accident. They grieved together and became active in Compassionate Friends, working on their own grief and supporting others who had lost a child. A few years later the husband died in a freak accident. The wife told me, “Losing [our son] was terrible, but this is worse.”
    It was not that she had not bonded with her children. She was a wonderful mother to her sons.

  353. Number 29 has me curious. Could you tell us more of what you mean. Thank you!

  354. Irene,
    Although I understand the sentiment behind what your father said, for those of us who have lost our spouses very early in life, it is NOT normal. I hate when people say that it is so much worse or harder for people to lose their children. I know that I do not have children and cannot fathom that pain, but it seems few people understand what it’s like to lose your husband very unexpectedly before you’ve had a chance to have any children. It means you’ve not only lost your partner and best friend, but that you are suddenly left with an empty home and the possibility of the future you planned. And while you’re going through this, you don’t have the person you need most to lean on as you’re grieving.
    Again, I think the best policy is not to compare people’s grief AT ALL. No one’s grief is the same as another’s, and I don’t ever minimize anyone else’s grief. I wish people would stop implying that my grief is somehow “less than” because it is for my spouse instead of a child.

    • I could not agree more. I lost my husband almost a year ago to cancer. He was 38, I was 37. We had plans, hopes, dreams. No children, I am alone in bed every night and my shoulder to cry on is gone… My strength and ear to listen and comfort is gone… everyone in his large family and my family can cry and cuddle with their loved one, but I cry alone for my loved one that I cannot bring back. I get angry when people suggest losing my person in life is less. I am happy that someone else has these feelings. Thank you so much for sharing!

  355. Joan, my heart goes out to you.

  356. My late father once told me – to loose a parent is normal, to loose a spouse is also normal, to loose a sibling in later life, is also normal, but to loose a child is the hardest of them all.

  357. Thank you for this list. We lost our younger son suddenly in June of this year. I have been amazed at how primitive people are to the grieving process. It’s hard to get out and go through daily life, and to see people consciously avoiding you because they either don’t know what to say, or fear your horrific loss will happen to them, makes the grieving so much harder. I’m sure it was on your list in some form, but the people who helped us the most just did things-didn’t say “call me if you need anything” (who ever calls? Most of us don’t) or say “what can I do?” They just saw what needed to be done and did it-so grateful. Also, be sure to text/call/ send cards weeks and months after, as you think of it. The world goes on, but the griever’s heart is stopped.

  358. Any loss can cause feelings of grief, so be kind and patient

  359. Kaylin, I completely agree with you about crying…I know it’s necessary but I do not feel better afterwards, headache, heartache, red eyes and pain.

    I lost my son to suicide in Aug 2010, he was 30. My husband had a heart attack and died at work one year ago.

    I would add one thing to your list: not all the people who said,” If you need anything, anything at all” are able to back that up with action. It hurts but it doesn’t mean they don’t care.

  360. Great addition to this list!!

  361. It is OK to be happy, to enjoy life, celebrate new life joy for
    Me is very independent of my grief and I embrace
    The re entering of joyous emotions.
    Fortunately I had very wise counsel that had told
    Me it was OK to enjoy life and I want to pass
    Those words along. Let there be no guilt about it!

  362. I agree that not all losses are the same even in the case of the worst type of loss imaginable being that of a child (in my opinion). I also can’t imagine the grief of parents of missjng children who are never found, a whole other level to which I can’t fathom.
    My feeling though is that though grief is grief and is as unique as the person who has passed there IS a difference between a child loss compared to that of a friend, spouse or other family member.
    It is the umbreakable bond between a mother and child that makes it so.

    This explains it best:

    We are connected,My child and I, by An invisible cord…Not seen by the eye…It’s not like the cord…That connects us ’til birth…This cord can’t been seen….By any on Earth…This cord does its work…Right from the start….It binds us together…Attached to my heart….I know that it’s there….Though no one can see…The invisible cord….From my child to me….The strength of this cord…Is hard to describe…It can’t be destroyed…It can’t be denied…It’s stronger than any cord…Man could create….It withstands the test…Can hold any weight…And though you are gone..,Though you’re not here with me,…The cord is still there…But no one can see…It pulls at my heart..I am bruised…I am sore,…But this cord is my lifeline…As never before….I am thankful that God…Connects us this way….A MOTHER AND CHILD…Death can’t take it away!

  363. ?

    *** Post forbidden. Need manually approve. Request number 4cfe223e9d9ef958a198cbb7b7e0a804. Antispam service cleantalk.org. ***

  364. Crying is necessary, but it never really helps. It never makes me feel any better. It’s not a “satisfying” cry like crying when you’re stressed.

  365. I would have to agree with you with all of my heart that all grieving is not the same. I think it is an insult for someone to use the line ” I know how you feel”, regardless of the loss or the relationship.

    Relationships come fuull, they come void, they come filled with love and they come filled with loss.

    I find it scary to write the words, death of a child, let alone think I could ever compare any of my losses to that of a child –

    God Bless the Mothers and the Fathers, all of them who endure such pain

  366. I do agree with you on that! I also am a grieving mother…my daughter was 15 and passed 6/20/12…you are correct in saying not all losses are the same! Not even a parent who lost a child is the same as another!! I know locally of a mother who lost a child to murder one day after my daughter passed, and cannot relate to how she is grieving and her loss because i lost mine to an asthma attack which lead to brain damage….soooooo different. No loss feels the same for anyone! Thank you for saying that because I feel that way every single day

  367. This is so true, Carla. The pain of watching someone suffer is unbearable, and when we know death is coming it is such a common experience to begin grieving. It can be confusing when you haven’t gone through it- thank you for adding! We have a post about coping with anticipatory grief here: https://whatsyourgrief.com/anticipatory-grief/

  368. This is reassuring to read is some small way. On my Birthday this year, June 26th I sat in the middle of my living room floor and I wept and wept and wept. I prayed God would not let my mother suffer any longer. She passed one month later to the day. There are times I feel like I suffered more watching her than I have since she passed. I have created a bench at my summer place that is very park like, I’ve burned (etched into ) a bench there that reads ” Meet you by the Stream “… That is were was always said we would meet after death ( by the stream ). I have a tattoo on my foot that reads the same thing. Sometimes I question myself that the pain was more severe when she was alive than it has been since she left. I ma happy ? to read your comments. It leaves me feeling human..

  369. Sometimes we do most of our grieving before our loved one dies. There are some things far worse than death and when you see them suffering from horrendous pain day after day…..or put through one excruciating procedure after another, you experience deep grief. You grieve for what they’re going through and grieve because you can’t help. When they pray for deliverance from a failing body and death doesn’t come swiftly enough, you grieve. When they are finally at peace, free from suffering and pain, there can be tremendous relief because you’ve already been grieving for a very long time. Does that mean you don’t miss them? Absolutely not, but you can experience peace and celebrate them home in heaven!

    • I thought I had done my grieving whilst my mum was ill, but nothing like the emptiness I feel now she has gone.
      When I sobbed in her lap she comforted me. Now who will wipe away my tears.

  370. Eric, Thanks and these are OUTSTANDING additions. I especially love what you say about forgetting and the new type of guilt that brings- so very true. I think the reason there can be a twisted comfort in grief is that the grief itself is a sign we still remember. As hard as the pain of grief can be, reconciling the reality that we will eventually start to forget can be equally as hard. Thank you so much for adding to the list!

  371. First, thank you. Despite feeling like poking wounds I long thought scarred over, this trip down darker segments of Memory Ln was somehow reassuring. Contributions from my own experiences:

    Your tears will bring a true and literal understanding of the term “gut-wrenching” and you’ll wish you could never cry again. Your wish will come true but this will also be painful and you’ll wish you’d never willed away the tears. This wish will also come true.

    “Grief can make you question your faith.” You may not like the answers.

    “Why?” and “What if…?” are unanswerable. The trick is to figure out how to live without the answers.

    You may find the person you lost was the glue that held your family/friends together. You might drift apart temporarily or permanently, or you might find new glue.

    Others may act like the person you lost was perfect. You’ll feel like the only one who saw imperfections and this will make you feel guilty.

    It’s okay to be mad at the person for leaving you.

    You will forget – things about them, or them altogether for a moment – and this will bring a new style of guilt. You will remember them in unexpected ways.

    It’s okay to live, laugh, love.

  372. Lisa,
    Well said.
    I can’t imagine running into the mother who said the loss of her child or children was not the worst of her losses in regard to grief but I guess there is likely the percentage that don’t bond with their children. So sad.
    Your work is good, God bless you!

  373. Guilt is a waste of your well needed energy (even if years have gone by)…process it, but don’t keep processing it over and over to the point that you become harmful to your “progress in your process”. Grief is a process. I agree it is one that you never “get over”, but you will gain ‘progress’ in the healing/pain. Love every single one of these! Thank you for sharing!

  374. Whether one has lost a family member, a pet, a friend, a job or something else that has held personal significance, the stages of grief are very real. Theses points and comments are very helpful, and many are ones I have shared with others or have said to myself in order to remember them. The most important lesson I have learned about grief is that there are no rules. Everyone grieves differently and in his/her own way, often without realizing what is happening to them.

    Thank you for this website; I plan to share it with others!


  375. Grief – You can’t go around it. You can’t go over it. You can’t go under it. You have to go THROUGH it.

  376. “She lived a good life ” because she was older ) – Is not an appropriate response to a grieving child of an older parent…

    “S/ looks good ” ( viewing comment ) – Is not an appropriate statement. S/he is dead for gods sake, you are an idiot, how can she look good..

    Thank god it is okay to be angry that people say stupid things … They showed up to show their support for you, their respect for the deceased * Remember that, not the stupid comments if you can…

    • When we lost our Grandson and saw him for the last time, I truly believed he was beautiful…I still do, but when I expressed that thought to his Mother, she was offended so be very careful…saying nothing may be best.

    • My baby son was very unwell in his last week of life and was very swollen. After he passed I went to visit him after the funeral director said he looked perfect.
      He did look beautiful, perfect like a doll. It’s really helped me to remember him looking well and not unwell. Very important for my mental health.

  377. God finds a way to bring joy back into your life even when you least expect it. God knows our pain more than anyone for he didnt spare his son for us. I dont know you personally but my heart suffers with you as I lost my oldest son last year also. I am sorry for your lost but you just continue to hold on to the love of Christ and all the years he gave you with that precious life. He is not gone honey he just went home before you…..my love to you in Christ!

  378. I lost my son last year. There is an emptiness in me that will always be there. I sometimes have a hard time holding back the emotion. I can just think of something and It is like it just happened all over again. God has been my constant strength through this nightmare. I smile and laugh and live life to the fullest but I will never be the same, I am just waiting on God to return so that I can see him again, hold him and tell him my heart. I dont know if I did before by now I take nothing for granted. I tell everyone I love them and hug them when I see them as much as I can. I never want my love for them to not be known. Cherish all the time God gives you with the people you love cause time is fleeding and they are gone in the blink of an eye. Also thank you for letting me know that I am normal in my grief. I am a nurse and I come into contact with alot of pain, I know God guides me through each day and uses me as a vessel through this tragedy. God has been changing my life in miraclous ways. I am blessed and thankful for the Love of Christ!

  379. Thanks so much for these great recommendations! We have some grief activity books for kids here that might also be helpful https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-activity-books-for-kids-3-9/

  380. Great suggestions, Lucie. Thanks so much!!

  381. Lucie Brandt (MA., CCC)October 8, 2013 at 4:38 pmReply

    I like the point above about not “protecting children” from grieving processes:

    The following is an excellent book for parents:

    WHEN A PARENT IS SICK (Subtitle: Helping Parents Explain Serious Illness to Children) by Joan Hamilton

    The above resource is helpful if you and your spouse are on the same page with respect to what is going on. If this is not the case, it may be helpful to speak to a Couple and Family Therapist.

    This is another excellent book which deals with death, divorce, pet loss, moving and other losses: WHEN CHILDREN GRIEVE by James, Friedman and Matthews.

  382. Lucie Brandt (MA., CCC)October 8, 2013 at 3:43 pmReply

    It may be helpful to write some pointers for people who are grieving (or about to grieve) the loss of someone who has hurt them very deeply or with whom they have had a difficult relationship:

    “if you are grieving the loss of someone who has hurt you deeply, the process of grieving may take longer and may be more difficult to process.”

    “the loss of someone who has hurt you deeply will surely bring up old wounds, regrets, and “unfinished business”. To the extent that love was absent from the relationship, these wounds may make the emotions of grieving all the more difficult to tolerate.

    “Remember that the brain is wired to be biased toward negative thoughts and memory recall. If possible, take the time to reflect upon / remember the positive.”

    “It is normal and acceptable at times to feel relieved after someone has died.”

  383. I recently lost in June, my ONLY child, my son Marco, after he fought 32yrs with cystic fibrosis. I raised him as a single mom, the father bailed when my son was 3. I love my son and will see him again, but in the meantime, I’m punished to be alone …no other kids, no spouse, no reason to have joy…guilt, remorse, regret…I carry darkness till I die…and wish Jesus would return so I can see my boy again

    • Cassandra Hutchison-ThompsonMay 27, 2016 at 6:49 pmReply

      I hope your doing okay, and I hope you were able to see a glimpse of the light, to get you out from the darkness.. its tough, extremely difficult, but you can do it.

      • Joan ur son was very blessed to have u as his mummy u will be together again an that is something we should look forward to god bless

  384. Cherish, that is so hard and I’m so sorry. It can be do difficult when we don’t anticipate how deeply a loss will impact us. It sounds like your relationship with your mom has been complicated. As one of our readers submitted for this list, when someone dies you are often left grieving your past, present, and future with that person. That can be overwhelming, especially if the relationship hasn’t always been easy. Take care.

    • I lost my mother last week. She was 59. Such a shock. She went in hospital for open heart surgery and never came out again. Seeing her lying there dead whilst still on the hospital ward was the most heartbreaking thing I have ever seen. She had been ill with heart disease for some time, through no fault of her own, but the system failed her badly. I was just starting to think about her 60th birthday which would have been in December. Sadly she will never see another birthday. And we will never see her loving smile again either. I’m 42 myself, she had me and both my sisters at a very young age. She was the bravest, sweetest person I have ever known. She loved life. And everyone loved her.

  385. I am so sorry about your dad. It can be so hard when others tell you when and how to grieve. It is so different for everyone, which is the worst when people start imposing their timeline or experience on you! Your grief is your own, and you deserve all the time, space, and support you need.

  386. Hi Christie, I am so sorry for your loss. I have not lost a child and cannot even begin to imagine the devastation and pain of that loss. We did not mean to imply that all losses are the same, but rather that you cannot compare losses. Having gone through our own losses and worked professionally with many people who have lost children, spouses, parents, siblings, etc, our experience has been that each loss is unique and extremely difficult to compare to another. It is tempting for one mom to say to another who has lost a child, ‘I know how you feel’ or ‘I know what you are going through’. Though they may have more insight than someone who has never lost a child, our experience is that each loss is as unique as the relationship between that particular mother and her child. The same can be said for spouses, children who’ve lost parents, etc- the same type of loss does not always mean the same experience.

    There is no question some losses have more devastating impacts than others, but I have found it helpful over the years to look at any loss individually to understand that impact. So many people who have suffered multiple losses have shared their surprise when the death the thought would be the ‘easiest’ or the ‘hardest’ was not what they expected, so I always am cautious to make any blanket assumptions. For many who have suffered multiple losses they have shared the loss of a child (no matter the age) as the worst of those losses, but not always, which is why we caution against the idea of comparing or assuming that one can fully understand another’s experience because they have suffered the same type of death. Thank you for your insight and sharing your loss and experience here. I think as we all share experiences it makes us all a little better equipped to support each other.

  387. Multiply the quality and volume of this list by the number of deaths that occur in your circle of family and friends in a short period of time.

  388. Thank you I need this my mom just passed 2 weeks ago from cancer she has been mentally ill all my life so wasn’t as close as other mother and daughters so I truly felt I wasn’t going to have a hard time with her passing but I was truely wrong I wept like I never have before and with in days I felt guilt for the anger I had all my life towards her even if I felt justices before I felt broken when she left I’m deal and going though the motions I helped take care of her at the end made my amends and had that time but yes her passing has changed me for ever

  389. Am wondering if the author has ever lost a child? (In regard to differences in loss) I humbly disagree that all losses are the same and that none worse than another. As a mother, and speaking for other mothers who are grieving their child or children of any age, I can tell you there is a difference. A big difference. I have experienced several losses (friends, other family members, etc. and none compare.) I do agree that every loss is valid and painful and even unique to the person grieving. I especially agree that time does not heal all wounds and that many grieving mothers no matter how much time has passed are functioning on Gods life support and in a state of waiting. Waiting with the promise of being reunited in Heaven with their child (ren. God bless.

    • I have lost a child, he was 26. My husband took his life 2 years ago. 43 years of marriage and today is our anniversary. It’s a rough day. I feel like I have aged a thousand years. People say how strong I am but in the meantime I battle each day to place 1 foot in front of the other. Working hard staying busy it helps but there are days like today it seeps through and takes over.

      • Oh Kate, I can’t even imagine what it has been like to endure so much loss. I hope you find some connection and support on this site. Do you have a therapist or support group for support?

      • Very true words from this mum I know I have been there

      • I can understand your loss. My father at 76 was a Veteran and this past Aug. 2016 he went to the VA hospital on Long Island and shot himself. He was my best freind and I’m in constant pain and have outburst of crying. The media was all over it. I not only had to deal with his death but stayed away from the TV, radio & internet because it was so publicized. I never read comments from people which I heard some where very cruel.

      • I am so very sorry for all of you that have lost a loved one! I lost my lovely 36 year old daughter to suicide Oct. 2, 2016. There is nothing anyone can say to make me feel better right now…it will just take time. She was living in the US at the time …we are in Canada. We don’t know why her death happened: she left her beloved pets behind, in the house, abandoned. They were like her children!! We had seen her just 10 days before this, when she visited us and came to see our new house and spend some time with us and her friends from high school…a reunion. She was happy! She also visited her father (my former husband) and quite rightly felt mistreated…that I do know. But once back at her home she showed no signs of wanting to leave this earth…we spoke on the phone earlier that day as she also did with her friends in a group chat that morning, and she had a mammogram the day before. She ordered some merchandise online on Amazon. She and her husband were going to buy a house the following week and she asked me to come down when they did, and help her decorate it! She was found dead, of a single gunshot wound to the head, on her side, gun in her nondominant hand by Police who broke into the house after her husband couldn’t get ahold of her that evening. He was in another State. Someone in the coroners office “forgot” to do toxicology samples, then she was cremated pretty much right away. Her inlaws returned with her husband to deal with the situation but they did not even suggest to send a garment for her to wear for cremation. We did not suggest as they seemed to be in control of all the arrangments. A Memorial was hastily put on by her colleagues and the husband and his parents attended, but they “forgot” to bring my daughters cremains to this ceremony. We did not attend due to being in shock and questioning the whole situation. We were perplexed and well….. So many questions unanswered. Her inlaws to this date have NOT acknowledged her death at all to us-her parents- in expressing any type of condolence by phone, email or anything. Our daughter used to tell us they told her she was a most wonderful daughter in law! They have ignored us totally. This makes us more sad even though we had never met them as our kids married 9 years ago…they sort of eloped…no parents in attendance. We have always been over the top kind and generous to their son. A mystery….

    • I lost my 24 year son to suicide. It will be 18 months on the 11th. It’s not getting any “easier” or less difficult. Everyone’s moved on and expectations seem to be that I should be further along than I am. I have yet to get counseling or find a group, as I have been so devastated. I’m ridden with guilt. His father really never had anything to do with my son as he moved back to his country when my baby was 20 months old. It was my Don an me for 8 years growing up together until I remarried when he was 10. Well that marriage did not last and my son was again heartbroken, as was I about love, loss and relationships. Anyway, he left behind an almost 6 year old little girl, whom I see every other weekend.
      I read so many posts here but did not see much on how to deal with the loss caused by suicide, especially that of a child. I’ve lost grandparents and uncles and friends, but nothing in this world has compared to this utter devastation. At times I feel and believe that I myself cannot go on. The if onlys and the what ifs and the should haves are making me crazy. The self blame that I didn’t do all I could for my son, after we saw that he was in a bad place and suicidal six months prior to the actual completion. Are there articles you can point me to?
      I’ve read about 6 or 7 books on suicide and mental illness. I think that I might be ready to go out and actually deal with people in group, or a therapist. Are there sites that you would recommend?
      Thank you

      • Hi Caroline,
        it’s been 10 months since your comment and I hope you’d found the appropriate group for you for dealing with suicide grief. In case you haven’t, I recommend Alliance of Hope, which is specifically for people losing their loved ones to suicide. It’s a safe community where everyone understands this particular kind of grief. My son took his own life 10 weeks ago, and this community been a great help for me.

    • My 35 year old daughter killed herself almost 4 months ago. She attempted before and I knew she felt depressed isolated sad. We had a tumultuous relationship and she died while feeling angry and hurt by me. I was beginning to set boundaries with her and I wasn’t very good at it and went overboard. I am so full of guilt regret and feelings that have no names. I feel like I killed her. I’ve read all the books I could find on suicide loss. One of the best is “NoTime to Say Goodbye.” I also found SOS Survivors of Suicide helpful. I’ve read it 4 times so far. You can find in on the website for the association of suicidology. I have my daughter’s dog. A little piece of her. I still text my baby girl. I’m not ready to say goodbye to her. I find that now I expect the worst to happen. I work 40 hours a week, visit with friends, date a man, exercise, see a therapist, cherish my other daughter and two grandchildren, walk, read and cry at the most unexpected times. I smile and say “ok” when asked “how are you?” I want to live and enjoy the rest of my life. I have learned a few lessons from this tragedy. One is that it is not my place to try to solve other people’s problems. There’s many layers to this lesson. I miss my daughter every single day. I too put one foot in front of the other even when I don’t want to. I wish you peace even if only for seconds at a time.

  390. Wow! Amazing list. I just wanted to say thank you for it. I’m 22 and my dad whom I was extremely close to passed away a year and a half ago. Many days are still a struggle and sometimes I feel guilty that I’m still grieving or get told by my siblings that I need to get over it already. This was a much needed reminder that its ok to grieve.

  391. That is so true- death and grief so often seem these abstract concepts until they touch you and those you love.

  392. Absolutely- this kind of loss can be so hard because other people don’t always acknowledge just how devastating it can be, since it isn’t a death. If you click on #48 about ‘valid losses” it will take you to a post about disenfranchised grief that you may find useful.

  393. Oh Amy, I am so sorry you are dealing with the illness and the loss of such a rewarding profession. So often non-death losses are not acknowledged by others, but they can be just as traumatic and difficult. Glad this post was helpful.

  394. Thank you for this beautiful list. So much thought put into it. I recently became very ill and lost the ability to work, a job that I really enjoyed because it brought me great purpose (working as a physician). Since the loss of my physical ability to work, I have dealt with some form of grief. Your list is wonderful and made me feel less alone. Thank you!

  395. It’s okay to laugh (I always think about the Mary Tyler Moore episode when Chuckles the Clown dies) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihLJrcS8lsg

    • No..it’s not okay and never the same.

    • Thank you for sharing that Mary Tyler Moore episode! I just watched it and laughed and laughed as the characters found that in remembering Chuckles the Clown they experienced joy again. In my grief I do try to remember my fiances crazy sense of humor and know that he wants me to laugh again.

  396. The Grandpa who ruined ChristmasOctober 7, 2013 at 3:06 pmReply

    Grief does not only happen when someone dies. The same kind of grief can also be felt when a family member will no longer associate with you.

    • Agreed. I grieve the life, love, and support that I never had or received. I am 50+ now and the grief overwhelms me NOW more than ever b/c my time on this earth is winding down. My attempts to make my life better have not worked, so far. I’ve moved and distanced myself from abusive birth family. The loss is irreparable(sp). I just pray each day and “pull up”. The take away that I have to offer is: Your pets sense when you are grieving and re-coiling. Be mindful of this. They will comfort you, but don’t over burden them. It makes for a depressing household. God bless.

    • Why do you say you ruined Christmas?

    • If it’s not too personal may I ask why you think you ruined Christmas?

    • My son passed away 3 weeks afterwards my mom and dad quit talking to me it’s been 3 years since we have spoken they said I cried too much I made it too hard on everybody else but my ccrs my mom bailed on me when I needed her the most when I had no one having knowing that I thought could possibly understand more than her after all she was my mother I grievved all by myself! Its another punch in the gu,t the throat ,the head and my feet kicked out from under me

      • Kim, your post, your reality — it’s horrific. You did not deserve that. I’m so sorry you have experienced that. I just can’t imagine. With time having passed, do you have any insight into why their reaction was to pull away — including from you when you needed help the most?

      • Kim, I’m so very sorry for the loss of your precious angel, I’m crying as I tell you this, it’s a pain that you cannot begin to express fully, because however you describe it, the pain you carry is way more horrid, I lost my spouse Jan 31 2015 , neither of us had ever been in love before, there really is soulmates, I said several times that the only thing that would be as horrid ( for me anyway) would be the loss of a child, I’m not the same person I was, ppl will say things that hurt but not mean to, like my mom who told me I need to stop grieving over something because it didn’t pan out n move on because if it had been me that passed, that he would’ve moved on quickly,,I cried, I said yeah because I wouldn’t be worth grieving over, my sister n daughter say move on,,,my mom, sis n daughter are also happily married, we won’t be here much longer, thank the good Lord ,,peace be with you

  397. What a wonderful list. Thank you for bringing all these truths together – I shall share on my Joyful Mourning page.

  398. Grief drives home the reality that death knocks on your door, it just doesn’t happen to ” other people” or on TV. It’s real & finite to you & those you love most.

    • It’s ok to write letters to your love one keeping them tucked away in a safe place and going there when you tho k of them or need to tell them something. You’re not crazy you’re gonna cry but it helps so much…

      • I wish someone had told me their are different kinds of love. Many that use the word “love” find me expendable. To tbe people I have lost they were not expendable nor was I to them.

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