|12/31/2022||“Rainbows introduce us to reflections of different beautiful possibilities so we never forget that pain and grief are not the final options in life.”|
Aberjhani, Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry
Try to find an object in your home or something in nature that can become the visualization of hope. It may not be something typical like flowers or a rainbow. It just needs to be a constant reminder that there is beauty in this world waiting for you when you are ready to embrace it.
|12/30/2022||“In this contemporary culture, what could be an effective means by which we might be able to cue one another to say, Take it easy on me, I’m grieving? Maybe if we reinvented, or re-established the practice of wearing black and created our own symbol of grieving – to wear our version of black, or maybe to color with black crayons for a while – the world around us would appropriately respond to our grief cues.”|
Sandy Oshiro Rosen, Bare: The Misplaced Art of Grieving and Dancing
It would definitely be easier if you could wear an external symbol to show that you’re still grieving. Because you can’t, you have to be ready to deal with unwanted questions. It is fine to say, “Even though some time has passed, the loss still seems new. I don’t even feel ready to talk about it yet.” People will appreciate a sincere response that states briefly how you are doing without having to go into depth.
|12/29/2022||“Community is about sharing my life; about allowing the chaos of another’s circumstances to infringe on mine; about permitting myself to be known without constraint; about resigning myself to needing others.”|
Sandy Oshiro Rosen, Bare: The Misplaced Art of Grieving and Dancing
Even if you have established some relationships online that are helping you work through your grief, it is very important to connect with people in person as well. Become active in a group near your home. Be it playing a sport or taking a class or volunteering for a charity, interacting with others is crucial to your healing. Don’t be afraid to connect or reconnect with people in your community. As humans, we need to feel the warmth of a smile, the touch of a handshake, and the sound of laughter when we make an amusing remark as much as we need food and water. Don’t let your grief deprive you of these vital experiences.
|12/28/2022||“The sunlight now lay over the valley perfectly still. I went over to the graveyard beside the church and found them under the old cedars… I am finding it a little hard to say that I felt them resting there, but I did. I felt their completeness as whatever they had been in the world.|
I knew I had come there out of kindness, theirs and mine. The grief that came to me then was nothing like the grief I had felt for myself alone… This grief had something in it of generosity, some nearness to joy. In a strange way it added to me what I had lost. I saw that, for me, this country would always be populated with presences and absences, presences of absences, the living and the dead. The world as it is would always be a reminder of the world that was, and of the world that is to come.”
Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow
Find an old, tall tree near your home. It might be in a city park or down a country lane. Look up into its branches. Start to think about what this tree has seen – the generations that have taken shelter under it from the sun, the children who have tried to climb it. Life rushes by, but this tree can symbolize for you generations of people who have been here, lived and loved, and moved on. Your loss is part of what this tree has seen, and like the new leaves in spring, you will eventually grow forward from this sorrow.
|12/27/2022||“And they had folded his brother’s hands across his suited chest, as if he would be preserved in this sanguine pose forever, but only the heavy callouses visible at the sides of his hands seemed real. It was only the callouses that appeared to be familiar and believable.”|
Kent Haruf, Eventide
Going through the rituals associated with the death of a loved one may seem like they took place in another lifetime. As more time passes, they almost feel surreal. The grief process itself is a more present part of your life for a long time. While the shock of the loss and unreal aspects of the first week or two fade quickly, the sadness can feel never ending. Keep looking back over your process. It is only in hindsight that you will detect any progress.
|12/26/2022||“If it is possible to die of grief then why on earth can’t someone be healed by happiness?”|
Jodi Picoult, Keeping Faith
Your moments of joy are to be savored, but they won’t prevent grief from creeping in at times. Once you make peace with that, the moments with grief won’t catch you off guard any more.
|12/25/2022||“Unacquainted with grief, I knew not how to appraise my bereavement; I could not rightly estimate the strength of the stroke.”|
Ambrose Bierce, The Moonlit Road and Other Ghost and Horror Stories
How can you measure grief? It is impossible. You need to deal with it when it flares up and be thankful when it doesn’t.
|12/24/2022||“Love is infinite. Grief can lead to love. Love can lead to grief. Grief is a love story told backward just as love is a grief story told backward.”|
Love and grief are intertwined. You know that better than anyone.
|12/23/2022||“But grief is a walk alone. Others can be there, and listen. But you will walk alone down your own path, at your own pace, with your sheared-off pain, your raw wounds, you denial, anger, and bitter loss. You’ll come to your own peace, hopefully, but it will be on your own, in your own time.”|
Cathy Lamb, The First Day of the Rest of My Life
Think of how you grew to care for or even love the person you lost. It was its own beautiful experience. Grieving is as unique as the love you shared with the special person you lost.
|12/22/2022||“Each person’s grief journey is as unique as a fingerprint or a snowflake”|
The term ‘journey’ is overused these days, but your experience with grief is a unique journey. Only you know where you are and how you are feeling. Share your pain with those that care about you.
|12/21/2022||I was tired of well-meaning folks, telling me it was time I got over being heartbroke. When somebody tells you that, a little bell ought to ding in your mind. Some people don’t know grief from garlic grits. There’s somethings a body ain’t meant to get over. No I’m not suggesting you wallow in sorrow, or let it drag on; no I am just saying it never really goes away. (A death in the family) is like having a pile of rocks dumped in your front yard. Every day you walk out and see them rocks. They’re sharp and ugly and heavy. You just learn to live around them the best way you can. Some people plant moss or ivy; some leave it be. Some folks take the rocks one by one, and build a wall.”|
Michael Lee West, American Pie
What will you do with your rocks? You may have had a plan a month ago that looks different now. Use that analogy to help you ponder how you want to cope with your grief.
|12/20/2022||“But grief is the ultimate unrequited love. However hard and long we love someone who has died, they can never love us back. At least that is how it feels…”|
You will always love the person you lost. Grieving can feel lonely because you don’t get to feel their love in return. You may want to write down what you would like to say to your loved one and what you think they would say back to you.
|12/19/2022||“It is grief that develops the powers of the mind.”|
Grief is going to pop into your mind. Its arrival is unpredictable but undeniable. What can you do? Know that it is coming, but also know that you can cope with it while it lasts.
|12/18/2022||“Edgar, do you actually think that how long a person grieves is a measure of how much they loved someone? There’s no rulebook that says how to do this.” She laughed, bitterly. “Wouldn’t that be great? No decisions to make. Everything laid right out for us. But there’s no such thing. You want facts, don’t you? Rules. Proof. You’re like your father that way. Just because a thing can’t be logged, charted, and summarized doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Half the time we walk around in love with the idea of a thing instead of the reality of it. But sometimes things don’t turn out that way. You have to pay attention to what’s real, what’s in the world. Not some imaginary alternative, as if it’s a choice we could make.”|
David Wroblewski from The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
There is no formula for grief – no average length for how long it takes someone to recover from a tragic loss. You can’t count down to the last day of your grief. What you can do is continue to celebrate the small victories. You may have smiled and laughed today, or helped someone who needed it. Enjoy the small triumphs as they come, and know that each one leads to healing.
|12/17/2022||“Had any poet adequately described the wretched ugliness of a loved one turned inside out with grief?”|
Your family and friends may be more worried about you than you realize. Be sure to check in with them and talk about how you are doing periodically.
|12/16/2022||“Hold him in your memory find him in your dreams”|
You will see your loved one again in your dreams. It will come when you least expect it and will give you some comfort.
|12/15/2022||“What I have learned lately is that people deal with death in all sorts of ways. Some of us fight against it, doing everything we can to make it not true. Some of us lose our selves to grief. Some of us lose ourselves to anger.”|
How are you coping? What does your grief look like? There is not “right” grief and “wrong” grief. There is only your grief.
|12/14/2022||The way I pictured it, all this grief would be like a winter night when you’re standing outside. You’ll warm up once you get used to the cold. Except after you’ve been out there for awhile, you feel the warmth draining out of you and you realize the opposite is happening; you’re getting colder and colder, as the body heat you brought outside with you seeps out of your skin. Instead of getting used to it, you get weaker the longer you endure it.”|
Just about the time when you fear that you are not going to feel better, something will happen to give you hope. You may hear from an old friend, have the opportunity to help someone, or find yourself laughing at a funny tv show. Open yourself up to opportunities that provide positive distractions during this grieving process. You need to feel joy to help your healing process.
|12/13/2022||“It takes a year, nephew… a full turn of the calendar, to get over losing someone.”|
It would be comforting to know exactly how long the grieving process takes. Everyone you talk to has his/her own advice, and books on the subject have differing opinions as well. The truth is that it is different for everyone.
Don’t feel pressured by the calendar. Your grieving period will take as long as it takes, and you cannot actively control that. Be good to yourself and work through this time with a sense of patience rather than urgency.
|12/12/2022||“I wish everyone would stop crying, Tom. Uncle Joe would be so angry about it.” But she’s crying herself now. “He’d be so angry at us, Tom, for crying so much when all he did was laugh.”|
There may be days when you find yourself crying as much as you did when you first experienced your loss. Seeing something that reminds you of your loved one or running into a mutual friend can bring your loss back to the forefront of your mind. Crying is natural, and many people still have periods when they cry more often as they heal.
|12/11/2022||“If he didn’t love so deeply, he couldn’t grieve so deeply. But he’s drowning in it.”|
Think about how someone you know seemed when he or she was grieving. How did you feel being around that person? While it’s tough to see yourself objectively, try to determine how you may be connecting with those around you. Taking the extra effort to make them comfortable will actually help you too.
|12/10/2022||“Grief … gives life a permanently provisional feeling. It doesn’t seem worth starting anything. I can’t settle down. I yawn, I fidget, I smoke too much. Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time. Almost pure time, empty successiveness.”|
Begin a project that is meaningful to you. You may want to label old photos or videos, donate clothing to a charity, or reorganize your bedroom. Take on a task that generates a tangible result, so that, upon its completion, you can look at it and see what you have achieved.
|12/9/2022||“I do hope that when the day comes, whether in 1, 10, or 100 years, I don’t want you to think of me and feel sad.”|
– Esther Earl
Do something special – be it lunch with a friend or a walk in the park with a relative – and take a photograph of it. You need to start to build some new memories centered on what you are doing today.
|12/8/2022||“Grief teaches the steadiest minds to waver.”|
Ask someone else who is grieving what he or she needs, and try to do whatever it is for that person. Any concrete things you can do to help someone else will help you with your own grief.
|12/7/2022||“We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in all the world–the company of those who have known suffering.”|
There will be times when you mourn the person you were before you experienced the loss of a loved one.
|12/6/2022||“Take any emotion – love for a woman, or grief for a loved one, or what I’m going through, fear and pain from a deadly illness. If you hold back on the emotions – if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them – you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. “But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, ‘All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment’.”|
As you experience the grief process, try to have an awareness of how you are feeling and how those who share your pain are feeling. It helps to have self awareness so that you can eventually use this time to grow and become a more thoughtful, empathetic person.
|12/5/2022||“Nix still held Benny’s hand, and her grip tightened to an almost crushing force, grinding his hand bones together. It hurt, but Benny would rather have cut that hand off than take it back at that moment. If it would help Nix through this, he’d give her a pair of pliers and a vise so she could do a proper job.”|
Do a task today that you’ve been putting off for a while. It could be writing a thank you note, cleaning a closet, or some other mundane obligation. Just accomplishing something small can be extremely satisfying.
|12/4/2022||“A shade of sorrow passed over Taliesin’s face. ‘There are those,’ he said gently, ‘who must first learn loss, despair, and grief. Of all paths to wisdom, this is the cruelest and longest. Are you one who must follow such a way? This even I cannot know. If you are, take heart nonetheless. Those who reach the end do more than gain wisdom. As rough wool becomes cloth, and crude clay a vessel, so do they change and fashion wisdom for others, and what they give back is greater than what they won.”|
Make an extra effort to smile. Doing so can actually make you feel better.
|12/3/2022||“I basked in you; I loved you, helplessly, with a boundless tongue-tied love.|
And death doesn’t prevent me from loving you. Besides, in my opinion you aren’t dead. (I know dead people, and you are not dead.)”
Proactively do something today that makes another person know that you like or value them. It could be as simple as a quick complement or as elaborate as sending a gift. Take a few minutes to make that effort towards making someone else feel special.
|12/2/2022||“Tears have always been easier to shed than explain.”|
Sometimes it feels like there are no words to accurately describe what grief feels like. As with any pain, you can’t remember it with precision after the fact, which is a blessing.
|12/1/2022||“When a relationship of love is disrupted, the relationship does not cease. The love continues; therefore, the relationship continues. The work of grief is to reconcile and redeem life to a different love relationship.”|
W. Scott Lineberry
You have lost someone you love. It might have been a romantic love, a familial love or a friendship love. The loss is palpable, leaving a gap in yourself that cannot be ignored. To work through this grief, you need to find a new love to build. It might be the love of a hobby, the love of beauty in art or nature, or the love of a shared goal with others. Call it a passion, a drive, or a purpose, you need to have something that motivates you moving forward. You may already have it in your life, but you have not cultivated it.
Take the time to find or develop a new, great love.
|11/30/2022||“Here’s what I know: death abducts the dying, but grief steals from those left behind.”|
When you have experienced a loss, you can feel like a victim. Something precious was taken away from you, and there is a definite helplessness to that. You need to make the active decision to not be a victim of your grief. Feel the sadness, but work through the pain proactively each day to take back control of your life.
|11/29/2022||“Grief lasts longer than sympathy, which is one of the tragedies of the grieving.”|
You probably haven’t received a sympathy card in quite a while. Most of your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers already know about your loss, and have reached out to you. You may be feeling fairly isolated and forgotten.
While you can’t force people to reach out to you again, it can be helpful to reach out to someone else who needs you. Offer to run an errand for a busy parent, pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor, or send a card to someone who could use the pick-me-up that comes from being remembered. The process of acting to help another person will make you feel more alive and connected.
|11/28/2022||“Tears are a river that takes you somewhere…Tears lift your boat off the rocks, off dry ground, carrying it downriver to someplace better.”|
Clarissa Pinkola Estés
It hasn’t been too long to cry. Cry when you need to cry and dry your tears when you are ready.
Head tries to help heart.
Head tells heart how it is, again:
You will lose the ones you love. They will all go. But even the earth will go, someday.
Heart feels better, then.
But the words of head do not remain long in the ears of heart.
Heart is so new to this.
I want them back, says heart.
Head is all heart has.
Help, head. Help heart.”
Your head seems to be healing faster than your heart. You understand your loss intellectually. Why then do you awake with the hope in your heart that it was all just a bad dream? As with all matters of love, the heart has a bigger role to play than the head would want!
|11/26/2022||“Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child’s loss of a doll and a king’s loss of a crown are events of the same size.”|
When you turn on the news or read a magazine article that focuses on someone else’s tragedy, you may feel guilty because their losses may seem more “important” than yours. How can I be so upset about my situation when others have much more serious ones? You never need to feel that way. You are as justified as anyone else to have the feelings that you do about your loss. It is as personal as a fingerprint, and another person’s situation cannot diminish yours.
|11/25/2022||” I think of the chimp, the one with the talking hands. In the course of the experiment, that chimp had a baby. Imagine how her trainers must have thrilled when the mother, without prompting, began to sign her newborn.|
Baby, drink milk.
Baby, play ball.
And when the baby died, the mother stood over the body, her wrinkled hands moving with animal grace, forming again and again the words: Baby, come hug, Baby come hug, fluent now in the language of grief.”
Is it comforting that so many other people are grieving too? For someone, the grief process started today. For someone else, the first glimpse of hope that things would get better happened. One of the tough parts of grieving can be that it seems isolating. Wherever you are in your process, though, always know that you are not alone in your feelings.
|11/24/2022||“Life Lesson 3: You can’t rush grief. It has its own timetable. All you can do is make sure there are lots of soft places around — beds, pillows, arms, laps.”|
Show yourself the same patience that you show to everyone else in your life. The key is to believe that you will heal from this. You will be changed, but you will heal nonetheless.
|11/23/2022||“The depth of the feeling continued to surprise and threaten me, but each time it hit again and I bore it…I would discover that it hadn’t washed me away.”|
Just about the time you think you are doing better, something happens that brings memories flooding back. Try not to feel discouraged. Think of grief like a toddler learning to walk. The child has to hold on at first (and cries a lot!). Over time, the steps become more steady. While the child falls as he gains his footing, his strength grows with time and the help of people who care. While the toddler will surely fall again, those falls will become less and less frequent. You too will learn to “walk”.
|11/22/2022||“Sometimes she’d go a whole day without thinking of him or missing him. Why not? She had quite a full life, and really, he’d often been hard to deal with and hard to live with. A project, the Yankee old timers like her very own Dad might have said. And then sometimes a day would come, a gray one (or a sunny one) when she missed him so fiercely she felt empty, not a woman at all anymore but just a dead tree filled with cold November blow. She felt like that now, felt like hollering his name and hollering him home, and her heart turned sick with the thought of the years ahead and she wondered what good love was if it came to this, to even ten seconds of feeling like this.”|
Take time to work on your other relationships today. It could be with your children, your siblings, your parents, or your friends. Make sure you stay connected to the people who matter to you. As you heal, those bonds will grow stronger and help you to return to life.
|11/21/2022||“Sometimes, there was no getting over it. Sometimes, you lived with the empty place inside of you until you imploded on it, loss as singularity, or until the empty place expanded and hollowed out the rest of you so thoroughly you became the walking dead, a ghost in your own life.”|
There will still be days when you feel like you are a shell. You have to go through the motions and get through it. As you know by now, it won’t be easy. The good news is that it won’t last forever, and you will get through it. Try to find a spark of hope. You just need to weather this storm, because tomorrow will probably be a little easier.
|11/20/2022||“What happens when you let go, when your strength leaves you and you sink into darkness, when there’s nothing that you or anyone else can do, no matter how desperate you are, no matter how you try? Perhaps it’s then, when you have neither pride nor power, that you are saved, brought to an unimaginably great reward.”|
Can you let go of your grief for one day? You may not be ready quite yet. Try to involve yourself in a project or hobby today that frees your mind, even if it’s only for a short time.
|11/19/2022||“I waited for dawn, but only because I had forgotten how hard mornings were. For a second I’d be normal. Then came the dim awareness of something off, out of place. Then the truth came crashing down and that was it for the rest of the day. Sunlight was reproof. Shouldn’t I feel better than I had in the dead of night.”|
When you least expect it, there will be a morning when you wake up and forget about your loss. Try not to feel guilty, for it is a sign of progress. While it may not happen again for a long time, waking up without sadness will eventually be the norm.
|11/18/2022||“The weird, weird thing about devastating loss is that life actually goes on. When you’re faced with a tragedy, a loss so huge that you have no idea how you can live through it, somehow, the world keeps turning, the seconds keep ticking.”|
When you walk down the street, you probably pass several people who are grieving. Can you pick them out of the crowd? No – nor can you be identified as grieving by those who don’t know you. Life goes on, but you are not alone in your grieving process. Be sure to stay connected to others so you don’t feel isolated in your process.
|11/17/2022||“It (nostalgia) reassures us of past happiness and accomplishment; and, since these still remain on deposit, as it were, in the bank of our memory, it simultaneously bestows upon us a certain worth, irrespective of how present circumstances may seem to question or obscure this. And current worth, as our friendly bank loan officer assures us, is entitled to at least some claim on the future as well.”|
Memories may have been making you feel sad lately. Perhaps a special birthday or anniversary is near, and it’s been difficult to manage your emotions. However, nostalgia is a great reminder that you were and are important. You bring joy to others, and can continue to do so. As time progresses, try to see your memories as a source of empowerment rather than a source of sadness.
|11/16/2022||“When you arise in the morning, think of what precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”|
Find one thing today that reminds you how beautiful life is. Photograph it and print it out. Then, use it as a visual reminder when you need it.
|11/15/2022||“Start before you’re ready.”|
You may never feel like you are ready to reconnect with people and pursue things that interest you. Take the leap anyway…you’ll be glad you did.
|11/14/2022||“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.”|
Find the courage today to do something you would not ordinarily do. What that looks like is different for everyone, but the act of taking a risk will empower you.
|11/13/2022||“There’s a loneliness that only exists in one’s mind. The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”|
F. Scott Fitzgerald
When was the last time you spoke to a stranger? Hold the door for someone with a baby carriage; help someone who is struggling to carry bags to ease his/her burden; compliment someone on his/her outfit. You must make the effort to connect with others even in small ways throughout the day.
|11/12/2022||“We hold on so tightly, because we’re terrified of loss. We hold on till our hands bleed. And in that self-shattering persistence, we fail to see the answer: Just let go.”|
Let yourself feel some happiness today. Allow yourself to smile. You need to feel some joy to help you balance the pain you are working through right now.
|11/11/2022||“Happiness isn’t about getting what you want all the time. It’s about loving what you have and being grateful for it.”|
You are working through your grief, and that is an overwhelming process. Look for one thing today that makes you smile. You may have to search online for a comedic video or timely cartoon you find amusing. Try to reawaken that part of your emotions.
|11/10/2022||“The whole world can become the enemy when you lose what you love.”|
There may be times when you look at those people who have not lost someone with envy. They seem like they don’t have any real problems as they live in the blissful ignorance of what it feels like before you experience great loss. Your grief changes you, but it also brings wisdom. You can now empathize and connect with others in ways that you could not truly do so before your loss. Your loss brings to you a greater understanding of life and all of its stages.
|11/9/2022||“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”|
William G.T. Shedd
Sometimes grief makes us want to stay home alone and not engage with our friends and family. Try to go out and connect with others. Go shopping with a friend; have coffee with a relative; attend a club meeting. It’s hard to go out and be part of life, but if you try to do so it will help you to heal.
|11/8/2022||“And in the end it is not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.”|
What have you done lately that makes you feel alive and connected to nature? Go for a bike ride, take a walk, go for a swim…there are so many ways to feel part of the greater world around you.
|11/7/2022||“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”|
Write an email to someone who is also impacted by loss. Talk about how you are feeling in an honest,open fashion. These are the times when we need each other.
|11/6/2022||“Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”|
You don’t need to aspire to be happy or even to “not” be sad. Just take a moment and actively reflect on how you’re feeling today. Be good to yourself, but be honest. You can recognize that you feel lonely or sad. That is a step towards feeling better.
|11/5/2022||“The greatest gift you can give someone is your time, your attention, your love, your concern.”|
Reach out to a neighbor today. Walk their dog, take in their mail…find something you can do for them to make their day a little easier. Being proactive is a critical part of your healing process.
|11/4/2022||“For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use to be anything else.”|
How can you feel optimistic when you still feel sad? It is so difficult to believe that things are going to improve when the burden of grief is so heavy to bear. You may not be ready to feel optimistic about a lot of things today. Try to feel optimistic about one….you will heal and be able to enjoy life again. Once you start having that belief, your life will slowly change.
|11/3/2022||“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”|
Wayne W. Dyer
Take out a concrete object today that reminds you of your loved one. It could be a photograph, a letter, or something that belonged to that person. Even if the object initially makes you feel sad, think of at least two things about it that make you feel happy. It is not an easy assignment, and you may not be able to do it yet. Keep trying, though, as it will help you to move past your grief into a place of greater contentment.
|11/2/2022||“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and future.”|
What are you going to do today? Will you be at home or are you going out?
You decide today who you are going to be and what you are going to do. The control you have over yourself and your actions is actually an important part of your healing. Your loved one being gone makes you feel like you have no control. However, you do control a lot of the pieces of your life. Having an awareness of that will help you feel less like a victim of your loss.
|11/1/2022||“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”|
Write down one thing today that you learned from the person you lost. Put it in your pocket and take it out whenever you feel you need to to get through the day. Perhaps tomorrow you will not need the concrete reminder of the legacy left by such a special person in your heart.
|10/31/2022||“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”|
Your grief is a setback. It is unquestionably devastating and even frightening as you piece together what feels like the shattered pieces of your life. But this is your life, and your chance to live it is today. Take a step, no matter how small, towards finding your purpose.
|10/30/2022||“I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside.”|
Wm. Paul Young
Are you afraid to tighten the bonds with your family and friends? Do you think that if you become closer with them that you are running the risk of losing them too?
It is normal to worry about losing once you have suffered a loss. Despite your hesitancy, it is important to have bonds with others to help you rebuild after your great loss. Death is a hard but inevitable part of life. You cannot stop living, growing, and bonding with others. You need to choose to live.
|10/29/2022||“Grief can’t be shared. Everyone carries it alone, his own burden, his own way.”|
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
It can be surprising, even shocking, that others who had a relationship with the person you lost are grieving so differently. The fact that they are crying more than you, talking less, seem so contented, or any other difference is hard to understand.
|10/28/2022||“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”|
Mary Anne Radmacher
You may have had several days, even weeks, where you felt like you were doing a little better…not great, but a little better. Then, it hit again like a ton of bricks. Grief sometimes plays cruel tricks where you think you’re handling it, and then you have a setback. This process is long and grueling. Be patient with yourself, and remember that tomorrow is another day.
|10/27/2022||“If you suppress grief too much, it can well redouble.”|
You do not have to pretend to be the strong person that your family, friends, or even society assumes that you are. You may not want to cry, but you need to find an outlet for the intense emotions that come with grief. If the tears won’t come, you should do something physical to release some of that pressure. Taking a walk, running, or riding a bike can be helpful ways to handle the daunting feelings of grief.
|10/26/2022||“Thinking and talking about death need not be morbid; they may be quite the opposite. Ignorance and fear of death overshadow life, while knowing and accepting death erases this shadow.”|
It is important that you find someone in your life who has also lost someone close to them. It may be a family member, but it could also be someone that you connect with online or as part of a support group. You may not need to talk about your loss every day, but there will be days that you need to have someone to whom you can just say, “Today is tough,” knowing that the person on the other end of the phone or who reads your email understands. Having that moment where you feel safe and understood is important. If you haven’t found someone to fill that role, you should begin trying to do so. It will help those flashes of pain much easier to bear.
|10/25/2022||“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”|
What defines a relationship? Many would argue that a relationship is the bond you have with another person. That bond, of course, varies a lot depending upon the person with whom you share it. However, the connection that you have is one that is everlasting, and most certainly transcends death.
When your partner passes on, the relationship still remains. You don’t have to use the past tense when you think about your loved one. Say to yourself, “I love this person,” rather than, “I loved this person.” It is a small change, but one that will help your heart know that you don’t have to abandon that relationship, but to see it as an important part of your life today.
|10/24/2022||“Grief is a curious thing, when it happens unexpectedly. It is a Band-aid being ripped away, taking the top layer off a family. And the underbelly of a household is never pretty, ours no exception.”|
Everyone responds to grief differently. Some people talk about their feelings at length, some seem angry with the world, and others withdraw. Within your own family, people may be grieving differently. Know that even if each family member is responding differently, that you all have the same shared experience. Try to reach out to one another with love and understanding. Be good to each other as you try to work through this challenge together.
|10/23/2022||“Shock is a merciful condition. It allows you to get through disaster with a necessary distance between you and your feelings.”|
Do you wish you still felt the way you did a month ago? You were numb and going through the motions of your life to just “get through” the obligations that come with the death of a loved one. Now, you’re not shocked anymore, and the slow realization of the truth has moved into your psyche. This stage is tough, because it feels so final. Hang on and don’t feel discouraged. It takes a lot of patience to work through the first few months after such a tragedy.
|10/22/2022||“There’s a fine edge to new grief, it severs nerves, disconnects reality–there’s mercy in a sharp blade. Only with time, as the edge wears, does the real ache begin.”|
You probably need to hear it again today. You are feeling sad, and you think that feeling is never going to end. The grief becomes almost frustrating with its endless presence. It is still a new loss, even if the calendar tells you otherwise. Know that the grief will be there, and know that it will be a painfully slow in easing its grasp on your heart.
|10/21/2022||“Grieving doesn’t make you imperfect. It makes you human.”|
When you go out and see all the people busily leading their lives, it feels like you are the only one grieving. Everyone seems purposeful and fully occupied with the events of their day. At times like that you may feel truly alone in your grief. However, people from the outside looking at you might not realize your struggle. They don’t ask you how you are because they assume you are healing, and that you are doing ok. Most people who are grieving are hiding their pain from the outside world. You are not alone…you are simply unaware of the millions of others who feel like you do.
|10/20/2022||“Before you can live a part of you has to die. You have to let go of what could have been, how you should have acted and what you wish you would have said differently. You have to accept that you can’t change the past experiences, opinions of others at that moment in time or outcomes from their choices or yours. When you finally recognize that truth then you will understand the true meaning of forgiveness of yourself and others. From this point you will finally be free.”|
Shannon L. Alder
You have to forgive yourself for all of the things you wish you’d done differently in your relationship with your loved one. If you had died first, he/she would have been facing this struggle instead. Would you want that? Forgive yourself so you can heal. Living your life is a gift to be treasured. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in regret. Be the best person you can today to show you have learned from your past mistakes.
|10/19/2022||“You attend the funeral, you bid the dead farewell. You grieve. Then you continue with your life. And at times the fact of her absence will hit you like a blow to the chest, and you will weep. But this will happen less and less as time goes on. She is dead. You are alive. So live.”|
After a while, people stop asking you how you are doing. After a while, people assume that you must have gotten used to your loss. It may take longer than people who have not been through grief realize how long it takes to return to some kind of normalcy again. Yet, you must eventually do so. There is nothing to be gained by trapping yourself in your grief forever. So…grieve, cry, and then live.
|10/18/2022||“…acceptance is yet another of life’s ‘here’s a side of hurt’ lessons and it is never truly acceptance unless it has cost us something to arrive there.”|
When your anger has cooled, and your tears have dried, you will eventually find yourself in a place of reluctant acceptance. You never have to like what has happened, but you will learn to accept that, for whatever reason, it did.
|10/17/2022||“See, as much as you want to hold on to the bitter sore memory that someone has left this world, you are still in it. And the very act of living is a tide: at first it seems to make no difference at all, and then one day you look down and see how much pain has eroded.”|
You will not feel like you have made any progress in healing from your loss for so long that the idea of feeling better seems implausible. Then, out of nowhere, you will suddenly realize that you are doing a little better. Celebrate that moment. It is a long journey to get there, and worthy of your pride.
|10/16/2022||“People think they know you. They think they know how you’re handling a situation. But the truth is no one knows. No one knows what happens after you leave them, when you’re lying in bed or sitting over your breakfast alone and all you want to do is cry or scream. They don’t know what’s going on inside your head–the mind-numbing cocktail of anger and sadness and guilt. This isn’t their fault. They just don’t know. And so they pretend and they say you’re doing great when you’re really not. And this makes everyone feel better. Everybody but you.”|
William H. Woodwell Jr.
You may not be an athlete, but you have a game face. When you go out into the world, you hide that piece of you that is broken…that piece that is grieving. It is good to have a life outside of the grief. It helps to have parts of your day that distract you from how you are feeling inside. In time, those parts will grow and grow until they begin to crowd out the sadness in your heart.
|10/15/2022||“You cannot die of grief, though it feels as if you can. A heart does not actually break, though sometimes your chest aches as if it is breaking. Grief dims with time. It is the way of things. There comes a day when you smile again, and you feel like a traitor. How dare I feel happy. How dare I be glad in a world where my father is no more. And then you cry fresh tears, because you do not miss him as much as you once did, and giving up your grief is another kind of death.”|
Laurell K. Hamilton
Guilt is grief’s unfortunate partner. We feel guilty because our grief is keeping us from connecting to the living. We feel guilty because we are not grieving as much as we once did. Let go of the guilt. The grief process is a natural part of losing someone we care about. As you come out of the grieving period, be happy, not guilty, that you can return to being the person your loved one knew.
|10/14/2022||“Whoever said that loss gets easier with time was a liar. Here’s what really happens: The spaces between the times you miss them grow longer. Then, when you do remember to miss them again, it’s still with a stabbing pain to the heart. And you have guilt. Guilt because it’s been too long since you missed them last.”|
Kristin O’Donnell Tubb
You may be desperate to feel better, yet almost afraid to let go of the pain. You do not need to feel guilty for trying to live a normal life again. The person you lost does not want you to stop living. As you heal, know that it is normal to feel wary about your return to normalcy. It is part of your healing. Coming out of mourning does not mean you no longer feel love for the person you lost. It means that it is time to reestablish yourself as a vital, living person again.
|10/13/2022||“No matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop for your grief.”|
You may find yourself questioning why no one else around you appears to be sad. How can there be laughter and dancing? How can you be upset because your soup is cold when my heart is broken forever? The world may seem very frivolous right now. Try to not let that make you feel angry or isolated. You are not the only person grieving. Reach out to others who are experiencing the same struggle. It will help the world feel more like a place of healing and less chaotic.
|10/12/2022||“When one person is missing the whole world seems empty.”|
We never think about how our life is a careful balance. Everyone with whom we interact regularly plays a part in creating our world, a web of people who make us feel comfortable, safe, and loved. When we lose an integral part of that web, we feel lost. The balance is upset, and we feel like we will topple over from the grief and the uncertainty of this terrible change. You may feel like things are “out of whack” for a long time. That is normal. Over the next months and years, you will be able to methodically reset the balance, so that you return to a feeling of normalcy. Know that you are resilient and that you can make it through this unbalanced period of your life.
|10/11/2022||“Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.”|
Many times when people grieve, their first instinct is to isolate themselves from others. You may need to cry, or to just sit in silent reflection as you continue to try to process what has happened. However, in conjunction with your personal grieving, it is often beneficial to take the time to talk about your sadness with people you trust. Having a friend, support group, or counselor can make a tremendous difference as you try to re-assimilate to the life you led before this tragedy. Being able to talk and to listen to the advice and stories of others helps you to reconnect. Isolating yourself is easy, but it shows great courage and fortitude to share these vulnerabilities with others. Take a chance and talk about what you are going through…you’ll be glad you did.
|10/10/2022||“Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.”|
People talk about the importance of memories when you have had a loss. It is true that they are often referred to as treasured, and that is an accurate description. Yet, our memories can also evoke the most pain when the loss is still fresh in our minds. Trying to find the balance between the happiness and sadness of our memories is one of the hardest parts of grieving as time passes. You want to look at photographs, watch home videos, or read letters to keep your connection to your loved one fresh. At the same time, these items can also be difficult reminders of the acute pain you are feeling as you adjust to the loss.
|10/9/2022||“Everyone grieves in different ways. For some, it could take longer or shorter. I do know it never disappears. An ember still smolders inside me. Most days, I don’t notice it, but, out of the blue, it’ll flare to life.”|
Maria V. Snyder
When grief is your every day, it’s hard to imagine not having that weight on your shoulders. It’s hard to fathom that there is even the possibility of a life without it. However, as it fades and your hope builds of a life free of that constant sorrow, know that there will be flare-ups. There will be a little reminder that brings it all flooding back.
The good news is that the reminders are not permanent. They will startle you, but then fade away. These bonds do not break, but the level of intensity softens over time, allowing you to slowly move forward.
|10/8/2022||“Youth offers the promise of happiness, but life offers the realities of grief.”|
No matter your age or your background, the process of grief is the last step in truly growing up. Your life before loss was one of a kind of childlike innocence compared to the life you have now.
However, it is not without hope or value. The love and understanding you can bring to others has a depth and intensity unlike any other. Your appreciation for life and its joys makes you a richer, stronger person.
This does not happen overnight. This depth of character builds in conjunction with your grief process. It is the phoenix rising from the pain of loss. Use this gift to enhance the lives of those around you.
|10/7/2022||“Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.”|
Your grief may fade away completely one day, or it may always play a role in your consciousness. No matter its intensity, it will evolve into something you can become accustomed to over time.
|10/6/2022||“So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.”|
Take a minute today to remember three times when your loved one made you laugh and smile. Relive those beautiful memories in your head. Those sweet moments are why you feel such sadness. Know that they were worth it.
|10/5/2022||“There should be a statute of limitation on grief. A rulebook that says it is all right to wake up crying, but only for a month. That after 42 days you will no longer turn with your heart racing, certain you have heard her call out your name. That there will be no fine imposed if you feel the need to clean out her desk; take down her artwork from the refrigerator; turn over a school portrait as you pass – if only because it cuts you fresh again to see it. That it’s okay to measure the time she has been gone, the way we once measured her birthdays.”|
Your process of grief is not following anyone else’s timetable. It may take you two years to feel like someone else does in two months. Think of when you learned to walk or learned to read or learned to drive. Everyone’s timetable is different for every part of life. Grieving is no different. Be patient with your heart. You will grieve as you need to for as long as you need to do so.
|10/4/2022||“They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite”|
There is something so special about learning something new about the person you have lost. Hearing a new story or finding a letter you forgot about is an unexpected joy. While these moments are undeniably special, they can also rekindle the sadness of your loss. Try to treasure these artifacts as gifts, rather than focus on the feeling of emptiness they may evoke. Your loved one will always be with you, and these new connections only strengthen the bond you will always have.
|10/3/2022||“And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps, more strictly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen. It gives life a permanently provisional feeling. It doesn’t seem worth starting anything. I can’t settle down. I yawn, fidget, I smoke too much. Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time. Almost pure time, empty successiveness.”|
When you are grieving, it feels like your time is monopolized by nothing but waves of emotion. Reflecting on how you are doing, you may be feeling worried that your life seems to have changed so much in such a short amount of time. Do not panic. As all-encompassing as your grief is now, this intensity will not last much longer. You may already be feeling better than you did just a couple of weeks ago. Take a moment or two and celebrate the healing you’ve already done.
|10/2/2022||“Someone experiencing the stages of grief is rarely aware of how his behavior might appear to others. Grief often produces a “zoom lens effect,” in which the focus is entirely on oneself, to the exclusion of external considerations.”|
Grief sends us into survival mode: we do the bare minimum to exist because the majority of our energy is directed towards grieving. Do not spend time worrying about the details of your life that you may have neglected during the early days of your grief. Instead, choose one thing today that helps you feel more connected to your old life and do it.
|10/1/2022||“Tears aren’t for the people we’ve lost. They’re for us. So we can remember, and celebrate, and miss them, and feel human.”|
We are filled with such emotions about the person we lost and the relationship we lost. The feelings are so strong that we have to let them go by crying. Never feel shame in that.
|9/30/2022||“Somehow the thought she might be next wasn’t nearly as terrifying as the realization he was gone.”|
Marcha A. Fox
There is an inherent fear in facing a life without your loved one. You can’t change what has happened, and you can’t make everything “ok”. What you can do today is to take a look at that fear and share your emotions with someone you trust. Just saying out loud, “I’m really scared to go on living without this person” can help ease your fear and pain.
|9/29/2022||“What was I going to do? The choices seemed basic and slim: Die. Exist. Live. I wanted to die, but with two young children to care for and a husband, that wasn’t an option. Exist. I could do that. I was doing that now. but how flat and lifeless. How dreary and endless the long march would be until I met Charlotte again. The only option that resonated with me was to live. But how? I wanted to want to live. That was the best I could do in that moment.”|
The obligations of your life may be the only driving forces propelling you forward right now. Rely on those routines to keep you going until you are ready to face your feelings.
|9/28/2022||“Sorry doesn’t make anything better. It’s just a word to fill the space of a loss of words.”|
Shari J. Ryan
Be grateful today for the people in your life who have reached out to you to try to lift your spirits. Take the time to thank them.
|9/27/2022||“Grief is one illness that defies all remedies; it must ever run its course.”|
You can pretend that your grief is not there or hide it, but it will stay with you until it has run its course. The feeling of grief may make you impatient or angry. Instead, try to find a place of acceptance. Because you cannot force the process to be over, you need to just acknowledge that that is where your heart is right now. Time will be the best healer.
|9/26/2022||“To better handle grief, become the passenger, not the driver.”|
Letting people help you is as therapeutic for them as it is for you. Just remember that a time will surely come when you can repay the favor.
|9/25/2022||“It’s easy to be forgetful when you’re grieving, even forget those things that you believe most people wouldn’t.”|
Don’t hesitate to ask for help, even though some time has passed since your loss. Those who have lost someone know the truth – that the grief process is overwhelming for a period of time far longer than one would imagine.
|9/24/2022||“Someone dies, there oughta be something. It oughta shake the world! You’re not supposed to walk away!”|
Some days you may wish that the rest of the world could match the way you are feeling inside. It almost seems wrong that life goes on all around you when your world still seems to be upside-down. It’s hard to believe today, but there will come a time when you are grateful that the world is ready and waiting to take you back.
|9/23/2022||“I watch and listen, helpless to help. There is no point in saying “This, too, shall pass,” For a time we do not even want it to pass. We hold on to grief, fearing that its lifting will be the final betrayal.”|
You need to take the time you need to grieve. While some might see it as almost a luxury, it is actually a necessity for your physical and emotional health.
|9/22/2022||“I, though, was still sometimes ruled by stark pain, lost to everything else. Grief slipped away, only to attack from behind. It changed shape endlessly. It lacerated me, numbed me, stalked me, startled me, caught me by the throat. It deceived my eye with glimpses of you, my ear with the sound of your voice. I would turn and turn, expecting you, and find you gone. Again. Each time I escaped my sorrow, forgetful amid other things, I lost you anew the instant I remembered you were gone.”|
Have you thought you heard your loved one’s voice? When that happens, you will feel a mixture of hope and sorrow all in an instant. Recognize that voice was hard, but that eventually, it will actually make you feel more nostalgia than sorrow.
|9/21/2022||“You who have never been there in the throes of grief, have no idea what is going on inside the head of the grieving spouse: the scattered thoughts, the constant worry that we will forget something or someone in our fog-induced state, that strange feeling of not quite being all there when out in social situations, the pall that covers everything, like a cloak of sadness that never lifts.”|
Mary Potter Kenyon
It seems that most of your energy is directed at grieving. Mundane tasks may not get done and obligations may be forgotten. Make a list of what has to be done and forgive yourself for what doesn’t. In a few months, you will be able to handle your responsibilities without it, but for now it will help to keep you on track.
|9/20/2022||“Grief is always sudden as winter, no matter how long the autumn.”|
J. Aleksandr Wootton
Even if you thought you’d be ready for a death, you probably found that you weren’t. You may have a sense of relief for the person if he or she was in pain or a sense of gratitude if the death was fast or painless.
No matter the circumstances, death is final; the mourning phase is no easier under any circumstance. The stark winter-like feeling of a loss is universal. There is no way to soften that blow.
|9/19/2022||“The tough times start,” he said, “the day the last casserole dish is returned.”|
There is a palpable silence when the rituals surrounding a death are over. It feels like this is the new normal, but it is just a transitional phase. You can fill your home again with sounds and life and love when you are ready to do so. Until then, don’t let the silence frighten you. It will not last forever.
|9/18/2022||“It didn’t help when you told me that my mother would always be with me, even if I couldn’t see her. An unseen mother couldn’t go for long walks with me on summer evenings, drawing the names of trees and flowers from her seemingly infinite knowledge of nature; or help me with my homework, the familiar scent of her in my nostrils as she leaned in to correct a misspelling or puzzle over the meaning of an unfamiliar poem; or read with me on cold Sunday afternoons near the fire”|
Try to be patient when people say the “wrong” thing to you about your loss. In general, people have good intentions. Focus on the spirit of their comments vs. the content of them.