We’ve been engaged a bit of a dialogue over on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram about the things our readers would tell their younger selves about grief (either before they experienced the death of their loved one or just after). The advice they have to offer runs the gamut, but echoes the collective wisdom we hear from people in WYG community on a regular basis.
We wanted to extend this conversation beyond social media and so we’ve paraphrased it below. Some of the comments may resonate with you and some of may not; please remember our question was (and is) – What would YOU tell YOUR younger self about grief? The answer to this question will depend on the person answering it, who they were when their loved one died, and who they are today. If you haven’t already, we’d really love you to add to the conversation and share what you would tell your younger self about grief if you could.
1. Yes, death and grief can happen to you.
2. Grief is a lot harder on you physically than you’d expect.
3. You will learn a lot about yourself.
4. Waking up in the morning will be really hard.
5. You will be surprised by the people who are there for you
6. You will be surprised by the people who aren’t there for you.
7. Seek support from people who understand grief and who want to understand you.
8. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
9. There is no timeframe that is too long or too short.
10. There is no such thing as too sad or not sad enough.
11. Don’t try and change or contain your grief because people pressure you to grieve the “right way”.
12. Many people don’t know what to say, but say something anyway.
13. Tune out hurtful words from other people.
14. Nothing – I wouldn’t want my younger self to know anything about this terrible ache.
15. Grief bites!
16. Sometimes the mind cannot grasp what the heart is feeling.
17. You will question your life so much more.
18. You wouldn’t believe how bad it feels.
19. It is the worst pain – but life has to go on.
20. The death of your loved one will knock you on your butt, so stay on your knees and trust God you can get through.
21. What you’re feeling is normal.
22. Love your family – never take for granted that they will always be there.
23. Savor every moment
24. Life never goes back to how it was before your loved one died.
25. You will get better at living with your grief, but it will never totally go away.
26. You will miss the person the rest of your life.
27. Your pain won’t end, your grief won’t end, because your love never ends.
28. The passage of time can be both your friend and your enemy.
29. Whoever said “time heals” lied.
30. Although time doesn’t actually heal, some days it can make the grief feel less raw.
31. Don’t do things you aren’t ready to do.
32. Grief can sneak up on you at times when you are feeling okay.
33. Take baby steps.
34. Try to get some sleep.
35. Don’t lose your job. Stay in school.
36. People will tell you not to have regrets or to feel guilt, but that’s a lot easier said than done.
37. No one will ever completely understand how you feel.
38. Sometimes you’ll feel like no one is there for you.
39. You will feel isolated at times.
40. People may take advantage of you in your grief.
41. Well meaning people sometimes say or do the wrong thing.
42. It’s okay to ask for help.
43. Let people love you and love them back.
44. Make grief friends.
45. Talk about your loved one.
46. Communicate with those you love about how you feel.
47. Don’t pretend you’re okay when you’re not
49. You will feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself.
50. The person who has died will always be part of you.
51. You will experience joy again, but it will be different than before.
52. It’s okay to laugh again and it’s okay to love again.
53. Finding happiness is not a betrayal to your loved one.
54. As time goes on, you will grieve the things your loved one missed out on.
56. Find a way to make friends with the sadness; it isn’t going anywhere.
57. Grieving is a normal part of life, so make sure you honor it.
58. It’s possible to carry grief with you in a healthy way
59. You will grow from this experience, but you’d trade it all to have your loved one back.
60. Be kind to yourself.
61. Hold on.
62. You can do this.
63. Subscribe to What’s Your Grief
64. Listen to the What’s Your Grief podcast when you’re bored.