64 MORE Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Grief

Back in October, I wrote a post of 64 things I wish someone had told me about grief.   I wrote it on a whim when I was having some writer’s block, and never in a million years did we expect the response we got to that post.

Nearly 90,000 people have read it, and hundreds of people have left comments.  You have thanked us for the list, you have shared what resonated with you, you have told us where you disagreed, and you have told us what you would add to the list.

With the many suggestions embedded in those comments, it only made sense we continue to list using all the great things that you, our fabulous readers, wish someone had told you about grief.  Because even though 64 things sounds like a lot, when it comes to understanding grief 64 things barely scratch the surface.

If you missed the first list, make sure you check it out HERE before you jump into this one. Otherwise, here we go: 64 MORE Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Grief, with all the credit to our wonderful readers who submitted each and every one of these . . .


1. Death doesn’t just happen to other people.

2. The world goes on. Even when you are half insane from grief, bills still need to be paid; even when you feel like you swallowed a hand grenade, you still have to balance a checkbook.

3. Grief does not only happen when a person dies but accompanies any loss.  It is felt when you are estranged from family members or friends, lose a job, lose a pet, lose your independence, get divorced, and countless other things.

4. It is okay to laugh.

5. You are the only one who can say how you should feel.

6. Grief can make it terrifying to get close to people, for fear of losing them.

7. It is especially devastating when you lose the person who supported you through other losses.

8. You still grieve the loss of people you didn’t like or had a strained relationship with.

9. 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.  It may bring up old wounds, regrets, and ‘unfinished business’.

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

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

12. It is okay to be angry that people say stupid things, but remember they showed up to show their support for you and their respect for the deceased. Remember that, not the stupid comments if you can.

13. 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 or you have to go WITH it.

14. When it comes to grief, there are no rules.

15. Process guilt, but don’t keep processing it over and over to the point that it is harmful or unproductive.

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

17. 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.

 

18. 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.

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

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

21. It’s okay to live, laugh, and love.  Let there be no guilt about it!

22. Sometimes we do most of our grieving before our loved one dies.

23. 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.

24. Not all the people who said,” If you need anything, anything at all” is able to back that up with action. It hurts but it doesn’t mean they don’t care.

25. Death can be emergent. Sometimes you only get that one moment to say goodbye or hear goodbye.

26. Not only should you “debrief” after caregiving but also during caregiving.

27. Some people don’t know what to 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.

28. 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.

29. Grieving will feel like you are keeping that person in your life, but you can be happy without ‘letting them go’

30. Losing someone you love is like an amputation, no matter how well you learn to get around, you will never be the same. You don’t ‘get over’ it, you just adjust.

31. ’Cut yourself some slack’ and take solace where you find it.

32. Have someone take a picture of your loved one in the casket. You can always throw it away but you can never get another.

33. The person grieving may have never had such a loss before, and they themselves may say ignorant things.

34. Every death is sudden.

 

35. Religious faith can also be strengthened by loss.

36. Grief makes you lose focus and makes it difficult to complete tasks.

37. When someone dies from suicide, sometimes people do not express sympathies.  Sometimes they don’t say anything at all. All grief should be acknowledged, regardless of how the death occurred.

38. Sometimes you can’t physically say goodbye to a person before they die and that can be devastating.

39. Suicide loss can be extremely traumatic.  The shock and denial make it difficult to begin truly grieving.

40. Grief can make you push people away.

41. The term closure is not helpful.  Bank accounts are closed, windows are closed, but the love we carry for those closest to us never closes.

42. Grief is a good time to be careful of people who, even if you think they are friends, may try to take advantage of your financial situation.

43. Too many people will try to impose time limits on your grief.

44. Don’t make big decisions simply because you feel really good or really bad on a particular day.

45. Don’t throw away the deceased’s personal possessions too soon or too quickly.  Later you may find that you actually wanted to save more than you thought.

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

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

48. For many people grief is cumulative. Each subsequent death of a person important to us is amplified by the grief we experienced over those who predeceased them.

49. 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.

50. Do not allow anyone to tell you how to grieve.

51. Do not gauge your grief by the way others grieve as everyone is different.

52. You grieve what you never had, for example, children never born because of cancer.

 

53. It is a tragic reality that sometimes you measure life in the deaths that have occurred or think of life as what happened before the death and what happened after the death.

54. 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!

55. You may feel like ending your life. If this is you, do what I did and find a support system.  If you need suicide support, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-8255.

56. Beware of counselors who are not grief related.  If your doctor is a good doctor he will not treat you like you’re crazy.

57. 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 are not stuck being dependent on someone else’s terms and always map out an escape route. You may need one.

58. Be kind to yourself and find a really good pillow to sleep with!

59. The death of a loved one does not prepare you for the death of the next loved one.

60. Grief can bring physical pain.

61. People may play a strange little game called “I hurt the most.” It will consume them, and they may simply fail to see the grief in others.

62. Nothing will prepare you for seeing a loved one on a respirator for the first time.

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

64. Grief lasts a lot longer than sympathy.

Though this puts us at 128 things, I am still we have still missed plenty.   Leave a comment to let us know what you think and if there are things you would add.  And don’t forget to subscribe to get our posts right to your inbox!

 
April 30, 2019

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

  1. #61 was very relevant to my situation. My sister stood by our mother’s casket and talked about all the sacrifices “she” made. And how she had no help.(when she did). Oh, and after all that she said our mom taught her how to be a good christian. I thought funerals were supposed to be about the person who died. I didn’t buy into it. But she turned our mother’s funeral into her own award show.

  2. It will be a year, February 19th that I lost my beautiful 14 year old daughter to suicide. It has rocked our world to no end. Nothing makes any sense. My one thing to add is this: It will make you feel like you are going crazy, that you can’t make it through. I couldn’t sleep or eat and had very bad anxiety, and I needed help. It’s okay to seek help by a doctor or psychiatrist. Get the help you need to survive. I did and took meds until I didn’t have to anymore. I am still lost but making baby steps.

  3. This was very helpful, thank you.

  4. You forgot to mention that it gets worse before it gets “survivable” I lost my little brother 3 weeks ago an I miss him so much as the days go by. I want to disappear completely and would give my life to see him again. My heart aches at my family and his wife 🙁

  5. I recently lost my brother a little over a month ago. This is undoubtedly the hardest thing we’ve ever had to go through. What makes it even harder is that it wasn’t because of illness or even any sort of accident, although they ruled it as natural causes, we just found out yesterday that he was poisoned by our own cousin. We don’t understand how someone could be so cruel to their own blood, we’re the only ones who would take him in when the rest of the family turned their back on him cos of his developing alcoholism. My parents treated him no different from brother & I & he repaid our kindness by taking away my only brother. His 6year old is devastated even though she doesn’t quite understand what’s going on. My mother & I are the only family she has left, everyone on her maternal side including her mother passed away. We don’t have any evidence of the poisoning, just the word of 2 people who heard thia cousin plotting but they refuse to come forward out of fear. I feel like we’re trapped in a bad soap opera. He doesn’t seem to feel any remorse & is even talking about getting his son to move in & redecorating my brothers room. He doesn’t know that we know he’s the cause of our devastating grief & if not for my mom & nieces wellbeing, lord knows how I would be exactin my revenge not on him but on all his loved ones

  6. Thank you for this list. It has been most helpful.

    I did not get to see my Father after his death. He passed away in his home, and my husband and I found him about 5 days later. My husband identified my Dad for the police, and made the final decision that we would have a closed casket at the funeral. He wanted to spare me the shock of seeing my dad in such a condition. I am thankful he was here to do that for me. I certainly was not in any shape to deal with it emotionally or physically, but not getting to see him one last time, has been very difficult. I try to remember the last time I saw him, and take some comfort from that, but not seeing him dead, and saying goodbye that way, has really left a hole inside of me. I know that sounds strange, but it feels like I didn’t say goodbye properly. I needed to see him for one last time.

    Thank you again for helping me to understand my grief just s little better.

  7. I was shocked when I realized I’m the last living member of my “first” family. I loved being part of my small, loving family. We had such great fun together. My younger brother recently committed suicide by cop, and I had no idea he was in such great pain. We were so close! How could I not have known?

  8. We lost our grandson at 9 days old. That was just 3 short months ago. I grieve for his loss and also for my daughter and son in law.
    People tend to forget grandparents feel the loss of a grandchild as a loss of their own child.
    There is such deep sadness and heartbreak, I dont know what to do with it, or where to put it.

  9. I recently lost my partner(March 18/18) under horrific circumstances. I took him to hospital Mar 1, and after 6 days he was intubated and sedated. As I was scheduled for hip surgery Mar 14 , I reluctantly called in his son, with whom he had no real relationship, but I felt someone needed to advocate. The day of my surgery, he was moved to another hospital and the son removed my name as next of kin, and cut off all communication. I found out about his passing 3 days after the fact when i received an email from the son’s lawyer looking for a will. He didn’t even call me. As I knew where the most recent will was locked up, I went to get it only to find the son had changed all the locks on our home. I filed a police report and had the locks changed, and required my lawyer to even find out where my partner was. He notarized my current will and I proceeded to plan his funeral according to his wishes.
    This is the most devastating trauma I have ever endured, and it seems to go on and on as I am now, as executor, dealing painfully with his sizable estate, which could take forever. I wait every day for the other shoe to drop, as I fully know the son will intervene when it goes to probate
    Synonymous with opening my eyes every morning, is crying for the loss of the man I loved so deeply, as well as randomly throughout the day and night. Falling in love as “seniors”, we both valued and cherished the true meaning of real love and partnership. I don’t understand why all my friends and family think I should be over it in a few short weeks. I have his possessions all around me. I never got to say goodbye until he was in the funeral home. Even as I write this I am crying as I look at his picture.
    Thank you for the 128 facts I never knew about grief, that was liberating and validating.

  10. I wish someone had told me I would feel like a puzzle piece in the wrong puzzle. I don’t fit in with married people or single people. I also wish someone had warned me of this whole new culture of widowhood. Some wives act weird now when I speak to to both wife and husband (grabbing a hold of his hand). I was told it’s because I’m available. Please…if I didn’t want him then, I definitely don’t want him now! (although it is quite hilarious to see the reactions). I wouldn’t wish this type of grief on my worse enemy. I am thankful for this post and all of your comments! They have helped me!

  11. After my mother died, I kept going over and over her last few weeks. What she looked like, how she could or couldn’t communicate and what I could have done or said instead of what I had done. I had trouble sleeeping for weeks. One day I had lunch with a friend who’s mom died several years ago. She said she tells her mother good night every night before she goes to sleep. That simple thought has changed things for me. Before I go to sleep, I tell my mom good night. I may think of something that happened during the day and know she’s listened but most nights a simple good night is enough. It feels like she’s with me and watching over me and that has made a real difference for me. It’s turned a negative into a positive.

  12. When you balance your checkbook for the first time after paying for death, it’s like they just died again. You see checks, debit charges, written for funeral, cremation, keepsakes, etc. Devastating.

  13. My sister passed September 2015 . I will never be “over it” she was my best friend we talked all the time . I’m trying to keep it together most days and usually fine . But then other times a wave of emotion comes over me . I’m trying to hard to be the rock for everyone else who is struggling , but I’m so sad sometimes . She made me laugh . Now I’m left with opd ( other people’s drama ) no laughter anymore

  14. my sister died 64 days ago. but she was not just my sister, she was my friend, we shared our life experiences, growing up together, sharing bunk beds. Then the wild, free fun teenage years of experimental partying, concerts, pool parties with our two brothers and finding our first “boyfriend’ fighting with their ex girlfriends, children, family gatherings, husbands and ex husbands. Camping with the kids, sleepovers even with her grandkid. Loosing our father, the mother three weeks later our first brother, then six months later my other sister’s (not as close) husband. In 2014 my other brother. And then the news can, my sister my friend had the same lung cancer, stage IV in 3/1/2016. I agreed to fight with her, and somehow vicariously endure her, chemo, radiation, weight loss, pain. The hole time keeping my promise that I would not cry, we would be strong. Well I didn’t cry, even when she suffered beyond believe, hospice failing to bring her pain meds, making calls to her oncology team for pain meds, picking them up and bringing them to her. She grew into a Strong Christian, believing she would be healed. But that didn’t happen. the cancer metastasized to the bones, she couldn’t we, lost her ability to walk towards the end. Her body just a shell of the strong woman who was next to never sick. It was traumatic, heartbreaking and excruciatingly painful to endure, as if it were me at times. Then early (2:15 am) on Sept 29th 2016 she called pleading for help, her pain was too much, crying on the other end of the phone, my sister & friend pleaded for help. She went to the hospital by ambulance, was admitted and they treated her pain via IV drip. Finally the pain started becoming manageable. She passed away the next day 10/30/2016; it was appropriately on a Sunday morning. She was under the care of inpatient oncology who to care of her so well (as if they were God’s angels) that we all found relief and peace. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. She fought the good fight, suffered beyond believe and found the herself resting in the arms of the Lord. And, no I never cried in front of her, that last night when we her alone and she was semi awake, I looked into her eyes with my face almost resting on hers; and said ‘you are so beautiful, and I am so blessed to have you in my life. I am going to miss you so much. It’s ok to leave that broken vessel. When you see Jesus run to his arms and be free. I will always love you.’ She fell asleep after what looked like a smile. Her daughters came in and that was the last time I saw her alive… Now I want to say to the readers, I am not brave, nor a hero, just a sister who stayed as strong as possible for her. Her sickness and death was ugly, heart wrenching and devastating. Its January 2017 now and I have grieved every day since her passing. I will never be the same and I miss my friend. I have been to in counseling about 16 times already, and that’s how I was introduced to WYG, which made me feel less lonely, knowing their are people out their who understand. To those of you who have shared; thank you for making me feel sane. you will all be in my thought and prayers as we walk on a parallel journey. One day at a time. :}

    • Hello Kelly. I know several months have gone by since the passing of your dear sister. Your story was heart-wrenching. I have to believe that some of us are on this earth to help others in their final journey. Part of our life is to spend quality time with others, and from that develop the trust and compassion to help them at the end. Well, I lost my wife, and she died at home in bed with me. She had been ill for a lot of years. I have guilt about maybe I never did enough for her. There is no one in the medical world or my friends and family think that is rational thinking. I hope I didn’t sleep too sound during her final minutes of life when she may have wanted to say something or needed comfort. One person told me “If it was meant to be, then it would have been.” I am glad she passed without fear or discomfort other than some difficulty breathing. I have asked God for forgiveness if I was somehow negligent, and I have asked my wife for the same. Yeah, friends and family say I was some kind of superhero to help her all those years. I am not so kind to myself. I know it is irrational, and it may even be normal to think some crazy stuff, but that is what I do. Well, my original thought was that we may have been picked to help a person reach the final destination, and we can only hope we have someone in our lives who will do the same for us someday. God bless all caregivers!

  15. Lists are imporant. Lists have become my steady companion.. I need lists to get me through every day since my beautiful 27 year old son died. What I would like to add to this list is this; I wish I had known that grief would cause the actual color of my world to change. It was shocking when I emerged from the house for the first time to find that the world no long had a “rosy glow” but now had an orange dull tinge. I asked my friend who was with me if she noticed that the color of everything around us, the sky, the buildings, people, everything no longer actually held any color but looked dull and washed out. She couldn’t confirm for me that it was an actuall change but rather my grief manifesting itself in this way. I had to accept that. I also wish I knew before hand that a person could hallucinate and actually see the person they are grieving. It was so painful to watch my son walk towards me through the nature preserve our home borders only to have him disappear. I have since read in the many grief books I now own that this too is common to grieving. Realizing the world goes on in spite of the deep pain and sadness grieving causes is hard to understand and accept. But accept it we must.

  16. Grief is going to bed and feeling proud that you’ve made it through another day but devastated that you have gone another day without them. Oh, and that feeling when you wake up in the morning and realise it wasn’t a dream, it really did happen.

  17. A couple of points:

    If you’re angry after a death, don’t take it out on someone else, especially if that person is grieving and in as much pain as you are. I received constant explosions from my wife (now ex-wife) as I ran the funeral for my daughter. Running the funeral was incredibly painful; getting explosions if I dared tell her what the funeral director, coroner, police, stonecutter, her priest and cemetery manager told me made it far worse. Eventually, I learned not to mention our deceased daughter’s name, dealt with creating online and actual memorials alone, and went to probate court alone to avoid explosions. Taking anger out on someone else is risky; it could drive them away, especially if they are also hurting.

    Crying may not have helped you, but it does help many and probably most people. I realize that this is your personal list. However, to others, I would suggest that you cry if you feel like it. It helped me and it helped my cousin when her daughter committed suicide.

  18. Losing my 52 year old beautiful daughter to cancer was the hardest emotion I have ever had to deal with in my entire life. Holding her as she slipped away, whispering to her and promising her we would walk the golden pathway to the rainbow together hand in hand intil the warm sinshine shone so bright she could walk through and never feel pain or cold again. Dying in a hospice cocoons the family as well as the sufferer. After she slipped away I was able to assist in washing her and preparing her, after all, as her mother I was first to bath her after her birth so very cathartic to wash her for the last time. So many other times just after her death give beautiful memories, her humanist funeral in Clandon Surrey Hills Natural Burial Ground, seeing her lying in her beautiful rose garlanded wicker coffin, the Red Kite that flew over us crying out as she was lowered into the ground. Yes I took a photograph of her as she lay so peacefully after her death. So many good and healing memories but now nearly 3 years on the missing of her in my everyday life pains my heart in a way I never thought possible. There is no time frame for grief, just one day at a time

  19. I lost my father January 5th, 2016. Now I feel like I lost my whole family. My mom died March 21st, 2001, and my sister passed suddenly 5 years ago.my brother is still alive but we don’t talk. I was the excector of the will from 1994 until December 15, 2015.
    I feel all alone.My fiance thinks I should just get over it. I don’t know what to do, why did the will suddenly change? What did my father leave me? ( I feel kinda greedy asking tha, but my brother seems to have to oodles of money.Why?) My fiance is always fighting with me, You never cook dinner, are you ever going to clean, why are you always tired? Meanwhile we have one car and he usually takes it to work. So I’m stuck in the house with 2 kids all the time.

  20. I lost my mother a few weeks ago. She was 94 years old and had a good life so I was unprepared for the level of grief I am feeling. I thought I was prepared but I feel very lonely and there is a huge gap now in my life. I know friends are well meaning but they seem surprised that I am grieving at all and a few have said that I should be over it by now. I have tried to ignore how I feel but this just makes me feel worse. Reading the list has helped me though and in particular reading other people’s comments and stories about their journey has been a comfort.

  21. Thank you so much for #29. I loss my husband of 39 years, two years ago. I loved our relationship and marriage, that help keep me going. I don’t want to let go, but I am told move on, date, I don’t want to date. I am happy in the life I am making for myself.

  22. I lost my husband 16 months ago. Still trying to find my way and understand my life and myself without him. And I am trying…but it is a slow process. I think most people understand, even if they can’t directly relate, is the pain of losing the person you loved most in this world. What they don’t realize is that you have also lost the person who loved you the most in this world. The loss of his love for me is what I find the hardest still as time goes by. Is that selfish? I don’t think so. I have learned that grief has a lot to do with who are without the person who left us. And figuring that out can be the biggest struggle of all.

    • You are so right in saying that what you are missing is his love for you! Until I read what you wrote, I just couldn’t get a handle on what made losing anyone else in my life as hard as losing my husband. I cannot feel his kisses or hugs. I can’t see that wink when we would share a secret without making it obvious to others. I can’t feel that little extra squeeze while holding hands. I miss the “backwards hugs”, you know the ones where he would wrap me in his arms while both facing a beautiful view.
      Thank you for helping me understand that better today.

      • Laura, you summed up my feelings exactly. I lost my husband 7 months ago and he used to wink at me in all sorts of situations and that wink said so so much.

        Best wishes to you

    • So true. July 29th, next Saturday would have been our 50th wedding anniversary. I’m having a hard time.

  23. Jill
    From my experience I think if your sister has not experienced grief personally, and I mean up close, someone she lived with, she doesn’t truly understand what you’re going through and until that happens to her, she won’t be able to be your support system. Look elsewhere, there are many support groups that will have someone there that you can talk to when you’re feeling especially low. I lost a 19 year old son and my dad the same year and my mom 6 years later and all three were a different grief process. The good news is, Life does go on, when you’re ready, not when someone tells you it should. Hugs and Prayers!

  24. Losing a grown child has all kinds of implications and I don’t seem to fit in any slot. Lots of writing about the death of an infant. She was 40 but she was my baby, my wild child, my interesting, unique and bipolar daughter. What keeps running though my mind….”I want her back.” I can feel her long beautiful hair going through my fingers when I brushed it into a fan around her face on the undertakers gurney. I want to try and repair the years of hurt when she tried to manage life on her own. I want to give birth to her again and she wont crave alcohol and drugs. But she was my clone, my soul, the person I wanted to be with on adventures. Last night I smelled perfume then it went away, but it happened again twice. I want her back. But she is ashes in a box too miles away. I have no place to go to mourn her.

    • Alice….I lost my son and he was also cremated. His ashes is in my living room, but that is not where he is. No, he is free and so is your daughter, exploring the stars, visiting galaxies. Oh, he send me signs, a feather here and there, that seems totally out of place. Those are the once I collected and put in a jar in a quite room and lit a candle to meditated and feel his presence…….My son send me a message that I must focus on parents that have more pain than me and that my tears hold him back like chain, not able to be free in his new dimention…….so if I become overwelmed with grief…..I remember this message of him…….I hope this will help you.

  25. When I lost my mum to cancer 20 years ago at the age of 23 I decided to just get on with things. She was buried and three days later I went back to work. I continued playing sport, being social and “trying” to be my normal. Someone gave me a book on grief. I didn’t read it. Someone said that I should attend counselling. I didn’t because I felt okay. What happened over time though was that I became an angry person. I see that now. I was especially angry with my dad when I overheard him talking on the phone (a month after mum’s burial) with a female, let’s just say it was obvious. I lost it with him! My father is Maltese and has very strong religious beliefs. He married this woman three years later because “living in sin” wasn’t an option. I have carried around all types of anger related to my grief for 20 years. Don’t get me wrong, I want him to be happy and his wife and I are in a good place, I was even the one to help some of my other siblings (there a six of us) try to accept her because I love my dad. But I am still angry. I lash out at my husband and occasionally my son and it’s not fair. This anger has affected my relationships for many years. I started to gain weight due to emotional eating and so became angry at myself for not being stronger. I have seen a Dietician for a couple of years now and a month ago we discovered why I eat rubbishy food in my room late at night. She suggested I see a Psychologist asap. I have my 3rd appointment today. Today we are going to tackle my grief over losing mum. I am petrified but also relieved at the thought of going to this session. I don’t want to be angry at mum anymore for abandoning us (she was a smoker so I guess I blame her for having lung cancer) I don’t want to be angry at dad for moving on and I certainly don’t want my family to bear the brunt of my unresolved feelings any longer, especially when my husband has his own grief to deal with. It feels good to just get all of that out here. Today I am doing something I should have done 20 years ago. I am no expert but my advice to people suffering loss is to get it out..when you feel you can talk, and hopefully that feeling will come. Otherwise the grief can fester and it will affect your relationships and decisions you make in life. I went off the rails and partied a lot in my 20’s..that’s a whole other story though.
    I regret that I left it this long but I am excited to finally deal with it… It is a huge weight lifted believe me! My thoughts are with all of you that are suffering loss and my hope for you is that one day soon you can feel how I feel right at this moment..relieved. Thanks for allowing me to spill here too..just doing this makes me feel better. Xx

  26. Be aware of wolves (deceased family) in sheeps clothing. They swoop in at your deepest darkest hour. Lie straight to your face to get deceased possessions. My battle right now is who has the right to his ashes. His father wants a small UNMARKED grave between his parents. His mother has tried several times to shame me by saying he’s not at peace. She’s tried to get me to ship them to her, after all I am his mother. But I was his wife for 32 yrs and have 2 children (in there 20’s) we already have a plan for our ashes cause I’m getting cremated when I die. We will be mixed together and spread in the mountains in CO. Why are some so cruel.

  27. I like how you explain closure. “Bank accounts are closed, windows are closed, but the love we carry for those closest to us never closes.”

  28. All of the posts I can relate to. Grief is the worst pain ever experienced even when you have been through extraordinary physical pain. It is worse. Thank you all for sharing mutual feelings. I do not know how to start life again.

  29. I recently lost my mom in a horrible car accident and feel something that I did not find on your lists. I feel scared, afraid, fearful (not sure how to explain the feeling). People ask me “what are you afraid of?” but it is not about something in particular, it is just the feeling all the time.

    • I lost my mum few days ago and I am feeling scared alone . Everyone says she is with me but I feel scared when I can’t see her or listen to her . Still don’t know how to get that fear out of me.

  30. 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.

  31. Thank you for this post. I’m not handling the death of a loved one well at all & this has given me a sense of relief that what I’m going through is ok & not to feel ashamed

  32. I lost my husband 2 weeks ago today after he collapsed and died very suddenly. He was only 43 years old and we had been together for 26 years. The first few days were a living hell and I felt that I could never get over his loss, but I am starting to feel guilty that I am no longer the crying wreck everyone expects me to be. At the moment I simply feel nothing; no sadness, no anger, no grief. In some ways it feels like I was never married and I have lost nothing at all as I have adapted to him not being here so quickly. I can’t understand how I have moved from complete distress to total numbness in just a few days. Is this something other readers have experienced? I’m worried that I am simply bottling my grief up and it is going to reappear in an unhealthy way when I least expect it.

  33. I lost my dad almost a year ago. The grief has been so much worse than I could ever have imagined. I’ve felt like I’m getting better, but now my body or subconscious has been flung back into last year when we were just waiting for my dad to die. It was absolutely horrific. How do we deal with the subconscious or muscle-memory that takes us where we don’t want to go.

  34. I, personally, am tired of well-meaning people telling me that my son is still with me, that he will always be near. Well, he’s NOT here, if he were we’d be talking, laughing, talking about music and books, I wouldn’t have to think about calling him to say hi only to remember, with a devastating pain, that calling isn’t an option either. I know people mean well, and I do feel him at times, but I can’t hug him, I won’t hear him say “love you, mom” ever again. Also, “everything happens for a reason” is so hurtful and incomprehensible to hear repeatedly to a mother who has lost her 28 yr old son to suicide. Tell that to all of us he left behind without a warning. I don’t think anyone can come up with a good enough “reason” to convince me that his death happened so something else could occur or not occur. After 1 yr of grieving I haven’t figured that one out. These people care, I know that, but those words are so painful to me. As time goes by they also anger me and it is so difficult to remain polite. But they don’t ubderstand the depth of this grief with all the unanswered questions he left, no chance to say good-bye and a whole lifetime of plans gone. He was my son, my friend and and can’t see that his death has been beneficial to anyone, certainly not to those of us who loved him. Thank you so much for this site and love and prayers to all of us who are on this terrible journey.

  35. So many of these (and the previous 64) really hit home. I would say that the thing that helped me finally leave the dark after my first brother died were the words of a counselor I finally went to see. She said that I didn’t have to like what happened in order to accept it. I struggled with acceptance big time when my brother died. When she told me that I didn’t have to be okay that he was gone, or that I didn’t have to be okay with the way it occurred, it was like a light bulb went off. We don’t have to be okay with losing our loved ones to accept their loss. That is so huge for me.

  36. RE#59: When it comes to your parents…if 1 parent dies before the other, expect to grieve for both when the 2nd one dies. No matter how you grieved initially the 1st time
    RE # 53: Had NO idea about this one but soooo true…I find myself all the time thinking “wish I had done this before so I could tell them about it”

  37. Regarding #47 above:
    This is absolutely not true for everyone. It does NOT “get better” for everyone. For me, the only way that it could possibly ever get “better” would be if the one I love the most in the world had not died, or if that person could come back to life and be with me again. Since that is not possible, it is not possible for things to get “better”. I deeply wish that people would stop saying that to people who are in grief, and I am surprised to find that said here, where you folks should know better. Please understand that I mean no disrespect in saying this, as I appreciate your website and the work that you do greatly, and these lists of things are generally very good. But it is wrong to make any generalizations like that, saying that everyone will or will not feel any particular thing, even “better”. To do that is cruel, because then if a person cannot ever feel “better”, the result is that s/he will feel like a failure, or as if s/he is not doing things “correctly” because s/he does not feel “better”. What would be more accurate, and applicable to everyone, is that things will get different. This is a truth, because change is constant and is entirely unavoidable. That change, that “different”, may feel better or worse or neither of those things, or may be any of those things at different times. And for some people, I know it is true that things got “better” with time. I am glad for them. But there is NO universal truth that for everyone “things will get better”. Please stop saying that. It would be best if we avoided making any such generalized sweeping statements about people’s experiences and how they feel or will feel, because for every individual it is different.

    • Hi DL, I am sorry if 47 rubbed you the wrong way, but I think part of the issue may be in understanding what these lists are about. These lists are about the fact that grief is different for everyone. You may have noticed, some things on these lists that explicitly contradict each other. THis is because we are all different, there is nothing one can say about grief that will be universal. I started this list with things I wish someone had told me, that were true to my grief. Readers submitted other things, some of which resonated with me and some of which did not. The idea was for a collective list of things people had felt personally, with the assumption that they will never be true for everyone. For many people, it does get better. For some it doesnt. It is funny you mention things getting different, as one of my grief mantras is “it doesn’t get better, it just gets different”. I have had many greivers say they love that, and I have had others take great issue with it saying they strongly disagree. The bottom line is that you can never compare loss or compare grief. We all feel different things and it is helpful to hear what others feel and experience, even when we feel completely the opposite. Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective — I am sure many can relate!!!

    • Well geez, thanks a lot DL for destroying my hope the things will get better. I’d rather be told it will get better and hold onto that. Your post was so incredibly unhelpful.

  38. my husband, my best friend, and the love of my life died October 7, 2014 at 1:26 am. I was blessed to have him in my life for 23 years. My loss of Walt is so deep I just want to stay in bed and let the world go by. I have prayed to Walt to come and get me. I would rather be in heaven with him then live on earth without him. But, he would not want this and I must take this new journey without him. It is not easy and I cry and I get angry and I smile when I think of my wonderful life I had with him. Grief is a process I am not sure how long it will take me to go through a day without crying but I know one day it will be easier. I may not like it but God has a new path for me. I have been invited to a wedding, and also I have been invited by friends to go zip lining and you know what I am going to do both. My Walt loved life and adventure and I am going to keep that spirit he taught me. We must continued living I know Walt would want me to do this. I will continue to shed tears and at times feel like nothing will ever be the same but I must get through this and come out the other end stronger, wiser and enjoy this beautiful life I was given. Grief is a hard journey but is is a journey all of will take one day. You have a chose you can except it and go through it as best as you can or you can Let it consume you. I decided to try to keep on living and do the best I can to get through the loss of my Walt. Believe me he was my whole life and it is not easy but I must move forward at my own pace and the best way I can.

  39. I wish I would have know how exhausting grieving can be as well as how it affects a persons ability to preform simple task that use to be a way of life. I couldn’t cook, I would burn everything , forget to turn on or off burner. I couldn’t remember if I paid a bill. Everyday function is so difficult.

  40. Ive tried to hide my grief from everyone around me partly because i dont think they will understand and i dont want to make them uncomfortable thats my husband and my friends and then theirs my children my sisters and dad i hide it from because i dont want to add to their grief. Im terrified at the thought of the rest of my life without my mum and having this pain.

    • Katy, I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. Though I understand the inclination to hide your grief from others to shelter them, the reality is that being honest with our grief can not only be good for us, but for those around us. When one family member “isn’t” grieving (or appears to not be grieving bc they are hiding it) others will often beat themselves up because they feel their grief is abnormal, or they may feel their grief is making you uncomfortable because you are not grieving. Children learn from adults that it is okay to grieve and express emotions when they see this from their parents. It is important to talk to your children about why you are sad, and also important to let them know you are sad. Finally, in order for your husband to know how to support you it is important he know you are grieving and what you need. It is tempting to hide it, but those who love us want to support us, and that starts with us being honest.

      It is a personal decision what you decide to share and not share with others. You may decide you simply are not comfortable sharing your grief, but I would encourage you to consider how it might help both you and others to be more open. If opening up to family doesn’t work for you, you may want to consider a support group or writing, photography, or other forms of creative expression to express your grief. We have tons of ideas here on the blog.

      Please take good care!

  41. In all cases-especially with suicide-it’s not your fault.

    Love alone cannot save someone.

    People often talk about “feeling” their loved one’s “presence” around them-and how that gets them through. It’s okay if you don’t feel that in the beginning, or even ten or more years down the road. Nothing is wrong with you.

  42. The first family holiday celebration after their death will be difficult. Not only did Daddy die, but “the head of the family” died. Now who will take that position in the family?

    You will feel more pain each year on the anniversary of their death.

  43. My husband died suddenly 15 weeks back he was only 52. I went back to work 5 weeks ago thinking it would be helpful, it’s not but I’m there so have to carry on with it. I’m shocked by the way my sister has been with me, it almost feels like in her eyes ‘it happened now get over it’ we used to be so close and now she rarely makes contact. The effort of pretending I’m okay is so hard, I struggle to ask for help because I know there is nothing anyone can do but on the odd occasions I’ve let it be know how much I’m struggling I just get a message saying ‘big hug’ ………………. that doesn’t help. I don’t know how to cope with the grief, how to get through life – it’s so hard.

  44. Ladies, thank you all for your replies and for the comfort you have given me. This is hard and I don’t expect it to be easy, or clear, for a while. In some ways I just really needed validation from people who have been where you are, where this person in my life is, and know that I am not crazy and that though different, my feelings are valid as well. I truly do take comfort from your words. ?

  45. Beth, everyone’s journey with grief is so different. No 2 people will ever respond in the same manor. I have had the loss by death, but also the loss of relationships of extended family. I have just had to learn that sometimes time doesn’t heal all things. I love them from afar and the door is open if they ever want to have a relationship.

  46. Beth, I can tell you from experience that grief can change us in ways we never imagined. Because what happened isn’t clear, I can only comment from personal experience with being angry. The lashing out can come when we feel very disappointed with people not “getting it.” It changes our perspective and sometimes grief can make you cross a line that you cannot go back over. I agree with Litsa, give it time. This person needs their space. It’s possible something was happening before and the grief has just brought it out. While it is about you on one level, on another level it you have to realize that this person may not be able to handle what is happening right now. They are dealing with something you are not able to truly understand. You can be sympathetic but it is not the same as living their experience. And you will also mourn the loss of this friendship, but the best thing you can do is to wait it out.
    Sharon

  47. Hi Beth, this is a great question and not one you should be worried to ask at all. I have said many times that my grief made me an angry, self-involved, and less-than-empathetic person at times. Emotions are running amok and it is not uncommon for grievers to direct those emotions at people around them (sometimes people who are just trying to help). When you are grieving, it can be hard not to feel like the word should stop for you, so countless little things can set you off. It is a dirty little secret that comes with grieving, but grief can make us feel entitled, which can also lead to anger and lashing out.

    Your feelings are absolutely valid and it is understandable that you would feel hurt. It sounds like you are trying to understand their reaction and that it was likely driven by grief, but even when you understand something on a rational level, it doesn’t change how it makes you feel on an emotional level. Not knowing the details of the situation it is hard to say what you ‘should’ do, but I would suggest if this was recent giving it time and space. We have two posts on supporting grievers that you may find helpful . . .

    https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-support-vs-comfort/
    https://whatsyourgrief.com/supporting-a-friend-after-a-death/

    Not sure if this got at what you were asking at all . . .please let me know.

  48. I have a question about grief and how it affects others and I am terrified to ask. I have googled and searched but no one seems to ask my question. I will write the simple question here in case someone would like to reply, but if the moderator would like to email me, that is awesome, too.

    First, (thus the terror) please, PLEASE forgive if this offends anyone. But what happens when someone else who is grieving a loss lashes out at another? In my case I was lashed out at and it has turned ugly – but not because I wanted it to. I have grieved the potential loss of this person having anything to do with my family. I have tried to talk and communicate but now this person wants nothing to do with me. I have been to sympathetic to their loss, and I am trying my best to not let it be about me – to *try* and understand that their reaction me may not be their – or my – fault. But it *is* about me; at least it is also about me. Do my feelings become less valid because their grief is bigger? I am hurting and confused and don’t know how to ask. Even my own counselor has tried to reassure me that it wasn’t “personal” and that it is “normal.” I don’t want this to be normal.

    Sorry this is so long, but this is the first blog I have found that *feels* like a safe place for me to ask. Thank you, to whomever might read.

  49. I think this will be the list that never ends because we all walk this journey differently. Sometimes things that have no seemly connection to your loved one will cause tears but later you’ll be able to see the connection.

  50. Loving this one as much (maybe even a little more) than the first list!! Thank you!

  51. Great list, no end to the process. Time only makes the loss different, it doesn’t make it better. That loss will always be there, and sometimes the passage of time makes us realize how much our loved one is missing and how much we miss them.

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