Reconnecting with Life After Loss (One step at a time)

You’ve been there before.  Heck, we’ve all been there.

It’s been a long week, you’re tired, the weather’s not that great, and it is utterly impossible to imagine anything as enjoyable as changing into your pajamas, ordering a pizza, opening a bottle of wine, and snuggling in for some quality couch time.  Sure you made plans to meet up with friends, but it’s okay to cancel just this once.

Fast forward and you’ve rescheduled those plans.  You’re due for some quality time with friends, but the same couch is tempting you to come hither.  “Come sit on me,” it says, “Netlflix awaits. And, oh, what is this?  Why it’s a big comfy blanket.”  It’s decision time friends, what will you do?  The easy thing – give into the couch, or the hard thing – see your long lost friends?

Personally, I engage in these battles all the time, and I bet you do as well.

Round one:  Make healthy dinner vs. grab take out

Round two:  Go to the gym vs. “no thank you!”

Round three: Call a friend and make plans vs. don’t commit to doing something you might not want to do later

Round four: Sign up for that class vs. self-doubt and cynicism

Ideally, you would always decide to invest your energy in the things that bring you fulfillment, enjoyment, satisfaction, and connection, even if these things felt challenging. But being realistic, we know that most people opt for the easier choice from time to time, even if it isn’t the wisest.

This may be especially true when you’re grieving, because when you’re grieving you have a whole slew of reasons for taking shortcuts, disengaging, and withdrawing socially and emotionally.  Here are a few:

  • You feel distracted or as though you can’t focus on anything other than your loss/grief.
  • You feel like you have to conserve your energy to deal with the emotion and stress of grief.
  • You feel as though the things you once enjoyed now seem meaningless or unimportant.
  • You disengage from activities because they remind you of your loved one.
  • You feel anxious about seeing people/social interaction.
  • You feel anxious about running into grief triggers.
  • You feel anxious about becoming emotional in front of others.
  • You no longer feel like a capable and competent person.
  • The world no longer feels like a safe and reliable place.
  • It feels safe and comfortable to not push yourself.
  • Engaging in activities feels like a betrayal or as though you’re “moving on”.
  • You think you will feel better in time, so you decide to stay at home and wait it out.

It’s protective and adaptive, when you only have so much energy, to focus it on the places where it is most needed.  It’s normal to let some of your day-to-day routine fall by the wayside during times of hardship and crisis.  However, one should be mindful of how much they are cutting out and for how long. There is often a fine line between temporarily disengaging and more harmful long-term social and/or emotional withdraw.

Consider this, disengaging from previously fulfilling and enjoyable activities can contribute to depression.  The Society of Clinical Psychology notes that,

“When people get depressed, they may increasingly disengage from their routines and withdraw from their environment. Over time, this avoidance exacerbates depressed mood, as individuals lose opportunities to be positively reinforced through pleasant experiences, social activity, or experiences of mastery.”  

Although depression and grief are different, both experiences may cause someone to retreat from life and, in either scenario, that person is cut off from sources of support, coping, and positive emotion and may ultimately end up feeling worse.

One therapy that has proven effective in treating depression is called behavioral activation.  Through behavioral activation, depressed clients increase their engagement with activities that provide them with opportunities to experience social support, well-being, positive feelings, and confidence. Following a similar line of reasoning, we might assert that the more grieving people engage with life, the more opportunity they will have to process their emotions, connect, receive support from others, and experience positive feelings.

Before you get overwhelmed, we are not talking about going “back to normal” or a complete reintegration with your “normal activities”.  We’re talking about actively choosing small and worthwhile activities and deliberately planninto do them. Let’s talk specifically about this means.

What have you stopped doing since experiencing the death of your loved one?  More specifically, what do you no longer do that you used to previously enjoy or find fulfilling? These may be things that you stopped doing because…

  • you don’t have the time
  • they require too much effort
  • they remind you of your loved one
  • they seem less fun.

Now, what if I told you that by deliberately deciding to do these things again, or by choosing new things to try, that you might start to feel a little bit better? Or that by doing these things you are actually, in many ways, coping with your grief? Some outlets – like supportive friends, journaling, advocacy, art – help you directly process your grief-related emotions and experiences.  While others are simply healing in that they help you connect with others, feel a sense of mastery or fulfillment, allow you to feel calm and at peace, increase your physical wellbeing, or simply help you to feel human again.

I know these things seem small in comparison to your big problems and stressors, but one way to think of coping is as small steps on a very large staircase, where each step could potentially help you feel a little bit better. 


Getting started:

Ask yourself, what does a typical day currently look like?

Literally, write your hour-to-hour schedule down and ask yourself:

  • What is filling up your time?
  • Is it filled with a whole lot of nothing or is it filled with way too much?
  • In looking at the activities, how many feel draining?
  • Be honest, how much of your day is scheduled around worries, anxieties, and the need to avoid?
  • How many activities are there in your schedule that help you (1) take care of yourself (2) directly cope with your grief (3) feel positive feelings?
  • What used to be a part of your schedule that you’ve now stopped doing?

Make a plan.

If you’ve cut out activities that used to be an important part of your life, things that had inherent value, then it may be time to schedule them back in.  Now, some of these activities may no longer feel pleasurable, perhaps because nothing feels pleasurable, they may remind you of your loved one, they require effort, or because they force you to confront difficult emotions.  You should consider scheduling them in anyway.  Once you get over the hump/your fears/anxieties – whatever it is – you may find that these activities are worthwhile again.

Next, consider what other positive/constructive/therapeutic activities you could begin to work into your schedule for the first time.  Are there coping tools you’d like to try?  Are there ways you want to honor and remember your loved one?  Are there physical health issues you’d like to work on?  Think about these things as well.


After you’ve taken stock of your schedule and the types of activities that are missing, it’s time to schedule them in.  Literally, schedule them into the hour.  You may want to think about your day leading up to the activity as well.  For example, if you want to go to the gym at 10 am but you typically sleep until 9:30 am, you may need to schedule an earlier wake-up time and a breakfast time as well.  Be realistic and be honest with yourself.

It may help you to ask other people to keep you accountable.  Ask someone to do the activity with you, or at least ask them to follow up with you to make sure you did it.  If you have a counselor or support group, talk to them about your plans and ask them to ask you how it went next time they see you.

As they say, “just do it”.

Don’t give in to your excuses, rationalizations, or reasons why not. And if you are skeptical, then prove us wrong. In other words, just try it and see.

While engaging in the activity, pay attention to how you are feeling.  Comparing yourself to how you felt at your worst, not your ideal best, do you feel any better?  If the answer is yes, good!  If the answer is no – I feel worse – then ask yourself why because this may be useful information as well.

Be prepared for it to be difficult at times.

After someone dies, some of our most valued and fulfilling experiences are often colored with a tinge of pain.  Part of coping with grief is learning to tolerate and work through painful emotions so prepare to feel frustrated and to doubt yourself and to feel all sorts of emotion – but please believe it is worth it in the end.

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June 25, 2018

82 responses on "Reconnecting with Life After Loss (One step at a time)"

  1. An orphan at 30. I just turned 30 and lost my mother 3 weeks back. It was all so sudden, she was normal and healthy and passed away to cardiac arrest. When I look back now I see that she had slowly deteriorated but only looking back now can I connect the dots. My dad had passed away to Pancreatic Cancer 4 years back and now to lose my mother is even more devastating. She was a good soul and I can’t believe I am going through this. Life has been so unfair to me.

    • Same here, pal! I’m 29 and my mother passed away two weeks ago and my father passed away 3 years ago. It’s damn hard to re-adjust…

  2. Same here, mom pass 2019:
    reading these, now im like ” cant let it win, cant let grief win “. There is a God Jesus — He is for real — He did/does His Work — we do ours, Til He Says So… its difficult, we do self care, get ourselves out from under the bridge…go on…In Jesus Name…😇

  3. 06 September 2018- I lost my dad after a long battle with liver disease. I have yet to come to terms with this I am 36 and at a crossroads in my life. Time hasn’t made anything easier.

    • I lost my aunt on december 9th 2005 the only person who made me feel like i fit in with my family i still have not been able to “move on” but everyone else has…the only reason im responding is selfish you have her name.. and i was going through old letters from my aunt,pictures..missing her.. found this website.. saw your post and you had her name and couldnt help myself

    • The man my aunt loved had aids he knew he was infected..he didnt tell her…didnt want to lose her.. becaused he loved her i dont think i can ever get over her passing.
      Id like to try and help if i can

  4. My father died almost 3 years ago at age 83, mainly from pancreatic cancer but he also had LB dementia. He was sick for 5 years. His wife was his main caretaker but I helped also.

    I spent the first year going to work only because I had to, and coming home and going to bed.

    I miss him every day. But I also tell myself every day that he is out there somewhere. I know that on some level, somehow.

    Peace for you all.

  5. My mother had terminal cancer , it was a 5 year long and painful journey. I was still living at home with her, taking care of her. Watching her wither away slowly and painfully was excruciatingly painful… there are no words… She was my world. My everything.

    On the 14th of April 2018, she died. She was only 63.

    After the funeral I reconnected with my father to whom I have had a poor, resentful relationship with since their divorce from when I was but a child.
    We had a sort of reconciliation, and rekindleing our relationship.

    25th of November 2018 my father went into cardiac arrest. He died at the hospital.
    I was only 25 years old when my parents died.

    Now My life is like in monotone, and reversed. When I’m awake it’s like a sick, bleak horrific nightmare so I sleep most of the days away as it’s the only time I might see and be with them in my dreams..
    Its like I Sleep and wait for better days.. but then again what better days? Everything and anything I would accomplish Would be for ever bitter sweet. Getting my driving license, first job, marriage? Bitter sweet.
    – From a lost and broken girl in her 20s

    • I so understand how you feel. My father passed away 13 years ago. I wrote 12 then had to change it. My mom had 33 surgeries during her life.. After my dad.. just when I thought nothing could make me feel worse.. She got breast cancer a year later. We go through that only to have her develop PLS. The ultra rare, far more painful version of ALS. She slowly became paralyzed… one limb at a time. It was paralysis but with full spasticity and pain 24×7. It was horrendous. Stayed the last 6 months at home from work so I could give her her wish dying at home with her kids (my brother is deaf and that just made things so much more complicated). Anyway yeah, I have no one else and I may love my brother but it’s not the same. Life is not the same.
      Anyway, sending you hugs, and if you ever want to chat, I’m here for you.

  6. my mother passed away on 12/07/2019. We were talking and the next moment she fell over and within 3 minutes she was gone. She passed away in front of me. The post Morton showed she had a massive heart attack. I am 35 years old. She was my whole life. She was my pillar and my alpha and omega. After more than a week after her passing i still find it hard to believe that i will never see her again. Now i just want to get away and start a new life elsewhere

    • I know how you feel. I lost my mom suddenly from heart failure on July 2. Took her to the ER because she wasn’t feeling well and she passed within 48 hours. I never thought this would happen. I miss her terribly and just don’t know how to keep going. In grief counseling now.

    • Eddie- I lost my dad on July 12 as well. He was outside, felt dizzy and fell back and was gone in a minute. Doctors said he most likely suffered a heart attack as well. It has completely broken my heart. Three months now, and I’m still crying every day. I’m so sorry that you lost your mom like this too. The pain from their sudden absence is paralyzing. Thoughts to you, Eddie.

  7. Celine M. WojnarowskiJuly 1, 2019 at 11:20 amReply

    I found this site by accident after crying for a week. It has been 3 months (March 30, 2019) since my mother died at the age of 95 and I haven’t cried until last week. I didn’t realize how tired my body was taking care of her and how a routine of 40 years suddenly gone could affect me. I have a hole in my life where responsibility once lived. I imagined a life without her as a someday experience, but now that it is here, I find that I am in no way prepared for it. I am waiting for life to get back to normal, to find something to fill that hole in my life. I have no family support since their lives continue on in normalcy while I’ve had the rug pulled out from under me. I have coped by re-decorating my home, removing clutter, and letting go of things I no longer needed or cared about. In letting go of small stuff it is easier to let go of mother. Small changes help me to deal with the large change and realize that nothing is a given and nothing stays the same forever. Everything in life changes. My life won’t ever be the same without my mother who was with me for 65 years, but taking life slower and making little changes just by moving the glasses to another cupboard in the kitchen has helped. You don’t need a plan, just move a plant to another spot. Getting used to it being somewhere else, i remind myself that mother is somewhere else now, too!

  8. Thank you all for sharing your sad expierences . I hope it helps even one person on this thread .
    I know how most of you feel . I lost my parents recently , my brother , and my aunt . All within 5 months .
    I can only manage to do what has to be done daily ( caring for my dog , grooming myself , etc ) other than that , I have no energy or interest in anything else . Life has become meaningless to me . I have become like a recluse . Waiting to feel even half human again . Everyone I toook care of while sick , all did what most of us do … went to work , did activities , planned for the future and their retirement someday & for what ? The reward was illness then death .
    I tried to stay in contact with friends , however they could not handle what to say to me or how to say it so they chose the cowards was out by dropping out of my life . Between the deaths of my loved ones , and friends abandoning me ( another reason for that is I can’t give them anything right now as I’ve always done so they don’t need me anymore )
    You realize when these uncontrollable things happen to us , that it comes down to ourselves and God . That’s it .
    Just ourselves and God . He will never foresake us . I talk to God all the time & ask him to help me get thru this life and let me find some joy and peace before it’s my turn to go home to heaven . I don’t want things or money , they are all temporary – just to feel an ounce of joy again & soñé peace is all I pray for . There is no other way but to ask God for help . All of this meditation advice , join a self help group , is all nonsense . God bless you all & May you find joy and peace again .

  9. On February 3, 2019, I walked into my bedroom to find my beautiful wife of 17 years had passed away some time in the night. She wasn’t sick, was in good health, never drank or did any drugs, her heart just stopped they say. I am left with raising our two teenage boys who are angels themselves, but everything in this world has become worthless to me. I ask God all the time to please just take me and I know that isn’t fair to these boys but the pain I feel constantly each day is overwhelming. I miss my best friend so much and even four months later find it unconscionable that I must live out the rest of my days without her. I feel that even at 44, my wife was 42 btw, I will never replace this woman and will live my remaining days alone and miserable.

    • I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss. There is nothing that anyone can say or do to fill that space in your heart. My prayer is that healing will come in time in some unexpected way. I pray peace in your heart and for your boys. I just had a unexpected devastating loss of my brother, but I do not profess to know your pain. I just wanted to reach out and send you a loving thought because what you wrote was palpable and my heart hurt for you. God bless you and your boys and I’m incredibly sorry.

    • Hi,
      Your post just broke my heart and I wanted to reach out. I lost my husband in exactly the same way a few weeks ago. He was 52 and had an undetected heart issue. It was the shock of my life. Please know that you are not alone in this. It is a horrible, senseless thing and we have no control over it. It is a hurricane that destroyed our lives. The main thing that is really helping me now is the support of friends and family, acquaintances and strangers. Let them help you. You and your boys need and deserve to feel love and care from others.

    • Hello,
      I don’t know if I should reply to you. I do know how you feel and its impossible to put it into words. My wife passed away suddenly last January. We were both divorced from bad marriages and met in extraordinary circumstances. We became friends, lovers, soul mates and married. Our marriage of 15 years was wonderful. My whole life revolved around my wife. She was wonderful. An angel. I am the luckiest man on earth to have met her and shared my life with her. Now I am stuck in hell. Nobody understands the mental torture I am going through, the loneliness, guilt, regrets, loss and nothingness. My wife loved our home and me. Now my home, like me, is an empty shell. I don’t care abut it or myself. I do not have children. If I had, maybe I would focus all my love for my wife on them, and rear them to adulthood as she would have wanted. I know that sounds damn near impossible but its not.

  10. I’ve been sitting here crying and found these comments and decided to comment myself. I have lost both of my parents and 2 years ago lost my husband of 46 years. I took care of all of them during their sickness and now I feel lost. I have two children, but they have their lives . I know I need to get involved with church again, and I’m trying to do that. It’s so hard and I find at times it’s just easier to just stay home! Tomorrow is Father’s Day and I’m thinking of my dad and husband and how lonely I feel and wanting to be happy again. It’s comforting knowing that others go through this and take the time to share.

  11. I am so glad I found this site. I dont feel so alone in my feelings. I lost my husband to cancer April 13th. I was his main caregiver through it all. I do feel blessed that he passed at home, me holding his his hand for last breath. Hospice at home was a blessing, but now I’m not so sure. I cant get past all the horrible last few weeks, my only comfort is he wasn’t in pain. I wrestle with how much he said he didn’t want to die and leave me…and I didn’t want him to go either. God I miss him and the hurt is so deep. I feel our kids are grown, grandchildren doing good, what else is there. I go to work which helps, but all the sudden I’ve called in the last 2 days, I feel like I am strong enough to go on without him, I just dont want to.

  12. I just lost my best friend few days ago. We are one generation apart but we relate to one another just like he is part of my age group. I hate to admit, but I feel like my days are meaningless and I miss him very dearly. Activities and passions that we both enjoyed together now become meaningless too. I wake up in the middle of nights, wishing that my heartbeat will stop so that I may join him.

  13. Today we had buried my only brother I have lost both parents few years back today it failed like yesterday I am 28years old he(my lost brother) had been my everything. Everyone tells me you still young you can make it but ,how do I deal with the pain how do I face tomorrow .It feels like all the pain I were trying to deals with from the age of 14years old have come back .Tell me how.

  14. As the grief becomes a little more manageable the paperwork, using a computer, living in France, having no family Gets harder. I have had enough.
    Life is too hard

  15. I have lost my 2 parents and four brothers. I took care of my mother when she suffered a massive stroke and my brother who just died 2 weeks ago from a hemorrhage stroke, weak heart, kidney failure and epilepsy. He had this for 5 years and I was their caregiver. It is difficult to deal with six Loses close together my parents leaving 30 days apart, my other brother from cancer, my other 2 brothers 20 days apart and now my brother who lost his battle with stroke.

  16. I have lost my 2 parents and four brothers. I took care of my mother when she suffered a massive stroke and my brother who just died 2 weeks ago from a hemorrhage stroke, weak heart, kidney failure and epilepsy. He had this for 5 years and I was their caregiver. It is difficult to deal with six Loses close together my parents leaving 30 days apart, my other brother from cancer, my other 2 brothers 20 days apart and now my brother who lost his battle with stroke. He was like a father to me and a major support while he battled his illness. Reading about others losses helps to see I’m not alone

    • You are not alone Maria. take heart and live one day at a time. count yourself lucky you had the chance to take care of your family and wherever they are, I am sure they are proud of you.

  17. I have lost my 2 parents and four brothers. I took care of my mother when she suffered a massive stroke and my brother who just died 2 weeks ago from a hemorrhage stroke, weak heart, kidney failure and epilepsy. He had this for 5 years and I was their caregiver. It is difficult to deal with six Loses close together my parents leaving 30 days apart, my other brother from cancer, my other 2 brothers 20 days apart and now my brother who lost his battle with stroke. He was like a father to me and a major support while he battled his illness. Reading about others losses helps to see I’m not alone. It’s tough and each day is hard to get up and move on from these major loses.

  18. My darling husband of 33 years died 12 weeks ago, I feel like i just joined a club I never wanted to be a member of. To be alone aged only 56 is very hard. I might have another 33 years alone and each day feels like it takes me further from when he was alive.

    • I lost my wife of 33 years 11 weeks ago. I have been in shock and it’s difficult to do anything. I always figured we’d grow old together. I miss my best friend, she was everything to me.

      • I am sorry for your loss, Mark. I understand your pain though I wish I did not.
        I lost my sweet husband of 34 years a week ago. I am so sad I can barely breathe. He had ALS, a truly ugly disease. There is no treatment and no cure. I was his sole caregiver. He was bedridden and suffered greatly, though he never complained. We were on the no hope, no help plan. I feel his loss so profoundly that I wonder how I will go on or even why I should bother. Along our horrible journey, I lost my career, my hope and quite possibly what’s left of my sanity. He was robbed of his life at 54 yrs old. The thing of it is, before he got sick, I felt I was the luckiest girl – looking forward to coming home from work to be with my guy so we could laugh, eat the amazing dishes he prepared and just talk. He blanketed me in love and I always felt protected, loved and cared for. Since his passing, I awake each day now wondering why I bother. Most of our friends deserted us. So now I find myself wondering where I go from here, knowing it won.t be anywhere good. My heart has been shredded with the pieces scattered.

      • I am sorry for your loss, Mark. I understand your pain though I wish I did not.
        I lost my sweet husband of 34 years a week ago. I am so sad I can barely breathe. He had ALS, a truly ugly disease. There is no treatment and no cure. I was his sole caregiver. He was bedridden and suffered greatly, though he never complained. We were on the no hope, no help plan for 2.5 years locked in a prison of caregiving. I feel his loss so profoundly that I wonder how I will go on or even why I should bother. Along our horrible journey, I lost my career, my hope and quite possibly what’s left of my sanity. The thing of it is, before he got sick, I felt I was the luckiest girl – looking forward to coming home from work to be with my guy so we could laugh, eat the amazing dishes he prepared and just talk. He blanketed me in love and I always felt protected, loved and cared for. Most of our friends deserted us and frankly, they apparently weren’t true friends in the first place. I find the solitude is the hardest. Having never lived alone, this sucks.

      • I am sorry for your loss, Mark. I understand your pain though I wish I did not.
        I lost my sweet husband of 34 years a week ago. I am so sad I can barely breathe. He had ALS, a truly ugly disease. There is no treatment and no cure. I was his sole caregiver. He was bedridden and suffered greatly, though he never complained. We were on the no hope, no help plan for 2.5 years locked in a prison of caregivingI feel his loss so profoundly that I wonder how I will go on or even why I should bother. Along our horrible journey, I lost my career, my hope and quite possibly what’s left of my sanity. The thing of it is, before he got sick, I felt I was the luckiest girl – looking forward to coming home from work to be with my guy so we could laugh, eat the amazing dishes he prepared and just talk. He blanketed me in love and I always felt protected, loved and cared for. I am 56 years old, with no hope and no help. Since his passing, I awake each day wondering why I bother. Most of our friends deserted us and frankly, they apparently weren’t true friends in the first place. I find the solitude is the hardest. Having never lived alone, this sucks.

  19. My name is Stephanie and July 8th 2015 both of my sons were shot. My youngest son had been fighting a heroin addiction. He had been in rehab a couple of times. My eldest son had 3 beautiful children 5, 6 and 7. Two girls and one boy. Kyle was my youngest. I also have twin girls and a step daughter that did not live with me. Cameron my oldest was just beginning to understand what being a parent meant. Just months before, he came into the house and gave me a big hug and said “Mom, I am so sorry for everything I ever did to you. I understand now why you did the things you did. I love you and thanks for putting up with me. He was a beautiful son, blond hair, blue eyes and kind to a fault. His friends called him Superman because he would always “swoop in and save the day”. He was a lot like me, if someone needed help he was there no matter what a convenience it was, he was there to help. It had been about 3 days since we caught my son Kyle red handed steeling my computer to pawn. Everyone said I had to kick him I did. What he didn’t know was that he took Cameron’s gun with him. Cameron had a job where he had to go to very unsafe places so he had a license to conceal and carry. He was very conscious about this responsibility and took it very serious. We received a message on facebook about Kyle had been gone a few days saying how sorry he was and that he was sorry he had disappointed his family. It sounded like a suicide note. Cameron was devastated. That was his baby brother and the thought that he might kill himself with his gun was more than he could take. He searched everywhere for him and finally, his step sister said that she talked to kyle and ask her to bring her some things from the house. When she came over, Cameron went with her to see if he could reason with kyle and get the gun away from him before something bad really happened. When they got to the meeting place, Cameron came out of the car. Kyle told us later that he was trying to get clean and was out of sorts with everything. Cameron tried to talk to him and told him to give him the gun. Kyle shot a round at the ground and told him to step back. C ameron was a little upset at that point, knowing that Kyle wouldn’t hurt him and said what are you going to do shot me. Kyle at that point knew he was right and pointed the gun at him own head. When Cameron saw where this was going to jump Kyle and struggled with him to get the gun away. They finally were on the ground and Cameron just about had the gun away when a man who had heard the first shot came running out of a gun shop with two guns of his own and gunned both of my boys down until they were no longer moving. He was an ex military and ex corrections officer and told the courts that he was protecting the women and children in the parking lot and got off with a stand your ground defense. He watched both of my sons bleed out and did nothing. He knew 1st aid from the military as we all are taught 1sr aid in the military and just let them bleed. Cameron died that day. Kyle would survive after a 9 hour surgery and a week in a coma. He is clean now but will never be the same. We never got to tell our story and why Cameron was there. He was just as guilty in there eyes because that was his brother. This man William Albright, put on facebook that he was writing a book called Patriot Under Fire. Because he had to go to court twice before they let him go. My son Cameron died trying to do exactly what William Albright said he was doing “Protecting everyone” and he killed my son. It has been 4 years. I cant keep a job. My whole body hurts. I barely can get out of bed. One of my twins went to a mental institute for a week because she had a break down. I took my mother in a month before Cameron died because my sister wanted to put her in a home. So my girls told me to stay home and take care of her and there Medical Assistant jobs would take care of us with moms social security. Them Cameron died and for a year we had to take care of the kids too There mom lost it for a while. Kyle was disabled and still struggling with his addiction so he too was living there and they were taking care of him too. Then the minute he moved out my sister got divorced and her and her granddaughter moved it. My Mom died last month and my sister moved out and left us with nothing. One of my twins had to help me with mom the last few months when she went into rehad a broke her hip. So Alli , the other twin lost her job when she missed two days when her sister when into the institute and my mom had a stroke so here we are trying to work again. One of my twins had diebetis and the other has not been mentally stable enough to work. I used to be in IT but I cannot remember anything any more. I had no desire to do anything. We are losing our house, and everything soon. I just hate it. I raise four kids by my self and during that time worked and went to IT Technical School and came out with a 4.0 all while raising my children by myself because my ex was a drunk and I kicked him out when the twins were only 3 months in my belly. So I am not a weak person but now, I have degenerated disk and arthritis and am losing it. I just don’t want to do anything. I have been on numerous job interviews only to cry all the way home. I have cried everyday for the past 4 years. I am spent and cannot help my children. Life has no meaning any more and worst of all I am beginning to wonder if God and my mother both hate me because I used to feel my family but now I feel nothing…I just wish it would end. I cant commit suicide because I would never see my son or my family again and it would cause so much pain for my girls..So I exist. Soon to be homeless probably if I don’t crawl out of this hole. I see this William Albright happy with his son and wife and great job and where is the justice. Maybe there is no justice in life!!!!I see evil heartless people get everything they want and me and my girls have nothing and have given our last penny to that homeless teen on the corner because I see where they are coming from. That could have been my kid. I hate my life. I use to run 3 times a week and could do anything now, I cant even walk. So you tell me how do I fix this??? I will be 59 this year . I cant wait to die. That’s how I feel. I just wish I could go with my girls too. So I just have to wait. My family is everything to me and I cant even bury my son. He sits on a shelf in a little black box. I am the worst mother ever!

    • Stephanie, I know you posted a while ago but just saw your message. I wanted to see if you were ok? You have been through more than a person should have to bear. I am grieving too – having lost my beloved mother two weeks ago. K x

  20. It’s great to read all the posts. I sadly lost my husband on boxing day 2018 to cancer. He was just 58. We had been together for 30 years. He was my best friend soul mate…my everything……the loss and sadness I feel is excruciating…
    We have 4 children…(adults) and granddaughter all incredibly close and a massive support. I have amazing friends and family ….. however the tiredness I feel is awful. I have stopped venturing out….my diet isn’t good and my interests have just disappeared…I returned to my job as a social worker but my interest and passion hasn’t returned with me.
    I think I am going to have to push myself to take little steps to try and reconnect with life… .but I just find everything so incredibly hard and just want to cwtch under a blanket

    • This is how I feel, Just do not want to do anything at the moment. My dad died a month ago and I never thought I would feel like this. I don`t even want to talk to people at work, except one collegue who has put herself out for my benefit, a real gem of a lady. I will just have to try and be patient, not rush things, but others think I am just being an idiot.

  21. Thank you for this post. My husband passed away in March. So many things that I used to enjoy just feel lack- luster and meaningless. I’ve been so blessed to have the support of family, friends, church, etc., but there are so many times when I feel as if I can’t participate in certain activities anymore because they feel so different.

  22. Good to read some of this. I’m struggling. Just getting through each day. Can’t get used to being alone. My husband died 4 years ago. 46 years in love, 45 married. 3 children who live far away. 2 grandchildren. I thought my life was over but I met Widower. Within a year we were best friends and companions and we healed each other and fell in love!!! We did SO much together. He was an ideas man. He died last Armistice day. I nursed my husband on and off, depending on how well he felt, for 8 years and wouldn’t have had it any other way. He died in my loving arms at home with the children at the foot of the bed. He was an Ordained Clergyman. The biggest surprise of my life was my second man and I loved and nursed him for his last 3 months at the family’s request. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. However, when he was dying in hospital and asking for me I was given my 10 min slot to say goodbye and then asked to leave. He died 3 days later. Since the funeral in their grief some of the children, who were so friendly when he was alive, have cut off from me. I pray for them but it makes me even more sad. I will be here for them if they ever change their minds. I make efforts to see friends and family and I go to Church. Everyone is so kind BUT I am still alone most of the time. That’s hard I now know. There’s only so much art and craft I feel like doing. I’m comfort eating and gaining weight! Not pleased. This beautiful weather is making me hide away and I’m avoiding the garden room and garden because it’s all reminding me so much of my second recent love and all the amazing things we did, holidays too we had and with weather like this he would say, pack your bag, we’re off on an adventure! I desperately want to find a purpose for going on, something I can do to be useful, give my life some meaning, find a cause that needs me and can become my focus. Family and friends need me but I need to find something to give me that buzz for living again. I feel I’m just marking time till I can be with my loves again. There doesn’t seem much point to anything.

  23. Sentil RavichandranApril 12, 2019 at 1:48 amReply

    I lost my lovable wife and it’s been a month and still I cant stop crying and thinking about my precious wife. I’ve got a kid who is 5 and I can’t even imagine what is going to happen and I feel both me and son should join my wife at the earliest.

  24. Ive just lost my dad and i am hurting so bad people say it will get better as time goes on but i cant imagine me enjoying life ever again

  25. i lost my first chid,my lovely son, my hero, my unconditional love, exactly 4 months ago, he just 5 days old. now my life, and my wife live is not the same anymore, yes i still work because i have a family to feed, but theres no joy at anything, if i dont drink, i cant sleep, i dont have the courage to meet my best friend who is pregnant or have a little child, i feel the world is just fucking unfair, i feel betrayed, i blame my self, i lost all my faith to god, i lost my dream, i lost my apetite to life, now i just “crawl”, im really tired, sometimes i just want to die too, but i never think about killing my self, because its gonna hurt my wife and my family even greater, i dont know who to talk to.., yes i have friends and family, and yes i tell them how i feel, but what can they say??, im so tired, i lost my dream, i dont know what to do, im so fucking tired, please help me, i felt really alone

    • you can get thru the initial shock and pain . You have to other people need you . I know i lost my wife 3 years ago . I was a feeling lower than ever unable to function for the first 30 days . I read alot about grief and really tried to get a handle on it but it is very difficult. What i found was the raw emotions and thoughts have to run there course. Cry as much as you want let it out . All the feelings you have go with the grief and loss . I can tell you with time you will be able to get back to some new level of normal but you will still have bad days . I guess I am just trying to tell you to hang in there . So Sorry for your loss . The grief just sucks plain and simple . Time is the real factor as it goes on you can cope better with the situation. Seek counseling if you feel it will help.

  26. My older brother went missing two days after his birthday and i was one of the persons who found his body two days after that. I wake up everyday feeling more and more empty, and as though my life no longer has any meaning. I tried to help my parents and other older sibling to cope with it, however I myself do not know what coping means to me. I had many opportunities to take my own life but then my family, who is already on the edge of breaking, would snap and I do not think they should have to go through any more pain. I get very scared these days because my memories of him are fading and the sometimes I can not even remember what he looks like. I try to talk to someone whenever I feel like I’m at my limit but even that is hard because he was the person in my life that I would go to at times like this. I do not know what to do with my life anymore, all my dreams and aspirations are disappearing one after the other.

    • How long ago did your brother die? My son died in a car crash on dec 27 just 3 weeks and one day ago. He was my freind as well as my son. I loved him dearly and I don’t want to do anything, the pain is so deep. I have been trying to be positive in between my bouts of crying. But I am all used up, my son had been with me all of my adult life.

    • God love’s you brother God love’s you. Trust me when I tell you this that He does. He really does.

  27. Feb 4 2018 my 39 yrs old brother drowned at pretty beach canberra.i was informed via a call from my cousin.i felt numb flew down from uae to melbourne within 4 days he was buried.its been 11 mths i cant find anything to love anymore cant listen to music miss him all the time we were best of friends i had so many hopes for him he left without a do i get normal.everyone around me just says stop thinking of him and life will be ok.

    • Urvashi,

      I am so sorry for your loss. Don’t stop thinking about him, why would you? Your brother was your heart, your soul and your friend. He should be remembered by you always as the lovely human I’m sure he was. Accept how you feel cry, scream and do what you need to heal. Each day do something that will help you heal, even if it doesn’t feel comfortable at the time you will be happy that you did. I have lost people I love and it’s hard, but forgetting them doesn’t help. Remembering them and allowing yourself time to mourn and feel that extreme emptyis the only through the pain.

  28. January 28 I lost my Mom to lung cancer it was fast but brutal. She was my best friend and I miss her more than words. Three weeks later my Grandmother passed away it has been a hard long year. On October 26 I had to put my beloved dog Swat down he was 12.5 years old I am so devastated about all that had happened all year. I am not looking forward to waking up every day or even Christmas which is my favorite holiday. It took me so much just to put up the decorations

  29. I lost my wife 18 months ago and I am still devastated. I cannot seem to find happiness in any social situation without her. Yet this is crazy too, because for 3 years before she died she was bedridden. We became socially isolated and she became very unwell, constantly vomiting and faint with exhaustion. She had cancer and absolutely refused any treatment. I found her choice not have treatment slightly selfish ………I know it is everyone’s personal decision and you cannot argue with that but I wish she had shared with me her reasons for her decision. It left me feeling that in some ways she deliberately chose this path to get away from me. Outside of this work life took a nose dive. My employer changed their top management. The guys I had reported to were compassionate and gave me time off for recovery. The new regime waited till I was back and fired me.
    I really am just tired and depressed all the time and find zero joy in living. I have some friends who are kind in their own way but I totally mourn the loss of conversation with someone I was close to. Someone who cared for me and had shared experiences. I cannot see myself getting back into any social situations any time soon. I just could not cope with effort ….it takes all my energy to go to work.

  30. just do the shalat, that’s all you need, but in times of monthly period you can’t do shalat, just do zikr.

  31. My husband, my best friend & love of my life, died 3 1/2 months ago. I can’t seem to get into a routine, can’t get anything done. Most days I just sit & watch TV or play computer games. If I start something, like cleaning the house, painting furniture, etc, I start but don’t finish. I cannot get motivated to do much or get into any kind of routine. Im an introvert so it’s hard for me anyway, even before he passed. I have grandchildren I dearly love but find myself avoiding them too, which breaks my heart. I just feel so unsettled, restless. I also have his remains & memorial money I dont know what to to with. I cannot make any decisions.

    • I know exactly how you feel I do the same as you. My Husband died 6 Months ago I can’t forgive him for leaving me. It was so sudden. My Son was getting Married on the Sunday the Tuesday before my Husband went to try on his suit for the wedding and get any last minute things, in the early hours of Wednesday morning he was dead. he got buried on the Friday the wedding went ahead on the Sunday and I remember none of it. Just left is shock every day as to how I ended up alone. Yes I have children and grandchildren who mean the world to me but also have their own familys and their own grief to deal with, and I have no wish to burden them. I have lost all interest in life I am lost, lonely, and mad that this happened. Where I was alway active I now spend my days not talking and sitting in a chair wishing this life won’t go on for much longer.

  32. It’s seven years since I lost my baby during pregnancy. Before losing the baby i had been doing courses on creative writing and was trying to sell stories to magazines. A few months after losing my baby i got a story published! I was paid and everything!!!!
    …. but i didn’t care. I didn’t have my baby. All else paled into insignificance.

    It still hurts now tbh. I remember thinking ‘this is what i wanted why can’t i feel proud?’.

    I don’t think I’ll ever go back to writing. My life has gone in different directions now. But it’s just another tiny loss in the face of that one enormous loss.

    (Enormous doesn’t cover it, but i guess no words ever can.)

  33. Thank you for an excellent and timely post. My husband died a little over seven months ago after a tough and extended battle with cancer (I was his primary caregiver). I was numb and like others, found just going to work and getting the basics done around the house were all I could handle for the first couple of months. Empty as I felt, I realized that I was now missing activities we had enjoyed pre-cancer, but wasn’t sure I could handle them. So I forced myself to commit to a single event for a single time – going to a football game – and it went OK. So, I boldly added another activity we enjoyed – a music event – and while it was a little tough, I made it through. At this point, I am intentionally scheduling myself for activities we enjoyed plus things I really used to enjoy doing on my own that I gave up when he got sick and even have tried a couple new things. It’s definitely tough sometimes, but I can’t affirm enough your advice to take small steps to getting back to doing things. It has lifted my overall mood immensely. It doesn’t mean I still don’t ache with grief some days, but now that my “new normal” is starting to take shape, it’s given me purpose and best of all, the opportunity to appreciate the life I have to live, even as I continue to mourn the life that was lost.

  34. I have struggled the will to engage in life without a sense of peace since I was raised by a narcissistic mother. The after effects of losses as my parents marriage fell apart, my father openly admitting he was gay, my mother made multiple serious suicide attempts. I triumphed by at least getting married and having a beautiful daughter. However my husband and next relationships were also replications and I discovered the awfulness of repeating patterns unconsciously. Until my oldest sibling, my brother died at 52 from acute illness. The weeks before he died, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and my sister is agoraphobic and while both alive I can’t bear to visit either now. I took care of people including my own patients until last year when the person I had found strength in died; she had been the last remaining relative whom I loved. My daughter is now away for graduate school and I treasure knowing she’s in the world. So I have great admiration for those of you who lost a child. I don’t believe in recovery, life changes us and as many have said, it is only in moments that I can notice my strength or how much opportunity I’ve had that I couldn’t make the most of. That’s tragic as we all have fate mixed into this.,I do believe that seeing myself as someone who can still give to the world or maybe even get closer again to others may be possible. I am so thankful I’ve learned what grief is, I thought it was just me. I also studied trauma theory in depth and now I can only read this site. I’m thankful I found it.
    Avoidance is a hateful defense,It has robbed me of many days and joys I’m sure. But multiple losses or just one tremendous one, doesn’t make a difference. Knowing you absolutely must function and doing what this post discussed builds self worth a tiny bit at a time. I had made many gains so I know it works to be in the world as best you can.
    I do know my life history and current alone state frightens others. i have to pretend and work hard to be at peace with myself. No one can do more but I wish for more every day. Wishing doesn’t make anything happen. I’m craving family and have done so for a lifetime. What’s under my nose Is what I need to tend to. We’ve lost our loves or in my case I wasn’t loved, I was utilized or adored or batted around; for another persons needs.
    I grieve for all of us who know we have had joys taken away, interestingly I’m glad I know what I need to do. So please keep up the wisdom here. I have been helped by every entry.

  35. The posts I find the hardest to read are probably the ones I need to read the most. I think we need to pushed, a little, or we may remain stuck in a horrible hole. & who knows, we may or may not remain there. Some days, some minutes I think I will, how does one survive the loss of a child, your life, your love, how will I???? I just don’t know??? So I read these posts, and try to get some positive from them. And there is always something, you just have to look. Thank you Litsa & Eleanor for going where it is so hard to go to for us who are suffering from loss. I am grateful for all of these posts and this site and for all the comments. We all are where we are. Just trying to survive the horror of losing those we have loved so much.

    • Gloria
      I too lost a child…my son and there are days when I feel i will never be happy again and then today I got googled grief support groups and grief therapists
      I am going for an assessment tomorrow at grief support center near my house…all run by trained volunteers. They have groups and one on one help to process this grief. I have hope that I can get through this…as the article said, just a small action can help and all I did was google and pick up the phone

      • Oh, and there will be no cost…I have never heard of this place since I have never needed it…

      • Suzy,
        I have been going to Compassionate Friends and seeing a therapist. Along with reading WYG, parent loss Facebook pages, reading grief books and talking with supportive friends. Even with doing all the “right things”, I am still suffering, and know I will, on some level, for the rest of my life. I lost my Laura in June, 2015. Learning to live this new life, without her, will be a lifelong journey. But who does know what small action can make a difference?? I feel any small joy I find, gives me energy to continue when they pain is too bad. One day, one minute at a time.

  36. alice morgan simmondsApril 2, 2016 at 2:19 amReply

    This post kind of bugged me. Implied is there is a right way to go about reintegrating into the outside world after a major loss. We are all so different and I tend to be more introverted. If I had forced myself into activities, social things before I was ready, and felt even worse about myself, with some of the implied things in this article. I.e, my retreat is not ‘ normal’, I am wasting opportunities, the class is better than the sofa, I would have been even more depressed. I think grief has it’s natural course in each of us it is a very individual process. I could not do anything much the first year after my husband died suddenly, social activity, classes, etc, were very stressful and if I had pushed myself, I do not believe it would have been self loving or self respecting. I took my time, and believe me, got some flack about it, but I trusted my needs and my process. It’s been 2 years now and I am very active, engaged, enjoying life and my body is well and whole. It takes time and I question anything that seems to push an agenda. Sorry, I know this article was meant with good intentions, it just seems a bit one sided and doesn’t consider the interior wisdom that lives in each one of us. Let the process of healing take time is my advice. Grief is a season and we need to wait while things heal, going underground is natural, in my world.

    • Sorry this is how this post read to you, because that feeling that bugged you is something that bugs us a lot and we do our best to try to be clear that we definitely don’t think there is a ‘right’ way to deal with grief! Eleanor wrote this post and, as you probably know if you have followed us for a while, she is defitinely an introvert and shares a lot of the experiences you describe. Though I am more of an extrovert, we both tend not to be “joiners” so we usually try to have a range of coping ideas that are specifically about doing things that aren’t all about being social, joining, etc. Part of the reason that we do share posts like this one now and again is also because we are not always the best at getting our of our own way. There is so much value in trusting our guts and our own grief process, but many people (me being one of them) are our own worst enemy. Sometimes we start to push ourselves in the time and way we need it. And sometimes we don’t – we let the healthy isolation turn into unhealthy isolation, or we get stuck in a pattern and allow ourselves to stay stuck by feeling entitled to be stuck- I am the queen of that, in fact! :). This post doesn’t push much – walking the dog, getting a haircut, listening to music, cooking dinner once in a while. It is pushing little small things, not big social things. But it does push a little because, in all honesty, we believe that sometimes you need a push. Some are lucky enough to have their grief progress in a positive way through time and their process, some aren’t and it takes a bit more conscious effort. It isn’t that any things are the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ things to be doing, it is that sometimes we need to raise our conscious awareness of what we are doing. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment – I am sure you spoke what others also may feel reading this post, and we hate the idea of people feeling that. If you haven’t read these posts, you might find they resonate a bit more with your experience.

  37. Excellent article. Thank you

  38. i also didn’t post a video 🙂

  39. this came at such a great time for me. i am still grieving my parents sudden, unexpected deaths. it’s been 6 months for Mom, 5 months for Dad so i’m still new at this lol. early on & i realize it’s still early on for me but i was really good at forcing myself to go out when i needed to. there were some days where i wasn’t going anywhere and i accepted that. i’ve found myself slipping back into that pattern over the last month where i am rushing to come home & stay home. i avoided church this Easter because that just reminded me of Mom. we grew up in church, my Mom was a big part of the church we went to so Easter, shopping for Easter clothes & what not brings back so many great memories. i didn’t want to fall apart in church so I made sure I stayed far away on Easter Sunday lol. i stayed home & i was fine with that, it was too soon for me. again though even i am realizing that I’ve fallen back into my pattern of avoidance & doing nothing so thank you again for a timely podcast & blog. i shared it with my sisters & my niece

    • Vanessa,
      I too feel your pain. My dad died suddenly in September and my mom 4 1/2 months later ( I say of a broken heart). Easter was also so hard for me as I too grew up in church. My dad sang in the choir all my life. Three days of hearing them again for the first time since his funeral was so hard. ( I’ve avoided the mass they sing at and attend another time.) I still can’t look at the choir or his empty seat! Good Friday my daughter, my sister and I sobbed our way through mass. And following Holy Saturday service I broke down into the arms of a long time family friend. Church is so hard, but I know I need to be there. And I know my parents are with me there as they always have been ( still hard). I’m struggling too with everyday life, the reality of being coexecutor of their estate and my grief. I’ve found a great grief counselor who is helping me on this journey along with close friends. I pray you too may find someone to help you on this journey. It was a friend who sent me a copy of one of the article posted on holiday grief that I found this site and you! My best friend who’s parents died 5 days apart encourages me with taking baby steps on this journey we both now travel. Another also told me ” to give time…time”. So I have hope to come out on the other side of my grief. Will I be the same, no. But I’ll come through it.

      • I’m sad that we are in this club that I didn’t sign up for. It helps knowing there are others in my situation but also makes me sad that we have this in common. I have yet to step foot in church since their deaths. I fall apart sometimes walking past any church lol. I’m exercising more & it’s helping me feel less depressed plus no one told me about the grieving 20! I’m working on losing some of this grief weight. Day by day is all we can do

  40. So….now that the video this has happened twice it makes me think we’ve cause an internet bug of some sort! We’ll look into this!

  41. I did not post these videos in my comment

  42. Terrific website and podcast- thanks so much. My 24 year old son died 6 years ago as a result of an unnecessary accident. What I have found is the need to “reconnect with life” countless times over, finding the things that work sometimes- a dog, the gym, the right people, gratitude journal, etc. It is not a linear experience. My ultimate goal is to make the remaining time I have as good as I can, but this is the challenge of my lifetime. When other stressors occur, not just the grief, it makes it much harder to deal. Again- many thanks for your work.

  43. Hello I’m not sure how the video above attached to my message, it has nothing to do with me Corrina

  44. Hello Eleanor, I’ve only just started to subscribe to your very helpful site. Your message today is so helpful to me. My 21 year old son was in an accident 8 weeks ago and tragically died. Your message reminded me that I’m actually doing too much and need to relax and it’s ok not to do everything. I know it’s small steps, im trying to fit 100 in a day, working, going to gym, baking, walking with friends, chatting on the phone, that’s just in one day, no wonder by Friday im burnt out! Today I’ll meditate. Thank you Corrina

  45. Aww this is such a good post, thank you for putting into words how I so felt in the first few weeks/months after my dear Mum died. I did hide away to start with, I just couldn’t handle social situations, but I worked out what worked for me, what I felt comfortable with, and seeing people individually is what felt OK, and explaining to people what I needed helped too. And simplifying my day to schedule in small achievable activities, walking a dog was one of the most valuable and healing things I did, it made me get out, gave me some gentle exercise, be in the fresh air, be in the world, even if it was in my own grief bubble. If you haven’t got a dog maybe walk a neighbours dog or a friends, dogs are the best medicine for sadness. It’s been a few months now since I lost my Mum and things are starting to feel a bit more meaningful, I am starting to find joy in things again, this is so healing and so reassuring and reading What’s Your Grief posts everyday has been a huge help too, thank you guys xx

  46. Sounds good in print. Not happening in real life. Just trying to keep breathing, doing my job at work, raising my son, and counting the hours til I’m done.

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