girlingrief

15 Things I Wish I’d Known About Grief

After a year of grief, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve also made some mistakes along the way. Today, I jotted down 15 things I wish I’d known about grief when I started my own process.

I pass this onto anyone on the journey.

1. You will feel like the world has ended. I promise, it hasn’t. Life will go on, slowly. A new normal will come, slowly.

2. No matter how bad a day feels, it is only a day.  When you go to sleep crying, you will wake up to a new day.

3. Grief comes in waves. You might be okay one hour, not okay the next. Okay one day, not okay the next day. Okay one month, not okay the next. Learn to go with the flow of what your heart and mind are feeling.

4. It’s okay to cry. Do it often. But it’s okay to laugh, too. Don’t feel guilty for feeling positive emotions even when dealing with loss.

5. Take care of yourself, even if you don’t feel like it. Eat healthily. Work out. Do the things you love. Remember that you are still living.

6. Don’t shut people out. Don’t cut yourself off from relationships. You will hurt yourself and others.

7. No one will respond perfectly to your grief. People–even people you love–will let you down. Friends you thought would be there won’t be there, and people you hardly know will reach out. Be prepared to give others grace. Be prepared to work through hurt and forgiveness at others’ reactions.

8. God will be there for you perfectly. He will never, ever let you down. He will let you scream, cry, and question. Throw all your emotions at Him. He is near to the brokenhearted.

9. Take time to truly remember the person you lost. Write about him or her, go back to all your memories with them, truly soak in all the good times you had with that person. It will help.

10. Facing the grief is better than running. Don’t hide from the pain. If you do, it will fester and grow and consume you.

11. You will ask “Why?” more times than you thought possible, but you may never get an answer. What helps is asking, “How? How can I live life more fully to honor my loved one? How can I love better, how can I embrace others, how can I change and grow because of this?” 

12. You will try to escape grief by getting busy, busy, busy. You will think that if you don’t think about it, it’ll just go away. This isn’t really true. Take time to process and heal.

13. Liquor, sex, drugs, hobbies, work, relationships, etc., will not take the pain away. If you are using anything to try and numb the pain, it will make things worse in the long run. Seek help if you’re dealing with the sorrow in unhealthy ways.

14. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to need people. It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.

15. Grief can be beautiful and deep and profound. Don’t be afraid of it. Walk alongside it. You may be surprised at what grief can teach you.

What are things you’ve learned about grief that you wish you’d known when your loss first happened?

Edit on 11-25-13: Read a new note to all the readers of this post here.

Edit 11-27-13: For all those who are asking about using this piece and passing it out, etc… I am in process of making a downloadable PDF of the piece that can be printed and handed out. This will be done within the next week or so. I’ll post it on here and on my FB page when it’s ready.
I’m also in process of compiling another post with a lot of the advice given in the comments. So that’s coming, too. Each one of you is  in my thoughts and prayers.

Edit 11-27-13 #2: You can find the PDF that you can download and print off here! Thanks, John Nyborg, for making this. I really appreciate it!

Edit 11-29-13: I have compiled many of the comments into a post entitled “Advice & Thoughts on Grief.” Read it here.

  • http://lillian888.wordpress.com LillianC

    Well said. Gentle, kind, compassionate, comforting. An excellent guide to staying afloat despite the tide of grief coming in and going out.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Thanks, Lillian.

      • http://lillian888.wordpress.com LillianC

        You’re welcome!

      • Jackie

        This also can be attributed to a separation. I loved my husband dearly and I am going through these exact same emotions. Thanks for this.

      • Iman

        I agree with you and believe in every word, but sometimes we need the courage and the strong well to do it because in most cases grief has more power on us specially when you lose your loved ones and everything around you reminds you by them!

      • DonnaDee

        Jackie said what I was thinking. Divorce is a profound loss and both parties are likely to experience grief that can lead to depression. I would sy most of the 15 things on this list could apply to that situation as well.

      • Andrew Hudak

        Thank you Teryn for sharing this with us. My best friend and soul mate was murdered almost a year ago and it still feels like yesterday when she left. Do all the happy memories have to end in tears? This is new to me, losing someone I loved so much, I am not sure how to heal.
        Thanks again for sharing it’s good to see we are not alone in our grief.

      • http://gravatar.com/vonowens Yvonne

        Thanks for writing this. We’ve lost three people in my family this fall, including my husband’s brother last Friday. It’s a hard time.

      • Susan Gray-Frank

        Teryn did a great job in describing the “15 Things I wish I’d known about grief”. Grief is not just about death, it is about “LOSS”.

      • Heather

        Everything you say is true! Its been 4 years since my daughter at 4 yrs old had 3 strokes. She went from a perfectly healthy, happy girl to blind, unable to speak, unable to be independent in so many ways. I dont think my grief will ever go away.
        thank you for sharing that how I feel is normal:)

      • teeny mcmunn

        I will use this for our grief group. You are spot on;))

    • http://gravatar.com/mjgill mjgill

      This was wonderful. Thank you. My husband passed away 1 year ago. One thing that I would add to the list for me is this: When it comes to grief, I don’t really know myself as well as I think I do. NEVER try to guess beforehand how you are going to feel or react to something.

      • http://don'thaveone Linda Kent

        Thanks for sharing it will be 2yrs for me Dec 16th and it still feels like yesterday. I just can’t seem to shake any of it. I even just realized why I haven’t slept in the bed since he died it’s because I’d be there alone without him and I just couldn’t face it until last week. I did get into the bed and am getting some sleep because I was so sleep starved that was a babbling idiot most of the time. I feel fresh and reknewed right now but down also because of the upcoming date. Take care all and thanks for this site.

      • Peggy Jarvis

        Never judge how someone is behaving in their grief either. I have heard people say that someone didn’t cry, someone went to work…it doesn’t mean they aren’t hurting.

      • K. Derix

        You’re right MJ. I thought I was prepared and thought I knew myself. It was a humbling experience. I pictured myself riding a raft on the ocean, sometimes sliding down into a deep trough. You will survive though, probably stronger than you were before.

      • Debbie Stanzione

        Yes, Susan, grief is about LOSS. It not only comes from death, it can be a divorce, because a divorce is in a sense, the death of a marriage, or even a relationship. We all just need to remember, that the grief, that all consuming grief that we think is going to kill us, will pass eventually, and then finally, when you think about your loved one, or talk about him or her, what will be left in our hearts, will be comfort for having known and loved them. For me, this comfort is the icing on the cake that we never could have expected to come.

      • Jo KohlerJo

        I just lost my husband on 12-24-13. It is still very fresh to me. I am just trying to figure out where to go and how to go on. I have never been alone in my adult life. Not sure how to be alone. My biggest question is why? I know it may never be answered, but you have to understand who my husband was. He was the most selfless person who gave everything he had to anyone who needed it. He was all the time helping veterans, homeless and children. Our family has made a vow to continue his lifes work. It truly is one second at a time, moment by moment.

        • Pat

          Jo, I am sorry for your loss. I loss my Husband on 8-8-13 , It will be 5 months tomorrow. I am still questioning Why? and I also have never been alone all my life. This is the part people do not understand. I just try to keep my self busy, to keep my mind off , the tears and heart ache. It has helped some what and as the months go on I still wonder where the tears come from. Plan being with your family it does help but I did find there were times I wanted to be alone. I was afraid to cry in front of the grandkids , but there were times I just did and there hugs also help.. It is a new life for us a new beginning a new start, Anger, lost, heartache, scared, is all the process. and only we can do it, I found even though the family is there and friends are there, At night your alone and they again do not understand, unless they went through it, I also feel a lost of a your mate is totally different form lost of your Parents which I have lost many years ago. This is by far the worse. Hang in there, as everyone will say time heals ,and it does, I am starting to see that. But take it minute by minute day to day, I still am doing that also. God Bless and take care.

      • https://www.facebook.com/marlene.l.copeland Marlene Langston Copeland

        Agree….I thought I knew myself, but now I am trying to learn just who I am, after losing our daughter two months ago.

        • jmgodier@yahoo.com

          Marlene, I urge you to investigate our conference for Mom’s who have suffered the loss of a child. It really helps. We have them on both coasts and will add houston and Montana next year. The Palm Springs one is the weekend after Mother’s Day.
          Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

    • Jennifer Brooks

      Thank you for sharing this. My 16 year old daughter died September 26th, 2012 to suicide. It so hard to move on. I am just stuck and I don’t know how to get out of it. I am going to try to some of these things that you mentioned. Heather would want me to move on and be happy. Not sure if I can but maybe one day. I just miss her and love her so much.

      • http://facebook Susie Brown

        After we lost our daughter and her unborn child in a wreck, we went to a group called Compassionate Friends. It was wonderful to have someone to talk to who had gone through the same thing, who cried with you, laughed with you and understood that you were just temporarily insane. Our friends and family thought the best thing was not to mention our daughter because it would make us sad, not understanding that she was in our minds every hour of the day. Most of our members were parents of suicides, leading me to think this is perhaps the hardest death to accept. They were angry with their child for wanting to leave them, but over time some came to the realization that the child did not want to leave, they just wanted relief from their pain and did not know how to share it with anyone else. If you can find a group to join, I highly recommend it. It has been 29 years since we lost our daughter and I still have days that I miss her so much, but time helps and going to the Lord for help is a path that is never a disappointment. He is a constant help. We stayed in our group for 10 years, mainly because there were always new ones coming in and needing guidance for their grief. God bless you and help you.

        • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

          Yes, quite a few people have mentioned Compassionate Friends. It sounds like it helps a lot! Thanks for the comment.

      • Rachel Renaud

        Dear Jennifer,
        I don’t know if this will help. When my Dad died, the following morning I got up, looked up towards the heavens and said hello to him. I told him I thought God is probably keeping him very busy. I had little conversations with him every day, which made it feel like he was not totally gone from my life but just residing someplace else.. I told him I hoped something up there was making him laugh,etc.. Finally now, I feel comforted that I will see him again one day in heaven.

      • Rena

        My prayers go out to you… what helped me in the loss of my husband was to “embrace” the pain and grief… someone told me that it helped her too.

      • Peggy

        Jennifer I lost my 27 yr old son to suicide on oct 22 2013 he was a momma’s boy so it is really hard for me also I miss him so much we were so close but I am thankful we spent the day together the day before I know it is so hard I just feel numb some days and so depressed and I am even on depression meds I miss him so much and love him dearly

      • Sandra

        Jennifer I total understand where your coming from. I lost my son, Jeff, Jan. 24, 2011. It is still so hard. His funeral was on our 42 wedding annv. It’s getting ready to be 3 years and I still miss him as if he was here yeaterday! My heart is so sad, I have such a hugh hole in my heart
        that will never heal. One thing I know for sure I will see him again in heaven but until them I will be so very sad. My prays are with all of you. May God grant you peace.

      • Jackie

        Dear Jennifer, I’m so sorry for the loss of your daughter. My son Jon was 19 and died on October 14th 2012 due to an auto accident. We buried him on his 20th birthday. Yes it is sooooo hard to move on. I still have his room the same way it was the day he died, and also his mancave out in the barn. I guess I keep thinking that when it’s time I will know, when to start to slowly, very slowly, move things or to give them away. I’m thinking that I will take pictures of some of his things and put them in a photo album. We, you and I, have lost a piece of us that we’ll never get back, and makes us feel broken. It’s like an ache or a scar, that will never go away. God Bless you and keep moving on.

      • https://www.facebook.com/joyce.godier Joyce Baehr Godier

        Lenora, your understanding of grief and mourning is remarkable. We don’t just “get over” any loss. I’ve lost pets I’ve had for up to 17 years, my sister and my parents. They are all hard. To me, none compare to the loss of a child (of any age.) I didn’t have hopes and dreams for my parents, or even my sister, certainly not my pets. Yet I loved them all so much and miss them all. I had hopes and dreams for my son. They will never be realized.

    • Lindsay Woodside

      Ten years tomorrow my wonderful husband died! Not a day goes by I don’t tell him how much I love him, miss him, and am anxiously waiting for my turn to cross the veil and he reunited with him. What a blessed and wonderful reunion that will be! The sadness remains, but it’s the sadness that he has not been here to share the wonders of watching our grandchildren grow into wonderful young men, to be able to hold them and tell them we love them. Grief is a constant, but the happy times are always forefront in my heart and mind, I can get through those times by relying on my faith and the help of friends who are always willing to lend a shoulder. Thank you for this guide to dealing with grief. Wish I would have had it 10 years ago, but have printed it and it will hang on the wall in a frame, right along my favorite picture of us together. Bless you

      • ann neal

        there is no wrong way to grieve.we all have to do it the way WE need to.there is no certain way to do it or a certain amount of time

      • JoAnne

        On December 10, 1996, my husband of almost 21 years died. We had 2 teenage sons, both in high school. The funeral director saw a need for younger adults who lost a spouse (the funeral home was having bi-weekly meetings for seniors) and he started bi-weekly sessions for us to share our fears, concerns, and a chance to just cry without questions. That helped me so much. I still miss him and think about him everyday. I also think of all the things that he has missed in the last 17 years; graduations, one son going off to war 3 times, marriages and births of 4 wonderful grandchildren. Your 15 Steps of Grief is right on, it would have been a hit at those meetings. I am going to print it and keep it to give to people who experience a loss of a loved one.

    • https://www.facebook.com/WVBarbieScott Barbie Scott

      It takes someone who has lived it to understand all of this. I am grieving the loss of my nephew, dog and mom. Withing a two month period did a major number on me. I am trying to get through this empty lost period by searching for others who are going through it but it’s not easy.. Thank you

      • margaret caldwell

        I no how you feel I just when through this I just lost my husband of 47 years and now the holidays are not helping me I am so all a lone sure I have 2 grown boys but they have there own lives and I have lost the only 2 girls I had one die 2 and a half the other one at 13 years old all together I have lost 8 kids and now the love of my life I don’t no if I can do this so I when and ask for some help so god bless you

      • lori

        Thank you for your 15 things. I have been on this unexpected journey for a month now. The man I was going to marry died in his sleep, just hours after we had spoken on the phone. Unlike some of the people who have commented on this blog, we didn’t have a long history together to look back on. We are both in our 50′s, and had brought our own histories into the relationship. What I am feeling the most sadness about its the loss of our future together. For once, in both our or lives, we had found true love. It makes me question everything, especially my faith in God. Why would he let this happen? He is the first man to ever invite me to go to church. And I went. It was so special. Now it hurts to think that that might have been the place we chose to get married. It makes no sense. It just makes no sense. How can grief be beautiful?

      • Rena

        I joined an online grief support group which really helped but if there is a grief support group you can physically go to, please take advantage of it — you need all the help you can get – especially during the holidays — prayers and blessings to you!

    • Jeannine

      I’ve lost my son February 6, 2013 come on a year and I’m still in bed Greiving I can’t seem to get myself up and moving, he was 28 years old and had two kids four and five-year-old it was so hard on me he passed away cancer in the brain melanoma

      • Patsy

        I just lost my precious husband, soulmate, lover, best friend and the love of my life 3 weeks ago. I can’t seem to process this yet and the pain is just so unbearable. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I will try, I will try, I will try.

      • Betty Carpenter

        Jeannine,
        My son passed away on February 6, 1986. I still remember all the events of that day. There’s still a hole in my heart. He was also my best friend helping me around thehhouse. He was 15 and died of a flu virus that attacked his heart. He went to school that day and never came home. Through all the past almost 28 years God has placed many people in my life who have suffered the loss of a child, one of them my hairdresser. We’ve had some long talks. I have never completely healed from that loss but God has changed my life and is still there for me when these days of grief overwhelm me. The “new normal” is simply a need to live life while I give more importance to his life than focus on his death. I have faith that I will see him again and we will worship together in Heaven. God Bless You and know that He is with you always.
        Betty

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  • Michelle

    I learned that two, three years out, the grief will sneak up on you out of nowhere. It literally felt like an electric shock, like a zing in my brain. I had to pull over. And I learned I couldn’t tense up in those moments. I couldn’t resist. I had to surrender, relax and let it wash over me. It wasn’t going to cripple me. I wasn’t going to go back to that paralyzing place when the grief was so fresh. It would pass easier now, I didn’t need to be scared.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Wow, thanks for this. I’ve only been grieving a year, so I’ve often wondered what it’s like years down the road. I guess we just have to realize that when you lose someone, the hole will always be there. It maybe gets easier, but you will always miss that person. You learn to live with the hole, but I’m sure there are times it’s more difficult than others.

      • Jan

        I believe that you learn to live a new life. The memories can sneak up on you at any given moment. It doesn’t matter if you are making new memories, all of a sudden out of nowhere, a scent, a sound, a street, a building anything can trigger a memory. It has been 8 years since I was widowed. I have been remarried 6 years now and I still have moments. I don’t always have tears, sometimes it is something funny that happened. It is okay, there are a wide range of emotions that go with this journey.

      • Debbie

        This year it will be 20 years for me. It still catches in my heart at milestones…”Firsts” are hard. I’m finally getting to the place where memories bring a smile to my face instead of tears. Experiencing grief when you do not love yourself makes the process so much longer. Praying for your journey to be perfect for you.

      • fyl

        Someone once told me that you learn to live with “the hole”. You acknowledge it, know that it’s there, but you learn to maneuver around it and work with it so you don’t fall in.

      • Andrea

        I lost my stepfather 22 years ago when I was 7 months pregnant with my first child. The grief is still coming but I didn’t deal with it way back when. I lost my father 21 years ago when that baby was just one year old. I feel my father with me all the time and I don’t grieve his death like I do my stepfather. Life rolls along that’s for sure. You are so right to face the grief and let it wash you clean…until it comes around again. I’m finally learning to deal with my pain. If I’d known that the pain doesn’t go away if you don’t deal with it, I might have tried to face it earlier. Anyway, thank you for your words, they really do help! God bless!

      • Brenda

        lost my beautiful Mum in Oct, then her brother who held me together at funeral died in Feb and my 22 yo daughter took her life on the 1st May…20 yrs and it still sneaks up on me at times without warning but most days I remember the good times also it’s OK to be angry, that too passes but always there is God to hold me till I can cope again..if I hadn’t known He was with me , I think I would have lost my mind.I’m not a church goer or a Holy Roller…I just trust in Him.

      • Teena

        Even years, decades down the road, you will have moments. A smell, a food, a dream, returning to an area you once live in, pictures, music, etc etc will sometimes make you laugh or make you cry. Usually the crying is as brief as whatever exposure you experienced and oftentimes you can even smile through the tears thinking yourself foolish, but not admonishing yourself. The smiles and laughs far ourweigh the tears. It doesn’t go away. It just gets easier to live with.

      • Ron Nesmith

        Teryn, you have just started on the path yet you have learned so much. We lost our daughter Leann, age 30 and grandson Brett age 9, on July 31, 2005. My wife Janice and I attend a monthly grief session in Birmingham, Al. when we are in town. We have discussed the 15 items you mention. I have found that it does get easier but you are right the hole in our heart remains. What helps me the most now is the great memories I have of Leann and Brett. When you get down or sad think back to some of the good times. No one can ever take those memories away from you.

      • Jess Parente

        to all those who are saying that grief leaves a hole in you, i completely agree. my friends used to joke that there was a black cloud looming over me because of how often i would go to funerals (thinking that it was so weird because i was only in my early 20s)… it will be 5 years this may that i lost a close friend and there are days, times of the year, instances when i hear a song, etc where i know that hole is still there in some way.

        BUT there is something that has worked for me to bridge that gap. i’m not one to promote things or say that something will work for everyone, but for those of you who still are suffering, its definitely worth a shot. a friend had given me the “grief recovery handbook” and i would recommend it to anyone. it was probably one of the hardest things i have ever done in my life, reading that book and doing the exercises, but when the process was complete, i IMMEDIATELY felt like all that weight was lifted off of me. i didn’t feel so sad anymore. i was able to think about my friend and laugh at our memories rather than be paralyzed with extreme depression. that book saved me in some ways and i would recommend it to anyone who is grieving over ANYTHING. it helped me find peace and that’s what i would want for anyone who is suffering like i was. best of luck on your journey..

        • Christiana

          I am a certified grief recovery specialist. You can go to http://Griefrecoverymethod.com and see where the closest grief recovery specialist is to you. There is lots of information on the website that you may find helpful. Or you can get a copy of the “grief recovery handbook” and start reading and doing the exercises in there to help you complete your loss and grief.
          I hope this information here helps you to get the info and help you need to complete your loss/es and not have to carry the ball and chain of grief with you any longer.
          Hugs to you all
          From my heart to yours.

      • Chris

        23 Years ago I lost my son, Nicholas (he lived only 2 days after birth) – Grieving has steps – you can’t walk around them as it only delays the step – you must always walk through them. Never lose faith, God is always holding your hand as you walk :) This year my husband of 25 years quit loving me and has given up on our marriage – the steps are truly the same and must be handled in exactly the same fashion – walk through them and know that you are never alone!

      • Patti Ware

        Teryn, if you think about it, there isn’t quite so much a hole, but really a whole person–relationship, experiences, an expected future, that have been lost. It is appropriate that we grieve that loss. It would deny the significance of the one departed and of the relationship if after three days missed from work, we resumed our lives as if nothing had happened.

        Something has happened! And its huge! In fact, it is unbearable at times. That is why my favorite name for The Holy Spirit is “Comforter”. He is The God of all Comfort. And because we need hugs, we are admonished in Holy Scripture to “bear one another’s burdens”. We are also told that one purpose for what we endure is so that we are able to walk with understanding with others by sharing the comfort we have been given.

        Be encouraged. God is on His Throne, and He has chosen to temper His Absolute Sovereignty with compassion. One name given for God in The Old Testament is El Roi. It means “The God Who sees”. I love that He sees, and He personally, passionately cares. He loves you with an everlasting Love.

        I am on facebook. If you need someone to talk to, please message me.

        Patti Ware

      • Bobbie Gaines

        Teryn, sorry for your loss.It has been five years for me as they say time does help.The first year was hell with depression, anxiety attacks and yes the hole is always there. I had a wonderful husband of 55 yrs he was a thin healthy man and took no kind of medicine we went and done everything together. He started with like having indigestion went to Dr found out he had pancreatic cancer.This was in July had surgery Sept. 11 and passed away Sept. 23. Dr’s said it was just a small spot but you know when they tell you you have pancreatic cancer most of the time your life is over.We were very active in square dancing and other kind of dancing took me two years to even listen to any kind of music even church music.Took about two and a half years to even look at our photos crying was and everyday thing.Had to get help with pills for depression and the anxiety attacks, blood pressure was something else.So one day I had a long talk with my self this is not the way we lived our life and he wouldn’t want me to live like this which wasn’t living, he always told me if he went first not to sit around and grieve.. So I tried to put a smile on my face and go out and meet the world. I don’t dance any more if you don’t have a partner you are just left out.Yes and some of the people that we thought were friends don’t come around any more I understand this not many people want a third wheel around.I have no bad memories of my husband he was a loving, caring, no drinking, no smoking,hard working, fun kind of person.Sorry I spilled over on you.Praying GOD will ease you sorrow with time and good memories..

      • Laura

        I refer to these as “ambushes” and “Ambush tears”! :). My dad passed away on 5/20 this year. I’ve cried about chili in the grocery store and over Ben and Jerry’s cherry Garcia ice cream in a restaurant — they were my Dad’s favorites! While devastating at the time I can now laugh about it though. You just never know what will ambush you next. It’s normal and part of healing/grieving.

      • Awanda

        I lost my only child in 1997 and it’s during this time of the year things still get difficult. Like you said the hole is always there, but you never ever forget the one you loved and lost..

      • Dawn

        Reading the posts below reminds me that everyone has their own story and no matter what the circumstances are that caused the grief, it is still grief. Can’t be measured and certainly not dealt with in the same way as others.
        When I was 20, our first daughter was born 2-1/2 months prematurely and only lived a short time. My brother-in-law died suddenly 6 months later and my Dad died suddenly 3 months after that. I remember thinking that if I could survive that, there would never be anything worse that could happen. So very wrong.
        We lost our 1 year old granddaughter 7 years ago. She had a seizure after a vaccine. When the paramedics had her in the ambulance, they intubated her incorrectly and punctured her lung. She drown in her own blood. It took a law suit to get answers as the hospital covered it up. It was and is the most crippling grief and compounded by the worry and anguish of watching our child suffer through her grief and the knowledge that someone’s mistake took our Granddaughter from us. However, after 20 years of wondering why MY child was taken from me, I finally felt I had an answer. How could I possibly have known how to help my daughter through her grief journey if I hadn’t experienced it myself? We are all still trying to find our new normal and learning to live with the grief.

      • Lisa

        Teryn I lost my Mother and my Father 25 days apart! My mother of colon cancer and my father from a broken heart which is a fatal heart attack. It has been two years but today, Thanksgiving, I am alone in an empty house. My sister and I sold their home in 2 days and closed on September 6, 2013. Hard to believe that I can not go to the place where I felt their presence and I felt “home”! I am thankful for the time and life that I had with them but I continue to grieve and grieve hard. I thank you for the post and what it is to grieve and how to grieve. I to ask God why, why take both in a short time and I question when will I feel joy and peace. It seems that since they have passed I have experience so many things. People trying to persecute me and treat me wrong and just being lonely. My parent’s would always tell me not to question God. But I do have questions! I am going to save your information and refer to it again. I do see a grief counselor but sometimes I think I am wasting my money!! My grief counselor is Almighty God! I pray for peace but I also thank him for the roof over my head, the food on my plate the warmth of my home and for giving me to the best couple that would teach me, love me, care for me and direct me through life. My mother told me that everyone has to go through it someday but I never thought it would be this hard!!

      • Sheila

        I lost my fiance two weeks before we were to be married. That was 25 years ago and even though I went on to get married and have a family I still feel that “hole” and yes I think it will always be there. Sometimes it’s the littlest thing, like the lyrics in a song, that will make me think of him and the tears will start to flow. The 15 points you made are so accurate and well worded. I am definitely going to print a copy of this to have on hand, this would have been helpful for me long ago. I went through all of the 15 points, it’s like you read my mind. Most of all, I wish I had gotten help, found someone to talk to and help me work through my grief and pain. Thank you Teryn, I know this will be very helpful to many others.

      • BJ Cohan

        It’s tough, but I’ve learned that you never really “get over” the loss of a loved one. You accommodate it, slowly. You learn to live with it. It becomes a part of you. Sometimes it sits quietly, letting you live your life. Other times it jumps up and screams, seeming to drown out everything else. it’s your new reality.

        I’ve also learned that grief is cumulative. Successive losses trigger thoughts and feelings about previous ones and may cause you to react in ways that seem disproportionate to others. The death of an uncle had me in a state, reliving aspects of other losses. Only a few people – those who had also suffered recent losses – were capable of understanding the pain.

      • ANN

        JAN’s comment, “I believe that you learn to live a new life” really stood out to me. One has to make new memories with the people who are in your life and want to be with you. I tend to think about (dwell on) the old life, forgetting the blessings that I do have. I just can’t seem to move forward- it’s like I’m “stuck.” I have conversations with myself, but they always seem to recount over and over the same thoughts, questions, and sadness.

      • James Edward Briggs

        I have lost three children for years ( because I passionately got involved in an extra wrong relationship ) it took years to forgive myself even though Jesus forgave me immediately as I truly repented of my actions. Now I am reunited with them in a limited way. I am so thankful for the love that we now share, however I went through another grieving process because I was unable to make up for the “lost time”. The true peace of God has finally come to me and this is in spite of my continued human flaws. Now I finally am at a place to see and experience the truly amazing resurrected power of the Father’s love and grace in all of my relationships. Blessings on all of you, God is more than able to comfort and sustain you. Hallelujah!

      • Marie

        I can say from experience Teryn that the 3rd year is the hardest. I lost my husband 9 years ago and it still hurts, even though I’ve gone forward with my life. Here’s how I found it to be, the first year, you’re numb and those around you keep you moving, the 2nd year you begin to see a drop in that attention and have to start moving through life on your own. The 3rd year is the hardest because I call it the year of understanding that this now is reality and your new life. The 4th year seems to bring a new sense of normalcy as you are now in your own routine and once that happens it seems to finally give you peace. Good luck to you and may God give you the strength needed to endure the difficult times you may face.

      • gayle schwab

        I lost my husband in 2011, I am still grieving the loss, he was my world. It does get easier, but it never truly stops, for me holidays and his birthday, and his day of passing are the most difficult. The only thing that I can hold on to is, I was by his side, here, at home, when he breathed his last, and I know he went peacefully.

      • Andrew Gray

        For me the “hole” never goes, just that you build a life around it, I cant say there was anything I wish I d known at the time, I was in shock and just lived from day to day.
        Having a 11month old little girl was the only thing that stopped me from topping myself.
        I imagined I was in a pit and that I had to get out of it but the pit had glue in it and as fast as I would pull myself out, the glue would suck me back down but each time I could get a tiny bit further up, well, it worked for me, i got out, my daughter is 14yo and a beautiful sporty young woman, just like her mum was.

      • Kara M.

        My 8 year old son was killed by a drunk driver on a beach on May 25th, 2002. I have mostly good days now, being 11+ years out. But, you never know when you will get blind sided with a smell, a sound or one of a million other things that will trigger a memory. My only other child graduated last May… On the 25th of all days. Wow!! The emotions were crazy and extremely hard to control on that day, and several days leading up to it! The milestones that I miss each time one comes around throw me for a loop, and my family doesn’t understand. My mother has actually said to me that I should be over this by now… My baby was ripped out of my life. Do you ever actually get over it? Like I said, I have mostly good days now!! I agree with 1 thru 14 on the list, but #15? I just don’t see how I can call what I have been thru beautiful!! Nope, I just don’t see it!!

      • Peggy

        It has been almost 15 years since my infant son died. Your loss becomes part of your story, your perspective and philosophy. I can say that you certainly will cope better with the passage of time. In my own personal experience the “looking after” oneself became a problem for me when at the TEN YEAR mark I suffered a relapse and completely grieved his death again!! It took me about 6 months to get back to where I was prior to that episode. Advice for those suffering as a couple…do not expect your partner to always grieve the same way.

      • Carolyn

        Thank you for sharing your intimate thoughts. It is true that a loss of a relationship can be an emotional death, if that young adult abandons you because of issues they have. It is difficult for some to relate to that. You have done a beautiful job with all of the issues of death and loss.

      • http://Hotmail Jessica Fayville

        I’ve lost every member of my family of 7 in death (except a sister who’s – disowned me due to religious beliefs) I Lost My best friend in a car accident, I’ve been divorced and remarried. The early losses in my life almost ended my own life. It was my introduction to JESUS shortly AFTER my Divorce and Shortly BEFORE the Death of my Best Friend that I came to lean on Him in a way that saved my own life. I look back now at all the rest of the losses and see how JESUS allowed them to shaped and make me be the person I am today….with zero bitterness. I’ve been Drenched in His Grace and given a heart full of Love. Along with all the Losses and Grief came the Joys and Blessings He has given me….my Husband, 6 Children and 16 Grandchildren.

      • karin

        Yes, I’d agree with that description. The intensity of the pain and suffering greatly reduces over time, if we attend to the grief the way you suggested. As you said, we learn to live with the hole. As I see it, later on it’s like a scar. It doesn’t hurt the way it did when it was a raw, open wound, but it is still a sensitive spot that stays with us.

      • Amanda

        I lost my mother to MS 5 years ago; I was 24 and she was 55. Reading this has touched my heart in so many ways. I was shocked when I saw that it was only one year since your loss, I am truly in awe of your insight. So five years later, I still miss her and think about her every day. There are more good days and months than bad, but both the good and bad days are different, because I’m different. Loss of a loved one forces you to embark on a journey that doesn’t end, but the colors change. I will never accept that she was taken from me so early, that she will not be there to help me pick out a wedding dress, but I have come to accept that life is going to look and feel different… And that’s okay! I was severely depressed for one year, thought I lost control of myself forever. Then I listened to the song “Joy” by Phish, and I remembered I had a choice. I decided to go back to school for my doctorate in clinical psychology… I am now less than 9 months away from the title of clinical psychologist, and I thank my lucky star, my mother, every day for giving me the strength to help guide others along their search for meaning. Our loved ones may be gone, but we are still here, so let’s be the portal to let their light continue to shine! PS – I’m not always this positive, but today is a good day, and it’s okay to have those! It’s also just as okay, and necessary, to have bad/sad/mad days

      • Kmarie

        I am a Pastor and I often commend a quote from one of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s letters from Tegel Prison to speak to this loss, this hole that remains. Here are a few words from one of those letters:

        “First: nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love, and it would be wrong to try and find a substitute; we must simply hold out and see it through. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation, for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us. It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; he doesn’t fill it, but on the contrary, he keeps it empty and so helps us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain.”

        Secondly: the dearer and richer our memories, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude changes the pangs of memory into tranquil joy. The beauties of the past are borne, not as a thorn in the flesh, but as a precious gift in themselves. We must take care not to wallow in our memories or hand ourselves over to them, just as we do not gaze all the time at a valuable present, but only at special times, and apart from these keep it simply as a hidden treasure that is ours for certain. In this way the past gives us lasting joy and strength.”

      • Vicki Keith

        Teryn, thank you so much for this list. It is all true. What I have learned and what surprised me was the physical side of grief. I guess I thought grief was an emotional response, but it is also physical. That’s why, as you stated , it is important to take care of your body, eat right , get sleep , exercise, etc. It zaps your energy to grieve and you require a little more rest. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, we all do it differently, that is important to realize when parents have lost a child. Both parents will grieve differently. My husband and I learned to change our expectations about how each one of us feels. Just because we are both grieving doesn’t mean we are on the same page. I went to a group called “Grief Share” it is a Christian group that has been very helpful to me. Thanks again for sharing your wisdom.

    • Donna Blakesley

      I agree. It’s like something you trip over. You hurry into the next room to share a thought or a feeling, and there is nobody there. Or, you think to yourself, ” I have to remember to tell him about this.” And you can’t.

      • Chris Sutton

        For me it will soon be 25 years. I first realized that the cycles were associated with anniversaries: first date; finding out we were expecting; some insight she shared about life; the thought that she would not be around to see her three children but especially her 2 year old daughter get married. And now that my daughter has decided to get married on her mother’s birthday in June, the cycles have started again. The worst part is I remarried and she cannot understand or believe that grief is an independent process.

      • Melanie C

        Donna, that’s what gets to me the most. My husband was my best friend and I could tell him anything… and I DID! So when those thoughts and feelings come up that I want to share with him come around, I have to consciously find a quiet place to go “talk” to him. It’s not ideal and not what I want, but it’s better than just fighting the loneliness.

    • http://facebook.com gwen darrah

      I lost my Mom on Sept. 11th of this year. It was a sudden severe illness. Not I nor my five other siblings were even aware she was sick. Mom would hide that stuff from us to save us worry. I honestly am totally lost, we were so close. I helped her leave us by being with her. I wanted to be strong for her like she had been for me for 53 years, and I was and I did it. But now it has hit me, and I wonder to myself why I feel so sad when I finally got to give her a little bit of all that she had given me. Guess what I am trying to say is my final lesson on life from my Mom is that even when you know there is nothing left you can do in a certain situation, you are still doing something by just being there. Meaning acts of kindness such as moral support, a touch, sharing a tear, a listening ear, an open mind, a kind word said, a hug, a positive look, ,,,giving is our greatest gift. And that is what she did her whole life,,she gave. Still tears, even right now, but I know that she in a way, I feel this, helped me find my way here and write this. I love and miss you Mom….Me

      • Barb

        Thank you for putting into words what I have been feeling. I lost my mother 3 months ago and I felt honoured to help her with her journey but now realize she was helping me with another life lesson. Love you and miss you Mom

      • Regina Martin

        Gwen,
        I lost my mother 11 years ago this month. 11/19/02. I was 8 months preg with my last daughter and she was suppose to be at her birth. Her death is the single most difficult thing I have ever in my whole life been through. I was only 23 years old. I often felt cheated. Cheated because my mother had lots of issues while I was growing up and finally when I got married and had my first daughter did her and I get so close. I spoke to her every Sunday morning if not more,(she lived in Texas and I live in florida) she would fly in for the holidays and stay with us for two weeks. She was finally my best friend. And the mother I always hoped for. And like your mother kept her illness from you, mine kinda did the same. I remember standing in my laundry room and talking to her on the phone. She said have you talked to your sister… I said no, have you talked to your cousin.. I said no. Why what’s wrong. She says to me I’m just not doing well….. Long story short… I ended up flying to Texas while I was 6 and a half months preg, because I had a normal pregnancy and all was good, I get there and almost lose her. Doctors say call in family, I go into pre labor with my hubby a thousand miles away, and my 3 year old there with me! I stayed in Texas and waited for her to pass and guess what… She didn’t. We went to hospital and she was awake. And says to me…. What are you doing here!!! I’m like what am I doing here???!!! Lol. Mom what are you doing here!!!??? There is no doubt in my mind AT ALL that god kept her alive for me. I know he did. Because I was able to leave her, and fly home……And then she passed. I can tell you where I was standing when I last heard her voice. But god knew I would not have been able to handle losing her so far away from home. It was a week before thanksgiving. Needless to say, I’m not real fond of thanksgiving. It’s a tough holiday for me. As the years pass, I can say time heals some of the pain, but the hole is there. And always will be. I miss her. I miss being able to call her and tell her about new things. Firsts. I’ve often found myself thinking ( recently after her death) oh I need to call momma and tell her this. Or that. But couldn’t… Oh how I wish I knew how to make this or that…. I never wrote that down. I would always pick up the phone and call her. Gwen, you are going to feel lost. And I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it will get better. The only thing I can tell you is to talk to her. (I still do) any talk about her. And know that she is still around you. Everyday. And everyday is a new day, some good. Some bad. Take it how they come. And know one day, you will see her again. There is nothing anyone can do or say to make you hurt any less. It is truly a process. God bless you! May you feel his presence in your life. And know, my heart goes out to you, as I know what it is like to have a loss so great!
        *hugs!
        Regina

      • Linda Pastin

        Dear Gwen, I lost my mother one year ago Oct. 1 and I am 59 years old and it doesn’t matter how old you are…..your mother is the best friend you will ever have. I did what you did also….I cared for her, I read to her, I went with her to every treatment and still I go to the cemetery and sit there and talk with her and pray with her. I happen to be at work the other day and ran into her best friend’s daughter-in-law and afterwards the tears just came…like a flood, to the point where I had to excuse myself to my co-worker and just let it out. What has been my saving grace is my faith, God never lets me cry without letting me smile about her…something she did or said or all the memories we had living together and how she helped me raise my wonderful daughter into the beautiful person she has become. I see so much of my mother in her. And people can think what they want but I feel her with me…I mean I really feel her…I know she is with my Dad who she loved and missed so much in a much better place and I know in my heart that when my time comes, she will be waiting for me.. You are in my prayers I love you Mommy with all my heart….Bless you Gwen and thank you for sharing

      • https://www.facebook.com/linda.f.emmerich Linda Fagan Emmerich

        Gwen, I’m so sorry for your loss, I truly empathize with your pain. Out of the blue my Mom was diagnosed with inoperable stage 4 lung cancer last Dec. and she passed away July 25. We lost my Dad 2 years ago to bone cancer with only 10 weeks notice and my sister in-law 6 years ago to brain cancer in just 11months. My parents were both 71 years old, healthy, active, retired and happily living in FL. I live in IL with a high pressure career, kids, grandkids and all that goes with regular life. I spent a month with my Dad in FL and flew home for a weekend but he died the night I left. I spent 4 months collectively with my Mom thru treatment and when docs said there nothing more they could do we planned a cruise together but her trachea hemorrhaged one week before our departure. Worst part was I missed her passing by 2 hours. I was in her house trying to find her car keys when I called the hospital to tell them I was back in FL and on my way when they broke the horrible news. I can’t get through that moment. Number 12 on the list is my nemesis. I think about Mom all the time but want to be strong for my family in the ways I’ve always tried to be. A good friend of mine lost her husband and I feel bad showing too much emotion thinking that her pain must be so much greater than mine. My parents were only children so it’s just me and my brother (and of course our own families) but I’m the executor. As much as my parents tried to put things in order they owned 3 homes, one internationally, and the estate issues are about to put me in my own grave. But how does one neglect the responsibilities thrust upon you when it’s my desire to make my parents proud? My poor husband takes the brunt of my outbursts and meltdowns. My faith is strong and I know Jesus’s love in a personal way but I’m human….I’m sad….I’m hurting…she was my best friend and I miss her SO much. Sorry for rambling….I keep promising I’ll address my emotions after the holidays but then think I’m just going to ruin the holidays for anyone who’s around me. Thanks for all of you sharing and allowing me a place to share back.

    • SL

      After reading this, I called up my husband and told him I love him. Tell them while you can. That is what I learned.

    • Julie

      Thank you, Michelle. It’s been 18 months for me, and I feel as though people are thinking I shouldn’t have this terrible grief any longer. A grief counselor told me that the second year is the hardest, Teryn, because the shock and numbness are wearing off and reality is becoming more solid. I find myself more in contact with the earth and living less with the “one foot in each realm.” I wish I could face thinking about our good times, but I can’t. It’s too painful yet. So I find myself focusing on the bad times and then feeling guilty because at least I can be thankful that I don’t have to deal with them anymore. I’m so ashamed of that, but I can’t seem to help it. Any advice would be welcomed. Blessings to you both.

      • Carole

        yes, I too tend to relive the things I could have done and didn’t think of or wish I’d said and the guilty tears follow. It’s been 2 yrs since I lost my husband of 49 1/2 yrs. And 10 yrs since we buried our 25 yr old son from an accident. I tell folks when asked, it’s like learning to walk after your leg is amputated. You can do it but you always know it’s missing. God gets us thru the worst then we have to hold onto his hand to make it the rest of the way. We have to live and laugh again.

      • Sharon Nolan

        It’s coming up on the anniversary of my husband’s passing and I’ve also been reliving the hard times taking care of him at the end. It’s heart-wrenching because I know I did the best I could at the time, but now feel I should have been able to do more. This has been the hardest year of my life adjusting to be one person again instead of a couple. Some people think it’s been almost a year and I should be getting over it. Sorry folks, that just doesn’t happen. He was the love of my life and I was his. We spent 32 years (29 married) together. I am now able to think of the good & fun times together more and it helps. And, I do talk to him about things. Sometimes I feel him close by. Sometimes I feel like he”s sending me little signs that he is around to keep me company. That is comforting, too. God bless you all and help you through your loss.

        • Paula Roberts

          Being together a life time is all you know; 32 years of memories…so you just live each day…tomorrow is a new day…and the next…. Bless you….time does heal…just doesn’t take away the void we feel….cherish those memories !!

      • http://facebook Debbie

        Julie,
        The day will come when you will be able to remember the good times and smile. I remember the good times all the time now and am grateful for that. Of course, there are days when I relive the bad times and that is still hard. But I know it will pass. It is a process you go through and it happens over and over. You do get to the point where you like remembering the good times. It is almost like the good times are happening all over again. Good luck!

      • Connie

        I found one thing that sometimes helped was catching myself when the grief struck, and tried to remember that my hubby would not want to see me so sad all the time. It’s going to be 5 years in February, and it still hits me often, many times by a song…..but it is easier. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thinking of him. I can visualize his happy face now, I can talk about him, where before it hurt too much. I can remember that I love him so much that I do my best in life. I see life so differently, appreciate more and don’t take anything for granted. I read a book called The Magic….by Rhonda Byrnes, author of The Secret. It really helped…but everyone’s journey is different. I also read a few Near Death Experience books – I felt like I could understand more about where he is…..and it really comforted me :)

        Blessings to all

      • Kathie

        Julie – from my experience your grief counselor was right. I lost my beautiful husband Brian 4 1/2 years ago and the second year was infinitely harder than the first. Partly I think because the numbness was wearing off and the awful reality was much clearer. Partly too because the people around me seemed to think that I should be “over it” and back to normal once the first year was over. The second anniversary of his death was absolutely devastating to me. It seemed once I got through that anniversary that slowly, the scar became less raw. It still has not gone away and only last night I lay on my bed and sobbed because I wanted him there so badly.
        I think the most helpful thing I heard was from the minister who performed his funeral. She told me that I had changed forever – that Brian’s wife had died with Brian, and left Brian’s widow. She said that parts of the old me would come back in time, but that such a profound experience would mean that I would never ever be the same person I had been. Hearing this took away so much pressure – I felt like I now had permission to be whoever I was at that moment and didn’t have to try to fake being the old me.
        Blessings to you, Julie. Know you are not alone on your journey.

    • Sara Kennebeck

      Almost 9 Years now, and I still feel this at times.

      • http://gravatar.com/1gadgetgirl007 1gadgetgirl007Gail Wilkins

        For me too, over 9 years

    • Nikk

      This is so true. Thank you for articulating this. I am astonished that 8 years later, the grief will still hit me, as fresh and raw as the very first day. Like you, I always indulge in it, let it envelope me and then put it away for another day when it will eventually come unbidden, as it always does, though not entirely unwelcome.

    • Crawled through it

      This is true 14 years later. Doesn’t happen often, maybe once a year or two, but I always respond the same way: “Where did THAT come from?”!!! I am actually grateful for these moments. It means I haven’t forgotten.

    • Amy

      Michelle,
      This is exactly what is happening to me now. It’s been 3 years and all of a sudden, I’m back where I started. I will get through it, but didn’t expect it. Good to know it does happen to others after you thought you had gotten through.

    • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

      I call those ‘being ambushed’. Think about the definition of ‘ambush’ and you will find it very appropriate.
      ~ Peggy Bendell

    • Terri

      Michelle, I read many, many years ago in a place I’ve long forgotten that grief “ambushes.” It did it the first year and for a good number of years after. Even being aware of that in some small way helped.

      • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

        So true. I love that word ‘ambush’. At first you are expecting moments of sudden grief. You expect them and are, sort of, prepared for them. But as time goes on and you are going merrily on your own way suddenly, out of left field, you will see someone walk, just like your lost loved one and wham your eyes fill with tears. You’ve been ambushed. A perfect word. And the feeling may only last a minute but it is a strong wallop – it can take your breath away it is so startling!

    • https://www.facebook.com/tammie.nichols Tammie Nichols

      It has been nearly 20 years and just the other day I heard my grandmother’s voice as if she were standing beside me. All she said was my name but as I startled and turned to see who was calling me no one was there and I heard a gentle laugh that sounded so much like my grandfather’s. He was a prankster and loved to pull the silliest pranks on people. I know they are not here and I know they can not see me or hear me, but I talk to them. I know they are also not waiting on me because when I get to Heaven they will simply turn and say, “Well, there you are.”

      Then, not two days after this incident my sweet, sweet cousin (who you can see in my profile picture) suddenly passed away in her sleep. Her name and my name are very similar and I wondered did I hear them calling her. I know from experience that when the time is close our worlds mingle for those that are being called for those that are near to them.

      Like you, Michelle, when those times hit I have learned to let them pass through me completely. Sometimes, it could be because I was stressed from work, or tired or over stimulated in any area of my life and needed something to soothe me and that is what my grandparents did for me, they were soothing and loving and honest. My parents are as well, but grandparents are different. I rejoice in my grief now and have gone back to a place where I can see their faces and I can remember their voices. I thought I had lost that years ago, but it has come back, I had to let the grief work its way through me completely to allow the goodness of them to come back to me completely. It is weird, it isn’t easy, it isn’t always happy, but I am thankful for my grief because it reminds me of the person I want to be to those that I love so dearly.

    • Rena

      I agree with you wholeheartedly…. my husband passed away 2-1/2 yrs. ago, and I remarried to my very first boyfriend from 51 yrs. ago who found me thru an online group — It was almost one year after and I thought I was o.k. but I realize now that it was a distraction getting all the attention and I wasn’t finished grieving… and probably never will be… it’s just bearable now. In the first 8 months I really tried to “embrace” the pain and grief… just walking thru it helped. I was scared of never being loved again and being “alone” — I should’ve known that I’d never be “alone” — I’m blessed with my faith, family and friends — and that’s enough! This marriage is the absolute opposite and it’s mainly for companionship… I love him but it’s not the same, of course. I will always have my memories.

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  • Linda Thompson

    My son has been gone for 5 1/2 years. Among so many, many things, i have learned to discontinue having expectations from others. So many of my friends have, what I thought, let me down. But i now know that they need prayers and understanding as much as I because they are lacking in knowing how to reach out, they don’t have a clue what to do or say. for a long time this hurt me terribly and i was disappointed in them but i can now forgive them for the wrong, sometimes hateful things they have said, the things they have never said, some have never even contacted me to say anything. I pray for them constantly that they come closer to an understanding of themselves and that they never have to endure this kind of pain. It has also helped me to fill my heart and hurt with thinking of others rather than so much of myself.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      I know what you mean. I don’t think I expected to have so many friends fail me during the grieving process. So many who weren’t there. So many who didn’t even reach out or say anything. And I guess I’ve had to realize that yes, a lot of people just really don’t know how to handle deep pain or be there for others in loss. A lot of people haven’t been there yet. They have no idea what it’s like to lose someone. And I’ve learned that through all the pain life has handed me, I now know how to truly help others. A lot of people have never been there.

      I agree, too, that I’ve had to learn to think of others a lot, and have a heart for others, and forgive, and really let go of the expectations. Bitterness and anger can consume you in the grieving process if you’re not careful. But that’s why I cling to God–He truly is the One who can help me and never lets me down.

      • Paula

        Beautiful thank you ladies for sharing it will be 2 years in February for me…not knowing…just can’t even imagine life without God’s Grace and Love…I would not been able to get through my husband’s death…without Him…I was able with God’s Grace to give a personal testimony to over 200+ people how God had changed my husband who I thought never would change…but I can tell you too that when others who have never lost a love one will never understand what it is to grieve I would do it over again what I learned from this experience is that our precious Lord can give us His strength through anything His Grace His Amazing Love…we go though life sometimes not even realizing how by God allowing us to go through this grieving process we can show and help others…he has our tomorrow because he is already their lifting us up and giving us the compassion that he wants us to have and that is loving others even through pain…it also help me see how strong my faith was…what a gift…serving my Savior!!

      • https://www.facebook.com/angela.j.carter7 Angela J. Carter

        My brother died several years ago. People are stuck thinking “should I talk about him?”, “I don’t want to mention his name or it will make them upset?”, “if I keep talking about him, they will never be able to move on”…..I know, because I was one of those people when speaking to my own parents. I didn’t know what to say or not say and it made me uncomfortable to be around the people I loved while they went through their grief. I dealt with my own and kept it from them to “spare them”. I didn’t want to “be the cause” of more pain by bringing it up. It took me a while to realize that NOT talking about him was most hurtful. I realized that telling MY stories brought smiles (sometimes through tears) and that the realization that others missed him and grieved too was healing and in a strange indescribable way, rewarding for all of us. Now, I know. But int he beginning, I didn’t.

      • https://www.facebook.com/lori.kostiukbohach Lori A Kostiuk-Bohach

        I have been on both sides too many times to count over the last several years and it has taken me a long time to realize that sometimes the best thing you can “say” is simply a hug – everyone is different – and the words that might bring me comfort could cut someone else like a knife – but a hug says “I am here – if you need to talk I will do my best to listen – if you need me to talk I will try to let God give me the best words to say – if you need another hug – or many more- my arms will be here to comfort you” Not surprisingly – the grief -whether in a day or 10 years later always comes at the “worst” possible time – in traffic- at work….but if you learn to “go with it”, a difficult moment could also bring a pleasant memory and a smile with it.

      • catie

        Most people forget about friends who lose other friends.

        Most people just don’t grieve the loss of their friends like they would their own child or parent. Any loss is horrible, of course, friend or child.

        Perhaps it’s because we have so many friends over the course of our lives. Grieving every friend like we would grieve our own child loss is just impossible.

        The focus of loss is usually for the parents and kids of the person who died. Even when you lose a sibling, it’s the parents that get the “attention” of the terrible loss. People tell kids who lose a sibling “be strong for your parents.”

        That’s where grief support groups can help. They see grief as grief, regardless of if you were a friend, or if it was your own family.

    • http://facebook Lisa Cree

      I also had disappointment with my friends when I lost my son. My sorrow comes in waves and at times there is no warning. I feel so sad because everyone seem to avoid the subject of my loss so they don’t see me cry. I at times I wish I could just talk about him with someone and not hide my tears. He is in my mind and heart everyday but rarely does his name come out of my mouth.

      • http://PrayforNickAycockfacebook.com Juletta Aycock

        I lost my son in February 2013. He was 28 when he had his accident and 31 years, 4 months and 25 days when he was returned to our Lord. The one thing I refuse to let happen is to let him be the elephant in the room. I speak of him without fear if a tear, for if the tears come …so be it. I was blessed to have him an extra 2 1/2 years; beside him in the hospitals 362 days and brought him home to care for instead of an LTAC for a year and a half. Speak your sons name. He is and will always be your son. If people are uncomfortable with that, they will have to deal with that. I know it’s difficult for them sometimes, but you’ll be amazed what a blessing you can be to them by allowing them to comfort you♡, if only a hug. I remember when I was awkward like them. The opportunities I missed. Praise God for his mercy, grace and love for you and them. Pray for them, that they never have to fully understand our pain. Blessings!

      • Becky Hendrickson

        You need a new set of friends. I found new people to hang around with that also lost a child. They totally understand when the tears just start coming. They can be part of your “new normal”. The new friends will let you talk about your son, and say his name when you need to. I understand this because I had a few friends who would have that deer in the headlight look when I would say something about my son. These friends didn’t know how to comfort me, and I don’t blame them. I just decided I didn’t need friends like that. I love my new friends. I hope you get someone that you can talk to about your son.

      • Elizabeth

        My Daughter was 7 when she died it still hurts really bad at times its been 5 years and it still is fresh in my mind there’s no greater loss then that of a child my prayers are with u

      • JoAnn Register

        I lost my youngest son (47) unexpectedly on 8/17/13. He lived in NY. On 8/15/13 at the airport, he said “don’t cry Ma, I’ll be back soon.” Two days later his heart stopped and he was gone. He had come to Fl to see his brother (51) that was ill. The day after my younger sons’ service, my oldest son passed away – 3 weeks after his brother. He wasn’t that ill – the doctor didn’t diagnose correctly. I have no other children and my heart is broken. The friends that promised to be supportive I have not heard from in months. The same for some family members. I have 2 grandchildren in NY (13 & 15). They were here in Sept for their Dad’s service, but I haven’t heard from them or their mother. I don’t want to be angry with them about this, but I can’t help it. I needed to vent this.

    • Heather

      Linda and Teryn, What should a friend do and say? How can we help?

      • Kim Copple

        Be there for the bereaved; even if it just means sitting with them at home; no conversations needed! No food, no books, nothing but you and your time.

      • Mozart

        I just had to put my kitty of 15 years down this past week, which may have been the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. He was my childhood cat and best friend. He loved no one as he did me and I loved him more than any other pet I’ve had (and I’ve had dozens). It was difficult to make the decision at first because I don’t kill things (at least not intentionally). I even capture bugs under cups and let them outside. I didn’t want to do it at first, but once I realized that I was being selfish keeping him alive as he suffered, I made the decision to release him. I questioned my decision wondering if it was wrong of me to play the hand of God even in a situation of mercy. But then I thought perhaps God won’t take him because this is supposed to be my lesson in growing up, responsibility, and letting go.

        So, I held kitty in a blanket and drove him to the vet as the saddest, most perfect song played on the radio: Stevie Nicks “Landslide.” (For anyone in grief, music often helps. Don’t be afraid to listen to sad songs that make you cry. Sometimes it helps to just cry until you have no tears left to pour.) After it was over and he passed, I felt relief and stopped crying until I had to bury his body. I didn’t want to let go of him, even though he was already gone.

        After he was buried, I could not stop crying. The very thing that made me feel better came from my mother. I was crying to her over the phone and telling her how I’m so tired of losing loved ones year-after-year. I lost my grandmother exactly a year previous to kitty, my grandfather just a few months before her, the other grandfather a couple years before that, I’m still grieving my uncles I lost when I was a child, and my last and favorite grandmother is currently ill and nearing that time. And that isn’t even the whole list of those I’ve lost, just the most recent and significant. I’ve lost so many loved ones (people and pets) in my life, it feels like I should be used to death by now, but I will never be used to it.

        My mother responded with, “You’re looking at it the wrong way. Don’t think about all of those you’ve lost. Think about all you have gained. In the past few years, you have repaired your relationship with your father, you’ve found the love of your life, you’ve put yourself through grad school and are about to earn your Masters degree, you got to research your favorite species of turtle… When you think about it, you’ve gained more than you’ve lost, and it will always be that way for the rest of your life. Those you lost are not really lost. They are still with you, just in different forms. When they were living, they could only be with you in physical presence, but now they are with you always, looking over you, and ensuring good things happen in your life.”

        So, Heather, taking my long story back to your question about what can a friend do and say, the answer varies from person to person and knowing that friend well enough to know what they may need to hear is a starter. Someone else mentioned a hug is the best thing a friend can offer, and that is totally true. Nothing has ever made me feel more comforted than a hug. But sometimes you can’t always be there in person to give a grieving friend a hug, so words are needed to soothe the grief. And sometimes no words are needed, just an ear to listen as they talk through their feelings.

        If you are to say something to comfort a friend’s grief, I found that my mother’s tactic was quite effective. When they are focusing on all they’ve lost, refocus them on all they’ve gained, even if it is something they’ve gained from their loss, such as appreciation for their lost loved one. Don’t completely change the subject, as the point is to help them get through it, but steer the subject in a more positive light. I’ve always enjoyed those moments in times of heavy grief where a memory comes back that pulls me from tears to laughter. I love to laugh and it truly is the best medicine. Try reminding a grieving friend of humorous memories of their loved one or steer something serious into something funny.

        When I was young, I lost my uncle whom I still grieve over 20 years later. I remember when he died, my mother told me that he would always be with me everywhere I go. I froze at what she said, blushed 5 shades of red, and hesitantly asked her, “Everywhere…?? Even in the bathroom?” She laughed and then said, “Well… everywhere but the bathroom. The bathroom is the one place spirits don’t go.” To this day, I get a tickle out of the thought of spirits following me around everywhere, but closing their eyes whenever I walk into the bathroom.

        And finally, it is always best to only offer condolences to a grieving friend when they have given you some indication they would like to be consoled, such as crying or bringing up the subject to talk about it. For example, a couple of days after I put kitty down, I wanted to be out of the house to take my mind off him. So, I went out with a friend for a girl’s day. When she asked me how my pets were doing, I quickly delivered the news about kitty and immediately steered the subject on to something else. A couple of hours later, she brought it back up and started asking me questions as her eyes began welling with tears. I felt so rude, but had to be blunt with her and tell her that I was not in the mood to talk about him, as the point of the outing was to get my mind off him. But I did let her know I appreciated her sympathy.

        So if you do offer consolation and your friend steers the subject, probably best to let it drop until your friend is ready to bring it up again.

      • http://gravatar.com/cajolly Cyndi

        When I lost my 11 year old granddaughter this summer my friends just showed up . They stopped by my house to be with me. They took me to lunch. They watched the video of her life and cried with me. We drank wine and watched movies (silly comedy) . We laughed and cried. It’s still difficult but my best friends are with me on this emotional roller coaster.

        • Paula Roberts

          BEAUTUFUL!!

      • http://cajolly.wordpress.com cajolly

        Heather, when my 11 year old granddaughter died this summer my friends showed up. They packed my suitcase. They drove me to the airport . They came to my house to be with me.
        Now 5 months later, we watch silly comedies and drink wine. We laugh out loud. We watch the video of her life and cry together. We go out to lunch.
        You can help by sticking close to them and not trying to talk them out of their feelings. My friends have been amazing. There have also been friends that have avoided me. That’s ok too. I understand that they are afraid and confused.

      • Susan Ryan

        I lost my fiancé of 6 years to lung cancer in early April, 2013. We had formed a relationship in our 50′s after both having gone through difficult divorces from long-term marriages. We thought we would grow old together, but that was not to be. I have struggled with the response of good friends, and his children, who had all vowed to help me in whatever way possible after I had done so much to take care of their dad during his illness and right up until the moment he passed away.

        This is the one piece of advice I would give someone who has a friend or family member who is dealing with grief. Countless people said to me, “call me if you need to get a glass of wine, cup of coffee or just want to talk.” I’m sure in their hearts they truly meant it, but even in my darkest of days, I couldn’t make that call. However, when someone called me and asked if I wanted to get together, I would generally be thankful for the company and accept the invitation. So pick up the phone and call that friend and be willing to listen to their pain, their need for laughter or just to vent the angry feelings.

        I also have gotten pretty tired of people telling me how strong I am and I will get through this. Many days I don’t want to be strong and would love for someone to take care of me for a change.

      • https://www.facebook.com/rebacca.carden Rebacca Carden

        i found for me when i lost kevin ‘the best words were those left unspoken’ warm hugs and touches are the only word i felt and heard gave me hope. i knew i was still here alive. sometimes words have little bearing.

      • Dawn Finbloom

        I lost my amazing son, Brett, on 8/5/12. He was just 18. To me it helps when friends tell good stories about him. Many of the stories I didn’t know. I miss him so much and think about him nearly every minute. I have such a hard time believing that he’s not here and never is going to be here. Happy memories always end sadly because he’s simply not here. I am sad for my daughter who is only 15 years old and will forever be effected by this tremendous loss and have sadness. Friends help a lot, but of course nobody has had this same loss. It is especially hard for a teenager with teenage friends to get friend support as her friends just don’t have the experience. Fortunately, she has a couple who are compassionate. She also has a grief counselor. Sometimes friends speak the wrong words or at the wrong time, but who doesn’t!! I have strength, but fragility too. I can usually push those wrong words aside. I wouldn’t want to change the depth I’ve gained from my loss, but I’d love to change the sadness. Of course I would give up all added depth to have Brett back. I would like to have the carefree ” me” back. Ironically, I tell myself to find joy because today may actually be as good as it gets!!! This journey will continue. The hole probably will widen with more loss. I really like the hole analogy. There is a hole and I do navigate around it. Sometimes an ankle twists toward it and a foot even slips into the hole. The 15 Things is something I will share with others and with our Grief Counselor.

  • m.cobb

    Never let an opportunity pass to let the people you care for know it!

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      A good reminder! :)

  • http://gravatar.com/asnnbrg A.

    People say “It gets easier.” Don’t believe it. Some memories can soften into bittersweetness, but the actual loss, the hole, the emptiness, will always be there. In time, you do not forget, you do not fill it: You simply learn to coexist with it, to make peace with it. Some days the emptiness will be pushed into the background of your life while others, it threatens to swallow you up whole.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Very, very true.

    • Carole Ellis

      I lost my husband of 22 yrs almost 8 months ago. Most of what I read is common sense to me. How do you learn to accept that you will never hear his voice again. That he will no longer tell you he loves you? That your beautiful? Or feel his beautiful lips on my face? These are mine and our 2 childrens firsts, our first Thanksgiving without him, Christmas, and new year. When i’m not crying, I am so angry!!!!!

      • https://www.facebook.com/rebacca.carden Rebacca Carden

        close you eyes. you;ll feel him. i still feel kevin and its been 10 long empty years i still feel his kisses touches beside me

    • ANN

      well said… I, too, simply coexist with the loss and the hole- the emptiness never goes away.

  • https://www.facebook.com/beverley.bouchard Beverley Bouchard

    Please use my daughter’s name. Leyda (age 6yrs, would be almost 9 now) is missed 2 years out.

    • https://www.facebook.com/beverley.bouchard Beverley Bouchard

      Perhaps I should restate….I have learned that folks don’t use my daughter’s name….but I want to hear her name and know she is not forgotten.

      • Sandra Jones

        Beverley you are so right . It’s been seven years since I lost my son suddenly at the age of 35. I’ve learned that people still don’t mention his name. I want you to say his name. I want to hear you say, I remember when Michael did this or that. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been, I still miss him everyday. He loved Christmas so much that he would go help everybody put up their tree. His favorite movie was A Christmas Story. So every year since I put a picture of him facing the TV and put that movie on while I decorate my tree. It’s my way of coping.

        • https://www.facebook.com/beverley.bouchard Beverley Bouchard

          Sandra I thinks that’s a beautiful way of honouring your son and coping and just keeping his memory alive. Hope you enjoy decorating the tree this year as Michael watches the movie:)

      • Ronda

        Beverley , I know exactly what you are saying . My first child ( girl ) Crystal Star Rose was born 1-5-85 with Down Syndrome & before they took her out of room , they told me she was a mongaloyd & should be put in institution , No way was that gonna happen . So then they said she will never be able to walk, talk, feed herself or take care of herself . I took her home of coarse & find out 2 yes later she has a hole in her heart in between the ventricles of her heart ( VSD ) the heart doctor said we can fix the hole but she won’t survive the operation :’( :’( . So I told god you gave her to me for a reason & I didn’t take that chance ?? Now after Herr graduating school & going to prom with her boyfriend & so much more ( I had girl , boy, boy, girl ) at the age of 25 on her Lil sisters 21st birthday I knew she was going to pass I felt my heart sinking & called her siblings and she passed at home . 1 yr later my youngest daughter ( who wasn’t supposed to be able to get pregnant did ) and its a girl , my daughter named her after her big sister , now that I have lost her I feel like maybe it should’ve been me instead , like maybe they think I gave up on her & nobody talks about MY Crystal O:-) . I feel so worthless & don’t see life as a blessing anymore ??

    • Polly

      Beverly, I new immediately what you meant before I read your next post. My beautiful grandson Brady, left this earth on his 6th birthday, he would be almost 11 years old now and I believe I can truthfully say that not one day has gone by that I have not thought about him. Your Leyda and our Brady are still such beautiful parts of our lives, they will never be forgotten.

  • Kim Copple

    I wish I had known how exhausting the grief journey is. One of my younger sisters suffered a massive stroke on a Wednesday. By Thursday she was intubated and by Friday evening, the transplant surgical team turned off the ventilator at 7 pm. Three minutes later it took all my strength to walk down the SICU hallway.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      You are so right. It IS exhausting. I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired as I have during times this last year.

      • Malibu

        I lost my husband suddenly 8 years ago, and over an18 month period, I lost 8 other friends and family, only 2 of them old. My son was only 5. I have still not recovered, and frankly, don’t know if I ever will. I am in therapy, they say I have depression, and PTSD, but I also have fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue and osteoarthritis. I just go over and over it in my mind seeing my husband laying dead in the hospital, and can not get it out of my head. I do remember the good times, and tell my son good things, but I can not shake the sight of him laying on that table. I had also just been through the loss of my best friend from a brain tumor, that I had been the one that noticed the symptoms, and had taken her to her doctor appts. And drew her blood and took it to the lab, so she would not have to go. I am a medical professional, so I was asked by her husband to come along on all visits to listen and make sure everything was understood. It was 6 weeks from diagnosis to death for her, and the shock was unbelievable. I have lost all of my closest friends, and feel like a recluse, and yes a third wheel as well. Many women feel like you want their husbands when you are a widow. You are not included anymore with any couples, and I am certainly not interested in anyone else’s husband. I am still not over the one I lost. Will it ever end?

    • Rena

      Kim Copple I am so very sorry.As I read this I realized this just happened to you.
      Sounds like you were thrust into this suddenly and it was all over before you probably even processed what had happened.
      Nothing I can say would make any difference in this gut wrenching,agonizing pain called grief. I once heard the saying “grief is the price we pay for love.”
      I lost my precious Mama a month ago and I am in such pain & agony I can’t hardly stand it.I am just going through the motions of life.
      I once heard the saying “grief is the price we pay for love.”
      I will never be the same.

      • Kim Copple

        Actually, Rena, Susie died almost 3 years ago, on December 10. Along with the grief over Susie, I also grieve over the fact that her two precious, beautiful young sons, who are both on the autism spectrum, have to live in this crazy world without the guidance of a loving mother. Sorry to get off topic.

      • Lin

        Rena, nobody loves you like a Mama, that’s why it’s so hard. I lost my own dear mom last year and could barely get through the holidays; she was such a part of everything. You’re right, we wouldn’t grieve so much if we didn’t love so much. So know that you loved well, she would be proud – do something in her honor during the holidays, perhaps – go give some flowers to one of her friends, or give some time to her favorite good cause. Blessings on you.

      • St

        My feelings exactly Rena .

  • Becky Wilson

    I lost my daughter May 10th, 1975 2 months and three weeks) and my son May 11, 1989 ( a couple months from his 13th birthday. For me it has continued to be an up and down journey. might even go two or three years without having a really hard time and then it will hit. That is okay. They were worth grieving over. and laughing about and sharing the memories, altho it is much harder with my daughter because we just did not have enough time. My son taught me it is not how long we live but what we do with our lives. I have learned who to go to when I need to talk. It takes time.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      I’m so sorry. I agree when you say they were worth grieving over. I think grief just shows us how much people do mean in the grand scheme of things. Our lives can seem so small, so insignificant–and yet, each one is so precious. How important life truly is! Because no one can be replaced.

  • TheOtherDaughter

    If I could add one more it would be: Don’t shut yourself off from those who are still living and would love to spend time with you because you are so consumed with those you DON’T still have. We are never promised a tomorrow. Those still living would like to be in your life and thoughts while they’re still alive–not just after they die.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      That is a really good point, and one I’ve had to learn a lot about this year. It is important to remember and love the living even when you’re grieving the dead.

      • Sharon

        Give them space to grieve with you. Don’t resent them because they grieve differently, but DO allow them to share in your grieving process. I have seen that the people who have lost a loved one get their feelings hurt because others don’t reach out or don’t grieve in the same manner, being missunderstood for lack of love or care towards the deceased. I’ve also seen those still living getting their feelings badly hurt because to them it seems as though they are non exisiting. As if their presence doesn’t matter now that the loved one is gone. I know none of it, on either side is true. And i think that talking about it, about your feelings, about your expectations, and being specific about ways in which they can help/offering help, can do so much good for those relationships.
        I haven’t lost a loved one. And even though I pray and feel compassion for those who have, i often struggle to know how to help, what to say. I don’t know if talking about the loved one will make people sad because i’m reminding them of their absence. I don’t know if ignoring the topic will hurt their feelings because they’ll think i don’t care nor that i remember … It’s really hard for me to know what to do because i don’t want to hurt feelings, so, i have started asking those questions.to friends who are going through this grieving process. It’s helped me to know what is appropriate for that person. How to help that person, recognizing that we are individual and what fits one, may not fit others.

        • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

          Thanks for these thoughts, Sharon. It’s hard to remember (after losing someone) how to relate to those who haven’t lost someone. I think by asking questions and really listening to each other, a lot can be learned. You make a good point about how the living ones can often feel forgotten in the wake of death.

  • http://Facebook Bernadette Wright

    It has just been 4 months and it seems like it is getting harder at times, I do know the good Lord can sure help if you have faith, THAKS for your wonderful experience and lovely words.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Thank you for the comment. Hang on during this rough time. I promise you can get through it, no matter how hard. You are not alone, remember that.

  • Joanne

    Wow – I just finished reading this and I could relate to so much of it…It’s been a little over 2 yrs now since I lost my both parents within three days of each other….When it first happened, I just didn’t know how I was going to go on – I found myself a wonderful grief group and a grief counselor. Both really helped me a lot – but the only thing that has really helped is the passing of time. I miss them each and every day and I always will.

    I discovered pretty quickly that people just don’t know what to say when you’ve lost a loved one / or two in my case….and it hurt without a doubt….people I thought I could lean on – just weren’t there! It was like they expected me to be “myself” again soon after they passed.

    Anyhow – thanks for doing this blog – the grieving for me will never end – it just changes!

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Thanks so much for the comment. So sorry to hear of your loss, that must’ve been so hard to lose them both. I can’t imagine. And yes, lots of people just don’t know how to handle it. Grief DOES change you and it changes over time, but you never, ever get over it. God be with you on this journey.

      • Deb

        I just lost my sister to cancer this March 2013. It was such a shock she was diagnosed Dec 24, 2012 and was gone March 17th 2013, we would always talk everyday, and after she started her radiation, she could no longer talk on the phone, I tried to be there the entire time, it was hard, I feel for my parents, brother-in-law, nieces, and the rest of the family. It is not fair she had it all, and I miss her so much. I am still in the ” i still cannot believe it, I still pick up the phone to talk to her and even have dialed her number but there is only her voice mil. I am at the stage were I need to talk about her but nobody want to. or else they do not know how to act. All I can say is this is the hardest and most hurt full thing that I have ever been through and I will always have a huge chunk of my heart whit my sister as she was and always be my best friend. I miss you JO and love you very much. I just thank god tha I still have him to comfort me in my time of need.

  • Maria

    Its been over 10 yrs for me as a widow – this seems odd but it turned out true so far – every odd year seems to have been the most difficult – my daughter was my angel as she was only 10 maths when her Daddy died. God blessed me with being able to raise her & keep on going :-) it does get easier but everyone will tell u a time period – U decide when – don’t let anyone tell u when u should b healed or how u should b feeling after any number of years – what I learned after counseling others in dealing with other survivors of suicide – grief stages do not go in any specific order – feel them all at your own pace & allow God to lead (((hugs))) to all

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Amen, the timing is completely on an individual basis. Everyone heals and processes at different paces. Thanks so much for your comment.

  • Ngaria

    The thing that helped me thru was saying to myself – ‘If I am happy today & nothing comes into my thoughts of my loss, it is because my mind & body are giving me a break, letting me breath, allowing me to feel ‘normal’ but if I wake and my every thought is filled with my loss & all I can do is cry & mourn, it’s because I’m strong today, my mind & body has allowed me to feel complete pain, because I can cope, because I’m strong’ thinking this way made me respect my emotions and allow the pain to come thru, to help me grieve and not to push the pain away…

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Yes, such a good thought. Sometimes our mind and body DO give us a break–and we can feel a little relief from the pain. And then–we have to face the pain full on again. Thank God for those moments of relief. Grief comes in waves, and I’m so glad it does.

  • Carrie Good

    I can relate to all that is written here and in the comments above, but one thing I would like to add is that I think people who don’t understand grief tend to put a time constraint on it. Even though they may not say it out loud they give the impression that they’re thinking, “well, it’s been ____ amount of years so it should be over by now.” But we who are grieving know that it’s impossible to put a time frame on grief. Grieving is a process and unique to each individual, even within a family. I know from my experience that grief is something that has become a part of me. Grief altered who I was but God has used it in my life in more ways than I can describe…it’s bittersweet! I don’t think a person can “move on” from grief or “get over it” as some might say, I think it’s vital to find a way by God’s grace to live with it. I know for myself and my family we have learned to live life in a new way…God has taught us how to live through the grief.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Thanks so much for your comment, Carrie. Thank you for pointing out that grief is a process that is individual, and it really is impossible to put a time frame on it, even in families, etc. Let’s all remember to have compassion and patience and love for each other. And yes, by God’s grace we can learn to live with it.

  • Elise Sheppard

    Thanks for this blog, Teryn. We could’ve used it back then. My way of dealing with it in the long run was to think, ‘she’d have been going away to college next year. She just left early, and the time until I see her will be longer. But I WILL see her again.’
    I often store up things in my mind to talk to her about, those things where we say, “Oh, I can’t wait to tell Lara.”

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Yes, I do that, too. Just think of things to tell her. I also write to her sometimes. I think it helps. Thanks so much for the comment. May God continue to comfort you each and every day.

  • Becky Hendrickson

    It has been seven years since we lost our son. Just short of his 24th birthday. Two things I’d like to pass on. The second year is so much harder than the first year. You aren’t in that shock stage then and everything hits you harder. The second thing is that you and your spouse are never on the same page in your grief. You have to let each other grieve the way you need to grieve, not the same as everyone else. Finally, this journey is possible with God and His love and comfort.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Really good points, Becky. I’m just entering the second year, and so I’m apprehensive to see how it goes. The first year was so hard. Thanks so much for the comment.

      • Nancy Bowman

        It has over 10 years since we lost our son, I was shocked when we hit the second year I felt like I was going crazy for sure, I then found an amazing group on line that helped me understand that the second is harder because you are no longer in that daze, for lack of a better word. You do eventually learn how to live with it, never getting over it, and your days will get better, not feel guilty if you laugh out loud but no matter how long it has been every once in awhile there is a trigger that hits you between the eyes and you feel that incredible pain again, not for long though! (((((Hugs))))))

    • Becky Coghill

      Becky Hendrickson and Teryn O’Brien – I’m in the 2nd year (lost my husband, John, to a sudden heart attack March, 2012) and it is indeed a very sad time for me. I made it through the 1st year with the help of God, my family and the best neighbors/friends anyone could have. I found that the 6-month marker into my journey was horrifying – but I made it. I have had many sad days recently and feel it’s due to the fact that it is the beginning of the holidays again – without John. Thanksgiving/Christmas/my birthday/our anniversary – it’s all in a row. This blog is so wonderful and I’m so happy I just happened upon it today – ur blog site was posted on my facebook page by a former co-worker – Patricia Monjure – a wonderful Christian woman. I’ve enjoyed sitting here reading everyone’s words of sadness/truth/happiness. May we all survive this journery and thank God for his love.

  • Karla

    1 year ago today I lost my father-in-law. My emotions are all over the place but I know that he is in a better place. I have no expectations of anyone regarding my grief. It is mine and most people do not know how to respond. That does not make them insensitive or uncaring, just unaware or scared to hurt even more. My talks with God and with my father-in-law have helped me. Letting the tears roll when they come, venting the anger when it comes, reveling in the joy when it comes. It is a roller coaster ride and we all ride it differently. I am cooking his favorite meal, loving his dog, and honoring his memory by remembering all of the good times we had together and knowing that I never missed a chance to tell him and show my love to him. Today is our day.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Yes, I’ve learned to not have many expectations, too. I’ve learned to embrace my own grief and not rely on others to try and fix it, but it go with the flow and process and express myself when needed (most often times alone, but there are a few friends who will really listen and who I can be very honest with no matter what). Thanks for the comment, Karla.

  • http://www.pearannoyed.com pearannoyed

    It has been 15 years since my daughter died. The moments of overwhelming grief are almost entirely gone, but occasionally a sadness still bubbles to the surface. Sometimes I have to remind myself what it is, and then it’s OK. And even after all this time, when someone learns for the first time that we lost Emily, they often still react in that awkward, “I don’t know what to say” kind of way. I’ve learned to anticipate it so I can diffuse their discomfort as quickly as possible.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      I still don’t like the awkwardness, which is why I don’t talk much about my loss to people I’ve just met. I also think it’s weird that I–who am the one who’ve suffered–so often have to diffuse the awkwardness for those who haven’t. It doesn’t really make sense?? I’m still learning…

  • Dawn Biocca

    I lost my mom 9 years ago and for the most part I am in a good place but every once in a while I do feel her loss like it was yesterday. She loved Christmas and being with family so Christmas is a little hard for me but I surround myself with family and friends and it helps me through it. One thing I learned when my mother-in-law passed away in 1988 was to vent in a journal. I just started writing and putting all the pain and anger into it. When I was done it was a feeling of relief and over the following year I would add to it. Then after a year I put the journal away and have never taken it out to look at. I do feel her loss and I let it take me where it wants to for a while. These two women were such an important part of my life that I do let the sadness take me sometimes but I don’t late it run away with me. That is the lesson I have learned. Accept the sadness and grief but don’t let it run away with you.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Yes, writing helps. I write a lot to help myself process. Of course, I’m a writer at heart, so that makes sense. I also like your thoughts on how to accept the sadness/grief, but don’t let it run away with you. Very hard balance to find. Thanks for the comment.

  • Jewel Cullins

    It has been a little over 8 years since I lost my son , my grandson and my grandson – in- law within 6 months of each other. Even my pastor was at a loss for words to comfort our family but with Gods comforting Holy Spirit we survived. It was very hard . But my husband of 61 years passed away 2 years ago , part of me died with him. It is very, very hard. I depend on God every day to hold my hand & comfort me. No one really understands until they go through it themselves. We married at 15 yrs. & He was 18 so we were very blessed & I’m blessed with my 3 daughters & 6 grands & 8 great- grands. but even that does not take away the sadness but I do not let it consume me. I look forward to seeing them again in Heaven.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Such tragic loss, Jewel. I’m so glad you haven’t given up hope. May God continue to comfort you until you are reunited in heaven.

  • Meagan

    Its only been 4 months that I have lost my boyfriend if 7 years in a car crash. We were high school sweet hearts. Reading this has really helped me to see my life in a new light. I have problems accepting that it is ok to laugh and have a good time without him. Its still very fresh in my memory and living everyday with out him hurts more and more. Some days I dont even know what to do with myself. Since everything has happend I have had to get a 2nd job just to make all ends meet. Just in the past 4 months I have had to go through his first birthday without him, our 7th anniversary with out him and in a couple of days my first thanksgiving without him. His family has been by my side the whole time never leaving me out of anything. I know the next year will be rough I just pray that everything I am doing is making him proud.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Meagan, this is heartbreaking to read. I want you to know that you are not alone, no matter how alone you may feel. And it may seem as if you can never survive this, but you will. I wish I could hug you and take you out to coffee, but that can’t happen over the blogging world. If you ever want to contact me and just vent, feel free to do so. You are in my prayers.

  • Nancy Miller

    My sister in law wrote to me and left this phrase in her card to me. She had lost her husband(my brother) so she understood my pain when I lost my son who was 36 years old. She said : “Don’t expect too much of yourself too soon” It helped. It’s been 7 years and I still have sad days. At least I have conquered the anger.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      “Don’t expect too much of yourself too soon.” I really like this, very helpful. Thanks, Nancy.

  • http://twitter.com/patmrhoads Pat Rhoads (@patmrhoads)

    Teryn,
    Thanks for this great post. I lost my wife almost two years ago, and I have found much of this to be true. I guess I was lucky in that pretty much most of my loved ones DID show up in one way or another, plus many people I hardly knew. What I find fascinating, and sad as well, is that men seem to self-exclude themselves from these discussions. All the grief blogs I saw were written by women (except the one I started). Looking at the comments on those blogs (and this post), they were pretty much all by women. Most men are so bad about dealing with feelings, and they (we) really need to come to grips with the fact that we feel emotional pain, and that we have to find healthy ways of dealing with it.

    Thanks again.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Pat, I’ve noticed this, too. I’ve noticed that men’s voices are mostly absent in this conversation we’ve been having today. I’d love to hear more thoughts on how men specifically can heal and deal with their grief. If you would ever consider writing a guest post for me to tie into this topic of men and grief, I’d love to have you. Or if you’ve already written some you think are particularly helpful, please share here and I’ll link them to the next post I write! Thanks.

      • http://twitter.com/patmrhoads Pat Rhoads (@patmrhoads)

        Wow, thanks for the offer to write a guest post on this subject. I’d love to. I only addressed grief for men in one post on my own blog, and it was only in the context of re-entering the dating realm after the death of a spouse/partner (http://www.missingaimee.blogspot.com/2013/02/grief-for-guys-toughest-stretch.html). I think a more comprehensive post on this subject is in order.

  • http://climbingupthepolkadottree.wordpress.com climbingupthepolkadottree

    Reblogged this on climbing up the polka dot tree and commented:
    This got me thinking… some about the being busy so often and also about how beautiful grief is. That isn’t the angle most can see, not for years. Imagine death with no grieving… what a loss… death and loss with no pain, no memories, no wonders, no hard… my special lovely is right inside all of the hard. I honestly believe that there is happy in my tears, joy in my hard… it is all a reflection of how deeply Madeline was in my life, heart and soul.
    I am thankful for this journey… I want to run away often, but I need this.
    Wonderful and well worded…

  • Darcie

    I lost my precious baby son, LeeRoy this year on august 10. It was sudden and unexpected. It was both the best/worst day of my life. Im so grateful for the few hours my family, his father, and I had to hold and love him before he stopped breathing and died in my arms. I long for him to be with me every moment. It seems as if im in a bubble of sorrow. I try to imagine what I want to do with my life now that my plans of being LeeRoys mom every day isn’t an option…and I haven’t come up with anything. Im grateful for God taking care of my precious LeeRoy, my family and loved ones. Thank you to everyone here for writing, it helps me a lot.
    LeeRoysMom.

    P.S. LEYDA is such a pretty name.

  • http://mygrammashouse.blogspot.com Jonell harrison

    have just found this…I will return and devour it to see what I can make use of..I am just 4 months past losing my love of 54+ years..I am a blogger too..cannot write now am filling space on my blog w trivia-link up parties. I shall return.

  • michelle taylor

    this list is so so true. i lost my mom almost 2 yrs ago – it was 2 weeks to the day after i turned 30. she was my best friend. we were in that sweet spot of not just mother/daughter but friends. i miss her dearly and sometimes it is overwhelming. one thing i would add to this list is be okay with being angry. anger is part of the grieving process – it’s expected. people will understand if you are angry, God understands if you are angry – just don’t stay there. anger is a stepping stone to healing – it’s not the end result of grieving. i was lucky enough to have some wonderful christian women help me sort through the anger and move past it to healing – my siblings are stuck there and it is heartbreaking to watch. i am a strong believer and some of my friends were shocked when i expressed anger towards god. but i quickly realized it didnt shock Him in the least, He was expecting it and He helped me walk through it to the other side.

  • Laurie Strickland

    My step dad died of cancer January 27th of this year and my brother in law 51 died unexpectedly June 17th of this year. My husband and I talk a lot and I have unanswered questions about my brother in law, some times I feel alone and that I have no one to talk too. I can’t really talk to my mom because she lost her husband, I feel bad talking to my husband because it was his brother and I don’t want him to feel bad. I don’t want to bring it up to my other friends and family because they are grieving too and I don’t want them to think that this is all I have on my mind and make them uncomfortable with me. I cry a lot by myself and talk to my self a lot….am I crazy? I feel alone and like I want to scream but yet I know I am not the only one who has lost a loved one, much less all the people who have lost children…..I can’t even imagine, sometimes I feel physically sick….actually this kind of helps writing it down:)

    • Dori Lloyd

      Laurie, do whatever it takes that helps… I think you are discovering answers to your questions. This holiday season will be key, I believe, in figuring these things out. Family and friends will be around and they will have very similar questions–don’t think you are the only one who is confused! Continue writing–journaling has helped many people who are commenting here. Take care, hon! Will pray for you all…

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Laurie, I’d encourage you to find a grief counselor or a group that deals with grief. Feeling so isolated is unhealthy and dangerous. It could lead to harmful things! (I know because I isolated myself and felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone, and I became nearly suicidal). You are not alone. I’m praying for you as I type this, that you find some kind of support system.

  • Lori

    I have lost several loved ones over the last few years and have to say that although family is usually there for you. I have seen more times than not how selfish and more hurtful they can be when you least expect it. Sometimes a completely new “dark” side you would NEVER have thought existed. I’m still working on completely forgiving but have learned to pray for them and stop being so mad about it. Its sad that friends and even more so family would take so much advantage of and sometimes turn completely away from loved ones for material items or money. May God heal them and help all of us find peace, comfort, and forgiveness. Thanks for the blog.

  • Crystal Sylvester

    A really close friend of mine sent me this. It’s comforting to know that the grief comes in waves. I lost my fiancé/children’s dad in a motorocylce accident that we were both in, it’s only been 6 months. I’m totally guilty of #12 (staying busy) it let’s me not have to think about a life without him. I’m really glad to have read this. I have a friend that also lost her husband (oct) she was 9 months pregnant when it happened. I think this too may help her. Thank you

  • Diane

    A dear friend of mine posted this on Facebook to me. She knows–I have had my ups and downs. Coming up to one year having lost my soul mate of 33 years last Dec 12th. I just never thought I’d be without him. Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to be hard this year. I have a wonderful support system of family and firends(the Family you choose). I don’t mind talking about my love and am having a pandora bead made with his ashes. Mike will always be near and dear to me.

  • http://rosskruger.wordpress.com rosskruger12

    I have learned that there is a lot of beautiful in this world. Sometimes it takes horrible tragedy for us to see the good in life, but it’s there.

  • Terry

    It’s only been two months since I lost my husband of 38 years…..feels like two years! Each day seems harder, and each night lonelier. My heart hurts. I pray for the strength to face each day. Thank you for the advice, at least it gives me an idea of what’s to come.

  • Tim Crawford

    I was married to my soulmate @ love of my life Jeff on June 30, 2012. November 19, 2012, we went to bed as usual, expecting to wake up The next morning & carry on as usual. That never happened. My beloved husband passed away in his sleep 20 mins later at only 38 yrs old. Today marks the 1 year anniversary of me placing his ashes in the niche & saying goodbye. It has been a very tough year, and I’ve had lots of ups & downs. I can relate to all of the comments on here and it helps to know that others are feeling the same raft of emotions and turmoil that I’ve been experiencing for the past year. Thank you to all of you for sharing. It really helps to see this! God bless!

  • Jess

    Thank you so much for writing this. This article has comforted me a lot, and I’ll probably refer back to it several times in the future.
    I have learned that sometimes taking care of your health is more important than fulfilling all of your obligations. I’m a junior in high school and I lost my dad at the end of July, one month before the school year started. My days are always packed with homework, projects, church events, practices, extra curriculars, etc. There have been times where the stress was so great that I’ve had to skip a night of homework or miss out on a meeting, and I think that’s okay. I guess it’s a matter of priorities.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Taking care of health is so important. I learned that the hard way this year. Thanks so much for the comment, Jess. I pray for your comfort!

  • Cynthia Willis

    I have learned that although I have “moved on” with my life, and have remarried,
    I still grieve over the loss of my first husband. I miss him, and mourn his loss, I am sorry that he didn’t live to see our son return from combat, graduate from college, and marry his high school sweetheart. I am sorry he hasn’t been able to see how independent and strong his daughter has become. I am also sad when I think he will never be able to see his grandchildren ( when and if they arrive!). When people say you will get over it, I know you never get over it, you get through it and push yourself to create a new normal.

  • https://www.facebook.com/chattercat Connie L Skoruppa

    Beautifully written! Thank you for sharing.

  • http://gravatar.com/tiffanyrondomanski TIffany

    I love your honest words that lead people to be honest in their grief. It has been three and a half months since I lost my six-week old son, and I’m always trying to identify what I’m feeling, understand what I’m feeling, and then take a step forward when I can. I don’t want to “waste” this grieving time (though I know it will be a lifetime), but rather use it to remember, reflect, and cry so that my family’s future will be emotionally healthy.

  • Allison

    My Mom passed away just last Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. It was very unexpected and we still don’t know the cause. I have never felt a pain like this and it feels like I’m in limbo. I am in my last year at college and I’m finding it hard to even think about doing any school work. I still want to call her to hear her voice. Thank you for writing this article because this is the first time I’m going through something like this and I have no idea what to expect. Praying for God to give me strength daily and to not take time with loved ones for granted. Praying for all the hurting and grieving people, may you find comfort in the Lord and trust in his goodness and grace. <3

    • Mary

      Oh Allison, hugs to you, sweetheart. I’m so sorry for your loss. My daughter is in her last year of college and is very stressed out from that alone. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for you right now. I lost my mom 6 1/2 years ago and I still miss her so much. I used to constantly think that I needed to call her and tell her about this or that. Now I just know that she knows. She doesn’t need me to tell her because she already knows.

      The only thing I can say is that you will get through this. But you will never be the person you were before. There is no getting over it. There is only going on with your life as the different person you are now. Take comfort in knowing that your mom will always be with you. I keep mine safely tucked away in my heart and talk to her whenever I need her.

      I hope you have a loving family to help you through the holidays. Again, I am so sorry for your loss of your mom. I wish I could be of more comfort to you.

  • http://McIntyre Karen

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am a hospice nurse and frequently on the forefront of helping families deal with their grief. I would love to copy this to share with others if that’s okay with you. I would love to see you put this into a small book that could be given as gifts during times of loss. I would definitely buy it!

  • Lisa

    The dread or anticipation of a particular day or event without that person you have lost is almost always worse than the actual day or event when it finally comes.

  • Lisa Moore

    After 5 years I have learned that you just learn to live a different life. It doesnt get easier you just become better at hiding emotions and cope differently.
    I do know I will never be the same person. This is the new me.

  • KAZ

    Eleven years ago, when my husband died from cancer at just 41 years old, a young woman I know (then 22) gave me a card that included what is written below. She had lost her father three months before my husband died and she said when she found this, it gave her some comfort. I have found that over the years it has given me some comfort too. My daughter and I both have a copy of it hanging on our bedroom walls. Sometimes, when I still feel like it’s too hard, or hurts too much, I read it and the reminder kind of helps to get me through…
    (author unknown)
    When you can no longer feel
    the human touch of my hand,
    I pray that somehow, dear one,
    you will understand –
    my love for you is everlasting
    and within your heart I dwell,
    my parting is but for a moment,
    not a lasting or final farewell.
    For beyond the sorrow and tears,
    beneath the canopy of heaven’s light,
    our spirits shall join together
    in the forever of eternal light.

  • Val

    I’ve learned that no matter how much you know the person is gone, you sometimes expect them to be there when you turn around & when you realize that they aren’t ever gonna be there it feels like the 1st day all over again. I’ve also learned sometimes just talking about the person makes you feel better, there is such a taboo about talking about the dead everyone doesn’t want to for fear of upsetting the grieving ,however, its very helpful to remember the person & relive that large part of your life, and that remembering those cherished memories makes everyone feel better

  • https://www.facebook.com/glitteredpixie Susan C Romero

    One important thing I want to share is DO NOT make any big decisions in the 1st year of your grief. If one has to be made, get help from someone you trust that will help you make the right one. I’m talking about things like selling your home, selling or getting rid of all your deceased love ones belongings, moving to another state, or paying off all your debt with the life insurance money that’s left after the funeral to clear your deceased love ones name, etc. When you are grieving your state of mind is troubled and you may do something you will really regret later. Give yourself time to mourn and allow time for your mind to come to a more clearer state. I wish someone would’ve told me that before I sold my home when my husband died. The mortgage payment was more than I could afford because at the time I didn’t have a job. I was so overwhelmed and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to pay my mortgage, utilities, and other household expense, not to mention food on my small salary when I did get a job. It’s been 13 yrs., I still miss him but I have slowly moved on. I haven’t been financially able to set up a home again yet which is very discouraging for me. But I’m hoping that my dream of owning a home again will come true.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      This is really important to think about, Susan. Thanks for the advice. It is really hard to make clear decisions in the months following loss.

  • Karen

    I have attempted several times to join in this conversation – each time I weigh my words and want only to bring strength to the conversation, yet I find myself crumbling……
    When the “proper” order of the life cycle shatters and becomes a reality in your life (even as I type this, I find it difficult to believe it happened to us, almost 4 years later), how does one proceed? We teach our children to Love, Laugh, embrace adventure, move through disappointment, rally in rejection and embrace their gifts – but how do we teach them to grieve? It is a journey of epic proportions.
    In reading this I feel like someone has been listening to my conversations and taken up residence in my heart. I heard my own words, days after the dreaded knock on the door – “not moving forward in all of Life’s Glory would dishonor Shawn” and I still know that……however, I also know that shock is a gift and it allows us that time to numbly go through all of the norms of our life and draw on that electric shock blanket that surrounds us, even bringing comfort to those that come alongside side us. People respond in the only way they possibly can. I don’t want anyone to truly “understand” this process yet I am so grateful for the relationships that we have been blessed with as a result of sharing this unthinkable journey.
    Indeed, life does go on. I will never “get over it”, I don’t want to! But I do want to continually recognize those golden threads that are woven into my life’s tapestry that give me strength and maybe, just maybe serve others as a result.

  • justme

    I lost a baby almost 10 years ago, and what I learned is it is ok to cry or be angry, or frown or say this sucks, and it never should have happened. No matter how many people tell you cheer up, move on or life goes on. You dont need to put on a false smile or brave face for anyone and thier mindless clichés. You have the right to greive, be Sad or angry for as long as it takes. The healing and more posative feelings will come in thier own time. You cant rush it o r force it to please people who want you to move on. Happiness is not always a choice but it comes at the right time.

  • Pingback: 15 Things I Wish I’d Known About Grief | Through the Eyes of This Calvinist

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  • loretta Taylor

    I lost my beloved mom on Sept
    26,2011. On her bday this year Nov.212013 I woke up crying not knowing why and I could feel her presence trying to soothe me but I cried throughtout the day. I greatly miss her everyday she was my rock

  • Karen

    I lost my sister Becky unexpectedly 10 months ago. She was 44 and had a massive heart attack. I never knew anything could hurt this bad. I keep thinking why her? She has children that need her. I never had children, I’m 2 years older than her, why couldn’t it have been me instead. I struggle with this on a daily basis. I don’t know how to let go. I pick up the phone so many times a day to call or text her. I go to the cemetery more than anyone knows. I just sit and talk to her and cry. I know I’m rambling, but I don’t have anyone I can talk to about this. It upsets my mom to talk about it, my dad has told me that I need to move on and my husband never says a word. Just lets me cry. Then I end up with a headache and just feel worse.

    • Shirley

      I’m sorry for your loss Karen, I’m also sorry that anyone would say to you.. you need to move on or never says anything. You want the world to slow down just so you can wrap your head around the fact that she’s not here and it doesn’t. Perhaps you never had children so you could help take care of hers. Talk, talk, talk, let it out and cry when you want. She was a good person or you wouldn’t miss her so. I lost my father three years ago and there are still days I wish I could just get a hug from him. Grief is a word for how do we go on with out you. It takes time but we find our way… until we see them again.

  • Mary Ellen

    I have had so much grief in my life but I have survived. What I learned is that grief has no time limit. My dad has been gone for 33 years and my mom 17. This past year I had a time of really missing my dad and feeling sad that he isn’t here and never got to meet my kids. I cry when I am sick or hurting because I want my mom to be here to hug me and make it better. The 2nd thing I learned is that things will change when you lose a loved one. New traditions may have to be made. When my mom died we had to have new (or modified) traditions. Now I have new ones with my kids and grandson. We survive, it’s how God made us.

  • SJ Noel

    It IS difficult to say and do the right thing for someone who is grieving since every person is unique. I have never experienced the loss of a child, but my heart truly goes out to those who have. I have heard and read many times that people would like you to talk about and mention the child they lost, and that most people will never say anything because they don’t want to cause pain or an awkward moment, etc. So I tried to show compassion and reach out to someone by mentioning and asking a couple of questions about their baby who had tragically passed away. I later found out from a close family member that this particular mother would NOT want someone to do that, and that it was too difficult and painful for her. And I think that is why most people choose to not say anything. We feel it is “safer” to not say anything than to say the wrong thing and cause pain.
    When I went through a very difficult time in my life, I found the best comfort was to just know that people cared. There were times that I did not want to discuss the situation or answer questions. I deeply appreciated friends who repeatedly just let me know that they loved me and were praying for me.

  • MA

    I lost my beloved dad in April and I am literally still reeling from it, part because I was not only his daughter but his caregiver. But after these 7 months the one thing I have learned to accept is that he is still part of my life. I sometimes make comments like “I bet dad knows what to do” or “let me call dad”. Sometimes my mind cannot accept that he is gone because we had a wonderful relationship. But these would be automatic responses as if he was still with me. I used to feel so guilty and heartbroken but I have allowed myself to smile at the memories when I make a comment like this. But other important thing I learned is that not everyone grieves nor supports you the same way. When he died I felt like my significant other was not supporting in that time of need. He was just not in my way. Looking back he was wonderful and I’m just glad I had the clarity to realize that in time before cutting everyone off! This is such a new process for me and I honestly deal with it one day at a time. And did I mention I’m already dreading Christmas?

  • Sarah

    I am a social worker with a hospice. Thank you for writing this. I am going to borrow it and credit you.

  • Melissa

    You will do and feel some weird things. You are not crazy.

  • Julie Thomas

    So beautifully put. My husband died 16 years ago – life is pretty much back to “normal”. The kids are now teenagers/young adults. I am amazed tho that each year on the anniversary of his death, our wedding anniversary and his birthday, I am overcome with sadness until I realize what date it is. Then I think of the wonderful times and thank God for them.

    • Paula Roberts

      Thank you for sharing; bless you.

  • Lana

    Grieving is a difficult process to go through and most people don’t know what to say, or do. Can anyone make suggestions on what could have made a difference in helping you through the whole process? Several have mentioned their friends weren’t there for them. Can anyone expand on this?

  • Mary

    Just was sent this site by my sister-in-law… will need to read closer all the comments when not at work – this looks like something I REALLY need. Today is 4 weeks since I buried my dear Mom. The pain is overwhelming, the disbelief is staggering and the wait for her to come back from vacation seems daunting. I have a hard time knowing “how I should be feeling and acting.” The few comments I read, I’m already disappointed in friends and their response. But I try to remember that I probably did the same in the past, since I can say I truly didn’t understand the anguish associated with this. For now, I just wish I could control the tears at certain times… they flow often and hard:( This week in particular I got my Mom every year. We shopped, veg’d out and enjoyed each others company… it’s a tough week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My Mom was the glue at Christmas, the thought of that right now is soooo overwhelming!

  • Nadeen Adams

    This is really good to read. I lost my son June 16,2013 to a swimming accident and he was only 16yyrs old. we have gone through his 17th birthday and now we are headed into the first Christmas with out him. I have a terrible time with it all. I’m getting help and am thankful that my husband is by me side even though he is also grieving. There are times when I just want to climb into a hole and shut the rest of the world out but I know that will not change the pain. Like a lot of others have said God is my strength. He is what is keeping me going and also my husband and foster kids. my other children are also there for me. One of the hardest things for me is how some of my family has seemed to of shut us out. They just haven’t been there at all.

  • Michelle Longtine

    It has been 16 years and on the days that grief overwhelms me, I celebrate that I was his mother, that I had 7 joyous years with him, that I was blessed to see his smile and be apart of his life everyday for 2588 days! Nothing will ever be the same but life does go on, just differently! Count your Blessings! Live to show how your life’s better for knowing them! Honor them!

  • Marcia Gliss

    We were married for nearly 43 years. On December 3, 2012, he went to see a neighbor and never came home. He was hit by a truck in front of our home. It has been a long and hard year especially when the insurance company for the truck owner blames my poor husband for the accident. I find peace knowing that he died instantly and is in heaven with Jesus.

  • Mike M

    Grief never, never, never ends. And who would want it to? When you stop grieving, you stop thinking about your loved one. I don’t want that! My wife died 13 years ago. I’ve moved on and created a great family, but she (and my current wife’s deceased husband) are still a huge part of our blended family. Birthdays, death anniversaries, kids school activities, they are still with us and it’s healthy. I never want our grief to end.

    • Paula Roberts

      Beautiful that you both can honor each other’s past…and reate a new present supporting each other!!

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Yes, I think grief just shows how important a person was to us. So I don’t want the grief to end, either. I will NEVER, ever forget my best friend. I will grieve for her the rest of my life. But that’s okay.

  • http://Bottledupjeanne.wordpress,com Jeanne

    So true. I learned that a grief support group is invaluable as well. It’s a safe place to talk about your pain and loss. It helps husbands, wife’s, siblings etc to realize we all experience grief in our own way and to respect each other and give them permission to grieve the way that is right for them.

  • gerry frazier

    my life has been full of grief starting when I was 5 now I am 75 and i think the greatest
    greaf was the lost of my husband of 50yrs. he was my rock there for me no matter what I
    going thru.we were always there for each other, he was faithful, truthful and good be so
    gentle and kind. my life has not been the same since i lost him.

    • Paula Roberts

      New beginnings; may your journey have the love of our gracious Lord; may His loving arms hold you tight and give you comfort.

  • Amber

    It has been 6 months since my Dad passed away. I am only 31, and I consider myself very young to not have my Dad. Sometimes, I get very jealous for seeing my friends with their parents. This will be my first Thanksgiving and Christmas without my Daddy, and I’m crying basically everyday. Sometimes, I don’t think I’m handling it very well. I’m so sick of crying, but it seems like that’s all I can do. If there is anything I’d wish I had known about grief, it would be that I wish I had known that spending time and spending money would never bring my Dad back. I went on a spending spree to try to get my mind off of it…now I am broke, and still have the heartache. God bless each and every one of you:)

    • Paula Roberts

      Praying that our gracious Lord wrap His loving arms around you may he be your comfort when you need it.

  • Greg Diercks

    I lost my mother 10 years ago. We had a far from idyllic relationship. But, even so, every once in a while I will hear a sound or see something that causes her to jump into my head. I used to dread those moments. I’ve come to embrace them. I don’t believe in heaven or hell, but I do believe that a person lives on as long as people experience memories of the departed. My mother lives on in my memories of her.

  • https://www.facebook.com/jenjanell Jennifer Benton

    I lost my Maternal Grandmother and my favorite Maternal Aunt this year, within 9 months of each other. In the midst of that, I found out that one of my twins died in the womb right after Mother’s Day. So this year has been very grievous for me and my family. Through it all I learned to find joy in my 2 year old daughter. Seemingly surrounded by grieving family, she was the party that we all needed. She kept up the laughter and the smiles. Grief does sneak up on you. I had a breakdown while prepping for her 2nd birthday. Her birthday was 2 days after my Aunt’s and I knew how much she loved celebrating their birthdays together. It truly is a day by day process, but the most comforting thing I found is that I have the bloodline of my Gram and my Aunt running through my veins and as long as I live, they’ll always be with me.

  • Amy

    I lost my ten month old son suddenly on Oct 24th.

    • judy

      Dear Amy, I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I could give you a hug and tell you that everything will be alright but that isn’t so. I am sure that you were the best mom that you could have been and that you loved him with all of your heart. He is certainly a little angel now and you can know that he is with God. I will keep you and your baby in my prayers. love Judy

    • Nadin

      I’m sorry Amy. What was his name? It doesn’t matter how old your love was, 10 months or 100 years, it still leave a huge missing part in your life. My daughter was almost 17. Remember to breathe in and breathe out.

    • Gretchen

      I am sorry for your loss. I can understand your stages of grief. On October 24 it was too the worst day of my life. My husband and 14years old daughter were in a car accident and passed. My 5 year old was also in the car and thank God she survived. I have so much hurt and pain. I feel like I have a hole in both my stomach and heart. My heart aches for me but also for my 5 year old. She saw her father and sissy die right in front of her. I can’t even imagine what is going on in her head. I have started back to work and not sure if I am ready for it but need to provide for us. Everyone keeps saying it will get easier but the days continue to get worse. The reality is setting in that it isn’t a nightmare it is my reality. The fact that I will never get to see them or hold them. They are never coming back. They are gone forever. I am angry I am sad. I am hurt. I just don’t feel like anyone can understand the pain I feel. My daughter had just turned 14 years old 5 days earlier. An amazing child that was straight A student and always smiling and happy. My husband was only 32 and was so out going and fun. We were complete opposites that balanced each other out perfectly he was my best friend and she was my rock. She made me the woman I am today. The two of them made my life complete. My family was torn in two in a matter of seconds. I keep telling myself I can do this but everyday I question my strength. Can I do this??? My worst fear was loosing one of them and I lost them both on the same day and time. My 5 year old is what keeps me going and moving. If I didn’t have her I don’t know what I would do.

    • Greg Diercks

      My heart breaks for you…

  • http://twitter.com/LivLifeToo Kim Kelly – Liv Life (@LivLifeToo)

    Thank you…

  • judy

    My husband of 47 years died after a brief bout with cancer in March of this year. It has been hard but I have his music on cds and some videos to go to but not every day. Each of us has our own pace. I am thankful for my faith and I realize that if all of the grief and pain was to hit one all at once we would simply die from it, but that isn’t how it happens. We have good days, bad days, and really bad days, but he gives us His Peace if we ask for it. I find it hard to pray but go to mass as usual. People are kind where I live and they offer me lots of comfort and opportunities to talk about my husband. that is so important. Strangely enough, my siblings are the last ones to comfort me, they don’t seem to think I need it. I haven’t really questioned “Why” although I know my children were angry that he died. At the last when he wasn’t going to have any good days to look forward to and he was suffering so much, I knew that it was better to let him go . As much as I miss him I wouldn’t have him back for one minute of his suffering. Losing him made me start looking after myself more so that my children wouldn’t lose both of us anytime soon. They need me more than ever.

  • vernareed

    I have grieved for many years i lost my son when he was 5 in Nov 1978. Then lost a very dear friend a few year’s later in Nov ,then in Nov 1997 I lost my husband. They all passed way different year’s but all with in a few day’s of each other. This year it hit me like a ton of brick. I do talk about them all ,and yes it never goes away , I still dream about them, and feel them near. But I also know that it has made me a stronger person I can support family’s that need some one to read a loved one’s eulogy, help write their thought’s and the day of the service stand up and be proud to pass on to the people what the family would want to be said with compassion and love, I look at this as a gift from some where, not sure where . But to be their in someone’s time of sorrow is the greatest gift you can give. I look at it as I have walked in these shoe’s, and I can help my friend’s, as some one had said in other blog’s to be their, lend your ear let them talk or cry, be mad ,what ever it take’s just be their . You will never fill the hole in their heart’s but you are their to help them get over the bridge of the first of everything in the first year. I have many close good friend’s that I will cheirish for ever because they trusted me to deliver the last special word’s to the people. I truly believe we are brought into some one’s life for a reason.

  • Bonnie

    I lost my son in 1972 my Momin 1977 1st husband in1993and my best friend in1994my second husband 10 months ago now my younger sister is dying ,i feel like my whole world is crashing down around me !!!

  • Kendra

    You will feel guilty over your loved one’s death, no matter what. I cared for my mom 6 1/2 years in my home before we finally relented and had to place her in a nursing home. She was there three years before she died. I still feel guilty and feel like I didn’t do enough for her. Everyone I know would tell you otherwise, but I can’t convince myself.

  • Cathy

    After 15 months I assure you every word is true. I struggled so much at first, then, God had other plans for me. He showed me how to reach out to others dealing with loss and try to help them cope. I still cry, I still wonder was there any way that I could have helped him live a better quality of life– no there was not. It was Gods plan for the number of days, years and months that we had together.
    Now someone new has been placed in my life and I know I can move forward and live, love and laugh again.

  • Beth Lee

    Its a very nice and sweet in a package for grief…
    I personnally think that its a pile of garbage…and that NO TIME passing – no amount of writing about the past – no amount of thinking of the wonderful times, makes a pile of beans difference!!
    I am sorry for the losses of everyone who wrote something on this page…and I agree, its horrible, no matter who you loose.
    I’m sick of people telling me how to grieve…what to do and not do…and making me feel like an ass if I don’t follow their beliefs about grieving…and I found out, that you CAN embarrass people by not following what THEY believe is the best way to grieve!!! BS!!

    I don’t believe that one day the sun will come out and the pain wll be something I can handle…ain’t gonna happen, folks!!

    I blame myself and God for this death…myself, because I thought I was getting my friend the best cancer treatment in America…instead, they did just as the first place for treatment…pat them on the butt and say, sorry can’t do more – have a good 3 weeks of life – what, is that the way all doctors tell their patients – too bad, so sad, your dead!!?? I couldn’t believe that – oh! well, it’s done, right???
    I think that God doesn’t know every single tear I’ve shed…every single time I’ve had so much grief, that I couold no longer care if I breathed again…IF HE did…why not help Why do these thinkgs happen in the Bible, but never in REAL life???and not make this death happen.

    I wonder, what kind of person you have to be to blessed by not having your loved one die

    • Annette

      Beth Lee – I’m praying that the Lord will reveal himself to you in a hundred different ways over the upcoming holiday season. I lost a 2 week old infant son 17 almost 18 years ago and have been on a closer walk with my Father in Heaven since that time. In every persons life there must be some grief, some sadness, believe me I’ve had my share. In the past 17 years I have buried all of my grandparents, an infant nephew and most recently my mother/best friend. I am so thankful that I do know the promise and the hope of being together again with my loved ones in Heaven. The love of Father God has sustained me and I have never lost my faith, however, I did question how the most important prayer I had ever prayed, for healing of a loved one, could go unanswered. I am reminded daily that my loved ones are in a place with no pain or suffering and have experienced an ultimate healing. Satan would like nothing better than to turn you away from spending eternity in Heaven. He will use your weaknesses, your anger, your bitterness and draw you in, don’t let him. Again, I pray that the good Lord wraps His loving arms around you and comforts you in such a way it is unmistakable to you. I do not know you but I felt moved to reply to your message, I hope you will accept my reply in the loving manner it is intended.

      Ecclesiates 3:1-8 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

    • Amber

      Beth Lee…for awhile I thought like you. Why if God is so great and powerful, why couldn’t he come down and save my Dad. The truth is…God has already saved us all and this LIFE IS NOT OUR PERMANENT HOME. You are right, though, no amount of words will ever make it better, but I can promise you that your loved one is no longer in pain and neither is my Dad. My Father went in for a simple gallbladder surgery, and was dead within 3 months. I blamed doctors for him getting C-DIFF and for not knowing how sick he really was, but in the end, it was truly God’s timing. I told my Dad in his final days that his birthday was May 15 and I wanted to see him make it. He did make it, and on May 16, in the morning, with just me by his bedside..he slipped peacefully away. If you are Christian, which it sounds as though you are, then you know THIS IS NOT THE END..YOU WILL SEE YOUR LOVED ONE AGAIN…THAT IS THE PROMISE THAT GOD GAVE TO US. In this life, we will have sorrow and troubles, but be at peace and know that God is still there…he never left us. I will be praying for you…May God grant you a peace that surpasses all understanding and a joy to know you will see your friend again! What a JOYOUS DAY that will be!:)

      • Mary Dawson

        That was beautifully said Amber.

  • Ruby

    This blog and these comments are so full – so many views you have all shared. I grieve for my sister who has been gone eight years, yet my mother who passed only a few months ago, I grieved for while she was living because Alzheimer’s robbed us of many years, so letting her go was much easier. I have already had to go back into my memory bank for memories of my mother. But my sister, I still feel like it is a new loss every day. Thanks to everyone who has commented here. You all are in my prayers and thoughts.

  • http://thruadifferentlens.wordpress.com lcdubyah

    Reblogged this on Everyday Aventuras and commented:
    This is beautifully written…as someone who has dealt with this (and still is) this completely hits the nail on the head!!

  • Jerry

    I lost my Mother when I was 16, lost my Father when I was 32, lost many friends during the Vietnam era, and lost my eldest brother six years ago. I have sat at the beside of many who have died, praying for healing, and all received it. Beth Lee says she cannot believe, but I do believe. The healing that each received was not in this world, but in the world beyond. God continues to provide miracles every day, yet many times we don’t take notice of them. I like Teryn’s 15 points, but one of the most important is not to lose relationships with others. Sometimes the best thing someone can do, is simply to sit with you and listen. The “why’s,” well I certainly do not have the answers, but I trust the One who does. I pray with people in all kinds of situations and over issues of life and death, but I never tell anyone the why’s, because I don’t have the answers. Grief is a personal issue that we all deal with, at some time or another, but it will never get better if we close ourselves off from other people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/betterthanyesterdayfit cristina

    You will never ‘get over it’. Accepting that instead of fighting it will save a lot of heartache.

  • Debbie

    A friend sent me this link. I just lost my husband of 23 years, on Oct 10, 2013. Not my first time dealing with losing a loved one, my sister died 10 years ago, my dad 5. I was very close to my sister. Losing my husband has taken my world from me as I knew it. We had problems, lots of unfinished issues, and now he’s gone. He went to work and never came back. I am still waiting for him to walk in that door someday! Your words of wisdom help.

  • http://Facebook Sheena Scott

    A friend sent this to me ,she adores my autistic daughter ,and knows I as she is also is going through a lot this year ,I pray God wraps his arms around her and she feels comfort

  • Rhonda

    These are 15 great observations about grief. Time does go on although, for you, the world has stopped. You can move forward at your own pace. You can laugh, cry, smile, cry some more, then laugh again. The memories will become sweeter as time passes. Just last night, I was reading a book and came across the word, drowsy. My son used to tell me he was “drowsy” when he didn’t feel well. This memory just popped into my head at the sound of the word “drowsy”; it has been 14 years since he went to heaven. Then, the memories began flooding my mind. He called shampoo “hair soap”. He called an ambulance and ambliance, etc. This brought a smile to my face and reassured me that he was real and not forgotten. So, although I don’t have any specifics to add to your journey, please know that whatever you are feeling and however you remember your loved one, is OK. Give yourself time, be kind to yourself and laugh, cry and spend the time you need to adjust to the new “normal”.

  • Karen

    This article hits the nail on the head….and would continue to do so well past a year! It truly is a ongoing process for a length if time. I lost my husband suddenly 13 years ago and these were my discoveries as well. Even many years later there are moments of emotion. One example is when Grand children were born…. Will be sharing this.

  • Mary

    What a great blog. I lost my mom 4 months ago, and am approaching the 2 hardest holidays for me. I find myself crying more the past few days as I think about how dearly my mom will be missed by all of us.

    • Julie

      Mary, have you come across the series of books by Kenneth C. Hauck, called Journeying Through Grief? It’s available through Stephen Ministries, and they helped me more than anything else. They are very thin, quick reads written by a pastor who was widowed. There is one book for each quarter of the first year. They are truly a blessing. I’m sorry for what you are going through. It can be so very hard. Let yourself cry, honey. It’s tiring, but cleansing. In Christ’s Love.

  • Jo

    Grief is not only for the death if a loved one but is also for the breakdown of a relationship. My marriage of 20 years came to an abrupt and very painful end 9 months ago and I find that these things are the same as I have moved through in grieving the loss of the relationship I thought I had.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      You’re right, Jo. Grief isn’t just about death, it’s about the loss of relationship. I’ve often thought of heartbreak as a kind of death. You have to cope with it in many similar ways as a true death.

  • Nicola

    The pain sneaks up on you and hits you like a 2×4 over the back of the head. My husband was murdered 19 1/2 months ago and his killer was arrested 10 months ago. The court hearing and trial, which is due to start in Feb 2014 keep me in limbo and unable to move forward and deal with my “new normal”; I hate that term, by the way.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      So hard. My best friend was allegedly murdered. It’s such a hard thing to go through. Praying for your comfort and peace even in the midst of this.

  • Jo

    I am so glad someone posted this to Facebook. I had to put it on the back burner for a few days before I could even read it, and the posts. I am 10 years out this Friday (11/29) of losing my 22 year old son Aaron in Iraq. The last day I talked to him was Thanksgiving 2003. When people told me it would get better/easier I hoped this would be true, it is not. I detest holidays and prefer to be by myself. Unfortunately I live #12 and #13…I can’t get a grasp on #11 or #14. Since I lost Aaron I have also lost both my parents and 5 pets. I feel like I am on the grief spin cycle that never ends. I pray that this 10 year anniversary provides me with some peace and healing.

  • paula

    it has been 26 yrs of not having my mother!!! If feels like it was yesterday!!! It does come in waves and it never goes away and funny how things can just trigger it. I feel like my kids get jipped sometimes because I hate christmas because of not having her!!!! The biggest life altering event in my life, It has made me one strong and stubborn kind of gal!!!

  • Kari G

    Thank you for sharing — it’s all true. I find the most important one for me was to cry, just cry when you need to, scream if you need to. It’s okay. What I learned after I lost my dad recently, whom I loved and cherished.. he was my rock, the foundation of my family — was that I had to find a “new normal”. A life without him, but a life that was still good.

  • Theavy Richmond

    I really like this. I lost my 8 years old daughter two years ago and we are stills struggling. I hope you don’t mind that I share this blog on Rhiann’s Caringbridge page.
    http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/rhiann6/mystory

  • moda

    Time alone does NOT heal all wounds, regardless of what people tell you. That, my friend, is just another silly platitude. It is what you do with the time that matters.

    After all, if your vehicle has a flat tire, will it repair itself if you just pull up a chair and wait? No. You have to put a little work into it. Same goes for grief. Call it grief work. It’s your grief, and it’s your work that must be done. Do it. Don’t rely on time or other people to fix you. And unless you have extended, inappropriate grieving, don’t rely on drugs or booze to numb the pain. You have to work with the pain.

    We all survive it. It’s up to you to decide how well you’re going to survive it. You must live each day as though your life depends on it, for indeed it does.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      I really like this thought, Moda. You’re right–we’ve got to decide how to survive it. It does take some work to repair ourselves and healthily deal with grief.

  • http://Facebook Pat

    I lost my hubby to stomach cancer 12 yrs. ago. I went to a 6 week grief program at the hospital where he has his 3 surgeries. We met once a week for the 6 weeks. We had hand outs with study guides and homework to do. There was not one man in the group. I’m so glad I went, it was a huge help to me.
    One thing that really surprised me was the fact that it is normal to loose 98% of your “friendship base” even if they were never friends with your spouse. They now feel you are out to take their husbands away from them, never crossed my mind to ever do that.
    My husband’s best friend for 38 yrs. said he would always be there for our 3 adult kids, he has never been there for them once about 6 months had gone by. In fact, the last time I called to just talk with him a few years ago, he didn’t even want to talk with me. He assumes because I sold our home and live near one of my 2 son’s I’m OK, will guess what I’m not really OK, birthdays, anniversaries, milestones for our 7 grandchildren are still hard and I’m sure they always will be. Our oldest Grandson just graduated from High School in June.
    I know he is always around me because I will hear our favorite song on the radio at odd times or on my birthday or his birthday or a day that was special to just us, but it isn’t the same as having him here with me, no matter that we had 36 wonderful years being married. We both loved Hawks and Eagles I will see them where they should not even be, so that is another way I know is watching over me always.
    Thanks for reading my long post.
    God Bless You with this blog.

    Pat

    I have never had a “date” since my hubby has been gone. I go to a senior citizen singles group, again 95% are women and now the guys that did attend only come to get a good home cooked meal since it is a potluck dinner once a month and the other day we go out to eat. The guys never go out to dinner, it’s always just the gals.

  • http://Facebook Karen Elliott

    As the 31st anniversary of my first husband’s death is approaching soon, I reflect on the fact that no matter how long he’s been gone I still grieve in a way. My memories of him are still vividly alive, yet my love for another is just as strong; there is room in your heart for another. I’ve learned God provides in every circumstance and He is the only one that won’t let me down.

  • Lena smith

    My son, Phillip John Lough, was murdered 27 days ago. He was a beautiful 28 years old man. His killers were age 23 and 20. It’s how he died that haunts me. He was beaten to death and his body stuffed in a large kitchen cupboard. No one deserves to die this way. I miss him so much. We had his body cremated and I am comforted holding the container that holds his ashes. Now we have to suffer through the trial. I pray for the killers and their families for their hell is just starting. My son is the winner because he’s in Heaven. This gives me peace. I will never forget you son.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      I’m so sorry, Lena. My best friend was murdered, and I really hate to think of the way she died. It truly is so hard to process, and waiting for the trial is also so hard and painful. I’m praying for you as I type this.

    • Elizabeth

      Lena,
      I pray for you and your family. Thinking of you. <3

  • Sandra

    I lost my mother almost 20 yrs ago. I didn’t cry. I couldn’t. I was so angry! I was mad at the world. I hated anyone that still had a mother… I’m still angry. I don’t talk about her and I try not to think about her. I know this is wrong but I can’t seem to help it. I honestly don’t know how to move on. How to accept…

    • https://www.facebook.com/jeanette.tomrdlebaker Jeanette Tomrdle Driscoll

      I’m so sorry. I wish there was something I could do for you. I will pray for you. That’s what I can do. I pray God places His healing hands on your heart. & grants you peace.

  • Nikki

    When my stepfather died eight years ago, what I wish I would have know was not to be afraid of our special places. I was petrified to go to Greece, where he was from, to lay his ashes. We went as a family. I dreaded it and thought it would be depressing disaster of a trip for me and my young family. I hated the thought of being in a place he loved so much without him. What I learned was that was exactly what I needed to do. Although I missed him terribly while I was there, it was the closest I had ever felt to him since his death. It is still the place I feel closest to him and instead of dread it, I relish the time. Yes it is bittersweet, but definitely more sweet than bitter.

  • https://www.facebook.com/jeanette.tomrdlebaker Jeanette Tomrdle Driscoll

    I learned that the memories can hit you like a Mack truck years later. Just out of the blue. You may see something or someone & it’ll remind you or you’ll wonder how it would be with them now. You’ll just break down crying. Yep!! Just do it. Just break down. It’s ok. & you’re not crazy.

  • Barb

    My problem s at times, I am so exhausted that I have to sleep. Is this normal too? We were married 49 years. Some great and some horrific but I loved him through it all! I was 15 when I met him and 16 when we married. I don’t know how to go on without him. Half of me is missing, but it’s not a year yet.

  • Pingback: 15 Things I Wish I’d Known About Grief | Kentucky Fried Catholic

  • Cherish

    Thank you for this post. I have found each of these 15 things to be true. In addition, I have found that we will all grieve at some point in our lives, and it’s never easy, and articles and blogs like this encourage me.I think am currently focused on number 11. Instead of asking why, asking how can I help others through this. I thought loosing my little sister last year was the hardest thing I had ever experienced, she was 32, 8 years younger than me. She was my baby doll. It was very unexpected and I struggled with the grief of her death and just as I thought I was out of the “grieving” stage, I lost my grandmother suddenly. I I once again began the grieving process. As I once again felt like I was ending that “grieving” process, I lost my mother. My mother was 56 years old and left me way to early in life. It has been almost 2 months since I lost my mom, and I am struggling in an entirely different way. With loosing three of my dear loved ones in one year, my pride is taking the best of me. My friends have been incredible and the love and outpouring of support has blown me away, yet I am so tired of being on the receiving end. I don’t want to grieve through the loss of my mom, however what I have learned is that I don’t have a choice. It’s a necessary process that no matter how hard I try, I can not, not grieve. I am trying to be patient with my self and know its a season and I know God is in control and has been with me every step of the way. I know others go through grief and pain and this has opened eyes to see suffering and grief in a whole new way. It has opened my eyes to how precious our lives are. I am seeking how God wants to use me to help others get through such difficult times. God’s love and grace is amazing!

  • http://Facebook Belles Kennedy

    The Lord works in mysterious ways or should I say Miraculous Ways…I was just taking a break from decorating our Christmas tree reminding myself it’s Jesus’birthday n when I opened 1 of the boxes was my daughters stocking that I’ve hung ever since they were all kids I cried bcux I just couldnt hold back the tears

  • Mikala

    This is honestly so true! I was 8 when my dad died and and didn’t really understand what was happening with my emotions and now I’m learning it in school and I understand it more and like ot said that the sadness can just hit you and that is so true I will get really sad randomly after I was just really happy ad I know it has something to do with my dad

  • Trisha

    My first experience with profound grief was at age 8. You hit all the big points and said them lovingly. The world will never be the same, but life can still be beautiful.

    • Trisha

      PS- I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope that you have found comfort and peace in your journey.

  • http://www.oursmallmoments.com Courtney

    Your list was so perfect….so many people think the pain should be numbed, but I want to feel it now, so I can grieve NOW. I am learning to take the day in chunks, live for the moment, and pray through the dark thoughts.

  • Bil Frank

    I agree with all except the last. Grief is never beautiful. Grief is survivable. Grief is a lot of things. But it isn’t beautiful.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Hi Bill, I think grief can be beautiful because it can wake us up, teach us how better to live, how better to love people, teach us how meaningful and wonderful life is, etc. I know I have learned so many things and been forever changed in beautiful ways. But it has also been the most tragic thing, and I’ll never be the same. But I also realize some might not experience that or might not yet be at a place to embrace that part of grief. Thanks for pointing that out. Everyone views grief in a different way.

  • Liz

    Thank you! My mom just passed away Sept 1st. It’s hard!! Plus my father died when I was 14. The first’s are hard and you are right some days are good and others are bad. Finding a new normal is different and exhausting.

  • Jessie andres -Koehler

    This is so true I lost my husband 2 years ago alot of people don’t understand

  • Ann

    11-12-13–14 years ago my 59 year young husband went to live with the Lord. Massive heart attack–died within minutes. It gets easier. It NEVER goes away. Just last night a lot of tears. Most times there is nothing special that brings the ache to the surface. It just happens. I have to let it happen, then I’m ok for awhile. The bad times are less; the good times are more than they were. But I just have to live until I die, so I chose to live for, with and close to Jesus, because He is the ONLY One that will get me through each day and anything I must face before I go to live with Him. I also lost a 20 year old grandson. You hurt so much you feel as if you can’t breathe. God is my breath!

  • https://www.facebook.com/Wigtmom Carlene Johnson

    I lost my 24 yr old son 6/14/2011. It is still so overwhelming and painful. It still does not seem real. I hugged Mike, and told him I loved him and aprox. 10 minutes later I saw him slumped up against the front of his house. He was electrocuted. Reg. household electric is what killed him. He was a Lineman for our local electric company, so he knew electricity very well. He was not a careless person either. There was a short in the wire to the sprinkler timer box that he was changing. I will never forget that day, and to this day I still have so many trigger points. (I was the only one there with him that day) I like and agree with your 1-14, but gotta tell you #15 is a doozie. Don’t think I will ever find grief a beautiful thing!

    I think the most important thing I have learned these past 2 years is to take every opportunity to tell those you love just how much they mean to you. They can be gone in a blink of an eye, and once they are gone they are gone. There are no do-overs. I think all of us have regrets, and if onlys,, i should have, i shouldn’t have etc. sometimes we just don’t know how to deal. And also sometimes not mentioning the person that has died is so much harder than talking about them (even if it makes us cry) When people stop talking about them it feels like they are forgetting them and that they meant nothing. That is so hard! I still have 1 other son, and he has given me 2 beautiful grand-babies since Mike died. The 1st was a girl, and her name is Makayla (named after her uncle Mike, and Mike is her God Father) She has his personality. I see my son in her so much. I feel like Mike is somehow living on thru his Niece and Nephew. I know I will never be alright or ever get over losing Mike! I tend to stay away from people most of the time, and have a hard time leaving the house. I am very thankful for my grand-daughter (19 months old) she is the 1 person that make me feel actual joy, happiness, love. She is what helps me get thru the really hard days. I just hop in my truck and go see here, and for some reason all is ok for a while.

    Much of the time I feel like I am just waiting to die so I can go be with my son, but I know that is my grief. My other son got me a puppy 1 week after Mike died to help me. I am not sure if that was such a good thing. I am now so overly consumed with this dog. It is like my dog is a person. I think I have ruined him. He won’t let me out of his sight. And that little puppy is now over 200 pounds. He is a Saint Bernard named Bocephus (BO is what I call him). Geeze I did not plan on writing a book here sorry, I guess I just needed to vent.

  • Kim Miller

    Thank you for posting this. It has come to me at a good time as both my mother and father is in at home hospice and I think my father doesn’t have long. I’ve never had death in my life. Both parents are in their 80s and I still have 5 brothers and sisters. I don’t know what I will do. I am so close to them all.

  • Kathy

    very very true

  • http://www.fierceauthenticity.com Shannon

    Thank you so much for this most excellent post! When my mom died I didn’t deal with it at all. Ten years later when my father died all that unprocessed grief from my mom’s death joined the current grief of my dad’s death and that grief was a massive tsunami of grief before it settled into wave after wave after wave. Trust that you will not die of the pain and go through it and feel it. That’s what I wish I had known then.

  • Tammi

    I have not ever really processed my losses – there have been so many in my life starting from a very young age. The most traumatic, however, occurred 4 years, 8 weeks ago today. As a parent, you never expect to bury your child. As a single parent, it is even more heartbreaking. But to lose both of your children at the same time is truly devastating. My sons were 20 years and 7 years when they were taken Home to live in Heaven. People have told me that I will get over it, that I am young. My boys are my whole world. Everything I did was for them and because of them. The choices and decisions that I made were for them. I did nothing without considering them first and foremost in my life. When they left me, I felt I had nothing worthwhile to live for. For so long, I just knew that I was the only person affected by the loss of these two wonderful young men. Then I remembered something: I was not the only person hurting. For being so very young, they had touched so many lives. Me, their grandmother, great-grandfather, their aunts, uncles and cousins. And so many lives in the community and schools. Many of these people turned to me to help guide their grief for these guys. With the experience that I’ve had in the past, I think that is the lesson I’d wished I’d learned – one life touches so many. Everyone that they had touched in any way was also grieving. I have found that it is important to try not to shut out others as they grieve also.

    • Elizabeth

      I hear ya my daughter was 7 when she passed away 5 years ago with Cystic fibrosis it still hurts today I still cry once a week or more over her she touched everyone in the community and her school she will always be in my heart and at least she’s in a better place healthy and vibrant knowing ill see her again is what keeps me going plus my other kids who remind me of her ive been blessed with very loving children that I cherish every day

      • Tammi

        Elizabeth – keep enjoying all of your children! Every day and every night, give an extra tight hug, and an extra kiss. They miss their sister as much as you miss your daughter. Always know that her memory will never fade away, not by anyone she has ever touched.

    • http://fdfdsf.com Chelsea

      Tammi,

      I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. No parent or person should have to endure that. The only thing I can tell you, and I hope it brings some comfort, is that you were the best mom – You raised those boys, you were there for them. You made sacrifices for them and loved them in a way no one else could. I hope just because they aren’t with you, you realize you served your purpose as a mother the best you could, and I know that was more than good enough for them. I hope you don’t lose faith that you will see them again because you will. You will.

      • Tammi

        Thank you, Chelsea. I really needed to “hear” that! There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for the few short years that I had them. Having raised them totally on my own, I know that I did the best things for them. They were true gentlemen and very respectful, because I wouldn’t tolerate anything less. I also know that they were well received at Heaven’s Gates because of this. Both of my sons had a deep regard for the Lord. Everyday, my faith strengthens because of this knowledge. One question that I hear a lot is: “Don’t you ever ask God why me?” My response is: “No. I ask why not me?” They were still very young and with such drive and promise. That leads me to believe that my purpose was filled with them, but I yet have another purpose. That purpose has not yet manifested itself, but when the time comes, I will be ready! God’s got my back!

  • Jennifer’s

    Thanks so much really helped me a lot!

    • http://fdfdsf.com Chelsea

      I definitely wish I knew this ten years ago. I lost my dad when I was 11 and I always felt like I never had a normal life because I was always grieving, always hurting, and left with so many unanswered questions that drove me crazy, and half way to suicide. I felt like I lost all sense of normalcy. I lost my sister last year. Very unexpected and a lot of regret involved, but knowing what I knew about losing my dad, I didn’t let myself feel the same feelings. I’ve learned so much about life, death, the in-between and the afterlife. A lot of great perspectives and even some great proof. It’s given me comfort that I may see my dad and sister again, because going on through life thinking that isn’t a possibility hurts too much. God and I have an interesting relationship, but it’s better than no relationship. I think the biggest part of my grief was not getting the signs I wanted and feeling like they were gone forever. If ghosts are real, why haven’t I seen them? My dad would try to contact me from the other side, right? I think some questions are supposed to be answered when it’s finally your time and I think that’s sort of how it should be. Until then, we all walk our own green mile – sometimes is just feels so long.

  • http://AOL Margie Bunner

    My husband went in for a simple surgery and didn’t come home. It was in Sept. of 2009
    His birthday is in Oct. and mine is in Nov. and so is our anniversary. That year was our 54th. Those three months are still hard for me but I have a way to try to make it a little better to get through them. My sons and I take Dad’s picture and go out to eat with him. The first year my youngest son said all through the meal he kept hearing “order the chocolate cake”. That was Dad’s favorite. So Dad goes with us for each of those hard dates. It has helped me deal with them and made it better for my sons as well. We talk about Dad a lot. Sometimes we still have a bad day. We call it “A Bad Dad Day”.
    In the beginning I did a lot of crying and it only takes very little to set me off again even still. I felt like I must be the very worst widow ever. I didn’t want to be around people and drag them down with me. Now I see we all need to deal with our grief in our own way but when we have done it together it has helped us all. Take your loved one out to eat with you and see if it helps you too.
    I just had my 58th anniversary and my 80th birthday. He would have been 80 too. I
    enjoy these dates with him even more now and look forward to them.

  • Trudy

    I lost my cousin January 2013. She was supposed to have 14 months to live. She died in 6 weeks. I miss her, I think of her every day about, I am angry at her and grateful for the close loving relationship we had. I looked up to her so much. I wanted to be like her. She and I were together as much as possible and more than even that.
    My husband is in a halfway house until I don’t know when. He was detained for family violence a week ago and I am grieving over that too. It’s so difficult to not talk with him, to know that our relationship may be taking a turn for the better and I don’t know if that means we work to have a functional marriage or if we part ways and maintain co-parenting as our relationship. I have no answers, no idea how far along the grieving journey it takes for events to stop piling one thing on top of the next. I go between sad, peaceful, worried, and mostly just numb.

  • Susan Francis

    I have felt “loss” many times in my life. The year I turned 16 my brother who was 14 months younger died of cancer. The same year my beloved & wonderful grandmother also died of cancer. Just 2 weeks after my brother died my dog I had had for 14 years also died. It was overwhelming and I never dealt with it well. This past year my mother died, and again my dog I had for 14 years died a month after my mom. Both my mother and my sweet dog were like dearest friends. My heart has been breaking, but I know that you never get “over” grief. You walk through grief and I am still walking…..

  • http://gravatar.com/elizacross2003 ELIZABETH

    Thanks for all the words of wisdom. I had a very weepy day today. I lost my husband very suddenly on Dec 23 2012. He always said he didn’t like Christmas. but as I started my search for my Christmas decorations today the fact that it will soon 1 year hit home. My Christmas last year was made joyful by a new 5 month old granddaughter and 2 older grandchildren. I miss the sharing, little jokes we played on each other and vacations etc., but not the illness he had experienced the last year. While I often feel alone, I know the Lord is with me and will help me with the changes I plan on making in the new year.

  • Renee

    wow great post, thanks! In the summer of 2009 my grandmother died, after many years of longing to go be with her late husband and God. While I was happy for Grandma because she got to go be with them, her passing triggered more grief! I then revisited the grief of my grandpa’s death 8 years prior, my separation and divorce 4 years prior, and then God took me further back to old teen and childhood wounds and losses. I spent four months in bed in deep sorrow, unable to eat, or function, really. And while I felt terribly lonely and grief stricken, I also knew that God was with me, carrying me through and I rejoiced in the pain I was able to let myself really feel for the first time in my life. No numbing out with substances, sex, food, shopping ect. I was just there, me, God, my dog…who rarely left my side, and my grief, my lifetime of losses. After a time, I began to rise from the ashes of my sorrow like a Phenix….feeling renewed, stronger, empowered, and ready to get back into life. Amazing! I survived, and grew and God was there.

  • http://www.thefruitofmyhands.blogspot.com Linda Dale Milroy

    I am so glad I stumbled on your blog. I lost my husband of 45 years in September of 2012. He was an amazing man with a great sense of humor and integrity. We had an amazing relationship and life together. I knew him since I was 12 years old. We did everything together with my cousins growing up through the years. Married at 19 and then add that to 45 years of a marriage made in heaven and it has been my whole life. I have never known a time without him. Last year was hard but we were all in the fog of grief just taking one step in front of the other and getting through . I am finding this second year so much harder. After the fog of grief lifts reality sets in and it seams so much more permanent than it did at first.

    One thing I have learned is that life is too short to worry about the small stuff. Not everyone will feel your pain or understand your loss since our relationships are at different levels of the heart and soul. What seems impossible is possible with God and He will get you through. I have cried, screamed and all of the emotions I possess were thrown at God and He has filled me with His peace and help as I needed it. Help comes in many ways through friends, family and in ways you least expect. Hang on to the memories, it is hard at first but they will eventually give way to smiles and joys and it is important to hold on to them in a way that honor your relationship and the loved one you lost.

    Thank you everyone so much for sharing your heart on these pages.

    • Paula Roberts

      Thank you for blessing mine!!

  • Tara

    Thank you, you give me hope that moving forward will be okay….

  • lisa

    I lost my sister to suicide it will be 9 years ago just before Christmas. I still have my moments when I feel so overwhelmed by her absence and everything she has not been here to share. It has been a long journey for me but my faith has given me hope that I will see her again. Thank you for sharing this. Allowing ourselves time to heal is key. Too many people think you should be “over it” in weeks but it is a lifelong process for many.

  • http://sandraglen.wordpress.com Sandra

    Thank you for sharing this. It is so spot on. Here are some if my thoughts on grief. http://sandraglen.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/but-now-i-am-proud-i-am-grateful/

  • Jessica

    #16 Grief never ends, and that is okay. Sure over time you learn to go on with life, and every minute of every day won’t leave you in tears. As time goes there may even be days you don’t think about it at all. I lost my grandfather almost 16 years ago, when I was 10, and even though I know that is young, he and I were as close as any grandparent/grandchild could be. When I was younger I thought I’d eventually get over it,but it really sneaks up on you. The last year or so has really been hard for me, probably because I got married and had a baby and his absence was more noticeable during those major life events.

  • Donna

    On October 27th at approx 0130 my beautiful wonderful son was murdered with his girlfriend by the girlfriends ex boyfriend. It was such a shock and senseless act .On October 26th 2 yrs ago I also lost my dad. I was still grieving over him when I lost my son 2 yrs and 5hrs later. My son’s last post was at the gravesite on the 26th of my father and his last words were till we meet again; how ironic. i cry and laugh then cry and cry and cry. Reading all of these blogs help, but how does it ever get any easier . Some days are ok and others really are horribly hard. I do know that I tell everyone to please embrace me, I find comfort in their comforting.Two weeks ago I was better than I am now. Its definitely a rocky road , A friend reminds me that there are no rules in grief . I could ramble on and on I think i like the idea of writing everything down ; whether i write one word or I write a book.

  • Donum Veritas

    Nice column Teryn, so very happy to see how many people have been supportive and feel supported. Also keep in mind some never get beyond all of it, the grief perhaps, but in my case the total devastation of the “ideals”, trust and faith destroyed beyond repair. My normal is anger and frustration, even though from the outside there should be nothing to be so upset about. I didn’t get time to make many memories, and honestly don’t think my spouse understands based on the conversations we have had over the years. I am enforced to control myself for the sake of the rest of my family, there are no options. Unfortunately my normal is and has been abysmal for 30 years.

  • Kathy Carroll

    Teryn..very good advice to give. I am a suicide survivor..My 1st born & only son Paul killed himself 5 1/2 yrs ago. It took me about 3 yrs to really start living life to it’s fullest again. Loss by suicide is a very complicated grief to go through. So many questions..it vaporizes your self esteem..tears your family apart & my friends scattered like rats.
    But, the grace of God & his never ending love for me not only healed me..but, I’m more whole than even before my son died.

  • https://www.facebook.com/insatiable1 Julie Carlson

    This is very beautifully written. I do wish there was something like this including all of the comments from others in an easy to locate place in the beginning. Nothing can prepare anyone for loss, but I think it would have helped to understand how others processed this when it was new and down the road.

    I lost my son Zach (4/28/97 – 12/2/11) at 14 to what has been deemed a suicide in his father’s home. The last time our family found a way to get to hear his voice was Thanksgiving 2011. There are waves of moments when it is so real I struggle to so much as breathe under the weight. Mostly it is still very surreal. I went from very clear and strong memories of my little man’s bear hugs and being taller than me to hearing others say repeatedly my son was inside a very tiny box.

    I think it is important for people to understand that each will process this in a unique way and in their own time. It helps very much to focus hard on anything you can find to be grateful for about the person lost and life in general. Expect that sometimes others will be uncomfortable around you. I have a few friends who cringe when I am asked how many children I have. I will always include my son and speak of him often, People sometimes are unsure of how to handle that.

    Realize that nothing will ever be the same. There is life before the loss, then time sort of stops there and quickly slips away at the same time. Life after the loss is different for you and for others. The best you can do is take one day and sometimes one moment at a time. Try to be okay with what you experience in that moment. Fighting it or denying it will not make it go away. During the tough parts try to remember that this is one present moment, there will be a tomorrow, a little more healing, a little more strength.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Hi Julie, I’m planning to post a follow-up piece with lots of the advice from the commenters, etc. I’m hoping this will be helpful, too.

  • Wendy Gatlin

    This blog is great…Although the stories are sad they are also a testament of life.
    My husband of 17 yrs died unexpectedly April 1, 2010. It all happened about 4:30 in the morning when I was awaken by a coughing like sound coming from my husband, I tried to wake him but couldn’t. I knew something was wrong and immediately went into action, help was on the way and cpr started. You see my husband and I both worked for the local hospital in EMS (ambulance). This was the worst day of my life!! Nothing I was doing was workin and it seemed like help would never arrive. During my effort to revive my husband and feeling came over me of peace and I knew he was gone but you always have that thing called false hope,! I couldn’t and didn’t stop my effort to save the love of my life. Help finally arrived and 2 of the 3 that came were his shift co workers….he was scheduled a 24hr shift for that day. They took over and I took my role as wife, trying to stay strong as I watch my world fall apart. I was trying to call who needed to be called before we left the house headed to the hospital. Once at the hospital his daughter and I were told all that was keeping him alive was CPR . We made the decision to stop CPR and that when the reality set in. I had gone from a peaceful sleep to a living hell. My life had changed in ways I was unprepared for.
    Its been 3yrs and almost 8 mon. Since that morning and to this day I still replay that morning over and over in my head,questioning myself…..did I do everything right, was I fast enough, could I have done more or something different ? Its took me a long time and I do still grieve, but I now love to remember and talk about our life together. In May 2013 I embarked in a new journey and have started a relationship was a special man. Oh how different and what a big step! So far so good :-) He’s a good man and excepts my late husbands kids and my grandkids. He doesn’t mind me talking about him and always has a shoulder for me when the memories overwhelm me.
    My late husband will always have a place in my heart , I guess what I’m trying to say is he left a little room for someone else until we’re together again. I’ll always love and grieve for my late husband but having someone new to help me and who is willing to help me and love me makes all the difference in the world.

    • Paula Roberts

      So beautiful!!

  • https://www.facebook.com/ddevillers Donna DeVillers

    This was posted on FB today EXACTLY when I needed to see it…..God is good…. I lost my Dad a little over a month ago. He lived 2 hours away and I didn’t see him often, but I spoke to him often, and well…he was my Dad….I’m hurting really badly and I cannot seem to allow myself to feel this way. The people who I thought would “be there” for me…have barely been, but others pop up and carry you through… I need to let go of the hurting about what others do and just go on and live, but I also need to realize that it’s ok to be sad and to cry, but I keep thinking I shouldn’t feel this way, losing a parent when he was 84 is normal…but it still leave a hole and it’s so fresh right now… Thank you for this life and for what all of you have shared. My heart goes out to each and every one of you…

    • https://www.facebook.com/ddevillers Donna DeVillers

      I should have proofread…thank you for this list!

  • David McDonnell Baker

    I am a hospital chaplain assigned to a floor with 4 comfort/hospice beds, oncology, stroke and long term intubation patients. I use number 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 almost every time I talk to families after a loss. I like your list and would only reorder the list. Thank for your effort to help people. David

  • Nichole

    I lost my oldest son when he was 7,15yrs ago, and my 16 year old daughter one week before her birthday, 7months ago. I can not begin to express how much I miss them and I think of them everyday. My son was born with a lot of medical problems and I was blessed to be able to spend 7 years with him. He was only expected to live a few months. He was born with just his brain stem so he never progressed past the newborn state, but he was the smartest person I have ever known. He taught me more than anyone ever has even with only a quarter of a brain. My daughter on the other hand was young and beautiful and had her whole life ahead of her. We had just gone and picked out her prom dress for her junior prom the week before and were going that weekend to pick out her shoes and accessories. I was at work on my lunch break. I returned to find an old friend I had not seen in years that worked with my ex-husband at the Sheriff’s Department. He proceeded to tell me that my daughter had been in a car accident coming home from visiting her father and she did not make it. My world stopped, shock and disbelief washed over me. This could not be happening again to me, to my family. How was I going to tell her baby sister, her big brother? All I could think was I had to see her, I had to hold her, I had to tell her I loved her. It was 3 days later before I would get to see her again. Everything had been arranged and taken care of already. Family and friends and complete strangers carried us through it all. The out pouring of love was tremendous. She had touched the lives of so many in such a short time here on Earth. She was creative, caring, compassionate,loving, and selfless. She wrote poetry and we used a lot of it in her memorial service. She loved photography and we used many of her pictures as well. Adults and teenagers poured into the church that me and her father were married in, where she was dedicated to the Lord, where her oldest brother’s funeral had been 15 years before. The church, balcony, and foyer were overflowing with people that loved her and each one had their own story of how much she had touched their lives in one way or another. The funeral procession was led by over 50 police cars, motorcycles, and friends and family. She was always a princess and we laid our beautiful baby girl to rest just like royalty. Now 7 months later and the holidays at hand, the pain and grief consume me at times. I let it wash over me and let the tears fall. I remember her and my son with the love a mother has for her children. I cling to the good things, the memories and the lessons they taught me. There are many times all I can see in my minds eye is the pain and the events of that day play over and over again. Then I remember my son’s beautiful blonde hair and his big blue eyes and his strength to overcome so much not knowing when he would be called home but fighting none the less. I remember my daughter who touched so many and loved so much. She had a motto “Never,Never Give Up.” She believed in it so much she had a large plaque that she had made hanging over her bed in her room. This is what I hold on to, the strength of my son and the tenacity of my daughter. Together one common message… no matter what happens in life, fight for every breath, every new day you wake up to, and NEVER,NEVER GIVE UP. I will honor their legacy always even when all I want to do is quit. I love you Tyler and Blair and I will see you again as we walk hand in hand to meet the Lord.
    This is my story, it’s not the worst nor the best,but I hope it touches and helps someone along the way. God bless you all. I pray for your comfort in this holiday season and all the years ahead. Remember it’s what you cling to that makes all the difference, cling to those brighter days and better things, honor your loved ones with the treasures and memories they gave us to share with the world. Let their life’s message shine through you.

  • Hilda Scott

    Thanks Louann for sharing a very valuable message to those grieving today or in the past, or Future!
    I can’t agree more to # 7 and #8! #7 some people are cruel with there comments, you loose friends, and lots of people comment but have never lost there husbands , and the father of there kids.
    #8 thank God for always being with the griever! My Faith has helped me !
    I have a story to tell of how faith has helped me! April 2 1998 i lost my Husband and the Father of my two children! Robert was the love of my life. For 20 years on the anniversary of his death i was a emotional wreck! However ( 5 years to the day and 10 minutes after the death of Robert) my son calls me and says Mom no crying today we are in the hospital Paula is going to have our baby , Kallie Ann was Born April 2 1993. She was not due for a couple weeks! When Kallie was born i noticed she has her Grandfathers nose! Derek said to me he believes there is a reason Kallie was born on that Day, God made it happen to help take away some of my emotional stress and have a reason to celebrate! Well it did help take away some of my emotional stress! We celebrate Kallies birthday now ,and i believe there is alot of Roberts Careactar in Kallie! Thank God for miracles! God does work in mysterious ways! Hilda

    • Paula Roberts

      Thank You for sharing my faith is strong; thank you for this Blessing…God is in control and this beautiful reminder of your precious grand baby…is beautiful!! Bless U!!

  • Margaret

    I read a metaphor about grief the year my 17 year old son died. Grief is like being thrown into an ice cold pond and for a while you struggle to stay a float and you believe if you just keep fighting you will continue to breath that life sustaining air and soon you will be safe on land again. But slowly you realize that no one is coming to save you and you slowly sink to the bottom of that pond and build your castle there and learn to breath under water. To me this expresses exactly how I felt. It has been 15 years since Jake died but there are still times I struggle to keep my tears back. The times are shorter and I have learned to control my grief but it still hurts. God is good and he has given me many friends and a husband and daughter who walk this path with me. I can attest to the fact that God was with us even in the darkest times. I have learned that living underwater can be beautiful too.

  • https://www.facebook.com/rocky.chambers Rocky Chambers

    In March of this year I lost my wife of 31 years. While I do not disagree with anything in this article I would suggest this…we have a choice to invite grief or not. Grief is a spirit and if we allow him to he will hover over our life draining it. While I have had times of sorrow where I miss Paula deeply I have trusted (and allowed) God to help me back into the joy of His presence. Too often I see those who have suffered the loss of a loved one clinging to that loss by inviting grief and resisting the joy of the Lord. I do not say this to condemn or belittle, but simply to encourage you to seek God and allow Him to help you in your time of need. I am a witness to the fact He will do this. He did it for me when I lost my mother years ago, and again this year on the passing of my wife.

    • Paula Roberts

      Beautifully said; I feel the same way!! Thanks for sharing….just reaffirms Gods precious love for us!!

  • Sandy Johnston

    I lost my mom 8.5 years ago. She was my best friend and I will miss her till the day I die. I agree with everything you said as well as 1. I will miss her until the day I die. I will never “get over” her death but I have learned how to live without her. People told me “it takes a year” or “give 18 months”.
    There is no 1 timeline. Don’t listen to timelines, you might prolong your sadness or be disappointed that you’re not “over it”. 2. If you will allow yourself to accept happiness and keep an open heart and mind, something good can come out of this loss. There is a silver lining…you just have to be willing to see it. It’s not a magic cure for our grief, it’s simple a gift from God amidst our grief.

  • Christiana

    Get the “grief recovery handbook” and it will educate you on greif/loss and walk you through how to deal with it so your memories don’t turn painful.
    In “Killer Clichés” about loss we talked about grieving and completing our relationships with loved ones who have died. While the death of a loved one is painful, we are often complete with loved ones. That is to say that we have communicated our feelings about them, to them. We believe that they knew how we felt and that we were understood. When a loved one dies we may be overwhelmed with conflicting feelings, we may feel disoriented and confused, and we may feel robbed of one last chance to say “I love you” and “goodbye.” Even though we are often essentially complete when a loved one dies, after the death we usually remember some things that we wish we’d had a chance to say. We need to discover those unsaid things and say them. The appropriate methods for communicating the unsaid things are detailed in The Grief Recovery Handbook.

    Unresolved Grief: What happens when a “less than loved one” dies?

    Perhaps a parent or a sibling, someone with whom we should have had a more loving relationship. We are almost always incomplete when a “less than loved one” dies. Almost always we are left with the awareness that our hopes and dreams of someday having the relationship be pleasant and happy have ended. Even if our hope is simply not to be tormented anymore, the death often exaggerates the torment rather than diminishing it. That is when many of us report being “ruled from the grave.”

    You don’t have to be “stuck”

    Many people labor under the misapprehension that once someone has died there is no way they can complete any unfinished emotional business. Happily, this is not true, or they would have to stay incomplete forever. The Grief Recovery Method helps grievers identify and complete the undelivered emotional communications that keep them tied to past painful experiences with people who have died or with relationships that have ended or changed. This process obviously does not require that the person we are incomplete with be a living or willing participant.

    Often our attempts to communicate with our “less than loved ones” failed, not because of our unwillingness, but because the other person was unable to listen to or talk about the things that we wanted and needed to talk about. Quite often our attempts to communicate started new and larger battles which may have been added to our list of unfinished or incomplete emotional events with them. Even after they have died, as we replay the events, we keep winding up hurt and helpless. We do not know how to end the vicious cycle. We may attempt to not think about them, but then a reminder will appear, outside of our control. We may see someone in the mall who looks like them, or a car similar to the one they drove. These reminders will often send us back into the pain caused by the incomplete emotional relationship. Most of you will realize that it is not possible to eliminate someone from your memory. You most assuredly cannot control the stimuli that cause you to remember a less than loved one. Even attempts at total isolation rarely work, as even dreams can rekindle painful memories.

    Building an accurate memory picture

    When a “less than loved one” dies we are often left with an extremely lopsided memory picture, almost exclusively negative. It seems as if we are the victim of these painful, negative memory pictures. We are also confused by our relationship to the painful memories that keep recurring. We must grieve and complete our relationship to the person as well as to our relationship with the pain we generate when we think about or are reminded of the person. And, we must grieve and complete our unmet hopes and dreams and expectations.

    You must become willing to re-experience some of the painful events, and finally communicate what you would have said had you been allowed to, or if you had known how. It may seem frightening to root around where there has been so much pain. Perhaps it would be more helpful to be frightened of the alternative, a life of restriction and limitation caused by staying incomplete. The alternative of keeping the pain forever, of trying not to remember, of trying to avoid any circumstances or events that remind you of that person.

    Many people today talk of giving away your power. There is no clearer or more painful example of that then to have your life’s actions and reactions ruled by the painful memories of someone who is no longer here.

    QUESTION: The above blog relates to a “less than loved one” who has died. What about “less than loved ones” who are still living?

    ANSWER: Exactly the same principles apply when the “less than loved one” is still living. In fact, it is probably even more essential that you complete your part of that relationship as soon as you can. If not, you may live in constant fear of any kind of interaction with or reminder of that living person. Completion of your part of a relationship with a living person does not imply that the other person will or should change. Most likely they will continue to be just who and how they are. The difference is that you will be able to live a life of meaning and value, not limited by painful reminders of a relationship that did not live up to hopes, promises, dreams or expectations.

    Click here to find a local Grief Recovery Method Outreach Program now!

  • https://www.facebook.com/mz.l.white Lisa Nieuwenhuis White

    I so desperately needed this… My father, the greatest man I’ve ever known, passed away unexpectedly 35 days ago… My Dad always said to me, ‘love you, baby girl’, words I miss sooooo much… The emotional roller coaster is unbelievable. I don’t really talk about it, because, I don’t really know what to say most of the time… I would call and talk to my Dad at least every other day and went to see him frequently, my Dad and I spent almost every day this last summer cleaning out his barn’s for his ‘barn sales’ and I can say with all honesty, I have no could’ve, would’ve, should’ve… I WAS THERE… The saddest things are that he will miss many of my two beautiful son’s life achievement’s… They loved their ‘Papa’ and he adored them… My loss and pain is not my own, my oldest son draws picture’s of angel’s and a crying boy with “I miss Grandpa N”… I have to tell him to cry and talk to Momma, because I miss him so much too… The only thing I can add is, DON’T WAIT…. Call today, drop what you’re doing and go see them… Life’s little ‘chores’ and the constant ‘have to’ stand in our way… The house, the laundry, the lawn, will be there tomorrow… Our loved one’s many not….

  • KayAnn

    I am coming up on a year anniversary of loosing 14 people in our friends and family circle within 4 weeks. Two of the dear ones were very close to my heart and another was an unborn grandson. God has been my staple. But He hasn’t been my magic wand to take the great pain away. I’m learning to walk with Him in a whole new way that I never thought I would know. Trust, trust, trust even when I felt like I was trusting with my eyes closed because I was afraid to walk forward. Trying so hard to live this year later mark with not looking at all the sorrow and saying, “This time last year…” I know without debt most of them loved Jesus with all they had and are in heaven today. That brings me joy, but the longing to just be near them is sometimes the loneliest feeling i know. I am doing better with my emotions but really trying to brace myself as a year mark hits the calendar. I know I can’t be super woman nor do I want to be, just looking for answers on how to get through the year mark with out fighting my emotions and and trying to be perfect. I just want to be what is normal for all that has happened. (What ever normal is.) I want to leave you with a story from when our grandson went to heaven before we knew him.

    On the day that we sat with our three grand children while mom and dad went to the hospital, we did our best to keep everyone busy playing. Our five year old granddaughter is the second oldest and the mommy in the brood of kiddos. When mom and dad came back home and told the kids that the baby went to heaven, our granddaughter could hardly be consoled. I talked to her about heaven and Jesus being their. She began to calm down thinking about Jesus. By bed time she was unconsolable once again. I talked with her all over about heaven, flowers and asked her to tell me about Jesus. She finally fell asleep. In the morning she was back to crying and struggling. We talked again. She had her lunch and went to bed for a nap time. Two hours later she awoke with this: “Grandma, When I went to bed Jesus came and got me and took me to heaven. He showed me my baby brother. (Up to now we did not know what the baby was.) Grandma he has blonde hair and dark gray bluish eyes. (Strange for her say such detail in color. They all have brown eyes except for dad who has icy blue eyes. Gray blue is the color of newborn eyes.) Grandma Jesus had on a white dress and a purple scarf and brown sandals. I don’t think the brown sandals match but that is what He had on. (She is our little fashion queen. LOL) and grandma guess what… my baby brother is not the only one in heaven. Your two babies are there too, but they are bigger then my baby brother. (What? What was she saying? I had miscarried two pregnancies in 1987. She didn’t know that. She wasn’t even a thought. Her daddy was only 4 years old. Did she see my babies?) In the weeks that followed she would tell more of what she saw. More babies of friends to her mom that she knew nothing of their passing on. A field where children where playing. How happy Jesus was. She has not shed one more tear from that moment. I watched her turn around and she became a light in my darkness. She walked out in joy what I knew but hurt to much to find. I still hurt at times but I try to keep this little girl’s trip to heaven in mind as best as I can.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Wow, KayAnn, that is a powerful story. Thanks for sharing. It’s amazing how wise and in tune with the spiritual side of things children can be. May God continue to comfort you.

  • http://www.MotherDaughterJewel.etsy.com Karen Foster

    so beautifully said

  • Kim Buckingham

    This is a wonderful place you have created for people who are relearning their life with out that integral person walking with them. Snaps to you and a part of my heart to the those in need – we all walk this walk together,

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  • charlotte

    Thank you for sharing this! I lost my mother 3 years 10/11/10. Its a daily battle ! Please whisper a prayer for my family. She was 53 :(

  • Carl Alexander

    These 15 things are so accurate. Too often my literal engineers soul has problems relating to emotional issues but you have said what I have tried to tell my friends that have lost someone.
    I lost my first wife through suicide and my second from a cancer that developed so fast that she was gone in 52 days.
    I have now re-married and the knowledge of lifes fragility has made me realize that I must always, always, let her know that she is loved and to listen to her emotions.
    Carl

  • Lynn Mance

    Two common comments said to a grieving person that I dislike are: 1) You are a strong person. and 2) Time will heal. Obviously people who say this have not experienced a complete loss. My husband died last Oct unexpectedly. Today we would have been married 42 years. My life is forever changed. Time doesn’t bring my old life back nor am I strong. I just go through the motions of life and my heart aches for him everyday.

  • Angelia

    Grief is a tricky thing to deal with, time does make it easier to roll with the times of sadness we feel. I just wish i would have known how mean people that are the closest to you can be while dealing with the same grief of lose of the same person. I lost my brother 7 1/2 years ago i miss him so much because i can tell you the only person in the world that can truly . understand things when it comes to your parents is your siblings.In a blink of an eye i was left as an only child and a mom that has not dealt well with her grief and takes it out on me. It is truly amazing how all my mistakes come flying back at me after all these years. So surround yourself with people that are willing to listen and let you be you no matter what.

  • https://www.facebook.com/stormriley Tammy Riley

    I learned that no matter how much you loved them, and how well they knew it, you will always have doubts about whether or not they really knew how deeply you loved them. 13 yrs later I still wonder if my husband understood the depth of my love for him. How blessed I was to have him for a husband. And what a great father and husband he was.
    I lost my husband 3 mos before 9-11. While my journey with grief was really raw, the nation was thrown into a different but similar grief. I was so angry that my husband wasn’t mourned the way they were and that made me feel even more guilt.
    Our granddaughter was born 5 mos ago and as happy as I was, I felt tremendous guilt that I was there and he wasn’t. It was something he always looked forward to being someday.
    Grief never softens or goes away. It just morphs into new forms as the years pass and mixes into the happiness of life. That is the only reason it feels like its become bearable.

    • Lynn Mance

      I am with you Tammy. I just got my third grandson and I too felt guilty he wouldn’t know him. The empty house is the hardest on me. Losing your soul mate of a lifetime is very hard.

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  • Gugu

    Thanks ,I didnot know how to move on with my life after my younger sister passon *profound words indeed

  • http://gravatar.com/anabragahenebry http://anabragahenebrysjournal.blogspot.com/

    I lost my mother almost 5 years ago. It hurts still, immensely, The heart shrinks when I think of her and her suffering before her death. I am the seventh of eleven children but each one of us felt like an only child, so wonderful was her love and wisdom. What i didn’t know, through the sobs of the first few days and weeks, was how much I would keep learning from her. Almost everyday I think of her and of something she said, or did–her life example continues teaching and guiding me. She makes me want to be a person who will continue teaching and inspiring loved ones towards God after I am gone from this life.

  • RevSmilez

    Reblogged this on God Must Laugh.

  • Rosemary Ann Smith

    This is a wonderful insight into the ways we grieve. I’ve been on the road of grief since Nov 1st 2012 when my eldest daughter died, after a 2 year battle with cancer. Paula was 48. I have asked the question ‘Why’? on many occasions, although I realise that in the past month I’ve not asked it at all! I couldn’t cry. Not when Paula died, or at her funeral. I think I built a solid wall between me and tears. Mainly I think for other members of the family, her husband, daughters, sister and brother. This can be another aspect of grief, I’ve learned, that we hold our emotions to help others. Paula would have been 50 years old on Dec. 12th this year. On her Anniversary I played Annie Lennox’s beautiful song – ‘Into the West’. Tears did come but not many. I’m hoping to cry on Dec 12th, while remembering the day Paula was born, and the 48 years we had together. I’ve held my emotions back long enough. Caring thoughts to EVERYONE in this situation, on the road of grief … x

  • Tori B

    I lost my husband at age 36, almost five years ago. Here is something for beyond a year. You will be OK, thinking I’ve got this, I have defined my life. Then out of the blue it will hit you and you feel like it is that day or the weeks following. And guess what, this is OK and normal, albeit unexpected. It is all part of the process. I love my friends who allow me to talk about Chris as if he is still here, sharing funny stories etc without that weird awkwardness. Those are the gems I have kept close to me.

  • Cindy Morris

    I lost my mom to breast cancer when I was 6 years old. I am now 60! At 6, I was not “allowed” to do anything on your list. My dad wanted to move on. I did not attend the funeral, never saw her in her final weeks, was not allowed to ask or talk about her. My dad even put all pictures of her away and remarried 4 months later. Not that he did not love her too, but he was a WWII vet, with PTSD, and this was his way of dealing. I did not grieve for a second as a child. In my mid twenties, things began to happen, and I paid the price for his choices. The overwhelming grief would wash over me, being triggered by something small. It took counseling to help me identify where it was coming from. I was told that I was carrying my mother in every cell in my body, trying to hold on to her forever. It took time to break down the barriers I had built of to protect myself. Let this confirm that you must not hide from your sorrow. Embrace it in order to let it go.

  • Michelle

    Don’t make any major decisions for the first year. There will be changes. Let them come. Don’t be afraid of the changes. Fear makes us make poor decisions.

  • Lana Allen

    Experienced all of this. Lost both my daughters at separate times. Just passed 1yr ago in June for my youngest

  • terry

    My son was called home may 27th 2010. He was 28 n very unexspected with a brain anurisim. For the first yr i was just numb if i cried i was told to go on life goes on the step dad that kept telling me life goes on it did for him n a 20 somthing yr old we were married 30 yrs my divorce was final last jan. Yes life does go on but never the way u new it. As far as a hole in my heart i think of it as a piece of my puzzle missing that will b put back in place wen i make it home with my son. Amazing Grace i live it every day i now cry wen i feel i need to i laugh as much as i can but more than anything i thank God for His precous foot steps thats carried me these last 3yrs. N above all HIS AMAZING GRACE. GOD WILL PUT EVERYONES pieces back together one day n will b whole.

  • http://GriefRevelations.com Sue Rosenbloom, M.A., C.T.
  • Talley Lach

    Don’t take #5 too seriously. When getting out of bed, putting one foot in front of the other, continuing to breathe takes conscious effort, the idea that you must also be exercising or eating healthily can be just too much to process. If all you can manage is ice cream for dinner, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just keep doing whatever it is you have to do to continue to breathe. Exercising and eating well can come later, when you have a spare ounce of energy.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Yes, good point, Talley! I think it’s good to remind oneself to eat healthily, exercise, get enough sleep, etc., because these things can actually help our bodies in the process. Mentally and emotionally, you benefit from taking care of your body. But of course, if it stresses people out too much, don’t worry needlessly! I found in my own grief that I stopped working out because I was depressed, and that actually made things worse. So I’ve started working out again, and it just makes me feel much better about life. But everyone’s different. Thanks for your comment.

      • Terry Schmidt

        Been there done that…..how true…..I lost my son June 1st 2001…..I went and still go thru the emotions…..but everyday is a new one. I’ve just learned how to cope with the loss and the grief. People greive and cope in different ways…..but my mission is to keep his memory alive for as long as I live…..there will be that would’ve, could’ve, should’ve moments….but the minute these come up…. I get the hell out of there and concentrate on now and the memories that I have of him…..My heart goes out to all of you coping with your loss…..wse are not alone and that should be of some comfort…….they are always with us in spirit…….I believe that with all my heart.

  • Karen Strong

    I lost everyone older than me and closest to me in 2 years when I was 26. My mother a few weeks after she turned 44, my father almost 2 years later, 3 grandparents and my favourite cousin on his 21st birthday.
    My Dad died on the day between mine and my husbands birthday. So birthdays were not celebrated for a long time. I was the eldest of 6 and I was left with my 3 babies and 3 siblings still at school.
    It was hard and the first funeral I ever attended was my mothers. She never let me go to any before because they are sad and not for young ones. My children go to them.
    It gets easier and you get to a point where you only remember the happy things. Now we celebrate their lives on the day we lost them. We still cry but we laugh so much more.
    It is so long ago now but I still hear something funny and I think I must tell Mum because she will laugh. This is happening much less now and it still gives a jolt but it is good.
    I love your 15 things I wish I had known. Thank you.

  • Jim Vickers

    Our son died at age 19 of a congenital auto immune disorder. His death has left us changed people. An organization that has helped us to work through our grief is The Compassionate Friends, an organization of bereaved parents who support each other. There are chapters in most parts of Canada, The USA, Great Britain, and other countries as well.

  • Karen

    I could not get this post about the 15 things during GRIEF to go to my Email.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Hi Karen, to download it you will need to click on the link and save it to your computer. Or you can send me your email, and I’ll be happy to email it to you.

  • Becky Owens

    So very good. My journey of grief has involved mothering a prodigal son. I have learned that grief can be packaged in different ways (death, divorce, rebellious children, etc), but it is difficult nonetheless. God’s Word has been my comfort when nothing else could be. I have learned that God does not waste the hard times He allows to come into our lives. He can use us to be a comfort and encouragement to someone else down the road if we let him.

  • Elaine Argent

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Our family lost our parent’s in less than a month. My husbands mother passed away the same week as my mother. My mom and my husbands mom were in the hospital at the same time. Monday morning my mother in law passed away, I remember going in the room down the hall to tell my mom and than on Thursday my mom passed away and Friday was my mother in laws funeral. My dad passed away in less than a month after my mom. The crazy thing was my dad had been sick for sometime and we thought he would pass away first, but it was my mom, she was sick all the time my dad was very ill and never told any of us, because she didn’t
    want my dad to have to live in the old folks home.
    I didn’t know who to grieve for first, I was consumed by grief. After trying to deal with it on my own I called a counselor that dealt with grief it was the best thing I did.

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  • http://www.theyoungerwidower.com Chris Vandeventer

    I’ve experienced every one these multiple times since I lost my wife to her 3 year illness 6 months ago. I always thought I was prepared, but you’re never ready and should never be ready at the age of 39. Thank you for posting this.

  • http://christophervandeventer.wordpress.com christophervandeventer

    Reblogged this on Learning to live again and commented:
    I’m sharing this because it can’t be said any better.

  • http://christophervandeventer.wordpress.com christophervandeventer

    Thank you for posting this. I lost my wife 6 months ago to a 3 year illness.

  • Norman Cooper

    Reblogged this on Along the Way and commented:
    A timely post from Identity Renewed…great food for thought as we embark on this journey.

  • Denise Rutherford

    Life changes forever when we loose someone special, like our parents. It is more difficult if you are the eldest in the family. Its the lonliness and the emptiness that one feels when losing someone special. Grief takes time but it is also being recognised as a health issue in our country Australia. There are not enough resources and we all react in a different way. Mine has been especially harder as I have no family myself, children nor a partner. I keep busy have travelled the world and worked all my life BUT I get anxious for the years ahead, even though I persue new challenges and have a range of interest and hobbies. These sites on facebook have also need another avenue for healing. However we can not rebuild the past, we can cherish the memories.

  • http://calebs-story.net Chirleen

    This is amazing! I sure could have used this list last year myself and I was nodding my head in agreement the entire list. Thank you

  • Veronica

    Thank you for this. We lost our first baby Savannah on 11/13/13 @ 17 weeks exactly. This last week my world has crumbled even more. Reading this helps comfort me.

  • http://www.nancyholte.com/ Nancy Holte

    In the middle of some tough times I find that sometimes my humor takes over so I had to share this with you. I hope you’ll enjoy the laugh and not find it irreverent. When you said, “Facing grief is better than running” I was thinking the jogging type of running and I thought to myself, “well, there’s not much chance that I’ll take up jogging!” Ha! Great words. Thank you!! I printed them off to save.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Well, depending on the person, facing grief may be better than taking up jogging!

  • http://aprojectforkindness.wordpress.com clairesinclair

    Thank you for sharing. I lost my mom in March, she had been ill for awhile but was still not expected and sudden. Not even 3 weeks later, my 31 year old sister in law died tragically from a brain aneurism. It has been a rough year. I have been blogging about it since March and it really does help. I encourage others to do the same. My blog had started out as something completely different, but took a turn after they died. I still write about kindness, (the original intent of the blog,) but I go back to writing about them quite often.
    Claire @
    aprojectforkindness.wordpress.com

  • Debbie

    This is so true. I lost my husband 8 years ago and you feel like you lost half of yourself. Grief is along road but it does get better just remember all the people who love you and need you in their life. I thank God that I have such a supportive family.

  • marian dalke

    thankyou for all the remarks of ecouragement i read them all as i lost my second husband sept27 13 its very fresh and it hasabeen rough going althoughi believe in god and that he is always wih usand he helps us through the lonely times and the sad times i love my god he makes no mistakes we were married 3 years and 4 months and i loved him dearley i miss him alot but it is bar=arable with gods help i put all of my trust in him mariandalke

  • jody

    My husband passed away almost 2 yrs ago. I still have bad days and all the things you stated here I’ve done and felt. Its not easy and its tough to ask for help. He was only 54 way too young. Very thankful for 27 wonderful years with him.

  • http://www.themastersmasterpiece.com Diane Burton

    Thank you for sharing. I’m a certified Grief Coach and your list is right on. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and being willing to encourage others.

  • Sheri

    I agree with you & your 15 things. I also agree with so many others about grief comes in many forms, death, divorce, separation, etc. & it’s not a contest. Too many people want to say that their loss is greater than your loss. It’s all tragic. I lost my soulmate, my other half, almost 11 years ago to a heart attack in the middle of the night. I was 8 months pregnant with twins. She was my very best friend & I miss her every second of every minute of every single day. I have a wonderful loving husband & family. In the following years after losing my Angie, I’ve run across people who have told me that I should be over it by now or that I should be more concerned with Angie’s kids (ages 6 & 10 months at the time of her death). I want to say that just because I still grieve & deeply, is NO reflection on how I feel about her kids. I love her kids & always will. I have not been able to actively be in their lives for many reasons but they are older now & we are working on fixing that. I have loads of pictures & memories I can’t wait to share with them when the time is right. Don’t belittle another’s grief or the way they do or don’t handle it. Don’t tell them they should be more concerned about someone or something else. I’ve had my feelings hurt in more ways since she died than ever before. Her family shut me out. A benefit for her kids that was started the very month she died is still held, but I am no longer invited, partly because in the beginning I couldn’t handle it…too much pain. Well, I am still here. I am still living. Just because she is gone does not mean that I don’t want to be invited & included in things. Yes it hurts. It always will. One thing that happened the evening following her death, a whole big group of our mutual friends showed up to my house & sat with me. We were all in shock, I was uncomfortably huge & pregnant, nobody knew what to say. They hugged me as they came in, some said, “I’m so sorry” but mostly they just came to let me know that they loved me & felt a part of my loss too. That always humbles me & makes me grateful. I still have a relationship with most of those friends. But truly, for the most part you will grieve alone. If a person has not been there, they honestly cannot understand what it’s like. However, a hug or an “I’m sorry” or “I’m praying for you” is enough. There’s no need to console with platitudes. I think most people just want to know that they are not alone. An invitation (or 10 or 20) is not amiss either. I remember one night while rocking babies with my Mama (remember, I had twins not long after she died), we were talking about Angie & crying & I told her that I wanted to tell God to give her back…but then how selfish would that be of me? She was in Heaven with our Lord. I wouldn’t want to be pulled back to this world of hatred, greed & pain, so I couldn’t in any way wish for her to be sent back. Due to this grief, I was robbed of the joy of my babies for the first years of their lives. I struggled through & didn’t get to be excited about first teeth, first steps, nothing. I still struggle & time has made it easier. There’s times when I’m doing okay, maybe even great & then the pain hits so hard that it drives me to my knees. I just hope that anyone who reads this will understand that there is never, ever, ever, ever, ever any getting over it. I have a huge, gaping half a heart & that is the way it is. period. forever. I can laugh (finally), I can listen to music again (but not always without tears) & I would love to find just one friend who wants to call me up & ask me if I want to go to Walmart with them late at night…or just sit & visit around the kitchen table. If you know someone who has lost someone special or is lonely, please reach out. Sorry about getting long winded & I hope I didn’t ramble too much, it’s just something close to my heart.

  • http://beautifullyfierce.wordpress.com beautifullyfierce

    I lost my 20 year old son in a car accident almost 1 1/2 years ago.

    I would add:
    - Completely surrender to God. Let Him love on you like no one can! He is your Father…He always knows how to comfort His children.
    - Count blessings…no matter how small! Bitterness can’t grow in a heart full of gratitude
    - Listen to people’s INTENTIONS… Not your PERCEPTION… The enemy will feed these words to your sensitive emotions until they become lies…which will become agreements…which will become vows! (Thank you, Stasi Eldridge and your book, Captivating!)
    - “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
    - God is faithful in all things! My questions are not “Why?” They are “When?”

    • Lois Skipworth

      I totally agree. I have lost my Mom, Dad and older brother. Had it not been for God, I could have not coped.

  • http://yahoo Delores

    I would really like to know more for l feel these ways quit often

  • Trey

    #7 people will say the darndest things, don’t take it personal. Give them Grace. Someone else says it better than I can. Here is the link and a partial quote: http://kindacrunchy.com/2013/05/06/offering-grace-when-people-say-the-wrong-thing/ I feel so much anxiety when someone is going through a traumatic event. I am so scared of saying the wrong thing. Yet, I’ve realized that it’s more important that people feel supported. I would rather someone say that I “meant well” than that I was absent in their pain. I hope that people can extend me grace if I don’t say the exact right thing. I hope that they can see my heart. In turn, I will try to see theirs. I could not have said it better!

  • Nicole

    I just stumbled by your link and I felt the need to reply. I never reply to anything. 8 days ago my grandmother passed away and I just feel like I sometimes cant go on. I have tried to stay busy and not think about it, I have even tried to continue to cry. Nothing seems to work. The pain just hits me at weird times and sometimes just wont leave. I understand she was 97 and lived a wonderful life but I still think she left too soon. This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to too. Saying goodbye at the funeral is something I cant imaige and I still hope is just a bad dream.

  • https://www.facebook.com/cecomas Caron Comas

    Thank you for this wonderful list. My son passed away almost 6 years ago now and this has been a very helpful read. I started to jump at some of the initial comments comparing grief from a death to grief from a divorce but I decided better then to say something negative.

  • LeaAnne

    When my grandmother passed all I would do every night for about a week is write her notes in my notebook. Most of the time it was asking why she left me and how could she have left me like that. I was inconsolable for weeks but it did eventually get better. For me writing those letters really helped me move on.

  • Ron

    This list applies very well to those of us with chronic illness who are grieving. The grieving process is very similar. We grieve for our “old selves” and the person’s we used to be. I can be very traumatic a difficult process to overcome. These steps are very helpful and applicable. Also, many times those with a chronic illness don’t realize they are grieving. When they recognize and accept the grieving process, they can then move forward. These steps would help with that. I understand from personal experience.

  • http://gerrywalden.wordpress.com Gerry Walden

    Your thoughtful words brought the memories flooding back. My wife died suddenly in September after a long illness, and I am missing her so much but everything you have said is true. Life has to go forward, I have to go forward, and live the rest of my in her memory.

  • Cryssy

    8 summers ago when we lost our son, God gave me the analogy of losing a back tooth. He said it’s excruciatingly painful at first, bloody & raw, and your tongue will go to the hole over and over and over again, almost constantly at first. Then slowly it begins to heal, the pain begins to lessen, your tongue doesn’t touch it quite as often. As the years go by, the tooth is still missing, but when your tongue does go to the gap, it is no longer a raw, painful hole, but a gentle reminder. Yes, we sometimes still remember the pain, even to the point of feeling fleeting pains now and again, but it is more the memories now. That has held true for us. We enjoy telling the fun stories that make us smile when we remember him, or commenting on something as he would if he were still with us. A stranger told me that every day that passes we are one day closer to our reunion. As believers we know this to be true. I also know that if we go by the Biblical thousand years to a day ratio between heaven and earth, Christopher will still be at the Meet & Greet party when we get there. :)

  • Sandy D

    As someone who became a widow three months after getting married, my mother three months later and then went on to get a divorce after twenty years, lose a sister to a drunk driver, a sister to cancer, and a man I was dating who had a heart attack I could not have written this better. I wish someone had given me this wisdom 30 years ago. Bless you.

    • Linda Pastin

      Dear Sandy, I just read your reply and I can’t believe all you have been through. How strong God has made you. Bless you Sandy and you are in my prayers. Sincerely, Linda

  • Jack

    Thank you for this I lost my son six years ago, and at this time if year, I need all the help I can get. This was great, and a different method of dealing with the grief that lives with me every day. Thank You !!!

  • Paula Roberts

    Glad you did; it’s beautiful how you have him in your granddaughter no mistake…I think God does give us and helps us cope even thru other people even your BO!! Thank you we are in His Grace!!

  • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

    Other practical items people should know about:

    1. Don’t make any big decisions for at least a year. This includes selling the house, moving, etc. You are not thinking clearly (not functioning on all cylinders as the expression goes) and many live to regret the hasty decision they made.

    2. Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself angry at the person who died. As illogical as it sounds this is a normal grief phase. So don’t get hung up on feeling guilty for this emotion – just work through it.

    Oh, and don’t rush the funeral. This bit of wisdom comes from funeral directors. If possible have the funeral on Day 4 (Day 1 being the day of death) Bare with me while I explain:

    Day 2 the family go to the funeral home for their first viewing and their private good bye. They go home and have a rest in prep for Day 3 which is the wake/visitation

    Day 4 is the funeral.

    If you have it this way:

    Day 2 the family say their private goodbyes in the morning, rush home for lunch so that they can be back there for the 2-4 visitation. Then they rush home for supper in so that they are ready for the 7-9 visitation. The observation is by 4 the strain is showing and the 7-9 visitation is even harder than the 2-4.

    Day 3 funeral

    Having that extra day can make a world of difference in how people can cope with this stress – the extra day of rest, coming to terms with having seen their beloved in the coffin, is so beneficial.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Great advice about the funeral, Peggy. Rest is vital in that time, I believe.

      • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

        Thank you. People sometimes just want to get “it” over with, not realizing that the funeral is also a very important step in the grief process. I grieve when I read in the paper “At his request there will be no funeral.” The funeral is not for the deceased. It is for those left behind. If you are told by someone close to you to not have a funeral just smile and nod and when they are gone have the funeral. No funeral really stunts the grieving process.

  • https://www.facebook.com/joe.rhoads.1 Joe Rhoads

    As an evangelical pastor, I am always concerned about being biblical in everything that I say. Although you don’t use Scripture in your list, your list is very biblical. Thank you for putting this list down and putting it in PDF form. I would love to be able to give this to people I do grief counseling to. May I have your permission to give away the PDF form, as long as I make sure I give credit to you?
    Also, #8 comes directly out of the Psalms. Repeatedly King David says some pretty harsh things when he was in deep pain and grief. God can handle it.

    • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

      Joe, I subscribe to the belief “that all truth is God’s truth” which would be in keeping with your post :)

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  • Doris Jaffe

    People experience bereavement many times: Moving to a new community and leaving good friends; changing schools; changing jobs. Obviously nothing compares to the loss of a loved one. There are different stages of grief and everyone follows their own time line. I don’t recall all five while writing this, but anger, denial, and acceptance are three components. We are in denial when death occurs (think – this can’t be happening/it isn’t real), then we feel anger toward the deceased person for leaving us; acceptance is the final step.

    Permit me to share Jewish tradition. When death is expected (perhaps a person is terminally ill and it’s only a matter of hours or minutes until they expire) or unexpected (accident victim) either family members or members of the Chevra Kaddisha (burial society) remains with the person and recites Psalms. Once death occurs,a “shomer” recites Psalms and stays with the body until burial. At the onset of death the immediate family are considered “Onen” and they are exempt from conducting business. Their only concern is making funeral arrangements. We bury as quickly as possible after death so that the holy soul can return to it’s Source. Once the funeral takes place the immediate family members are “aveilim.” They sit shiva for seven days (all employers grant Bereavement Leave) during which family and friends bring them food and offer condolences. Worship services are usually conducted at home so the mourners don’t have to go to a synagogue; others go to synagogue then return home. The period of shiva is the most intense time of mourning within a 30 day period that is called Shloshim. On the day of Shloshim people gather to learn Torah and memorialize the deceased.

    The Kaddish prayer is recited for 11 months but mourning for parents is actually observed for a year during which the mourners do not attend weddings and parties. Mourning for relatives other than parents is only for 30 days. The Kaddish prayer itself is uplifting. It does not mention death but rather praises G-d.

    We are forbidden to mourn excessively. In our time honored tradition there is a healing process kind of built in to it. Yes, we cherish the memories, but realize that life goes on. Very seldom do a husband and wife die at the same time. Usually one survives the other and the survivor needs to remain healthy emotionally and physically.

    Our tradition teaches us to be especially kind to widows and orphans. I have been blessed with very kind people (family, friends, and neighbors) who continually invite me for Sabbath and holiday meals, take me shopping, enrolled in community college classes with me because we share a love of fiber artistry. Yes, the tables have turned. We used to host people for Sabbath and holiday meals and the day will come when I will do it again.

    My sincere condolences to everyone who is having a hard time going through the bereavement process. Encourage yourself to be happy and live life to its fullest.

  • Martin

    Thankfully, I was able to utilize all of these pointers and pass them on to my friends and colleagues. I do often find myself asking “Why?”, however. It is normal. The one that stands out to me most is the “waves” — some bowl you over, others lap at your toes. You need to ride them all. Denying yourself grief is denying that you are human.

  • http://gravatar.com/mizmarymay mizmarymaymary

    you forgot about the anger that also ciomes in waves,…

  • Brian J Smith

    Thanks so much for the reminders. My soul mate of a wife died very suddenly 3-1/2 years ago and I carry on by raising 2 astoundingly wonderful young women who have learned to be incredibly resilient in that time. Our family has learned the secret of a seed, that in order to grow, we must embrace the change.

    The journey is sweetbitter now which is better than the bittersweet experience that I embraced at the time of her death. I have learned what compassion and empathy really mean, and for that I am grateful.

  • Dr. Rick Bata

    Timely my friend as I approach the one year mark. My reflections and your revelations resonate with me. Bless you and your sharing. You hit me right square in the heart!

  • Gloria Pederson

    I lost my mom over 4 years ago, it still pains me , but every day gets a little better, I do a lot of crying in the shower.

    • Caroline

      I know how you are feeling. I lost my Mom a year ago and it still hurts everyday! She was my bestfriend and the strongest person. She fought cancer for years and had won the first battle. Sadly it came back and she fought with everything she had in her. It broke my heart to watch her loss this battle but she tought me to never give up so I do it everyday. I get up and face the world even if I don’t want to. I go out more because life is to short to not make memories and I don’t let negative people in my life anymore, I just move past them on to the next life experience. I have lost so called best friends during this time and I have had life changing medical conditions happen to me and my family. I never expected all this to happen. It’s like that saying ‘life is what happens as you’re making plans’. I have started to say to myself what I do have in life and smiling everyday. Sometimes not focusing on what you don’t have anymore helps. Plus smiling…I know it might seem silly but just smile…it is as simple as that sometimes to make yourself feel a little bit of happiness. God Bless.

  • Candice

    Great advice! I would add… Don’t forget to breath. It feels like someone’s taken your breath away, your inability to move forward when you find out, and how could others keep moving after such horrible news. It will never be the same, yes, but life does go on, one breath at a time, one foot in front of another.

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  • Michelle

    Hi, I just wanted to say that I am sorry for your loss and that your list is very true. I lost my husband going on 9 yrs this coming December. I’m not sure how I made it through the first year, except through pure stubborness andstill have trouble remembering parts of it. This far out in my journey I have learned that the grief will still hit at uncertain times. It hurts the most closer to the sadiversary than other times. You do eventually learn to live with the hole that is your heart and soul. Peace be with you and many blessings.
    Michelle

  • E

    If you’re going to bold whole points, I think you should bold 4 (and the rest) as well. I understand you bold every other point, but usually bold is to say that something is more important than the rest. A lot of the “un-bolded” stuff is important as well. I know it’s a minor point, but it’s just something that bothered me.

    I feel like both 13 and 14 are so important. People rarely ask for help when it’s some personal issue… When someone thinks of therapy or counseling, for whatever reason people brush it off for “crazy” people when it’s something that can help.

    But I do think this post is wonderful. I know when I lost my grandmother, that was the worst point in my life. It took years to just feel better and stop feeling guilt. Every once in a while it hits, but I guess that’s how life is. I’ve blamed God multiple times. I’m not sure where I am with my faith, though.

    • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

      E I think she had every other item in bold not for emphasis but for ease of reading.

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  • Lindy Moran

    I my Dad 4 years ago. Miss him always. My Mom composed a list of all of Dad’s qualities. Now we can all remember the wonderful man he was, not the depressed and angry man he became. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • http://gravatar.com/settledin2 Jim Settle

    We lost our son to a car accident at 19 five years ago. We were amazed at the people who came out of the woodwork to share their stories of loss and comfort us. Understanding the five stages of grief also helped me a lot.

  • http://facebook Bill

    Losing your child is a dull ache, much like what amputation must feel like. The deep down pain never leaves. For my daughter, she now rests in peace.

  • Lois Skipworth

    I ran across this blog about a week ago. I have been married to a preacher for 45 years and just had to retire as a 6th grade teacher after 20 years. I cannot tell you how many students and friends that have had to deal with death. I have found myself attending funerals of my students who have lost a parent, sibling, friend, or grandparent. I have also had to attend those where I said goodbye to one of my students. I know the pain of grief. I lost my Mom, Dad, brother, cousins, grandparents. I am 61 and yesterday at the Thanksgiving table my thoughts wandered to the good times I have in my memory bank. Being a pastor’s wife I found at school that I was always “appointed” to attend funerals and deal with the pain of the students. It was an honor for me not a dreaded assignment. Some would say “I don’t know what to say.”. My philosophy was always you don’t have to say anything. Just be there, hug, love and tell them you are there if they need you. They will talk when they are ready. I posted your blog on my wall. Immediately it was shared and there was a note “We need this desperately right now.” I’m in Alabama and they were in Mississippi. Thank you for posting this blog. I have shared it on my FB. While you are grieving my friend God is using your words in a mighty way. Every post brings me closer to God and helps me remember that through grief we can comfort each other by talking about those we love so much. It’s like a broom straw. You can easily break one. Yet, you put several together and try to break them and it is impossible. This group will help all of us grow stronger. Thank you all for touching my heart. I have added each one to my prayer list. God bless you all.

    • Lois Skipworth

      Grief never ends….But it changes.
      It’s a passage, not a place to stay.
      Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor
      A lack of faith……it is the price of
      Love. – unknown author

      • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

        Queen Elizabeth II, after losing her sister and her Mother 6 weeks apart, said “Grief is the price we pay for Love.” ~ 2002 September 02

  • Shelly

    Teryn, thank you for sharing, that is exactly how it is & it is very well put. I have learned to embrace the crosses the Lord has given me to bare in this very-short-life here. In 20-short years, I have had to learn this lessons well in my own journey of taking God’s hand & letting Him lead me through the loss of my father, my “17″ year old son, my son’s best friend “20″ years old, my adopted son’s twin sister, grandparents, aunts, unlces, cousin’s children, dear friend’s, friend’s children’s, & then my precious “22″ year old daughter “3″ years ago. This is “not” an easy journey & one I would never picked for myself, but by taking my Savior’s Hand & letting Him walk with me through it; what an amazing journey it has been & I embrace each new day with a perspective I could have never imagined in my wildest dreams. God never intended for it to be this way & some sweet day; all will be made right again. I Praise God how He chose’s to bring the comfort, if we will just let Him. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 & then Isaiah 25:6-9
    Thank you so much. God Bless You

  • Leigh

    One thing that was impressed upon me recently was some friends whose parent had willed their body to a local medical school for training purposes. I’m sure the loved one wanted to save the family the funeral expenses and to help research. However, the fact that the medical facility takes over immediately, it is like your loved one just disappears. No viewing, no goodbyes, no closure. Those that are out of the area are truly left in the lurch. I believe that the healing is best started when there is a definitive moment of closure. Closure, for me, was when all my “coast to coast” siblings got to say their goodbyes with the full support of our family. Their knowing, as Mom’s primary care-giver, I had done the best I could for our mom. This brought a sense of peace from which I could rejoin the “land of the living” and start the healing process.
    After hearing the wounded words of my friend’s situation, I rethought my own decision to “save the family money” and donate my body. Instead, I took out a small life insurance policy to cover those expenses until such time as I could talk to my loved ones about my desire. After all, they are my loved ones and I am theirs.
    Thanks for listening. That is a great gift to the grieving.

  • Leigh

    The Holidays are generally difficult for those who grieve. Knowing this and being prepared is half the battle. Again, don’t shut your self off from others and don’t be too proud to ask for help. I understand that most of the “condolence” cards. etc. end before 6 months have passed. Be aware of this milestone in the wake of a friends’ loss. Again. Be prepared.

  • Evelyn Schnaider

    My husband died suddenly year ago on Dec 15 2005

  • Hugh Johnson

    Useful article until i hit item #8. Why ruin a good article by introducing folklore into a serious event. Meh.

    • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

      you know for those who believe in this ‘folklore’ who is it hurting? To them their belief is a real thing and this belief has been shown to bring great comfort. Why is that wrong? And, what if in the end it turns out it was folk lore? Didn’t hurt them at all. On the other hand if it did turn out to be truth….

      • PATTY SLEE

        THANK YOU PEGGY, THAT IS SO TRUE. I PERSONALLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW TO LIVE WITHOUT KNOWING GOD. WITHOUT GOD’S LOVE I WOULD FEEL WORTHLESS,WITHOUT MATTER.

    • Jenny Lee

      Oh Hugh – I am so sorry you feel that talking about the Lord is folklore – to those of us who believe, the Lord is our Anchor. I will pray that your eyes will be opened and you will know His love and peace in your life.

  • Linda

    Very well said, I do agree with one of the comments about adding anger as it is truly a part of the grieving process.

    • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

      So important – if you don’t know that you waste a lot of energy trying to deal with the guilty feelings you have for being angry at them for dying. Knowing that it is a normal feeling lifts a huge load off the shoulders.

  • Bernadine Livesay Barker

    When my oldest son (of 3) died at 25 in a farm accident 27 years ago, I wish I had had these “15 Things I Wish I’d Known About Grief” to absorb into my thoughts. I had just been divorced 1 year, 3 months, and 9 days when it happened. Up to that time I thought divorce was the worst experience in my life and the worst possible that could ever happen. That event sure put Divorce down in the pile of life’s losses after Ryne’s death. I had studied the Grief Process and Compulsive Gambling’s Effects on the lives of family members to try to help my children and myself so I had a few thoughts about Grief to cling to, but there was so much more I needed. That “so much more that I needed” surely had some good points in those 15. Thanks for sharing.

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  • http://lillierhodesmanley.com Lillie

    Thanks. That was beautiful. I am learning to be content with the wonderful life I had with my wonderful husband and embrace the sweet memories. I am learning to be content with who I am now and what our Lord has called me to do, always looking forward to the wonderful reunion we will have with our Lord and each other.

  • Valerie Hudgens

    Grief starts before the loss….unless it is a sudden loss, the loss is a deep, gnawing pain that awaits the moment when the loss can no longer be prolonged….I fear what comes next.

  • Kimberly blevins

    I lost my Daddy two years ago , then my Grandma 5 months ago and then I lost my 3year old Dog in Oct….I have learned that dealing with grief comes in different forms.
    Like…with my grandma I thought I had prepared myself, because she was old and frail and knowing that death is to be expected , But I found that I wasn’t prepared , It bother me that her ashes where here in Kansas, she she was from Va. and the family moved her here in Kansas so we could care for her…So I wake up 1 morning a month later and said to my husband, there something I had to do, so I could move on….I made plans to take her home…. Her Great Great Great Granddaughter (age 9) and I Took off for Va to take her home…I can’t speak for the 9 year old, but as for me, i gained a memory …My granddaughter and I shared a moment in my Grandma’s Name, yes i miss her ,think of her often and i have shed a tear or two,but i am at peace knowing she’s no longer suffering When it comes to my Daddy that’s a whole different story. The ache feels like its never going to stop, I have how ever managed to find peace with going home for a visit , and i have grandma to thank for helping me to take that step, cause i had not been home since my daddy passed, something i didn’t want to face, i felt as long as i was in kansas , call home ….no answer…..dads was just out and about,…….ill call him later…….. yes denial…….but now ;i’m at the stage that i realize he is gone for good…and there is this big void that i feel, There’s also anger cause my dad was an insulator and he fell victim to asbestos cancer……He was 65 and i find that age to be young in today’s world……so i’m stilling with grief when it come’s to my daddy, but i know i must live on in the real world, cause he always told me and thought me that the most important thing in life was “FAMILY” and I must carry that on to my kid, her kids and there kids down threw the generations , maybe then when I’m ready to move on to the gates of heaven I might find comfort in knowing that I carried the importance of family on as my daddy did for me……Then the grief i feel for the death of my dog, Its still fresh, but i learned that you can’t take things for granted , cause COURAGE was a great buddy and in a matter of minutes he was gone….Out of habit I still yell his name …………
    Well thanks for letting me vent and get these thoughts an feelings off my mind and chest….it sure helped lighten the load for the moment…….kimberly

  • Priscilla Kiley

    Thank you, sometimes I just need to be reminded that I am not going through this alone. My son passed away December 21, 2012, he was 24. My feelings are all over the place when I think about his one year anniversary. This is truly the most difficult thing I have experienced in my life.

    • Jenny Lee

      Priscilla – I will pray for you as you go through the Holidays especially – we have lost 2 daughters and I will tell you it does eventually get a bit better. I still cry, but now I laugh, I miss them terribly, but I am thankful they are not in any pain, I want to hold them, I pray for the Lord to let them know how much my heart misses them. Bless you.

  • http://gravatar.com/radareditor radareditor

    This is great! I’m sure it is helpful to so many people who have grieved or are grieving. The 15 things you listed are spot on. Two things that should be included, especially for parents who have lost a child. 1. Guilt and 2. Anger

  • Debby

    I lost my dad jus a month and a half ago and it is really hard right now with the holidays and his bday soon. I just feel like it is a dream and I will wake up. But I have felt a few of the things u talk about. All I want is my Daddy home.

    • Lisa

      Debby’s, I know exactly how you feel!! It’s been 4 yrs and I still want my daddy home. He was a hand holder! God how I wish I could feel my hand in his just one more time. My 30 old som mentioned to me about how soft papa’s hands were….touched my heart that he knew that feeling like I did. My son and I hold hands when we walk together…I know he’s ok with it cause he saw my dad and walk hand and hand many times. I remember the waves!!!! This is so true but the waves hit less frequently than they did before. Just when I thought I was going to be ok…I lost my mom! That cycle started over again…it’s been 1 1/2 yrs since mom passed and I pray I can be only half as graceful thru her acceptance with death as she was. Her death wasn’t as hard (maybe because I had already lost a parent). My moms strength, acceptance, amazing FAITH, and wanting to be with her soul mate helped us ( as much as it can losing someone you love so much) let her go because she was ready to go be with Jesus and be with my dad again….we couldn’t do anything but encourage her to go.

  • Vivian Wilson

    Has anyone mentioned the feeling of wanting to run away from it all. I still feel this at times, and I lost my husband of 59 years at Thanksgiving season 2 years ago. However, I haven’t figured out where to run exactly. This fact makes me feel like a coward. …….VW

    • Jenny Lee

      To Vivian – Don’t feel like a coward, if you really need to run – run to the Lord! He can help you to deal with those feelings. We’ve been dealing with the loss of 2 daughters 1 died 18 years ago and 1 died 6 years ago, it will slowly get better, you have to find a new normal – one of the things that helped me was a grief good called ‘Heaven-bound’ We don’t say their death date – we say their Heaven-bound birth date. I will pray that you find comfort for your loss. God bless you, especially as you deal with the Holidays.

    • Lisa

      Vivian-running is a normal feeling I believe. I’ve lost bony father-in-law and both my parents in four years. Running seems to be the way I escape the moment…but running ( usually long drive in car) gives me some alone time with God and my own feelings. Sometimes I cry, scream, hit the steering wheel until my hands hurt. I have gone to the lake ( 3 hrs from my home) and sat on the dam and thrown the biggest rocks into the water I could possibly pick up…just to wear myself our, exhaust the feelings raging inside of me. Ps my dad was born and raised in wv! Hang in there. It definitely comes in waves!!!!

    • Susan

      Yes! It has only been 8 months since I lost the love of my life, but during that time I have often thought that I would like to run away to some place where no one knows me, where I don’t feel like people are constantly watching me to see how I’m doing, or expecting me to be doing much better by now. Don’t feel like a coward. You are anything but. You are a woman who lost her love and she has to figure out life without him. Every feeling and emotion is legitimate and understandable. Be kind to yourself.

    • Julie

      Vivian, yes I do want to run away from it all. It’s been 18 months for me, and I feel exactly the same way: to where do I run, and am I a coward? It does help to run to God, but I think the feeling comes back again, and it’s a constant battle. Still, He is the place to go, again and again, and He will welcome you with open arms every time. I read that grief is the price of love, and I believe that is true.

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  • Sheryl

    Today would have been our 28th anniversary but death stole away the physical aspect of my dear beloved Bob. I miss him, my heart aches, I cry and I smile at the sweet memories we made during those 27 years!

  • p. ray

    Thank you, and I am sorry for your loss

  • Jan

    For many years the minister of one of the churches in our small town held “Blue Christmas” services. A place where folks could go and acknowledge that Christmas can be an especially painful time. There was great peace in being able to acknowledge this. Highly recommend that more pastors look into this as the greatest # of suicides and crisis calls come in the next few weeks.

  • Steve

    Perhaps the hardest one for me to work through is number 7 on your list. I kept wondering where all of my “true” friend were and why they faded out of the support structure so quickly. The honest truth behind that is their life is going on all the while you are living a different life. I have also been struck by the number of people whom I hardly knew before my family’s ordeal emerged as completely new relationships. I will work on the being prepared to give others grace and I will prepare myself to work through hurt and forgiveness at other’s reactions. Thank you for this.

    • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

      Well Steve, I hear you. Sometimes I feel it is necessary to be blunt with people. They are feeling uncomfortable (what do I say, I don’t want to upset Steve, I don’t want to make him cry….) are the feelings they are dealing with. And it is easier to avoid than confront. Tell the bluntly how you feel.

      Say:

      “Hey, don’t be afraid of how I will react. I am still me and I still need all of you.”

      “Invite me to things. Don’t assume I won’t be interested. Let me make that decision. And don’t be offended if the decision is ‘no’ and don’t stop inviting me.”

      “Be honest with me – don’t keep saying ‘I’m sorry’ [I already know that]. Tell me you want to help and be there for me but don’t know how. You may be surprised by my answer – which will change often.”

  • Greg

    Excellent and helpful

  • Donna

    Hi my name is Donna. Its been 4 months now that my husband has died .It was quick we went away for march break our son was with us .my husband got very ill we thought it was the flu .Only to get the news he was full of cancer and has only few months to live .I could not belive what was happening to us .My husbands only wish was to be at home to died in peace with us myself and his kids.it all went so fast .I am 49 years old and it seems so cruel for me to be left alone .I sit and think if I could just have that day back July 27 /2013 to do things different but that can never happnen my heart is so broken for now I still can”t belive that hes gone .Guess it just takes timr.thank you for this message .

  • Sharon Jones

    I just lost my husband of 17+ years this past September. Thank you for this list. It’s been hard fighting through all the different emotions. Thank you for letting me know, it’s ok.

  • gale lynd

    Thank you for this list. Just 7 months ago I lost my 18 year old daughter to suicide. She hung herself in our basement and I found her. Have truly been struggling. I have been a Christian for 30 and just am so sad.

    • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

      Gale, I hurt for you. That has to be the worse thing to happen. And please – realise that you are also probably going to suffer PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) so make sure you get counselling to work through this, too. Wish we had it for our then 18 year old son who found his 15 year old brother – same thing. I see how it is affecting his life 12 years later and will continue until he is willing to let the wound open and get some help in the healling.

      • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

        Oh and when you go through the “I wish I had….” type of feelings, bring yourself up short and say “Well, I didn’t. And it won’t bring her back. I need to forgive myself and let it go.” It is a deliberate choice to say those things.

  • Jenny Lee

    Your 15 things about grief are so very true!!

    I must tell you that we’ve lost 2 daughters to cystic fibrosis – the oldest died in 1995, she was 22 1/2 – The other daughter died in 2007, she was 31. She died on her Daddy’s (my husband’s) 60th birthday. I still cry, I still feel the loss and the sadness. I still wish I could hold them again and tell them I love them. However – I’ve decided not to let my husband’s birthday become a point of sorrow for him (or me) and so I have made it our vacation time – however – he never knows where we’re going. I spend a whole year planning for his special time – this year, summer of 2013, I planned for a driving trip in the NW United States with an 8 day Alaskan cruise in the middle. So our trip was 18 days. I had the full itinerary planned out, all the hotels picked out and paid for, food and gasoline money set aside, trip to Alaska paid for. I made arrangements with friends along the way to meet us for lunch or dinner as we travelled through various areas, and I made arrangements with some of his friends for an overnight visit. The trip for 2014 is fully developed, and I am looking forward to the surprise when he finally figures out what the destination is!

    • Steve

      Quite simply brilliant. I think this is an exceptional way to travel through this journey. Find the good in the experience and allow memory to become a grand reason to make new memories. I try to think of it in a way where if they were sitting right here, right now, would they want me sitting here moaping and crying and sad? I know I’d be kicking people in the tail and telling them to get busy living if I were the one who passed or was lost.

      • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

        I echo Steve – start a good tradition. For our two boys on the anniversary of their death we head off to their favourite restaurants in the area and have a meal in their honour. We often have friends join us for the meal (they pay for their own of course ha ha) and it is a positive time.

  • http://peacejoylove8593.wordpress.com lmg8593

    Reblogged this on Peace. Joy. Love. ♥.

  • brian burgess

    in 2001 my father killed his wife and then himself. i had to tell my young son what had happened,and i`ll never forget his reply. i thought he was a man

  • Phyllis Manning

    My daughter died two days before her 57th birthday, from early onset Alzheimer’s. She wanted to be cremated, and we have done that. Her memorial service will be this coming Monday at the church where she and our other two daughters grew up, were confirmed, and one daughter was married.

    She was married to a lovely man who was of the Jewish faith, and who died February, 2007. I appreciate the words of the person about Jewish traditions.

    Nothing really helps. We just have to live through this. Please, God.

    • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

      Phyllis I encourage you to focus on one day at a time. God is not there for your tomorrow concerns. He gives you strength for TODAY. And when tomorrow comes well what do you know – it is now today and He is still there for you. If one day at a time is too hard, then on one hour at a time. We only walk one step at a time, put our clothes on one leg at a time – we need to take each day 1 minute, 1 hour at a time.

  • Stacey

    Don’t let your loss define who you are. Work through your grief in your timing but still remember that you are still the same you.

    • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

      In some ways you are the same you. But you have experienced something that many of your friends/family have never experienced – yet. And it will change you in ways you never expected.

      For example you will be more sensitive to others who are grieving, and won’t say things like “We’ll maybe it was for the best” at the most inappropriate time. (Even if we all know that Uncle so-and-so had been suffering greatly and death was a blessing!)

      • Julie

        I agree that you will never be the same you. I keep trying to find that same me within myself, and it’s frightening not to find her. I don’t know who lives in here anymore, and it makes me just a little angry to read that it’s the same you in there. I know the person meant well, but the only “same me” I can tap into is the vulnerable and frightened one. It’s been 18 months since my husband died – it is not a short road.

  • http://Facebook Tanya Lealaiauloto

    This is very true, as I read this tears started falling down, Because everything I read is what I’m going through it helps to know that you are not alone. My husband died in January this year and it seems like it just happened yesterday, there’s time I felt so down like the end of the world is here, but I always think of my beautiful two children that I and my husband have together, and they are the ones who give me the strength and hope to go on, they are all I have and I am all they have. Good thoughts enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Isabell

    Sorry Stacey I strongly disagree after losing my Dad Mum Brother Auntie and Grandaughter there is no way I am the same person and I never will be that person again.

    • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

      I appreciated your reply to Stacey. Often people, especially in the early stages of grief, feel that way. All a part of coming to grips with reality.

      I remember 6-8 weeks after burying our 15 year old son I was at an adult church retreat at our local camp. I knew better but I still sat at a table on the Saturday afternoon and said, “Okay, I’m tired of grieving. Can I stop now?” (That got me a number of hugs. Worth it! :) )

      I did respond to Stacey and wrote:

      “In some ways you are the same you. But you have experienced something that many of your friends/family have never experienced – yet. And it will change you in ways you never expected.

      “For example you will be more sensitive to others who are grieving, and won’t say things like “We’ll maybe it was for the best” at the most inappropriate time. (Even if we all know that Uncle so-and-so had been suffering greatly and death was a blessing!)”

  • Pat

    My husband of 55 years died on October 25. We had learned in June that his prostate cancer of 13 years ago had metastasized into the bone. My first big hurdle was a house repair item that I had no clue how to handle–he had taken care of everything related to the house, cars, etc. I was struck defenseless with the realization, “I am going to have to live alone and take care of myself for the rest of my life!” I have never lived alone in my 75 years. Then I thought of my friends who have been widows, living alone and taking care of themselves for DECADES, some even raising their children alone. Then I thought of my friends who have lived alone and taken care of themselves because their husbands went off with someone else! I had many more years of happiness than some of my friends, so I thank God for that and take hope for future sources of joy. Doesn’t really make it much easier right now, but it’s an assurance I know I can trust.

  • Susan

    Grief is selfish, it’s okay to be selfish. Who knows better than you this rollercoaster ride of emotions you are riding. Selfish does not mean it is all about you, or that you are ignoring others who need you or that you are refusing comfort from those
    placed in your life to be a help to you. Selfish just means you really need to take a quiet moment in time to be by yourself to experience the pain or hurt or to refocus so that you can move forward again and receive loving kindness, help and assistance.

  • Aileen Braverman

    Great read on a sad, yet part of life.
    Thru my loses at a young age, I have noticed that life shifts.
    What was true one day was not the next.
    I can be working, or just be with people, etc. & a tear with just fall down my
    check.
    My heart is filled with people I love & lost.
    Thanks to whomever wrote this article giving people permission to live with loss.

  • http://gravatar.com/judles2012 judles2012

    Thank you for writing this article. My mind is starting to have more and more clear days. Friends and family have been comforting. I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer 2 years ago. The prognosis was not good. I knew I had to be brave and prepare my daughter whom I adored for what was to come. After Chemo, major surgery and 8 weeks in rehab I returned home.

    Five days later, my daughter died.

    Your list is true. Nothing happens in any particular order, I found.

    Thankfully the cancer is in remission. I try to live one day at a time.

    For me, the Grief seems to have a path of its own.

    It’s 1 year and 4 months. She was my best friend and I adored her, and I still do.

    We are Human, after all. I never knew that one could experience such depths of such despair.
    For me it’s the most personal journey of my life.

    • Susan

      As I sat alongside my fiancé while he valiantly fought but eventually lost his battle with lung cancer 8 months ago, I know the toll that cancer and treatment can take on you and those you love. To fight and win, only to lose your beloved daughter, is a pain I cannot imagine. I am so very sorry for your profound loss.

  • http://Facebook David G. Titus

    I lost my wife on May 20th, 2009, after 40 years together. Suddenly all alone, Lost and not knowing what do do. Feeling so alone. No one to love, no one to share things with. The first year was terrible. Lots of grieving. Lots of crying Many nights crying into her pillow next to me and soaking it. Calling out to God. Asking Him Why. At first, blaming Him. Feeling angry at Him, Hating Him.. Spontaneous bouts of crying at work and while driving home in the car. Coming home to an empty house, Cooking and eating meals alone. At night, going to sleep alone in an empty bed, Waking up in the morning alone, no one beside you. Breaking into tears whenever I heard her name mentioned, or heard a favorite song of hers. Spending many weekends alone, no desire to go anywhere, no one to do things with. .
    Then finally realizing that it wasn’t God’s fault at all. Praying to Him, asking Him to forgive me for my anger towards Him, my selfishness. Telling Him that I loved Him. Knowing that she was a very sick person. Knowing now that God was being merciful towards her, taking her Home to be with Him, no more sickness, no more pain. Now praying to God, thanking Him for His Love, His Mercy, His Grace and thanking Him for helping me to understand Why and for giving me the strength to continue on without her.

    We have a Forgiving, Loving God, full of Mercy, full of Grace. He sent His only Son to take away all of our sins, and to provide us a way to Heaven. Thank You God, Thank You Jesus. We owe You so much. Glory Be To You, Forever And Ever! Amen!

  • http://uth.navig8.biz/peggy Peggy Bendell

    Death is the pits.

    That is how I summarize it in 4 words.

    And in reading a LOT of the comments here I am sure all of you would agree with me. It is the pits for those of us who are left behind.

    That doesn’t mean our life is over. I encourage you to re-read many of the posts here. They may encourage you, help you realize you aren’t alone,etc.

  • Lynn

    My mother died 4 years ago Oct 3rd. It did get better in time however I still miss her so very much. My thoughts go to all the family events incl with my children that she has missed. I miss calling her and having her advice and encouragement as the person who always loved me most. To not have that person anymore leaves you feeling all alone despite marriage, children, some friends. Nobody cares for you as much as your mother. I have needed her for some very big things and now I have to handle all the big things alone with no support system. It is very hard so for me my life will never go back to normal. It did make me more alone.

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  • Bronwyn Palmer

    Wise words! I agree with what you said about grief coming in waves. I have learned to acknowledge the feelings, allow them to come and not resist them. In this way, you kind of ride the wave instead of being swamped by it. The other thing I realised is that the anger that comes is part of your defence mechanism. The anger gives you a kind of energy and distracts you from the enormity of your loss.

    Grace is so important. Grace towards others who say the wrong things at the wrong times, who are clumsy in their efforts to comfort you; but also grace towards yourself. Being kind and gentle to yourself is important.

    And no emotion is wrong. Don’t ever tell yourself “I shouldn’t be feeling this way.”

    My love to all who are walking this grief journey. It is indeed, as you said, a profound one. xx

  • http://anabragahenebrysjournal.blogspot.com Ana

    It has been very interesting following these comments. It occurred to me that what was the most real and helpful to me is faith. The fact that I know her soul is made for eternity–that we shall still enjoy great times together–and that indeed I can still talk to her, she is listening. Also the concept of redemptive suffering, so theologically rich. Offering our suffering to God as a catalyst for good is profound and beautiful. What we ten children saw in our mother’s suffering and death has been the best lesson she has taught us. What has healed and kept me going, thus, is the fact that I continue to learn from her example and the Christian Hope that we shall be rejoined one day in the life that God has designed for those who love Him.

  • Sandi

    I lost my marriage to Alzheimer’s. While my husband is still alive, of which I am grateful, my marriage is dead. I will always be faithful to him and I do visit him as much as I can. It is still what some call the long goodbye and that is true. He still remembers me, but doesn’t remember his kids very much, but he remembers his ex-wives. He remembers some friends from long long ago, but is usually what we call ‘down the rabbit’s hole.’ I miss him terribly but he is safe and happy where he is at and I am left to figure out the rest of my life without him as an integral part of our marriage. I am working with the pain and it is just like you said every moment, hour, day or month changes as far as the type of pain and depth of the pain. I am blessed that I have my faith and my children to help me. Also I know myself really well and finally accept who and what I am.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      That must be so hard, Sandi–to lose someone before he’s even actually dead like that. My heart goes out to you. May you find God’s comfort and peace even in the midst of this time.

  • Andy McNair

    This is awesome information & so true! Grief is such a weird animal & can sneak up on u! I also think that time does help. I think keeping busy by helping others helps also.

  • Pat

    I just lost my Husband of 29 years on August 8th, Not just 4 months ago, My world has gone. He was my everything. I am going through all the 15 steps you posted, one minute I am fine and the next I am crying . I do not know where I am going in my life, I am so depressed, I also have put people who care for me to the side, I just want to be alone, but I want company, I am so confused. My family was there for me for the funeral, but when all said and done I’m alone. I’m angered , I yell Why? Life right now sucks it is so new and raw. I am so tired of people saying all will be fine , time will heal, Excuse me I am the one going into the empty house I am the one make dinner for one, shopping for one, all new for me, and I hate it. But I know it has to be done and I have to cry, and I have to yell and scream, to get the emotions out, and I do. Its the anger, its the alone, it the new life .God knows I am trying,I’m asking for the courage, strength, direction to go. I will get through this and here we go again time, time will heal. One moment at a time , one hour one day. I am a strong person .

  • Mary Kangas

    I printed the document to mail to my son in law who is currently incarcerated in a State Prison. He was married to my daughter at the time of her death and they were not speaking when she tragically drowned. He has not been able to deal with any of the normal, physical things that most of us are able to do such as visiting the death scene, talking to her ashes box, grieving with family & friends. I try to support him as much as I can so I appreciate being able to print this out in PDF format and mail it to him.
    We not only lost my daughter (his wife) to a sudden accidental death, there are no clear reasons how or why it happened. Foul play could also be considered in more ways than one. These things just compound the grief and loss. Most days I don’t know how to go on and I look for anything to give me hope that someday I might be able to find a new normal. At this time of the holidays my grief is unbearable. All the memories of just one year ago. If someone would have told me this would be her fate I would have never in a billion years believed it. Thank you for this website and your thoughts.
    Best regards, from Iowa.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Mary, so sorry to hear of this tragedy. My own best friend was allegedly murdered, and the possibility of foul play adds a whole new layer to grief. But I’m so glad you might find some kind of comfort and hope on this blog. And I’m very touched you’d send this to your incarcerated son. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your son right now.

  • Lori Thompson

    Thank you for this excellent information Teryn. My daughter Brooke was a victim of domestic violence and was murdered in 2002 when she was 22-years-old. To add to this tragedy, her 5-year-old daughter Taylor was in the next room watching TV when it happened. She didn’t see anything, but she heard it all. Poor thing. She is 16-years-old now and misses her mom terribly, which breaks my heart too. In addition to my grief, there is also anger towards the man who stabbed my daughter to death. During her murder trial he smiled, smirked, and winked at us. Pure evil. He is in Stillwater prison in Minnesota, but only got 25 years and could be out in 17 with good behavior. That’s a scary thought for us too because there’s no way he is being rehabilitated in there. He will be more evil than ever when he gets out. Please pray for us. Thank you.

  • http://debragrayelliott.blogspot.com/ Debra Elliott

    Thank you so much for sharing. I lost my youngest daughter 6 months ago when she was only 27 and it’s very hard for me to move forward at times. We had five emotionally charged weeks together. I was blessed to have her for one last Mother’s Day.

  • https://www.facebook.com/layne.jex1 Layne Jex

    I just pray a lot it helps , my sole mate went back to her abuser it was like a nightmare u can’t wake up from, 15 things I wish I’d known about Grief, is solution , and I feel your pain, If there a will there is a way, It helps , I am throughing you a hug. LJ

  • Colleen cop

    Reading everyone’s post makes me realize that we are traveling the same journey. Grieving is the most personal and private experience you will ever go through It is yours to keep for the rest of your life , own it and embrace it . I would say that grief almost has its own entity where it sits silently waiting for you , without warning it arrives unexpected and you only can hope that you are surrounded by understanding people. It’s been 18 years since our son was killed yet some days it feels like yesterday We’ve been so blessed to have him in our lives and I thank the universe everyday for his love

  • http://betsyfranz.blogspot.com/ Betsy

    That is absolutely perfect. I lost my husband at the end of October and you have described what I have learned about the process beautifully.

  • Emily Sheehan

    My ‘mother-in-law’ shared this blog with me through Facebook. I’m glad she did. I’ve spent the last year taking care of my step-grandmother, during my first pregnancy and for the first five months of my daughter’s life. My grandma was ninety two years old and her mind had started to go as well as her body. I didn’t take a lot of what she had to say seriously, or see any significance in our repeatitive conversations on a daily basis. Each day that passes I remember her voice mentioning something I missed while she was still here. My daughter also got her first tooth on Thanksgiving; it was a very emotional day. I think what’s stopped me from getting any closure is that I want to tell her these things. I’m not ready to let go. I still want her in my life, and my daughter’s as well. It’s also hard knowing that my daughter will never remember her. This is the first I’ve publicly said much about her at all, and it feels good. I actually hadn’t been online for the past couple of months because I was avoiding everyone’s condolences. I give my thanks for letting me relieve a little more of what I’ve been holding onto.

  • Kelly

    This is a great list. I am an only child who lost my dad when I was 25 and my mom when I was 33. I am now 44 and I still have days when I miss one of both of them terribly or just ache that my beauticul never had the chance to know them. While it does not seem fair, I try not to dwell on it. I now have opportunities I would not have taken had my parents still been alive, like relocating last year to a warmer climate 1000 mi from where I grew up. And I am eternally grateful for the wonderful childhood they gave me. Also, smaller bumps in the road seem like just that: minor inconsequential things after the deep losses I suffered at a young age. I will definitely share this list with those close to me who face grief and struggles in their lives.

  • patti G

    A friend sent me this to read. I lost my brother on 8/20/13, my very best friend on10/3/13, and my mother on 10/6/13. Three losses all so fast. I am beyond words, just the unpredictable days that greet me with emptiness, painful sorrow, and the strong person I was doesn’t feel so strong. Im actually afraid of my feelings. I have no identity right now, I have not given up on the lord, I don’t blame or hate him, I just don’t understand how he would think I could handle this all at once. I have internalized so much Im sick to my stomach daily .. I just want to crawl in bed with my thoughts prayers each night when I get home. I don’t want to be out there in the world , It hurts to muc.

  • Linda

    Beautifully stated and every one spot on! It’s almost 20 years since my daughter (age 8) died. Grief work made me a stronger and better person! One of the things that I share often is: It’s a choice – to be better, or bitter! I choose to be better – I’d hate to live out my life as a bitter person that no one would want to be around. Bless you as you continue on your journey.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      I like that thought, Linda. You choose to be bitter or better. It IS a choice.

    • http://mannagold.ca Peggy Bendell

      You are so right – BITTER or BETTER – it is a deliberate choice.

  • kelly

    These are all such emotional stories, my heart goes out to you all. I am actually the step-sister of the person a couple posts up, Emily Sheehan. Losing my grandma was very hard on the whole family. She wasn’t just our grandma, she was our family angel. She always worried about everyone, just to have a peace of mind that everyone was okay. She had the most caring heart and was so strong-willed. I also do not want to let her go yet but I know she is exactly where she wants to be. She is finally in no more pain and thinking about it in that sense, making me feels relieved. I loved that woman so much. It almost feels like I didn’t realize how much until now. Another reason why it was even harder on me is that I lost my mother when I was eleven years old and you can only imagine how much I didn’t understand only being eleven. It hurt very much and I feel as if I have been grieving through my life. At different times of course. I am almost twenty-one now and becoming a woman, growing up without a mom is very difficult but I guess that’s where my grandma filled in as well, she was another motherly figure I could look up to and it was such a warm feeling. I miss them both so very much, it hurts just writing this but I know they are together looking down on the family just smiling, talking about all kinds of memories. This blog does help me even more now because I can relate to a lot of them and maybe now it can be easier to understand it. Thank you very much!

  • Karen

    It was Friday. I got off of work, went by and had my car washed, picked up a couple of steaks and headed home. Drove up to the accident site and recognized my/our motorcycle sitting on a tow/wreck truck. He was still there..

    1. There were times when I was completely certain that it was actually me who died… and I’d gone to HELL.
    2. I used to write letters to him.. still do sometimes….

  • https://www.facebook.com/kimphil Kim Phillips

    I learned that the 5 Stages of Grief, that have been so long accepted as fact, are more harmful than helpful. More about that here: http://lucidatrandom.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/really-good-grief/

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Yes, I never found the 5 stages of grief helpful for myself, either. But maybe some do.

      • https://www.facebook.com/kimphil Kim Phillips

        The book I refer to really debunks that whole myth. The “five stages” were meant to comfort the sufferer, not the grievers for them, and was based on very specious grounds. The main problem I have with a formulaic approach, especially that one, is that it implies there is one right way to grieve, and if you don’t do it right, you have to start over. Grief is entirely particular to the griever.

    • http://mannagold.ca Peggy Bendell

      Interesting article. Doesn’t mean that everything she said is wrong. Some of these things (like maybe those ‘stages’ [I prefer emotions] plus what Teryn wrote with my additions and others) if we know before hand these things then when it is, unfortunately, our turn, we are prepared. An example I can think of is giving birth. For centuries women feared labour and delivery. But with the onset of LaMaze and other pre-natal practises we knew what was happening and that our emotions, the pain, etc., we could face all this with knowledge. Didn’t take away the pain! but helped knowing that it was normal.

  • Jim

    I lost my 24 year old Son in a drowning accident this past July. Honestly, we were best friends. The pain over my loss has consumed me. Life will never be the same again. My Son and I had been working on a farmhouse, restoring it. It has now become an obsession. I must say, I feel him still working with me and that provides me with some comfort.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      I think it helps to continue doing something your loved one was passionate about in their honor. I write novels (and I’m hoping to get published) because my best friend and I loved writing and dreamed of becoming novelists. I now write to honor her name. And I do feel as if she’s with me when I write. Thanks for the comment, Jim.

  • http://Facebook Deb Sharon

    Thank you for this !!!! I just lost my 21 year old son from a hanging. You have hit everything in the 15 that I have asked thought and woundered about. This will be kept on hand so I can read and go back to everytime I need it. I just feel that it can’t and couldn’t happen and it has and did. THANK YOU FOR SHARING!!!!!!!

  • http://cleverwhatever.wordpress.com cleverwhatever

    Reblogged this on cleverwhatever.

  • Sharon

    I have grieved over the loss of myself. Because I endured so much trauma as a child, The “real me” was lost. Grieving isn’t only about losing a loved one. I lost my mother 7 years ago. I definitely grieved over this loss… even now sometimes I really miss her!

    However, losing who I was created to be has been a very serious revelation to me. It has taken a long time to grieve through this because more losses would come up. I have very few memories of my past. Some memories have come to the conscious level recently.

    My point in sharing this is to say, that it isn’t only the loss of an important person in our lives. There are all kinds of losses… such as losing a job, or getting a divorce, etc. The process is the same for these kinds of things too.

    • https://www.facebook.com/patricia.garretson.5 Patricia Garretson

      Hello Sharon, I was moved by your comment about “losing ” ourself as well. This is how I have felt all my life and I have recently lost my brother on 8/20/13, my 26 year best friend on 10/3/13, and 3 days later my mother 10/6/13. I fell and still do into a sinking hole, and the worse feeling of the pain of all 3 losseses, is that i am even farther away then knowing who I am. Your comment hit home. thank you.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      This is a really good point, Sharon. We can lose ourselves, too. I know I grieve parts of me that are forever beyond repair.

  • Donna

    Hi I lost my husband 4 months ago .to me it all seems like a dream it all went so fast .my Husband started to not feel well on our holidays in march we took our son .with us we got back and seen doctor went to hosptail and was told he had cancer and he had 4 to 5 months to live .I took my husband home only to take him back .then was told he had couple weeks .He lasted 2 weeks at home he got his wish to died at home .Each day I think I am still dreaming .been married 32 years I am 49 married young .

  • Debbie

    Thank you for this. Many people who have not experienced loss find it hard to understand. My Dad died last year, and my husband, who has been wonderful, admits that it is hard for him to understand totally what I feel since he has not experienced this type of loss. Your points are also wonderful to read as, in my opinion, many suffering from a huge loss may feel that there is a certain “time limit” for grieving and that at a certain point you are just supposed to be ok again. I have learned this isn’t true and your writing illustrates this…thank you so much!!

  • Lissette santanali

    I lost my son in 2007 , he was struck and killed by a hide speed train, he was all I had my only child. He died at the age of 15. His name was Robert A Castro “bobby”. The one thing that I learned thru his death that the more you let people know how you feel (all your feelings—-resentful, anger, jealousy, sad, lonely, etc……..the more they understand what you are going thru.

  • Cindy Mangee

    What a wonderful help for the broken hearted! As long you hold on to God and even if you find yourself slipping He will never, never let you go!! Praise HIS wonderful NAME!!!!

  • Kevin Starnes

    I’m 55 years old and my 90 year old Mother just crossed over on the 29th of June. I miss her dearly everyday and this helps ! Thank you
    Kevin

  • http://stringfellow573.wordpress.com stringfellow573

    When my mom died and 5 years later, when my dad died, I didn’t get over it. It was brought back a year later when the final tax statement had to be filed. I keep the best of both of my parents still. Little moments, looks, words, feelings and impressions. God has an excellent memory as well. Do good.

  • Lauren Wyatt

    Nice words. Thanks

  • http://Facebook Brandy Carrell

    I just lost my sister and best friend on Feb. 14 this year….n I agree with all that say the first year is hard because its killing me….every holiday everyone birthday n just about everyday…….her bbirthday is Dec. 4th n mine is Dec. 10th n the last couple years we always did something together to celebrate……now I really don’t wa.nt to do nothing t all for mine…….she was only 38 n had a. 6 and a 3 year old both boys……she always got more excited in all the holidays n now they just ain’t no big deal…….I had planned a big move back to Texas n start my life over but my entire life changed at 2am when her husband woke me up to help with her……..n I still feel guilty that I couldn’t save her even though the doctor’s say there’s nothing we could have done for her…….I stayed in AR……n I met the love of my life because I didn’t move so I feel guilty about that too sometimes I feel like the only reason I’m happy now is because she died even tho I know that’s not true………I ask God why on an hourly basis……I feel like part of my life has moved on but I’m still waiting to wake up n it all be like it was before with her still here……..people tell me she is still with me n I know that true but I want her here in person not just spirit……..I can’t hug a spirit n hear it tell me she loves me like a person…….I still find myself picking up my phone n dialing half her number before I realize what I’m doing………I just want to know y it couldn’t be the scum of the earth to die that day instead of my beautiful loving sister………I know I need grief counseling but I don’t know where to go or who to call ……n I need lots of prayer for peace

  • Betty lou

    Wow, no truer words said.
    Grief is something everyone has to go through. We grieve in our own way.
    We need to keep our loved ones close,and remember to embrace them on our own terms.

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  • Kathie h

    The person I was died when my husband died. I am no longer the naïve person that thought only bad things happen to other people. I know now that anyone can be gone in a second. It has been almost 3 years but seems like yesterday. Most days I still want to curl up in a ball and block out the world but I have children and grandchildren that pull me out of the darkness. Surround yourself with loved ones.

  • broken

    i lost my father on March 14 this year. At times it hurts so much i can’t breath i have cried more times than i care to count and some how it just gets harder :’( i don’t think we ever recover from the death of a loved one. truly grief is the price we pay for love

  • mel

    I lost both my parents-my dad when i was 28 & my mom 5 years later-dad was 69 mom was 55. At first i didnt grieve appropriately-I dove into back into work too soon or would sleep the off days away. I disconnected from everyone & was often angry & bitter for no good reason. Then one day it hit me that this was not the woman my parents raised & that they would be sad to see their little girl hurting & behaving this way. I still stayed “busy” but looked for beautiful things that came from such tragedy-kind people, better friends, renewed relations with family & old friends. & then I took the advice in this article-some of my moms & dads nurses were my angels & at 40 I got my nursing degree to honor their memory & to help others the ways others helped me. The one thing I did just recently that has helped my spirits is that for Thankful November-no matter how bad a day it was, I wrote down one specific thing I was thankful for-one day it was that the day was over but I survived to look forward to a brand new day. (some days I had a bad attitude or was tired but forced myself to find something or someone to give thanks for. I can believe the change this has in my daily attitude. I am performing better at work, Im not frustrated as easily & oddly I can look back at these tragic events & even manage to find some beauty that came from it & not get angry at the age old cliche “everything happens for a reason”. the death of my parents crushed me but it helped me grow as a person & gave me strength & resilience I never thought possible. Dont get frustrated if you have a bad day or aren’t ready-it takes time. Give yourself some time & dont be too hard on yourself for mistakes. Peace & love to you all.

  • http://gravatar.com/anabragahenebry http://anabragahenebrysjournal.blogspot.com/

    I’ve left a comment here before but cannot find it. I have been reading all of these comments since last week… so much sorrow in the world and mostly goes unnoticed. I realize that my grieving was so very painful because I didn’t have with whom to grieve, living a continent away, not being able to go to burial/funeral etc. The heart bled, and bled, it felt. Cut as if by a serrated knife, grief is so physical. I had to restrain it, away from family/siblings and around my young children, living in the countryside during a brutal winter, even my husband out of town for a week. Those few first days after my dear Mother’s death were the darkest days of my life. And yet it has transformed me into a much more spiritual person. Now I want to do God’s work, as she did, and things of this world have much less grip on me. Life, and what is most Real, is about what is Good, and Beautiful, and Love. I have, naturally, as I grieve her loss, turned to those real things. I am also eternally grateful for my Christian faith–it was prayer, alone in the dark of night, that held me through those days. And the certainty of the life promised to us by Christ, may his Name be praised for ever. I know one day I will be reunited with my dear Mother, that she is alive, and sorrow will cease to have a hold on me.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Beautiful thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

  • monique

    Many have commented about how the memory and emotions will “sneak up on them”. It happens to me too but I have found a great way to process these random thoughts and feelings. I have decided it is my loved ones way of getting touch with me. Its their way of saying, “Hey. I’m thinking about you”. Perhaps it sounds a bit silly to some but it works for me and puts a big smile on my face!

  • Angie Dunsworth

    I lost my 16 ur old daughter on 6-21-2013. She was in a car accident. She over corrected & rolled her car several times. She wasn’t wearing her seatbelt, broke her neck, & died instantly. SHE WAS NOT TEXTING OR TALKING ON HER PHONE. But rumors get started & people say those things when they dnt know the whole story. It’s bad enough lost our beautiful daughter, now we have to hear all the lies & rumors that just are not true. This has become a very devastating & heartbreaking situation. I blame myself all the time. If only I made her stay home that nite. I try to get back out there & live my life, but there’s not one single day that passes that I dnt think about my beautiful angel & why did it have to be her instead of me.

    • Breanna

      I can’t say that I know exactly the grief you are going through, because I have never lost a child. However, I do know what it is like to lose a young family member in such a tragic way. My 15 year old cousin that I was close to was killed in a car accident on November 1, 2013. He was a passenger in the backseat of the car. The driver was not texting or talking on the phone and it was early evening so it wasn’t dark yet. The driver lost control of the car, ran off the road and hit a very large tree stump. The impact caused my cousin’s and the driver’s necks to break which killed them instantly. The front seat passenger survived with a broken shoulder. Please do not blame yourself for what happened. You had no idea that it was going to happen and blaming yourself for it will not help in the healing process. Instead, remember all the good times that you had with her and never let those memories go. Those are the most precious memories and they should never be forgotten. There will always be a part of my heart that has been broken and can never be fixed because of the death of my cousin and I know that the same is true for you too. But just be strong and know that you will see her again one day. I know that Christmas time will be hard for you and your family because I know that it will be hard for my family and I too. In fact, while everyone else is excited about Christmas, I am dreading it because no matter how hard I try to be happy on Christmas day, it won’t be the same as years past because my cousin won’t be there with us. He could make anyone feel better just by walking into the room and I will always miss that about him. Just know that I know how hard the holidays and the following years will be and I am praying for you and your family this holiday season and for anyone else who has lost a loved one because I completely understand and know how hard it will be.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      I’m so sorry for this horrible tragedy, Angie. And it must be very hard to hear rumors and lies spread about what actually happened. I’d encourage you to seek counseling so that you have a safe place to process and vent. Blaming yourself will only lead to harmful things.

      • Lisa Abel

        My counselor says ignoring it makes the process take longer. Try to face it as you can. I know it’s not easy.

  • https://www.facebook.com/cheryllane.warner Cheryl Lane Warner

    I lost my 16 yr. old daughter in a car accident on 4=19-98. I went through several years of grief counseling to learn how to live again. This is a very helpful article. well written.

  • Leah

    And don’t we find that though we talk about “doing our grief work”, as though it were an object we can shape, it is rather that grief does its work on us. 15 years, and it is still doing its work on me. And for it not to be, I would have to have forgotten our John. So it is not a bad thing. And it is not a constant thing. It is a recurring thing.

  • Dianne

    I lost my husband, soulmate, my everything, almost 9 years ago. I was in a “fog” for a year. I was left with a business to run [that I had very little to do with before] and my mind was a blur. Someone told me that it would get better, but I didn’t believe her. It’s true. I tell every widow/widower [oh how I hate those 2 names] that it does get better. I say that he took half of me with him and it’s a hard thing to fill. There will always be a part of me that is missing. My other advice is don’t let anyone try to force you to do things you don’t want to do. Everything at your pace. And put you trust in God to get you through.

  • Christine

    Thank you for this. My family & I have been dealing with the loss of 6 family members in one years time. I know for myself…reading your list will remind me that what Im going though is normal grief times 6….too much. I have to learn how to roll with “it”.

  • Skeeter

    Thank you for your list Terry, and my hopes are for peace for all here that have lost. At 13 I lost my Dad, I was sent to stay with my God Parents while arrangements were made, my God-Mother suddenly passed 7 days later. In the short aftermath we lost our home and virtually everything. My brother was only 11 months old. That was 49 years ago, and since I have lost more people than I care to remember. I agree with most everything you have said, but Grief, never really goes away. I cry at times even still, I allow it, I embrace it I guess. There is no reason for it, we cant rationalize it, and those who have never lost wrongly say “you just have to accept it, and move on”. A person cannot lead or follow grief, you just have to live in the moment, and as you said, don’t feel guilty about being happy, laughing and having fun. I always felt guilty and it was life limiting.
    Your words are inspiring, and I believe will touch many souls. For me, God is my peace and passion. It is HIS beacon that keeps me. Be Blessed, as you bring Blessing to others.

  • http://dragonpack.wordpress.com dragonpack

    Reblogged this on Full Circle and commented:
    Word.

  • Vic

    This really did put my mind to ease. For the longest time I feel like I’ve been fighting a battle in my head… This helped me in so many levels
    Thank you.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      I’m so glad this could put your mind at ease and give you a little peace, Vic. Keep processing and healing. You will get through.

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  • Nancy

    Thank you for posting this. My husband was killed in the Philippines in April so I am currently dealing with all the holiday firsts. It was good to see that I wasn’t the only one that couldn’t predict how I would react to things. I will be just fine headed to church praising the Lord and walk in to church and see all the veterans dressed in uniforms on Veterans Day and feel like my tears and my sobbing were about to overwhelm me. My husband was not killed in the military but was an disabled vet. He was killed doing missionary work which had God and I having some discussions but the reality is I never win the argument., The bottom line is “God is in Control” and Do I put my trust in Him” I say yes but I need His help!!!!!

  • Kristin

    I had a very hard time when my little sister died…but the best thing anyone told me afterwards was, “cry as long and as much as you need to”…and to be honest, it’s the only thing that didn’t make me angry…

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  • Gai

    From a book called Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World, the chapter on death, …the empty space never goes away, it grows solid, growing like a tree always standing beside you. Take comfort in that new presence. In years gone by death was rejoiced as destiny fulfilled and not to be feared. Hard for those left behind, …but a time to see beyond the physical world of everyday things and look closer at the spaces surrounding us and allow them to be filled with love and support from others. I recommend the book. Author is John O’Donohue.

  • http://facebook Christopher Adams

    It’s a God thing when times are rough and then you read something like this! Thank you for posting this!

  • Gwen Bain LPC

    No relationship seems perfect in hindsight. Accepting that and savoring the good memories will help you move through your time of mourning in a positive and healthy way. “Should haves” will only get you fixated in guilt over things that can’t be changed. Let them go as you celebrate warm memories and the person you lost.

  • Carol D.

    Thank YOU so very much for putting this all into words. When THE Love of my life Dave Barr transitioned so suddenly 2 years ago Sept.18, 2011 , after we had “found” each other again after so long and had only been together 3 & 3/4 mos ~ ~ ~ i was awestruck ! That is the best word i can use, since i experienced such a warmth and feeling of “the peace that passes all understanding” and pure love ~ ~ when witnessing Dave’s heart stopping beating ! Of course i still also experienced the deep deep sobbing that came often as i was awakening in the mornings after he was “gone”. I kept getting reminders from Dave , that he is still very much with me, just in a different way ! And as you said those moments of extreme outpourings of grief & sobbing can hit in most unexpected times and ways. One of the main things i learned is that if i am ever in a similar situation again……i will not comply with medical staff making me leave the room at certain times. And i will crawl into bed with my loved one, no matter all the wires, tubes etc. I am so grateful to all my friends who became my “family” and surrounded me with love and support during this time of walking thru the grief to a more joyfull time. This year , after the 2nd anniversary of Dave’s transition is much lighter ! Knowing God/Holy Spirit is with me is a comfort ~ ~ ~ however i am a person that can relate to the little girl who said ” YES , but i need God in skin ” !! And that was my Darling Dave = God in skin ! We are all God’s hands, feet, arms, eyes, ears, lips, words etc. That is why we are here in this Earth School in these human bodies for a time. I am also blessed by all my wonderful teachers , many who have become friends , who encouraged me to keep up my meditation & gentle physical practices during this time of grieving. That certainly served me well. I have been practicing “walking meditation” for a long time……….especially walking on the beach barefooted. It is a wonderful place for meditation and allowing the sea to heal ! I would say, if one doesn’t live near a beach , visualize one , use a youtube video with sounds of the sea……….anything that “feels” right to assist oneself in this process. A wise friend and teacher also gave this good advice, especially for the holidays (Christmas etc) : make plans to be with family or friends or ?? ~ ~ ~ and have alternate plans in mind too ! Give oneself permission to change plans or to even leave a gathering if beginning to feel that need. And : ask friends and family for what you need from them at this time. (they are not mind readers !!……well most of them anyway !) Oh ! almost forgot ……one of the things i did in my journal was to right away write TO Dave every morning (did that for a long time) , instead of writing about him !! It was powerful. Still do it periodically. Now i mostly “talk” with him whenever i sense that he is near. Blessings to all who read this. I pray you will be blessed much JOY in the remembering of your loved one and in the knowing that your loved one is not “gone” ~ ~ ~ just is in a different form now, still loving you !

  • Kelly

    This is very helpful for me. My husband took his own life last spring, Leaving me and our two young children. I’ve struggled with many of these things. It’s hard for me to accept good things happening in my life, because I do feel guilty. It has seemed to get a little easier, but I am still on that roller coaster of emotions. Thank You for this.

  • Danielle

    A year ago I tragically lost my younger sister in a scuba diving fiasco. I am so glad to have come across this post. I admit that I haven’t been dealing with my grief properly simply because I don’t know how. I now feel inclined to seek the help I need and want. Thank you for this.

  • Still here

    This is great will help me cope with trying to move on. Wen I was 5 I lost my dad and it’s always been hard going up without a father figure in my life. On April 22 I lost my mom to suicide and I have been taking it really hard n tryin to numb the pain with alcohol which isn’t healthy. Ive always been a mommas boy so her passing has caused a lot of pain and tears….. I think to my self every day that it’s not fair thAt I have to go to a cemetary to visit my parents when I’m only 24. But this post has shown me a better way of handling everything and for that I thank you…..

    • http://www.carolbodensteiner.com Carol Bodensteiner

      I’m sorry for your losses. I lost my sister to suicide five years ago. I encourage you to connect with other survivors of suicide through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – afps dot org. There are local support groups. Your tag “Still Here” says something so important. Hang in there. You can honor your parents’ lives through yours.

  • http://jennyjohns08.wordpress.com jennyjohns08

    I originally opened this up b’c I am friends with two young widows, and I always keep my eyes open for things that will encourage them. However, this was an encouragement to me too! I have been battling depression since I was in high school (nearly 20 years now); it has been especially bad the last 5. I think you could rewrite this post and substitute the word “depression” for the word “grief” with very few changes. The loved one who has been lost in #9 is yourself. I was once a carefree, confident young woman, on my way to be the best at something. Now I have trouble connecting with people around me, I dread each new day, and I have difficulty motivating myself to do things that I would describe as enjoyable. I think I will print this out for myself; it is all great advice for a depressed person! Thanks!

  • Dean

    16. Grief last for ever…(been 31 years for me)

  • http://facebook Catherine Thibeaullt

    how do you deal with grief, when in the past 3 years, you have lost the love of your life, then you father one year lather, and your brother the year after, and now you just found out ..you will be losing the only other immidiate family member left, my sister, will die in 2014, and the worst is that , you are the only one left , beside my son, i have no more family members left..and i just cant take the pain anymore of berying my entire family…when im just 52 years old, and not one of my siblings whent past 55 years. How, how.. can I get through this ..again and again ( before them i lost my step brother to suicide in 1988 and my mom in 2001) everybody tells me to ..do it one day at a time…i cant take that answer anymore. this hole inside of me just keeps gething bigger and bigger, and yes i went for profesional help.. but even the doctor coulding believe all the grief i had to deal with…so what in the world can I do.. not to lose my mind over grief??

    • Chrissy

      I am in no way a Dr. But, I feel your pain, and hope I can reach out to you. We have all faced grief in one form or another. Some much greater than others. Yours obviously much greater then mine. I often thought to myself, what if I’m the last one standing in my family? How will I handle this? It scares me beyond belief.

      I have learned a few ways to deal with it grief. I have learned there is an “art” to letting go. Yes, the world is sad without your loved one. But they are here for you in spirit.

      Please, try to do some research on spirituality. And I’m not making a recommendation based on any one religion. But in your very own way, do some deep soul searching. A man named Guy Finley, has so much information on letting go (Google him). Also, Elizabeth Gilbert, her book Eat, Pray, Love. has had a profound influence on me as I develop my own “art” of letting go. One last person I can recommend, Karen Salmansohn, she is such a amazing author on self help.

      I think we all have to find own way to deal with things. I can only imagine what you are dealing with, so deeply grief stricken. But, you are strong, you have proven how strong you are, and will only gain more and more strength. I know you don’t want to hear it, I don’t want to hear it either when someone tells me, when I feel so weak. You feel weak, only because you have had to be strong for so long. Ever ask a marathon runner how strong he/she feels after the race? They just wish to keel over!

      So, 2 things I recommend to you, begin a spiritual journey & develop your own “art” of letting go. I hope the authors above will help you along your way to healing.

      Remember this, when you let go, you let go of the pain, in order to celebrate and honor the your loved one. They want you to carry on, you’re carrying the torch to the finish line. Your loved ones may not be here physically, but they are right by your side cheering you on, and they love you.

  • Diantha

    I want to say thank you for writing this. I lost my Father almost a year ago (Dec. 29, 2012) His birthday was just 2 days ago (dec. 3) I have had a very hard time, but have an amazing husband by my side and am now expecting baby #6. It has been a roller coaster of a year and I know that one year day will be very hard for me. You writing this made me feel better knowing that I am doing all the “normal” things in a healthy way. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  • Brandi

    One thing I learned when we lost our four yr old son was that I never knew how much loving could hurt. Then, I learned how much joy loving could bring me from our lord and saviour Jesus Christ… My prayer is that everyone, whether they have been through tragedy or not, will learn who and what he is and except him through salvation…He is the rock that withstands all…nothing is above him!!

  • Merry Joy DeCarmo

    I wish that I knew that every loss..in a movie, book, show, life….would affect me much harder. I lost both of my parents in the last two years and I have almost too much empathy now.

  • Cris Greene

    I lost my heart and soul of 21 years on June 14th 2013. And at that moment lost myself. Because of what and how it happened I carry a battleship load of guilt and just want to end this pain, hurt and torture. After 6 months it has only gotten worse I hate myself and this life. I think that when a person makes their mates life their own in every way because of the love they have for one another, there is no single life then it’s a combination of the 2. And one cannot survive without the other. I can understand how in some species when a mate dies the dies also. All I want is to be with her where she is. I wish that sometimes that I hadn’t loved her so much.
    All your points are understood but this life, this world holds nothing for me without her with me. Sorry for the sorrowful note just the way it is.
    Boomer, lost without her.

  • http://withchristianeyes.wordpress.com withchristianeyes

    Nice – thank you. CS Lewis’ “A Grief Observed” is very insightful and I think can help anyone, too. One thing I’ve noticed that I have done and still do, when I’m grieved, stressed, or whatever, is that I like to “lose myself” in a game. When I play a game I only think of that and do tasks in the game (I mean like Skyrim) and I’m no longer thinking of my stress, grief, issues, etc. However, I’ve realized that when I “relax” this way at night – ignoring my own concerns – once I hit the sack I start thinking of all the stressful things that I was putting off . . . .ugh. So I think it’s better to deal with the grief and stress in some way, and not put it off. Talk to someone about it or write it in a journal, pray earnestly – just don’t ignore it when you’re tired at night and just want to forget.

  • http://adaywithdepression.wordpress.com Ziya Tamesis

    Reblogged this on a day with depression and commented:
    A useful reminder. Thank you.

  • barbara linaker

    Very well said. People dont realize that grief is personal spiritual and whatever you feel in any order is ok normal and its how you need to experience it.

  • Megan

    I’m 18 and just lost my dad to cancer almost 3 months ago. I think at the moment I’m dealing with it by ignoring it which I know isn’t the best for me. I don’t really talk about him and don’t like when people talk about it. I feel like when I do try and face it the pain is unbearable and I can’t cope with it so I try to ignore it again. I’m angry that he had to die and that he left me, even though I know he didn’t want to. He was diagnosed with cancer only nine months before he died but it was a stroke that killed him. I had to watch him slowly die and tried to prepare myself but I was so so unprepared and I don’t think anyone could ever be prepared for that. I’m going to keep reading this article and work through my grief as best I can

  • Pat Kramer

    Thank you for the tips about grief. I lost 2 of my sisters 13 and 3 yrs ago and my husband in March of this year. I thought I had dealt with the death of my sisters but with the loss of my husband I was not prepared for the grief I felt on the anniversary of my sisters deaths. I am thankful for your suggestions.

  • Rita Pierson

    I believe that mourning is the price we pay for loving.

    • http://don'thaveone Linda Kent

      Sweet, short and so on target! Thanks for that statement.

  • Marcie

    Thank you, Teryn. My mom has been gone 5.5 years from lung cancer, and I don’t really like the holidays anymore because I miss her so much. This article is just what I needed to read today. I also posted your article on my sister’s wall and my dad’s wall for them to read as well. My mom used to say, as she was battling cancer, if you can’t take it day by day, take it hour by hour. Very true. Again, thank you for your article/blog.

  • Amy

    Wow this truly hit me. My 16 year old son committed suicide and I don’t know if I can ever be normal again.

  • Alicia Rash

    Thank you so much for this. I lost my 16 year old daughter on October 1, 2013 suddenly to a brain aneurysm. I feel like I will be numb for a very long time.
    ~ Alicia R. ~

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  • Naomi Hernandez

    I lost my mother it will b her 9th year anniversary Christmas Eve and after reading this blog I couldn’t agree more and everythg that I read here I did go through and memories r the root to a healing process and definitely one step and day at a time is all we have

  • Penny Duff

    I lost my son 7 years ago. When you lose your child, the pain never goes away and never eases, but you go on, one foot in front of the other. I’ve lost several others in my life, and you get to healing. That doesn’t happen with your son or daughter. You learn to live in pain and go on.

    • http://rocky8306.wordpress.com rocky8306

      I know how u feel I lost my 7yr old daughter 5 years ago and it still hurts everyday I know she wants me to move on but its hard its like learning to live with pain everyday with the constant reminder everyday of her but im learning and counseling has been helping me but your right its really hard

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  • Sybil Loposser

    I never knew I would be in a such a tailspin, such a deep dark place after my mother died. I was pretty much useless for at least a year. But, she did die suddenly and unexpectedly. I was just in total shock. After my dad being sick for years before he died, it was a completely different experience.

  • Lisa Abel

    I never, ever, eeeever imagined that I would be able to think about my mom without feeling pain again. I’m going through a rough patch now with the holidays, but once I hit the one year mark, I was able to think about her without pain pretty regularly. Pain comes and goes, and it probably always will, but I’m thankful for the times when I feel like I still have a living relationship with her through my memories. One of the thoughts that has comforted me is “The only barrier between me and mom is time.” The memories cross that barrier. That’s a way of thinking that works for me.

  • Melanie

    So very true. I lost my mother Sept 25, 2011 and my father April 13, 2013…some days I feel like I can’t even breath….I just try to take one day at a time. With the holidays coming it is a difficult time as this will be the first Christmas without both of them. I miss them everyday.

  • https://plus.google.com/107579389897928494126 Beverly Shilling

    I really needed this today. Today makes six weeks that i lost my mother, she laid down at the age of 55 yr,14 days 19 hours and 3 min old to take a nap and never woke up. I work at a fuenrl home and had the honor of taking care of my mother as hard as it was i did it. I have my good days and lots of bad day. I feel like ive helped everyone else grieve for loved ones and i have not had the time to properly grieve for her. I feel bad if i have a good day, it make me feel like i have forgotten about her. reading this today brought tears to my eyes, but really opened my eyes and made me feel a little better.Thank you.

    • https://www.facebook.com/patricia.garretson.5 Patricia Garretson

      Dear Beverly, I felt the need to respond as your feelings are so related to how I am feeling right now as well.. I lost my mom on 10/6/13, and my best friend on 10/3/13, and the two just came on so suddenly. Cancer was detected and both survived only four weeks from getting the results. I have such a emptiness and hole in my stomach, heart, and yes if i find a day that I am doing ok , i feel guilt as I don’t want to loose them to Just a memory.But truly the memories are all we have. I feel at this moment my life will never be the same and I do not want to go on without them. Life will never be the same. I keep thinking about the struggles my mom lived with and how I was always trying to be there for her as much as I could in life, and now I know logically she isn’t suffering, I think I memorized the endof life of both my loved ones not accepting the way they had to end this life . My saddness is mine, they are in a better placeand it’s going to take surrounding yourself with people of support, inch by inch , second by second. I wrote in journal the night I came home alone without my mother, I wrote to her for a month. My journey without her in my life. It helps, it’s not a cure, but it eased the burden some. This is one terrible battle for me. It makes me weak but then I realize I have family that needs me as well. I wish you comfort and healing and know your not alone.

  • http://gravatar.com/crystalbella07 Crystal

    Love this! Thank you so much. I can relate to this post so much! One of the things that I have learned is that there is no time limit on grief no matter what someone may try to tell you. People will say that enough time has passed and that you should be ok now…but that is wrong!! Also, I wrote this blog post one day about something that was on my heart that I will share because it’s easier than copying what I wrote. :)
    http://crystallivesay.com/dealing-with-grief-an-update/

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Thanks so much for sharing this post, Crystal. I can’t imagine the loss of a child (pregnancy). Thanks for your honest wrestling through grief and writing about it.

  • Dale

    Great words—-My parents both died in 2003, 7 months apart. What it taught me was this—
    (1) I fretted for a long time about how LONG healing from grief took. It was soon after that I finally understood–that I’d’ve never been able to handle all that grief at one time, so the Lord spreads it out.
    (2) In Psalm 23:4, maybe the most important word is “through”. Seems like I’ve met a bunch of people who ‘camped’ in the valley of the shadow of death. But notice from the verse, that the promise of having no fear of evil is only given to those who move Through. May God bless all those who grieve.

  • Donna Hoffman

    I understand that feeling . I lost. My dad on oct 26th of 2011 at 2046 hrs after a true fight with cancer. I spent 10 weeks with him daily taking him to appts and treatments . It was the hardest time of my life these last 2 yrs I thought .Then on oct 27th on this year at 0130hrs my 27 yr old son was murdered along with his girlfriend by a sick beast of an ex boyfriend . My son visited his pop pops grave only 11hrs earlier and said what I wouldn’t do for one more hug ,one more phone call ……til we meet again. I think I am still somewhat in shock .i know I saw him lying in the casket and saw him lowered , but I still wait and watch for him to call or pop in. It seems to be getting worse .i am sleeping ,but my days are so long and everything triggers my memory . How do we continue after this tragic life altering event

  • Nanci

    My life will never be the same. And it doesn’t get better even though my faith is strong and I will see her again. She was one of my reasons to live and kept me grounded and the only person who I went to and trusted for advice. I have to believe she was taken from me early because she was so good.

  • joyce Whyde

    AI lost my husband and brother last year4 months apart …still having trouble believing they are bofh gone .I loved reading the comments…very good advice .I have learned a lot from them..Thank you for posting this

  • Cynthia Ann Bender

    Teryn,

    Thank you for opening your heart and sharing you pain with us. I also suffered a devastating loss last year when my 27-year old son died suddenly last year. Your 15 points listed out here really resonated with me. I have a particularly hard time with the early hours of Tuesday mornings, because my son died early on a Tuesday morning. It is when I miss him the most.

    You words brought me much comfort today. Thank you for that. And know that your loss, as devastating as it has been for you, has brought you to a place where you are ministering to others. That is the gift your best friend has given to you that no one can take away.

    Hugs to you,
    Cynthia

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      I’m so glad this writing has helped comfort and encourage so many people, Cynthia. Thanks for the comment!

  • Terry

    Hi Teryn,
    I like what you posted about grief and grieving. So many of my friends and family are hurting right now from one or more deaths, I have posted a link for them.

  • Donna

    Hi I lost my husband 4 months ago . It still seems surreal to be that he,s gone Its like a dream still to me .Its not fair everyone goes on with their life but me it seems it has stopped guess it takes time .

    • patricia

      Hi, Donna, I also lost my husband 4 months ago. All my friends say to me , Your strong, But there don’t have to live alone. Eat alone. Sleep alone. No one to talk to. I cry every day. I want him back, But I know he will never come back. Christmas is a rough time .I just keep saying. To myself its just one day and I will get through it. I know I will .and so will you. Please hang in there you really are not alone .Everyone on here lost someone snd reading some of these Have helped knowing others are going through the same.

  • Floradine Justice Reynolds

    Hi Everyone,
    A little over a year ago my son lost his life, he was just 31 years old. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of my love bug. There are times when I have water falls and than there are smiles very few. My heart is broken my son was a kind and given soul were there problems YES, but there is nothing that could ever explain why someone took his life away. I miss him so much. I try to also think about all the good times we had together as well as the bad. I still hear him ma I love you I would say be good. If I could explain this pain I would but know this when my son was found 7 days later floating in the river a big part of me the part that counts died along with him. I just would like to thank you for you comforting words about grief.

  • Graeme wardlaw

    Loss does not always mean gone. Today is my 42 wedding anniversary The 8th of next month will be the first anniversary of finding my wife was having an affair with my then 36 yr old friend. The affair went for several months and she fell in love and thought her new man was the world. Of coarse when all was revealed she found she was being used by a drug using drunk that over powered her emotions. Although still together the grief is still there, the loss of the person who you thought you knew, the trust, The shell is still there not much different to looking at a picture of the person I once knew and loved. I still love her and she says she still ,and alawys has loved me, but the grief is the same, exactly the same as if the grief was for death, maybe worse, worse due to the fact death is inevitable, what my wife did was of her own taking, she was 59 yrs old at the time. Thank you for your words, thank you to all the answers and replies. These are the things that help through grief and times of difficulty. Thank you, thank you all

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  • Julie

    It is so hard for me during the positive things that come. Like, my daughter in a play, or getting her school pictures. These things seem so much, but without my loved one, it’s not as happy or fun.

    • Donna Hoffman

      Julie you have to live for your daughter and yourself who are alive. Or is not far to her .i just lost my 27 year old son, and it is killing me,but I have 2 other children , and 2 grandchildren and a lhusband To think of. It is not fair to them. Yes we all have our moments and hrs ,but we must continue to live. You have to think forward. That’s what I am trying to so . Don’t get me wrong ;I miss my son horribly and I cry everyday , sometimes many times a day , however I must make the best of it for those alive. My son lost many friends before his own life was ripped away… And I always told him you have to always remember the. Good times and live for them. Now I have to practice what I so often preached to him..

  • Carol Terrell

    My husband has been gone for 20 years and I still go thru some of these everyday. I think because we were in the prime of our marriage and the middle of raising our children I feel like I’m still stuck in that time– with him. I still miss him terribly! These 15 things are so very true to the heart!

  • jeannette hoffman

    Allow yourself to smile and feel joy. No matter how small. Those who passed don’t want us to wallow in grief.

    • Melissa

      We lost my grandmother just a few weeks ago.She did not want a funeral or memorial service. So I came up with the idea of having a huge family dinner (Sunday family dinner was VERY important to her) and everyone is going to tell their favorite story/experience about her. I am going to video tape it and transcribe it into a book for everyone. I am DROWNING in grief, but I know that it is my own mortal selfishness. She does not want us to grieve her passing, so we are going to try to celebrate her life and not our loss.

  • http://FB Kym Lindau

    Thank you! It’s taken me 25 years to even begin to grieve for my brother. I felt like I had to hold the rest of my family up. Reading this has solidified the way I am learning to grieve, since I held back for so long I don’t think I knew where or how to start. PS My educational background is a BA in Psych & Sociology.

  • Celso

    Yes, I can relate to this. Tried a little of #12 & #13, though I know it wouldn’t help a bit. 10 years after, I’m still alive, kicking & moving on…thanks to #8.

  • Maria yates lee

    Thank you for comforting words of wisdom.

  • Linda North

    How wish I had read this when my son David left us in 1999. . It is so helpful .. Thank you xx

  • Lynne Eskridge

    I learned that the stress I was under trying to deal with my loss and my grief caused health problems and actual physical sickness which lead to surgery for digestive problems caused by stress. Had I been aware of this I would have taken better care of myself instead of losing 32 pounds and causing almost irreparable damage to my stomach and causing my gall bladder to need removal. Not only was I faced with dealing with my loss and grief, I had to recover from surgery and treatment for acid erosion of the stomach lining which was on the verge of becoming bleeding ulcers. If I had known that would happen I would have eaten at least one meal a day! Losing my husband has been the hardest of life’s lessons. He was the absolute best!!

  • http://www.farmingoncilleyhill.blogspot.com Tammy Davis

    We lost our son on July 28. He had just graduated from High School. He was heading into the United States Marine Corps. My mother had passed earlier in December and 2 weeks before Elijah was killed our puppy was hit by a car and died in my arms. We then received a diagnosis of cancer for my husband 3 months after Elijah died. You are spot on with grief. God is no stranger to our pain. He knows the loss of a son. God bless.

  • Regina

    Grief is a type of depression…so don’t be surprised if you find yourself very tired and have a hard time motivating yourself to do things….even the things you normally enjoy

  • Wendy nastansky

    I really wish I had a copy of this. very compassionate and full of empathy not sympathythank you so much

  • catie

    You wrote this grieving your… friend?

    You must have been close friends to try to remember them often.

    Most friends don’t grieve their friends like this or with such intensity. You must have known your friend for years.

    Sad to read all the stories below of people losing their kids and spouses.

    • http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com Teryn O’Brien

      Hi Catie, thanks for your comment. I myself deeply loved my friend as an older sister, mentor, Kindred Spirit, and one of the most profound and influential friendships I will ever have. She shaped so much of who I am today. It’s hard to describe what our friendship meant. We knew each other for over 10 years before she was murdered. But she was like a family member. I will deeply grieve her the rest of my life. I, too, am so saddened to read of all these stories of people losing spouses and children. I can’t imagine that grief.

  • https://www.facebook.com/colleen.smith.52 Colleen Smith

    You also go thru the same grieving process if you are a care giver for a chronically ill spouse. You have lost what you once had.

  • https://www.facebook.com/jeana.black Jeana Joseph

    My mother lost her mom at 51 years old. She would tell me what it was like so I could be prepared. I’m so glad I listened. She taught me that time doesn’t heal all wounds, you just learn to live with the loss. Even after 20 something years, she would still cry, and that’s ok. Accept it and move on, which really helped yesterday in Walmart when I heard my mother’s favorite Christmas carol. I cried in that store and kept shopping, no one noticed. It’s been 7.5 years since I lost my mother (53 years old) and the experience was harrowing. I know I’m not alone out there and sometimes I will find someone I can share my experience with, just like my mother did for me. I see it as a way to help another grieve a little easier, even while I still grieve.

  • http://www.sandysides.org Sandy Sides

    Wow! I lost my five year daughter in a car accident and wish I had saw this 6 years ago! But I have people God has brought into my life I can share this with that is going through the loss of someone. My BFF of 32 years lost her 17 year old son in a car accident in March never dreamed my main supporter would go through this too. But we both have seen and seeing God do amazing things through our loss! It still hurts deeply But I trust God and the journey he has chosen for me. I’d like permission to share this page on my blog page I have a ton of people who read it and could use this. Thank you for posting this, it is awesome! My blog is: http://www.sandysides.org my Facebook page us: Sandy Grace Sides and our organization Facebook page in memory of our daughter is:Savannah Faith Miracles
    Have a blessed and Merry Christmas,
    Sandy

  • Melissa

    I lost my Grandmother the day after Thanksgiving, she was 97. My first thought was I don’t know who I am without her. With a LOT of tears and reflection on her life, I realized I know exactly who I am, the brave, strong, stubborn, independent woman that SHE taught me how to be. I promised her, I would keep our Danish traditions alive with my children (and my soon to be Grandchild). Honoring her life will be easy, living without her will be hard until the day I see her again on the other side.

  • Kathleen Carlton

    My Dad’s been gone 11yrs and I still can’t get over it. He’s on my mind every single minute of every day and it seems like the one person I love the most acts like he doesn’t care about it. That hurts more than my Dad passing. I’m dying of grief and can’t break free of it.

  • http://twexerbee.wordpress.com twexerbee

    My mom passed away this summer. Your blog has been posted on my Facebook twice. Every time I read it I take away something different. It’s been encouraging for me. Thanks.

  • http://facebook Judi Bautch

    I agree with BJ, grief is not something we get over but learn to accomidate it into our everyday lifes. I lost my Mom 6 years ago this coming Valentines day and not a day goes by that I either don’t think of her in some small way or talk to her about whats going on in my life. Last year I lost my dear pet Spikey, who was the love of my life but also was my Mom’s best little buddy. I love the fact that Spike is with Mom now together and happy. I took care of my Mom in my house for 5 years before she passed away. It was the hardest job I had ever done in my life…. emotionally and physically draining to say the least., but I would do it all over again if I could have her back. I have done fine up until this Christmas season. For some reason I am crying much more when I think of her or remember the last Christmas we had together. I am sure this will pass to, but as you have all stated , grief comes when you least expect it. And with my feelings this Christmas I know I will always feel grief over her passing, it’s just most times it fits into my life better than it has this Christmas. My only saving grace is knowing that she will be sitting with me when I put the CD of It’s a Wonderful Life to watch on Christmas Eve as it was both of our most favorite movie of all times. I won’t see her of course, but all the same… she will be here! God Bless all of you!

  • lionspaw2182

    I’m not sure if this was mentioned, since I didn’t read through all the comments. All of what was mentioned in the article was great and spot on, but I’ve also learned that if you feel the need to visit the grave/burial site, do so….as often as you need to. If you want to talk about your loved one, do so, even of it makes other uncomfortable. After all, you are not talking about him/her for their sake, but your own. And finally, as long as it is healthy…do what you need to to find a certain amount if closure (there will never be full closure until you see your loved one(s) again in heaven). For example….we have pictures of our son put up in our house (he was 10 months old when he passed and never came home from the hospital) and have even given a picture to his almost 2 year old little sister. We also named the two babies we lost in womb…The identical twin of our daughter and the early loss from this past June. For us…it has allowed us a measure of closure towards our losses (though it won’t be the same for everyone).

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  • Pauline

    I guess I would share the acceptance you have to embrace. You’ve lost someone very dear to you and they are gone. Nothing will change that. Once you’ve accepted that fact, life does become easier. You can put everything into a new perspective and continue on. You can get through all the things listed because you are no longer fighting the unimaginable.

  • AngelaCFR

    I have yet to experience deep grief. The closest family member was when my poodle we got when I was seven died. I’ve never known someone who died. I am scared of what it will be like when a loved one does die. From what little I have experienced I can tell it will change me utterly and I am afraid of what it will be like. Though I suppose it is a part of life and for now I am blessed that all those I know and love are still here.

  • ces

    I lost my husband of 30 years 4 years ago and then 2 years later
    , our son died suddenly, I say this is the hardest thing of ever had to do. I am so afraid of what I will do, I have grown children but they have their own families. If you haven’t been there you just can’t understand this.

  • http://mannagold.ca Peggy Bendell

    One thing that gives me great grief is reading an obit and it says “at the request of the deceased there will be no funeral” That is the worse thing the deceased can do to the survivors. The funeral is not for the deceased – it is for those who are still here – giving the permission to grieve. To be robbed of this step does a lot of damage to the survivors. If someone you love is dying and says “I don’t want a funeral.” just pat them on the hand and smile. And after they die have the funeral.

  • https://www.facebook.com/judy.hamann Judy Cook Hamann

    Very well done. I haven’t read all the comments and this may be there, but here’s another one.. The day will come when your mind’s eye will only remember your loved one as they were in a happy, healthy time, a time where there was joy. It will come.

  • Susan Kalkan

    I would add a No. 16. Do NOT judge. Not others nor yourself. Grief is painful, scary, and unknown. Everyone deals with this differently and even one person deals with each loss in life differently. There is no road map, no directions. The only no-no is to do self detrimental things. I have had many losses in my life. My husband’s seemed the hardest because so many other things died with him. It is difficult to not judge others’ inability to “be there”. It is more difficult not to judge yourself and an inability to cope or move on. It is difficult not to judge that your grief for one seems stronger than for another and this makes you feel guilty. Grief is difficult enough without adding more loss-that of those who let you down, your sense of self-and other emotional weights like anger and guilt. It is okay to feel what you feel when you feel it.

  • http://jemtree.wordpress.com jemtree

    Reblogged this on Jemtree's Heart and commented:
    Wow. This is completely on the mark. Great advice for losing loved ones through death, divorce, and broken relationships.

  • sweetey_fiftyandnifty@yahoo.com

    Thank you for sharing thia,after a 22 year marriage bit the dust [for my best friend they're married now] i have just existed for the past 14 years. I needed to hear this today.God Bless you

  • https://www.facebook.com/dawn.woolcott Dawn Baack Woolcott

    This will be my first Christmas without my Daddy. Being the worlds biggest “Daddy’s Girl” I know this is going to be VERY hard for me. With a husband that thinks I should just get over it, it is 10 times harder to deal with. But reading this has given me some ideas about how to cope. I’m sure he is having a blast with his best friend that passed before him, but down here it will be a difficult time.

  • https://plus.google.com/111112318047094005021 Moana Ashley

    For me its been 23 yrs since i lost my only daughter to cot death and for me now the wave of grief washes over me about once a year although i constantly think about her. For me i grieved hard and cried hard for about a month then thought oh well time is making it easier only to find that within 6 months the pain became harder to bear as the realization set in that this was forever..oh my heart…even writing this i can feel the tightening in my throat…however…my life became beautiful as i grew to overcome other challenges that took place in my life and wisdom and peace of mind have become a permanent place in my mindset…i still grieve but in a beautiful place not in the place of a tormented heart

    • https://plus.google.com/111112318047094005021 Moana Ashley

      Also thank you for this post Teryn even after all these years I see the wonderful advice for grief. Loved it

    • https://www.facebook.com/deb.baltenberger Deb Colville Baltenberger

      Moana. It has been 23 years since our daughter, Melanie, died. I believe you’ll understand why I say I’m glad to meet you (even if only on this blog). I agree, that at around 6 months after her death, I felt more tormented and anguished that I could imagine. There are times when I can talk about her and there are times when just thinking about her life and death cause my entire body to relive it all. Like you, I think my life has become more beautiful because of the challenges that accompanied the grief process. For us, her birth and death are one week apart and the day that I spend in her honor is the day we brought her home from the hospital. We didn’t know she was born with massive congenital heart defects until the night she died… so the day we brought her home was such a glorious day in every way. After all it was perfect – we were bringing home our beautiful baby girl to a house over our heads, to a husband who loved me (somedays I STILL don’t know why), to an older brother (for Melanie) who was healthy (even though born with congenital hydrocephalus), to my parents who were there, to glorious sunshine and then to top it all off, to MY older brother who came down to meet his niece… (there that did it, the tears are now flowing). As you do, I still grieve but I do so in that beautiful place in my heart that has love written all over it.

  • Pingback: 15 Things I Wish I’d Known About Grief | Ramble On

  • Terry Adams

    I lost my Mother years ago to Cancer. My Father died suddenly and forgot to tell us that Mom had Lung Cancer. He forgot to tell her also. We had a few short weeks to deal with her impending death and decided to make that time one of love. Mom taught me how to sew, and how to cook and that death is a journey. She died in my arms and that was her final gift to me. Death is only a part of life…

  • Wendy Haider

    It was nice to read about your tips on grief.. It’s been over five years since my dad passed away from pancreatic cancer and I was very fortunate to spend most of his days with him before he passed. During that time, I thought I’d prepared myself for the upcoming of him being gone and that wasn’t true! After reading your piece, it still reminds me of the grieving I have yet to do! Along with my brother that passed away over 13yrs ago at such a young age and at that time previous to him dying we didn’t have the greatest relationship so I mostly moved on. I didn’t think about grieving cause I felt I didn’t have the right to being he wasn’t even talking to me till two weeks prior and he blamed me for it..just another reason I felt as if I didn’t have the right to grieve. After reading your article, I now know that I do need to grieve even after all these years! I thank you!

  • Jeff Dreyer

    Thanks so much for your thoughts and providing a vehicle for so many to express their feelings and their pain. I have suffered many losses in the last four years – my son was hit by a drunk driver and now cannot walk, talk or eat , I voluntarily terminated a 30 year marriage, and my mother died a little over a week ago joining my father who died 15 years ago. The two things which have really been brought into focus for me are that everything is impermanent and the idea that you have control over your future is an illusion.

  • http://finishthisbookjessica.wordpress.com Jessica

    My first loss, I remember in the beginning everything just felt weird. When people would ask me how I was doing or feeling the only words that I could find to truly sum it up was “weird, everything feels surreal and weird.” And it is ok, and it is normal. For awhile weird will be your new normal. Then the fog will begin to lift and you will slowly start to get back in your routine. Your new normal just becomes a part of what makes you who you are.

  • Rose

    Thank you for the 15 steps! I lost my husband of 52 years very suddenly on October 3 of this year, just 2 1/2 months after our 48 year old son died in his sleep. I have always been a strong person and I am surrounded by loving family and extraordinarily supportive friends. Each day is different. Some days I seem fine and other days I can’t seem to cope with the smallest problems. My faith sustains me and I take comfort in knowing that
    we will all be together again. My husband and my son are together and that gives me comfort. Prayer is great help!

    • http://gravatar.com/anabragahenebry http://anabragahenebrysjournal.blogspot.com/

      Amen, the knowledge that we will be together again is the best balsam of consolation. I couldn’t have done without Faith,

  • David

    I appreciate your 15 steps. And since I am so early into the process, I only have one comment. #15, Grief is profound and deep, but unfortunately, I can’t find anything good to be learned from it when you have lost your spouse. I am so lost without my best friend, my lover, my soul mate, the most special person in my life and no one can replace what we had. I can and intend to learn how to go on, and to find someone new to share my life with, but there is nothing I wouldn’t give to NOT have to start over. So while there are things to be learned, I would still prefer not to have to learn them but to continue with my previous life. But thank you for sharing. It is nice to hear from someone else who has survived.

  • Aaron

    All great advice.

    Another thing that gives me comfort is to know that they are still there, and they can see us. Wasn’t sure what I thought about that before. After he died he visited nearly everyone in the family in a dream and told everyone the same thing. That he knows and watches what is going on down here. Some of us had this dream with no idea others had had it. Usually within days of each other, which shut down the skeptic in me.

    Told me that I was drinking too much afterward, and it was nice to still feel parented.

  • Masha Holmquist

    Hello my name is masha ,and im 20years old finishing up my senior year in high school .i was adopted with my brother dan from russia nine years ago .recently 2months ago my one and only related blood brother commited suicide …im having the hardest time ,i feel alone.he wasonly 21and had depression problems but wouldnt want help for it .and now my parents moved to colorado and im in wisconsin alone pretty much and holidays are going to be hard .i dont know why he would do this ….no one knows .
    Thanks <3

  • http://Facebook Jeri Railling

    I lost my father to murder when I was a teenager and I thought that was the worst thing that could happen in my life; until I lost a daughter in 2006 and another daughter in 2012. People are always asking me how I can go on; and how long did it take me to get over the losses. The answer of course, is you NEVER get over the loss, you have to learn to live with it …. and how can you NOT go on, there is no choice …. you cannot bring your loved ones back so you have to cherish all the memories. Anger is so destructive, it harms you mentally and physically. I have been through the gamut of emotions, and sometimes you will cry daily for no apparent reason …. but you absolutely have to EMBRACE life around you …. I am now caring for my 5 year old granddaughter and she is the light in our lives; she was 3 1/2 when she lost her Mommy and she still grieves but she always talks about it … loss teaches you that life is short; make yours count.

  • Lois

    It will never make sense, there will never be an answer, it is not fair so stop looking for any fairness, time is the only thing that will lessen the pain and although it will lessen it in some ways, it will remain with you all your days. Substituting anything unhealthy is, well, really dumb. Prayer makes you feel better but it is your mind that does the work, not magic.

  • JlnDeWitt

    They say that there are stages of grief. One of the stages is supposed to be anger. My son passed away when he was 27, but one thing I never felt was anger. I was never angry with him, or with God. I was never angry with anyone. And yet I was still able to process my grief, with the help of a therapist. I won’t say that I’m “over it.” I still feel sadness and I still miss my son fiercely. I still think of him almost daily. But I never did go through the anger portion of grief. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to go through certain stages. Everyone is different, and you may skip a “phase” or have it out of order. Your grief is your grief. My grief is a part of me, and will be forever. I can live with it now. There was time when I thought I couldn’t. But I can now talk about him, remember him, think about him without tears, and without falling apart. I’m glad that I didn’t have to go through the anger stage, but if others do then that is just a part of their grief, and they can embrace it and then move forward.

  • http://Facebook Desirae Buyak

    Thank u so much my dad has been gone for only five months I will try these

  • Denise

    This is so helpful. My son died nearly 7 years ago and I am still adjusting. I don’t say “one day at a time” but “one moment at a time”. I thank God for wonderful memories and an absolutely fantastic support base.

    • https://www.facebook.com/joyce.godier Joyce Godier

      A support base can make such a difference. I was a zombie for the first few months after my son died. When friends who didn’t know what else to do would offer to meet me for lunch, it gave me a reason to get up for a whole week, or two.

  • https://www.facebook.com/melinda.kirchner Melinda Kirchner

    I lost my Mom on the 8th of November after living to be a wonderful age of 95. I had 2 different friends send this post to me and before I read one word, I thought there would be no way anyone could understand how I felt. With every word you wrote, I saw myself and my emotions staring back at me. My only “addition” is not to be angry at people who are acting “normal”. It’s easy to get consumed with the idea that if you feel like your world has stopped, it hasn’t for everyone else. Perfect strangers do not know the hurt you are feeling and are just going about their everyday routines. And forgive yourself. When God chooses another angel, there is nothing you could ever have done differently to make it not happen.

  • Leah

    Thank you. Today I lost a romantic relationship with my first love. It wasn’t that hard for me at first because I was in person. But now it’s really hard. My heart feels broken by the situation and not the boy. He’s great in every way. But he said he just wants to be good friends.

  • James B

    I’ve learned that grief can lead to stress and anxiety and can have physical effects on your body. Its important to have some sort of stress relief in your life.

  • Teresa

    Seven years ago I lost my three small children and my mother in a car accident. Don’t be afraid to gently educate people on what you need. Let them know it’s not only okay to mention your loved one but it’s important to you that people remember them. Most people want to help but just don’t know how. Also know that you can’t escape the pain. It’s like riding huge turbulent waves in the ocean. Let yourself ride them. You’ll go deep down into sorrow then come up for brief moments of hope. Eventually the waves become smaller, only ripples. Let yourself cry without apology. Every single tear you shed you heal just a little bit more. And, as some have suggested, The Compassionate Friends are wonderful. They helped me immensely as did an individual grief counselor.

    • https://www.facebook.com/deb.baltenberger Deb Colville Baltenberger

      oh my Teresa… how beautifully said. I have used grains of sand as my analogy to the loss of our daughter. But I love how you have described the grief process as riding turbulent waves in the ocean. How absolutely poignant and correct. I went to Compassionate Friends for several years after Melanie’s death, they were wonderful!

  • http://megvillanuevaauthor.wordpress.com megvillanuevaauthor

    Reblogged this on Pebbles Along The Path.

  • http://kris10haggart.wordpress.com kristenhaggart

    It felt good and true to read this. I lost my dad suddenly four weeks ago, and even in that small space of time, I’ve experienced several pieces of what you’ve written.

    I’ve started describing my experiences with grief here, in letters I’m writing to my father about my experience of his passing: http://kris10haggart.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/dear-dad/

    Thanks for giving hope that this work is worth it in the long run.

  • Carrie Butler

    This is beautifully written. I would also point out that grief is not only about the death of a loved one. It is about ANY loss that makes us sad. It can be the loss of “life as we know it,” the death of a marriage, friendship or other meaningful relationship. It can be the death of one’s mental status, one’s health, one’s body part or parts, one’s belief system, one’s freedom, one’s well-loved job, one’s prosperity, and so on. There are different forms of loss, but the process remains the same. As a 52 year-old woman and nurse of 29 years, I have seen and experienced first hand many of these losses, but have faith in the process of grief. It happens in the order it does, for a reason. My heart and prayers go out to anyone who is experiencing grief at this time in their life, especially around the holidays.

  • glendyn

    Dear Teryn,
    Is good to see another “y: name as in Glendyn.

    I have not suffered great loss in my 66 years as yet. but as a MSA sufferer am learning about other people’s reaction to my future…

    One point that has come across very strongly is the feeling of Love.. Love of humanity. Love of life, Love of sharing, Love of giving, Love of receiving….
    As i progress hopefully for many years to come, i have this overwhelming emotion of love to give, love to receive and love to share.
    this will probably be the greatest loss in the innermost heart, is loss of love,
    Really enjoyed reading your blog and thank you for your attitude and blessing of wisdom..
    glen x

  • Paula

    The best advice I got after my Mom passed was that even tho the loss would never be OK, the time would come that I would be OK to carry around and treasure her memory and the memories we made together. I am slowly getting there. I now have more OK days than I do bad days. Not sure if I will ever get past all the bad days but if not, that’s OK too. It just means I miss her.

  • http://Facebook Nelda

    I wish I could have read this article sooner. My husband of thirty-six years died Dec 6th, 2011. Its been two years but I still feel lost. I don’t know what to do with myself. Its like I can’t get into the routine of daily life. I feel like I am floating around in life. I trust in the Lord to lead me everyday.

    • teeny

      One of the emotions that is discussed at the grief support group I lead, Is inertia. In layman’s terms, I describe it as knowing you have things to do but one can’t get there butt in gear so another day goes by. then it weighs on you that you should be doing something. Perhaps try to accomplish one small thing a day:)) Sending hugs

  • joan wiegers

    I lost my twin sister in 2010. We were so close that our boys thought they had two mothers. We were born together, but unfortunately, we don’t die together. I am at the “keeping busy” stage right now. The pain hasn’t lessened, I have just made room for it.

    • Angie Obermeyer

      On June 13th, 2013, my best friend and love of my life was doing sheet rock work in the apartment we were about to rent, he came upstairs and said I don’t know if I’m having a panic attack or heart attack, I put a cold washcloth on the back of his neck and asked him if he was ok, he thought he was feeling better, but he wasn’t he collapsed in front on me, I got 911 on the phone and had to start CPR, I knew it wasn’t good when I turned him on his back and his face was bluish, left side of his face warped and his eyes didn’t look right, I mean the EMT’s, firefighters were there within minutes, but it wasn’t good, they worked on him for an hour, he wasn’t overweight, walked 3 miles a day, he was only 51, we didn’t have much but we were very happy for 25 years, we grew up since childhood, my heart is broken, I try to stay strong for my kids, but I can’t make any sense of it. Thank you for listening to me, I talk to my family all the time about it, it’s not easy, but they are my therapy!

      • http://mannagold.ca Peggy Bendell

        My heart breaks when I read all these messages in response to the ’15 things’ as it does with your story. You hit on something so important: “I talk … they are my therapy!” Talking about it is so very important, especially to people who won’t just “humour you” but listen, ask questions, make comments too. My husband says we need to tell the story often enough until we finally hear it.

  • Connie Cone

    It helps to remember that grief is a process not a destination and just like taking a trip, many people go but they do not always take the same route. Grief isn’t always about the death of a loved one. While I have grieved over the loss of many loved ones, the deepest grief came after my diagnosis with multiple sclerosis. The loved ones I lost were no longer here and the reminders of their existence have become cherished memories that now bring me comfort. My grandmother’s cake pans, my father’s fish cooker, my father-in-law’s journal, pictures of family gatherings; all these things used to bring me heart wrenching despair but now I look at them and touch them and remember all the wonderful events that are associated with them~what used to bring me pain now brings me comfort. Having MS, on the other hand, was something that changed my life forever; mine and those around me. Nothing is “normal” anymore, even day-to-day is sometimes an adventure into the abyss. The process of grieving is the same. I take it one day at a time and am thankful for the good days. I live through the bad days as best I can even if that means staying in bed with the covers pulled over my head. And on the good days, I take out my grandmother’s cake pans and bake something for someone else. I find my joy where I can and that makes the bad days pale in comparison.

  • Jenna Young

    I lost both of my parents 9 months apart from each other. I lost my father (3/22/12) to cancer and my mother (12/29/12) to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. As a child you never imagine becoming a parent to your own parents, and it’s a nightmare of a roller coaster when it happens. One thing I learned immediately is that no matter what you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You do the absolute best you can, you follow ALL the professionals’ advice and directions but in the eyes of family it’s not enough. Throughout it all I learned that you have to do what is medically right and listen to what the experts say and let go of the family that just want to talk. In the end you need to be the one who can close your eyes in peace with the knowledge you did everything you could possibly do right.

  • http://dcalves1.wordpress.com David Alves

    Reblogged this on David's Place and commented:
    I found this insightful and honest. I’m planning on thinking through each point today during my Sabbath rest with the Lord. I love sharing remarkable writing with those of you who visit “David’s Place.” Blessings.

  • http://twexerbee.wordpress.com twexerbee

    Reblogged this on My Thoughts on Paper and commented:
    This blog has been very helpful to me. I felt it needed to be shared.

  • https://www.facebook.com/shelly.crawfordbauer Shelly Crawford Bauer

    I wish I had had this 11 years ago. I still have issues over my husbands death.

    • Angie

      Shelley, I feel the same way, the loss can be overwhelming at times. I come from a very large family and I’ve gone through alot of losses in my life, my father, one of my brothers, my uncles, my father and mother in law, but this has been by far the biggest loss in my life, my kids make me get through each day, it’s going on only 7 months, I know how you feel, we were soul mates and best friends and for him to be taken so suddenly at 51, I’m still in shock and disbelief, I try to stay positive for my kids sake, but everyday is a chore just to wake up and do things, but I make myself do it. Just so you know, you are not alone, and when I feel these feelings, I come here and read and it does make me feel better. I also talk to my family all the time about it, that really helps, I hope your talking to someone about your feelings, it can be therapeutic. My best to you Shelly!

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  • Bobbi Jo Windsor

    Thank you

  • Mia J.

    I lost two of my closest friends withing 10 days of each other in April 2013. The grief was overwhelming and I had to seek counseling. It was the best decision I’ve made in a very long time, and it’s been so beneficial. All the things in this article are absolutely correct and I’ll pass it along to help those around me cope the way I’ve learned to. Thank you for this. Namaste.

    • https://www.facebook.com/patricia.garretson.5 Patricia Garretson

      Hi Mary, I ” Identify” as well. i lost my brother in August , my best friend and my mother in October 2013 just three days apart. I was crushed. I always felt strong to get through struggles, it was my way in life, this was the biggest blow, the crash came during the end of the holidays, I just couldn’t take the pain and not being able to put one foot in front of the other. I lost touch with my friends , until i said I need help . I kept getting blindsided, but prayer, family and friends along with counsling is indeed a start.

  • myredsandals

    When my beloved father died in January 2011, I experienced all 15 of the items listed in this article.

    One of the most helpful things I did for myself was to participate in an 8-week grief support group at my church. The take-away was that everyone experiences grief in their own way; there is no “right way” or “wrong way” to grieve. Let people who are grieving do so on their own timetable. This is not the time to judge. Offer plenty of grace, support and understanding. If you think it’s taking too long for someone to “get over” their grief, you need to button your lip and step back.

    And if you are the one grieving, be patient and kind with yourself, expect the unexpected and let the process of saying goodbye unfold organically.

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  • marlene

    its ok to ask god for help

  • http://facebook Marie

    I never felt comfortable trying to comfort someone who had lost a mate. I had experienced loss of my mother, My dad, my two brothers, so I knew what it was like to lose someone. Oh how wrong I was. Until you lose a mate; and I don’t know if short or long time mate makes a difference; you have no idea what it is like. I found out it is like no other loss other than losing a child I am sure. I did pick myself up and have gone on with my life, which has cost me one of my children. because I met and married a man who had flaws as we all do my daughter has decided that I am not her mother anymore. I know I have not handled that loss as I should have because I have lashed out because of my hurt. She will speak when we are in public but we do not have what I always thought was a close relationship. She never comes to my home, because of that I do not get to see my great-granchildren. I am not invited to her home and if I were my husband would not be allowed to come. I do pray that some day she will want to be a part of my life again as I would love to be a part of hers.

  • http://facebook Melissa

    This helped me. Now I know someone else understands and I can heal.

  • https://www.facebook.com/fran.burgess.9 Fran Burgess

    I lost my dad this past December. He was 83 years old but still was a self-employed sign painter, a writer for our local newspaper, the music director at our church, and played golf. I retired from teaching 3 years ago and since then we spent almost every day with each other – working on the newspaper, him bringing me lunch at a part-time job where I worked, just visiting either at my house or his, going out to eat, and of course, on Sundays, I played the piano while he led the music. Everyone where I go, I see him – whether it is a sign that he painted in and around our town or some of the places where he loved to go take his “hour” long coffee breaks. Going to church and playing the piano without him leading the music is almost unbearable for me right now. I was so blessed to have him for so long, but my heart still breaks. I am also blessed because my mother is still living. My heart also breaks for her because she is “lost” without him. I’m almost 60 years old, but I still feel like a child without a daddy. Every now and then, I think, “Ok, I’ve got a handle on this, and then the intense pain hits again.” I know that my daddy would not want me to be suffering like this. I try to think of how he would handle things. He was always so strong and had a trust and faith in God that I admire. I know that God is faithful and I know His promises are true, but right now, I having a hard time relying on these truths- but I’m trying.

  • Karen Carrier

    We had a house fire in April 2012, it was a loss like none I have experienced or can explain. We lost our dog, 2 cats, and our Macaw parrot. To sift through the ruins of your home for something that made it, just something to cling to, that feels normal. Losing so much all at once, it’s a loss that words can’t describe. I wish I had some profound advice, but honestly I’m failing horribly to cope. I just try to keep finding a spark of hope each day, and pray that when we get back in our home things will be better!

  • Maha

    Hello. Thank u for this artical. I lost my son ten months ago, its more than hard to deal with by my own.i miss my son more than i can put it into word. Thank u so much.

    • Donna Hoffman

      I too have lost my son, but only two and a half months ago . My heart is broken I feel broken . My family is totally torn apart. Right now I am the only one in therapy , however they all need it . One daughter and grand daughter have been . In grief counseling but the other 2 desperately need it but won’t . Please pray for us.

      • http://anabragahenebrysjournal.blogspot.com Ana

        Donna, just to let you know, I am praying for you and for your family. Right now. I know how much prayer can help.

        • Donna Hoffman

          Thank you Ana. Prayer certainly does help . Sometimes I feel we are running low.

      • https://www.facebook.com/deb.baltenberger Deb Colville Baltenberger

        Donna, much love and prayers. It has been 23 years since the death of our daughter. Be gentle with yourself and the rest of the family. As my husband and I found out, we grieved in different ways. He compartmentalized it all and I laid it all out there and was a wreck. Luckily we had a two year old son at home who needed his mommy, so I functioned. I went to Compassionate Friends, he didn’t. Through it, we realized that it really didn’t matter – neither of us were grieving the right way and neither of us was grieving the wrong way. We had to go through the process in our own way and in our own time.
        I felt broken, like you do and it took a lot longer than most of our friends wanted for me to feel unbroken. I was shocked and dismayed and thought there was something terribly wrong with me when, 6 months after Melanie’s death, I felt worse than I did immediately following it. How naive I was. I believe that God, in His ultimate mercy, cushions us by allowing us to “be in shock” for the first bit of time after the death of a child. He knows that we can’t handle the physical aspect of the death. For me, the numbness and shock wore off at about 6 months and that’s when I really fell apart.
        Perhaps the other members of your family are still in that state of shock where they may not know how deep their hurt is. On the other hand, my husband never did need the level of support and counselling that I did. I don’t have any answers, but these are just a couple of thoughts that I would like to share with you… if they are useful then good, if not please know that I care and I understand. Prayers to you and your family!

  • http://facebook Barbara Peltz

    I am trying to survive the loss of my son for being in the wrong place at the wrong time on a highway going home to pick up his children from school. He was behind a large truck that lost its flatbed that dislodged from its cab and killed my son instandly who was behind it.The shock to all of us is still to hard to bear but we know in our broken hearts that life goes on. We must learn to celebrate his life and all the joy and happiness he gave the family and not dwell on his passing. He leaves a wonderful wife, son 12 yrs.old and daughter 8 yrs.old. It’s very hard for a child to understand and they need the confort of an adult to fill the need and loss that they are feeling. We all have shed our tears, now we must go on and remember the loving, caring person he was. 12/3/13 accident happened.

    • https://www.facebook.com/joyce.godier Joyce Godier

      Oh my gosh, Barbara. Your loss is so new, and at Christmas too. My son died ten days before Christmas and it can still be a challenge…21 years later.

  • Laura

    I would like to add this for those that know someone that is in grief. My husband passed away 14 months ago and I was numb with grief for months. People are genuine when they tell you to let them know if you need anything. The problem is that you don’t know what you want or need. Your mind is on one thing and one thing only. To help someone, just go do it. Show up and tell them you are there to cook, clean, grocery shop, write thank you notes. Assemble bills. Whatever you do on a regular basis, show up and tell them you are there to do that. It may seem pushy but it is what is most needed and appreciated.

  • http://labonnemon.wordpress.com uptightloveswild

    Simple, accurate, and beautiful. Thank you.

  • mary

    My dad passed away 9 months ago, and this is everything I needed to hear. Noone in this house ever talks about it, mentions him, and if you do it just gets awkward. ive never wanted to scream so badly.

  • Chelsea

    My mom passed away a year and a half ago and now that I look back on the first year she was gone… I was in shock and numb the entire year. Just now I am feeling the pain of not having her around. This article brought me to immediate tears, but it was so so very much what I needed to hear. Thank you for posting this.

  • Denise

    It’s coming up on 6 months that my mother Grace passed away of stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. She was diagnosed on 6/3/13 and passed away on 7/23/13. 7 short weeks. People have said to me well thank god she did not suffer for that long. What makes it so hard is that I did see her suffer, deteriate before my own eyes. The only solace that I have, is that my father and I did everything that we could do humanely possible to help her. But as one person wrote, with pancreatic cancer there is really no hope. I am a single women living in Florida now caring for my father who has lost the love of his life after 55 years of marriage! It is true what Teryn has said, I have had people reach out to me that I would never have expected. The people that have reached out are the friends and family that have experienced loss of a loved one themselves. It is like this strange club that no knows about until you are intiated by the loss of a loved one! These are the friends and family that reached out to my father and I over the recent holidays. These people know what you are going through! You will have people disapppear from your life, as I did. A so called best friend of 30 years. You will see peoples true colors! I am seeing a grief counselor and she has helped out immensely, but it is not for everyone. My father and siblings have chosen not to and that’s ok. I moved to FL to be with my mom after the loss of her mother at the age of 93. Little did I know that 7 short years later, I would lose my mom at 74. My mother was my best friend, my partner in crime. We did everything together. My father is heartbroken, I am heartbroken. I miss her every minute of everyday.

  • http://Facebook.com Mary Tharp

    There is a different “twist” to grieving when a caregiver and her family lose their loved one after a long, debilitating illness, such as a stroke. In a sense, you grieve twice: once when the person is stricken down and loses his independent identity; and secondly, when he dies and you are alone. I think that getting back into the Mainstream of life is a good solution, but it takes awhile when so much time has past and some of your friends have “moved on.” You do learn a lot about yourself in the process, however. You find new ways to participate and pursue your interests and talents.!

    • Amanda

      You also learn a lot about your friends in the process, which I have found to be bittersweet. From this lesson I have slowly learned to take a step back from the bitter and fully embrace the sweet. I used to feel really disappointed and even angry when I did not hear from some friends on certain days that they know to be particularly difficult for me. Now I invest my emotion on those that are consistently there, and I feel grateful for them, and for myself – that I am still here. I wish you the best on your new chapter, and I admire your pursuit of personal satisfaction!

  • http://nettie2013.wordpress.com nettie2013

    Beautiful.. Lost my mother / best friend a few weeks ago, I appreciate your words :)

  • Arnold D.

    This is helpful to me. I still plan on getting professional help. My mother died on June 20, 2013. I am her only child. Even though I have my wife and son, I still feel so alone. Being an only child does that to you. I was not ready to handle her affairs. Momma was the closest person to me that has ever died. I have been though some of the steps mentioned above. My biggest source of grief is I never got a chance to say I love you. I did not get to hear her voice that last time. I feel so guilty about that. How could I have not been there? Of course I did not know that what happened to her would happen, but at least that would have given me some peace of mind. Thanks for allowing me to share this.

  • Iris

    A couple things I’ve learned:
    ~ If I dont give into this grief it won’t affect me as much. Sooo not true. Grief is a process and we must go through it. Bottling it up will only make it worse. Grieve, give into it, go through it, it “will” pass.

    ~ Time does not heal. Time helps you learn how to deal with it, how to lift your head in public again, helps you eventually talk about it to people without falling apart. Some days you will wake up feeling as raw as the day of your loss and the pain as sharp as it ever was but you will be able to get up and face it again thanks to time. Memories are the best therapy. Go there, relive, do it often. At first it will be bittersweet but the more you walk down memory lane it becomes less bitter and you’re eventually left with sweet. Grief is a journey, if you stop anywhere along the way it’ll only take you longer to get through it.
    :)

  • John B

    I’m trying to do the things said here, for my partner, common law husband , lover friend all the rest, passed away November 17, 2013 while I was asleep and I could”nt save him and sometimes the guilt is almost to much and the loss of not having him around me seels to be to much, we were together for 25 yrs. I try with the help of some extremely good friends. without them I may not have made it this far. i love you Will, and I miss you.

    • Angie

      John, we all feel guilt, don’t do that to yourself. I lost the love of my life on June 24fh 2013, my heart is broken, so I know what your going through. My family is wonderful, they are helping me through this, I love you Rob and miss you sooooo much!! Let’s keep in touch John through this website!

  • Barbara

    I know it is a cliché, but it is true that time is a great healer. You will never forget the one you lost, but will eventually come to terms with it. I couldn’t understand the actual physical pain that followed my daughter’s death just before her 9th birthday. I now know it was my whole body being permanently tense, but can’t explain the feeling like a knife being stuck in my chest! The first week is the hardest, followed by the next. Then the first month and the first year. The first of all events without your loved one is always a trial, but in time the pain will lessen. By year 5 things are much easier to deal with. As previously mentioned, remember happy times rather than dwelling on your loss. Your loved one would want you to be happy – and you can be in time.

    • https://www.facebook.com/joyce.godier Joyce Godier

      Wise comments, thank you Barbara. As you know, losing a child is different. You lose your hopes and dreams also. While it’s been 23 years for you, your insights are really helpful, especially to those with a newer loss.

  • Gladys

    I just lost my husband on January 20, 2014 he was 66 years old – he was diagnosed with early onset of Alzheirmer’s at the age of 59 in 2007 – I lost him about 3 years ago due to the awful disease but physically he was still here – I have cried and screamed at god over the last 7 years of even coming up with this type of disease that robbers a person of everything – people tell me he is in a better place and I agree. I thought that I would be all right with his death as I have been dealing with his loss of almost 7 years. Life will go on but I miss him every day and I can never hear him tell me that he loves me or hold my hand
    .

  • https://www.facebook.com/deb.baltenberger Deb Colville Baltenberger

    One thing that I have used over the years (23 to be exact) since our daughter, Melanie, died is this: I compare my grief work to two piles of sand. For what seemed like an eternity the pile of sand with all of the unresolved issues regarding her death never seemed to change its size. The other pile of sand (which seemed to be NON-existent) was supposed to grow, one grain of sand at a time… with each grain of sand representing some aspect of my grief that I had resolved. It took a long time (in my mind) for the 2nd pile to even be visible because I would take one step forward and three steps back… so that while I was adding grains of sand to the second pile, I always seemed to take some out. Eventually, I was able to put a few grains of sand into the “resolved” pile without taking out others and over time I began to let the influence and encouragement of others help move sand from the unresolved pile to the resolved pile. Imagine how I felt when all of a sudden, I looked and saw TWO piles of sand – one growing and one (that I thought would never change size) getting smaller and smaller. I don’t think I’ll ever completely remove all the sand from the first pile but I believe that envisioning the progress I’ve made has made the journey through my grief more evident. I know I am continuing to make progress.
    To everyone else out there, working through the grief process – please use this if it is helpful. Peace and love to you all!

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  • Shelley

    I lost my Grandpa two weeks ago not a day goes by that I am not sad. But I am releived he isn’t suffering anymore. I find comfort in the wonderful memories, pictures, and his favorite song that I listen to over and over again. I cried histarkly on the days leading up to his passing and at the funeral home but I haven’t since. I think maybe it just happened so fast I haven’t really felt it. But really I have no idea I have never in my life yet dealt with the passing of someone so close to me. I don’t know what the days ahead of me bring but I am so thankful for the times we shared.

  • Karen Kozma

    A dear friend connected me with this amazing and comforting website. I am now feeling that my grief over losing my mom 6 months ago…is finally validated. Ironically, my experience has been that those you might expect the most comfort from are not always there for you. However, those that have truly been there for me are the greatest angels in my world. It is a very tough journey. I also learned something from reading the lovely sympathy cards our family received after mom’s passing. Although everyone’s comments were most sincere and we were grateful…it did not feel comforting at first to hear…”Time heals.” What was comforting were the comments such as…”You will really miss her…and we are here for you.” Believe me…I had NO clue…how much I would miss her. I also think a better phrase is “Time softens the loss”…but I am not sure one is fully healed. But…again…this is my first significant loss….and my journey will tell me the final truth. I share my heart with all of you whose posts came before me…and I am grateful that your posts have given me additional strength and comfort and to know that I am not crazy when I still cry so hard at times I least expect. Thank-you…:)

    • Betty

      This a tremendous help for me at this time. My husband Archie just passed a month ago & I am still feeling very sad & weepy. I am realizing what a ways I have to go, but good to know my journey isn’t alone. Thank you all for comments of sharing & Tyrn for posting this @ the perfect time!

  • Nelson C

    My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer Sept 4, 2013…given 6 months…she only made it 3 1/2 months. I am extremely grateful for having the time to have told her I loved her, and what a mark she made on my life, and also to apologize for anything I did to have hurt her. As she wrote down before she passed…” If I could turn back the years, I would have spent so much more time having picnics, more time kissing all my children, and less time worrying about the future.” I carry around the 15 things…whenever I am feeling overwhelmed with the grief…I pull that out of my back pocket and read it…
    Thanks…
    My mom passed December 26, 2013…she gave my hand her last squeeze knowing I was beside her….

    • jmgodier@yahoo.com

      I was fortunate that my sister moved Mom into my house when Mom was ill. My sis lived far away and with her nursing background, she could see that my popping by Mom’s house on the way home from work was not enough. Because of that we were blessed to have my sweet mother with us for 18 precious months before she finally passed.
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  • Kaylene Mader

    I just lost my husband January the 11th 2014 I have been going through all of the 15 things that you talked about it is so hard you think about the things you wished you had asked him for the things that you wish you had said to him or did you do enough for him when he was so ill . or did he know how much you love him how many things you said that hurt him that you did not know about him that you did not know about

    • http://mannagold.ca Peggy Bendell

      I’m saddened to read your post and am glad this list is helpful. It is important, as time goes on, to re-read it again and again as different things will stand out and all will confirm you are NOT going crazy. Remember you can not undo the past so for whatever reason forgive yourself and continue on in the future – your new future.

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  • http://apiarylandlord.wordpress.com apiarylandlord

    Exceptionally wise and true comments. Not wishing to diminish the grief from a loved one passing, this advice is also so good for someone suffering other loss. For example, a divorce can have very similar emotions and the fact the person still lives somewhere is a mixed blessing. To those who are friends of those who grieve – let them share those positive memories with you.

    • jmgodier@yahoo.com

      So true, as you say the losses are different. My friend led a divorce recovery group at our church. Can you imagine the hurt of my former sister- in- law who, after 40 years of marriage thought she had the world’s best husband when he wanted a divorce to be with a twit 15 years younger.
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  • http://betweensisters.wordpress.com Ritika Jangid

    This is a wonderfully written and very true list. Thanks for putting this out there, a must read for anyone feeling exceptionally sad. We all need to know to let this feeling wash over us and pass through us. If handled healthily it provides a lot of things that will only make us stronger and more aware of ourselves.

  • Darra Taylor

    I learned that I will never, ever look at things the same way as I used to. Thoughts and anxietys and worrys I had before are no longer there. My focus on what is important has totally changed.

  • Lenora Thomas

    I find that Grief is on the inside and Mourning is on the outside. You need to be able to allow the Grief out so you can Mourn. It is good to talk to other that have gone thru it. Many people just don’t understand and want you to “get over it!” Some people think that if they say something, it will “fix” you. I find that as one of my grief group buddies said, “it is on the job training”.

    • http://umbrellaministries.org Joyce Godier

      Ronda, my heart goes out to you in your grief. We have conferences for moms who have suffered the loss of a child. The next one is in Palm Springs, the weekend after Mother’s Day. Check our fb page Grieving Moms/Umbrella Ministries.

  • http://ljpoole.wordpress.com ljpoole

    Reblogged this on Poole Reflections and commented:
    Good things to remember in those hard times

  • Darleen

    I lost my husband 26 years ago in a car accident. ..We had only been married 3 months….After about 6 months I was able to ask the Lord to let me help someone…..After about 2 months I got a call from a young lady from a church I had heard about on the radio…She had just lost her husband. …I was able to help her but also we were able to help each other. .. we are both remarried now……I will be 23 years in a couple of months. ….God is so good..I have a wonderful husband….and I know I will see Gary again…..

  • http://Facebook Debbie

    Love while you can. Tell everyone all the time . I love you.
    You can never have enough picture s
    Grief hits when you least expect it. It can drop you to your knees,even after 11. Years.
    Talk to the person
    Make a place that reminds you of them.
    You are a part of a club you don’t want anyone else to join .
    when you loose some one you can feel every part of your body screaming in pain.
    Don’t let things people say upset you. They don’t know what to say.
    Go to sleep can be hard sleep with something that smells like the person.
    Put some of there clothes in a sealed plastic bag.
    Don’t make quick decisions.
    A showers a great place to cry.
    Every one grieving is different.But they all hurt
    Lean on God.

  • Ronda

    You ask what I have learned from my grief, and it has been a lot. It has been a little over six years since my world came crashing down. I wish I had known what I know now, then. But, grief is a process that you have to go through on your own terms, in your own way. No one can grieve it for you, they can help you through–and many will, but you are alone with it most of the way.

    My mantra has been, “It’s okay.” When I talk to others that are new to grief. I tell them over and over that what ever they are feeling, guilt, anger, depression, the list goes on and on, but “It’s okay” to feel whatever they feel. “It’s okay” to do, say, react whatever way they do. It is their grief, it is their feelings and “it’s okay” and don’t let anyone tell you that you are doing it wrong. “It’s okay” to let it out and just go with it. I also tell them that “it’s okay” to go on, to laugh, to live. That’s the hardest thing to finally accept. But, “it’s okay.”

    I lost my precious son to a horrible homicide, he was 34. I will share a couple of my experiences with losing a child in a sudden, violent way, be it murder, tragic accident or suicide. You may find yourself trying to “change” what happened. I tried to solve my son’s murder, tried to find who did it. I couldn’t. I spent months and months reliving the last year or so before he was killed, trying to change what happened. I couldn’t. He was killed in California, I live on the other side of the country. The police did nothing to try to find his killer/killers. I couldn’t change this.

    Please, learn from my mistakes. I nearly drove myself crazy, I really did. I also think that I may have brought real danger to my other children, by maybe getting too close to who killed him. So, and this is important, I let it go! I realized that I really didn’t WANT to know who killed my son. I didn’t WANT to know the horrible details of how they did it. I did not WANT to sit through a trial and see pictures. I prayed to God and said, “Lord, You know who did this. I will leave their punishment up to You. I have faith that you can punish them worse than any worldly powers can. I turn it over to You.” Then I let it go. Easy, no, but I found peace with it.

    Then I had to do the same with the guilt, with trying to re-live the past over and over and over, trying to change what happened. Trying to figure out how to make it all go away and my son be alive again. This was the hardest. I tried to figure out how to keep him from doing anything he did those last few moments that led up to them being able to kill him. Trying to have made him stay with me instead of returning home after his last visit. Trying to warn him or save him from being killed. It took a long time for me to realize that I could not change what happened. Because, it DID happen. When I finally accepted that, a cloud lifted off me. Oh, I was still very sad, I was still very depressed, but I realized that he was gone and nothing he did or didn’t do, or I did or didn’t do, could change that. It was a tough time, but it helped.

    I also feel strongly that he is in a better place. He was a kind and gentle soul, a beautiful, loving son. He would have been so heartbroken with the way this country is going, with all the problems around in our world. He is the lucky one, that he is with God and is safe now. No one can ever hurt him again. I have peace. I know that we will be together again.

    My sister told me this once and it was a beautiful thought. She said that when we die, we will arrive in Heaven on the same day that our loved ones did, because there is no night in Heaven. Just think of that!! It has been 6 earthly years since I lost my son, but to him, it has only been one day!

  • Judy Cooper

    Thank you so much for these words. I wish I had discovered them sooner. Yes I have read much about grief in the three and a half years since my husband passed away. But, each of the 15 said something I needed to hear or had experienced. I am so pleased to have found your blog.

  • Verna Austin Wall

    My best help is praying to God to grant me strength to be what He wants me to be and in staying busy; Striving to develop Positive Thoughts & Actions; And ” knowing when I am at the bottom of the “pit” . . . That God WILL HELP ME CLIMB OUT !

    • https://www.facebook.com/chuck.coolington Chuck Coolington

      Praise the lord Verna

  • Cyndi Lesser Babish

    These are all things I’ve tried to do and keep trying to do. My loss was five-fold in less than three years. As an only child, I lost my mother in January 2006, I lost my husband in June of 2007, I lost my job of 32+ years in November of 2007, I lost my dad in January of 2008, and I lost the home that my husband I shared for 18 years in 2009. I’ve prayed to and talked with God many times about taking everything away from me. I know I have not yet dealt with all the grief and never sought grief counseling because I was so sure I could do it myself. I know I have shut myself off from people and your words made me realize that I have to let people back into my life, but I’m living 70 miles away now in my parents’ home (where I hadn’t lived for for over 40 years) and all of my friends are in Denver. What’s worse is that I live out in the country, so its not like homes are next door to each other. Some days I just don’t know what to do even after all this time, but I know that my tears flow so easily. I am going to try and follow some of the steps in your article that I haven’t already been doing, but there are a lot of people I don’t trust.

    • https://www.facebook.com/patricia.garretson.5 Patricia Garretson

      Dear Cindi, I can identify completely with your sorrows. I lost family when I was young at age 23, my father , aunt, uncle, grandparents, then there was a pause to heal, then a few years ago I lost my girlfriend to sucide, my ex husband father of my son to sucide, pause again , then this year, well in August 2013, my brother, October 3rd my very beloved best friend of 26 years with his notice of only two days that he was going to die, how do you live knowing 2 days your going to die after just finding out the test results you have cancer and life, is over, your wife behind, your children, it was devestaing to say the least, then 3 days later I lost my mom to cancer with 4 weeks discovering she had it and three days after my besfriend left us she left me. Three weeks ago my adopted by association of being in my life through theh church and guiding me for over 41 years died suddenly …. all so fast, to many at one time. I never lost faith in God, I think it came with maturity and the final fact I opened my heart to him. I know God reveals that he will only give us what we can handle. and many of days I would say Lord please don’t have so much faith in me. I get blind sided often with each of the last four I just lost. I had all the stages come and go , come and go, and now my heart feels numb, like there is no more room to grieve. Thats said I was wrong, I cried hard today missing my mother when I thought my tears had finally dried. I have no answers that can really help but I know that God has a plan out of all of this , we may not know now but we will later. My prayer for you is to let go and let all of it come out when it comes, and keep the Lord at your side. The people we lost left footprints in our heart , wehen we fall and feel hopeless god will carry us through. That I can believe in. – patti

    • https://www.facebook.com/chuck.coolington Chuck Coolington

      CYNDLESSER BABISH you sound like me at the beginning , i was a total mess lost of so many family member and the last one i had to call family my son who passed away 10 months after my husband i didn’t know what direction i was to go in trying to get over one and here comes another it just drove me crazy, i though at times what did i do wrong to deserve so much punishment but i opened my heart up to GOD call on him he will give you the help you need trust in him he is what gave me strength to continue when i didn’t trust any one with my life specially after my son was bullied killed, i spend all my time by my self,”to my self” but that wasn’t mentally healthy, i started to lose my self as well, felt like i’m the one who died, lifeless so deep in my sadness and sorrows but i called on my Lord for help because i knew he wouldn’t fail me he is our father he hears i calls, call on him.praise the lord.

  • http://andredshoes.blogspot.com andredshoes

    Take it from someone far down the road of grief: this is good! I have read it all and written some of it too when it comes to grieving and this is some of the best I have found. Putting a link on my blog.

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  • https://www.facebook.com/chuck.coolington Chuck Coolington

    Hi my name is Diana Daniels, glad to meet you all i read your topic very good, you wrote it simple and it get right to the point.i lost my son Charles November 18 2012 to a bully murder i’m on my second year now things gotten better maybe i should say livable, i still cry it good to water your soul with your tears it’s a part of growing , i still have many days where i don’t know what i’m doing it’s so confusing there are days i want to cry and just fight it back, that’s not health it’s good to let go,i still have problems with sleeping i find my self some times in my sleep still getting up and going into my sons room and looking for him that’s my problem i had with excepting but i processes that , my son and i was very close like two peas in a pot, now how am i going to live with out him? he was all that i had i had him for twenty four years what am i going to do? i can die slowly with my grief or remember all the things about him that made me proud remember the love we had remember all the good times we had just simple, ‘remembering the love”, i can take that on my next journey in my life and take all the lessons i learned from the gift god gave me and make my self a better person because of him, grief feels like a roller coaster ride you never know when it’s going to stop or where to get off, but things do get better it takes time how much time? all the time you need,and no two people feel the same and no two people process their grief the same, but one day you’ll surprise your self with out looking for it to happen your wake up one day pull back your curtain feel the sun on your face and smile and say i love you and i’ll never for get you and your on your way. many (((HUGS)))

  • Gary

    I lost my best friend October 11th 2012 do to a car accident that was not her fault and I lost my mom October 3rd 2013 do to cancer. one was ripped away and the other I had to slowly watch.thank you your post is spot on.one thing that has helped me is music .Godspeed and Godbless

    • https://www.facebook.com/chuck.coolington Chuck Coolington

      you love your music praise the Lord, then you keep on listening to your music because that comforts you, we all have to find our comfort zone through out our grief, i love to watch my sons videos of him talking laughing and smiling with his friends , bless you gary

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  • Cindy Trout

    Yes all of this is sooo true. The anger part of grief threw me for a loop and I had to go back and apologize to those I exploded with. All of those who said to me, I know what you are going through or you need to move on, etc. Some day I will sit down and write down my thoughts. Thank you so much for your 15 things – it is a learning process – this walk of grief.
    I lost my only child, my beautiful daughter Brandy

    • https://www.facebook.com/joyce.godier Joyce Baehr Godier

      How long has it been since your loss? I was mad at God for taking my son, yet knew all along that He was big enough to love me even while I was angry. Check out our page. Daisy our founder lost her only son. We were fortunate to still have a daughter. Not that she could replace Paul, but it helped to still have a family.

      • Cindy Trout

        It has been a little over 20 months. I know the pain will never leave me, but it gets softer and I know Brandy would want me to go on living. I know God allowed it to happen and He has a plan. What was done for evil, Good will come from it. Blessings have already come and God had been Glorified. I remember that night – I said to God, Really God, this is your answer?
        Some still dont understand, but that is ok. I have to love them and forgive them and put one foot in front of the other and pray to God – How can I glorify you?
        Losing an only child takes a part of you that can never be replaced.

        • jmgodier@yahoo.com

          We saw the good as starting a ministry to comfort moms. We now have conferences on the east and west coasts, with new ones in Montana and Houston.
          Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

          • Cindy Trout

            That is wonderful! I have started taking classes for Biblical Counseling to help others some day..

          • jmgodier@yahoo.com

            What area of the country are you in? By adding MT and Tx, we have all points on the compass covered! Perhaps you can lead a group at one of our conferences. Can you message me on fb with your address? We’ll send Daisy’s book “Under God’s Umbrella” and booklet “In Heaven”. Take a look at the questions and discussions ops in the back of the book. They were added so that any mom, without training, could lead a bereavement group in her own area. I’m proud of you for taking the Biblical Counseling classes. You may have wisdom to share with us!
            Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  • https://www.facebook.com/chuck.coolington Chuck Coolington

    YES YOUR RIGHT THAT WILL NEVER BE REPLACED,

  • http://helpmyunbelief.wordpress.com Adam

    Reblogged this on Help My Unbelief and commented:
    Cancer creates it’s own kind of grief…this was helpful for me and hopefully for others who face all sorts of grief.

  • Linda

    I haven’t had time to read all your comments but I am sure others, like myself, are dealing with grief even though the person didn’t die. Our 33 year old beautiful son was hit by a drunk/drugged driver while on a diving vacation in Trinidad/Tobago. The man was told to go home and sober up (long story). Our son is now a quadriplegic and my husband and I are caring for him in our home. While we are blessed he is alive today, we grieve the loss of his very active healthy life. With no laws to protect him monetarily, as there would be in the USA, we grieve for the future which is uncertain for him as well as for ourselves as aging caregivers. Thank you for your very well written blog on grief. My son was keeping up with his blog, but he hasn’t had time with therapy every day, but I hope he will again soon.

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  • Marie

    I have to forgive myself for feeling I could have done more or something different.

  • Squeeze

    Number 11 is a whole different pain & loss, at least for now. My ex-son-in-law won’t let me see my grand children. It’s hard enough losing my child, but being kept from her babies by a vengeful person is making it impossible for me to honor her and to pour my love to them. Prayers appreciated that God makes the way for us to be joined again as a grandmother & grand babies should be.

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  • Heather Bixler

    So much truth in this.

  • Madela Nelson

    My names are madela nelson, I am from UK, I never believe on
    love spells until, I met DR URIBHOR and he was able to bring ex lover back to
    me just in 48hours, I have been divorced since 8years ago now, but I still
    loved my man, without him I feel incomplete, and I was looking for a way out to
    get him back, I emailed Dr and share all my pains and worries to him, but he
    told me that I should not worry about anything, that I am on the right place,
    he only ask for some love and return items which I provided he cast the love
    spell on my ex husband, because I sent his picture and contact to him, in the
    next 48hours he called me and ask me if I am at home that he would have liked
    to meet me, then already I know that the spell has already worked, which i said
    no problem, he came to my place and ask my hand back, that I should forgive and
    forgive everything that he is now here to take good care of me and to stay with
    me forever, I am so happy and I will always be saying good words about him,
    email him at DRURIBHORALTER@HOTMAIL.COM
    email me for more informations or questions MADELANELSON45@GMAIL.COM call dr on +2348113056884 regards

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  • jlndewitt

    We lost our 27 year old son on May 7, 2006 to an accidental overdose of prescription medications. He had back pain from a slipped disc and was taking muscle relaxants for that. He was bipolar and took Xanax and other meds for that. He had just had major oral surgery and was taking antibiotics and pain meds. He lived large, and he had always considered himself bullet proof. If he had a headache, he’d toss down 3 Tylenol, saying he was bigger and needed more. We had been through lots of ups and downs with him because of his bipolar state, but this one night, he was home with his son and girlfriend, and he was watching TV, recuperating from the oral surgery. He drank a beer or two. He fell asleep, and never woke up. His heart stopped, and it was later found through an autopsy that he had one extra muscle relaxant in his system…. but combined with everything else, it killed him. Through the years, I struggled with my grief, but the first 3years, I pushed it aside as much as I could as our grandson was living with us. He was 4 when his daddy passed on. He and his mom moved in with us, and I was teaching school, so I had a lot going on. When they moved out 3 years later, I just about fell apart. That’s when I started getting therapy for my grief. After 3 years of seeing a psychologist, I worked through a lot of things. To me, grief is like arthritis of the heart. It’s always there and painful, but it’s better some days or worse, depending on a whole host of things that impact it. Neither my husband or daughter will really engage in talking about how much we all miss him, as they have been very stoic and do not share their grief. So it was a blessing that I found a good doctor who helped me through some of the roughest things that bothered me. I had to forgive myself for many things that bumped around in my mind, things that I thought would have made a difference in lots of things in his life, not just the night that he died. One thing I’ve learned is that I now let go of so many things that used to irritate me, or cause me to have a bad day. For example, if I got stuck in bad traffic, or if I something broke, or an appliance went out, it just would seem like such a problem. Now my thought is, “if there is no blood, hospitals, or jail involved, it’s not that bad of a problem.” I’ve gotten so much more patient, I’m very laid back about almost everything. I used to get very upset if my husband was in a grouchy mood or was mad at me about something, he tends to blow up and shout over little stuff. Now if I irritate him or he shouts about something I screwed up, I just say, “You’ll get over it,” and I basically can ignore all that because it just does not matter to me anymore. The one thing that does sometimes bother me is that I do have a fear that something else bad will happen in our family. I thought nothing like that would ever happen to us, and since it did, I sometimes worry a lot about other tragedies befalling our daughter or grandchildren. The only reason I worry about myself or my husband passing, is if it happens before our grandkids grow up. I just want to be here for them until they are grown, so they won’t have to go through grief too young. It’s been very hard on our son’s child, and I don’t want that to happen to him again for a very long time. But I did learn in therapy that worry is very non productive, you cannot possibly do a thing about things that have not yet occurred, and it is pointless to imagine scenarios and then cause yourself to get all in a stew about them. Nothing, nothing, nothing in my world can ever be as bad as the loss of my one and only beloved son, funny, charming, handsome, smart, and first born child. My children were my world as babies and as they grew up. I delighted in everything they did and doted on them. Even when they misbehaved, I’d make them go to time out, but secretly, I had a giggle in my heart as nothing they ever did was that bad. So in the grand scheme of things, I could lose every single item I have in a flood or fire, every possession, I could lose my own health, I could be screamed at or criticized all day every day, and I could look you straight in the eye and tell you that none of these things can compare to losing my son. I will be with him again in Heaven and I look forward to that very much. However, I will also say, that I have learned to enjoy my life as it is, I adore my oldest grandson who is now 12, and we live near our daughter and her adorable 2 year old son, and she is expecting another. My husband and I are building a new house out in the country and I’m happy about that. I have many blessings and I wrap myself up in my grandkids. I’m retired from teaching now, and I help my daughter whenever I can as her job keeps her quite busy. Our oldest grandson spends all holidays with us and every summer. We all do things together, and he loves his little cousin, and helps out with him a lot. I have a lot to be thankful for. I tell my grandson funny things about his father, sweet memories and he enjoys that. He loves to hear about the hilarious things his dad did and said as a child and a young man, and there are many of those as he was a very unique individual with a dry sense of humor and a funny outlook on lots of things. He was a great dad, partner to his girlfriend, son, grandson, brother, nephew, and friend to many. He loved animals, he was a good listener, and he was very insightful. I’ll never quit missing him, but I can cope. It took me some time, and there is still a hole in my heart and soul, but he’d want us all to be doing well, and we are.

  • mae ball

    Todays date is 6/18/’14. I lost my 60 year old daughter to suicide on April 23, 2014. This is harder than losing my 34 year old son to Aids in 1984, and my husband from cancer in July 1996. I’m seeing a psychiatrist about this, because the shock was/is more that I’m able to deal with by myself. She lived in another state, and the stepson handled the arrangements; she was cremated before I was ever notified. I’m not even sure which end is up anymore. I do know that I must go on because I still have time here before I go on to marble orchards.

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  • Harmand Amadeus

    My Name is Harmand Amadeus from California. I am here to give testimony on how got my wife back. My wife left me for no reason 3 years ago. She moved out with another man, i felt like killing myself, my life became very bitter and sorrowful. Then 1 day, a friend of mine told me about a great spell caster that is very good and does not even charge for his services, he said he gave him some lucky numbers that he played in a lottery and he won. I didn’t believe it because I’ve worked with so many of them and it didn’t work. He begged me further so i decided to try this great spell caster called DR. OTIAGBE and i contacted him via his email: {Otiagbe@yahoo.com}. I still didn’t believe. I used the spell he gave me and the next day i received a call from my darling wife called Rugina last month. She apologized and came back to me. I’m very happy now. Thank you DR. OTIAGBE, You can reach him via email: {Otiagbe@yahoo.com}