10 Skills For Dealing with Grief

dealing with griefWelcome. You have just been enrolled in a class that you didn’t want to join, where you will learn things you had hoped you would never have to know.

 There is no teacher, no textbooks and no timeline for when the class will end.

This knowledge and this experience will make you a stranger to those who know you. You’ll feel like a stranger to yourself. You are a student of your grief and there is so much for you to learn.

When dealing with grief, you’ll be expected to master a number of skills in a short period of time:

  1. How to help those around you feel more comfortable with your grief.
  2. How to handle the tasks and household duties once handled by the deceased.
  3. When is the “right” time to clean out your loved one’s belongings.
  4. How to stick to a daily routine, even though it feels totally foreign as it no longer includes the person who died.
  5. How to go to work, the grocery store, car mechanic, dry cleaners, pharmacy, hardware store, while the world continues to turn, even though it seems like there’s no sense to any of it.
  6. How to maintain connections and relationships to friends and family, even if you feel  misunderstood, isolated and alone.
  7. How to function each day while getting almost no sleep each night.
  8. How to plan your day, organize life and activities and remember everything (birthdays, where you put your purse, or parked the car) all while feeling scattered, fuzzy-headed and out of sorts.
  9. How to prepare for a future that has changed in every way since your loved one has died.

There is a 10th and the final lesson at the end of this class if you look hard enough:

How to hope.

Hope for a future where things make sense again. Hope for a time when there won’t be such acute pain grief following you wherever you go. Hope for a return to the rest of society – to that place of plans and to the comfort of trivial concerns.

As a graduate from the school of dealing with grief, there is potential to see life with a new perspective. To feel gratitude to those who reached out and cared.

Remember that you can reach out to others who are experiencing what you’ve experienced.

When you visit our forums, you’ll find stories of people dealing with sudden loss, who are asking themselves the types of questions you might be asking: Did I go back to work too soon? Will I ever feel like myself again?

There are also places to share your story if you’re dealing with grief in the wake of a suicide, the loss of a parent or spouse, or coping with a miscarriage.

As you read and share stories, you can begin to see in yourself a strength and resilience that you never knew was there.

With luck and perseverance you’ll learn the lesson that hope can only be found as we do the work of grieving in our hardest and darkest of times.


8 thoughts on “10 Skills For Dealing with Grief”

  1. In the past 4 yrs I’ve experienced 3 great losses. First my husband, then my mother, then most recently I found my brother deceased on his kitchen floor. But of all these losses it’s my husband that is by far the greatest loss to me. Sometimes well meaning people say things to me such as “isn’t it time you find someone new, or you need to get out more, you’ll never find someone staying in your house so much, you can’t hide after all. It will come as no surprise these very people have not yet experienced a great loss . I still wear my wedding ring, I just can’t take it off yet, maybe never. Big decisions make me feel as if I’m closing the book on Chris and Jim. I want to be his forever, but no one seem to get it. It means living the next 20-25 years alone and lonely. Bot not just lonely, lonely only for Jim. The more pressure I get from well meaning friends and family the more I want to avoid them. I just miss him beyond measure, we were truly in love for 21 beautiful years. He was the sweetest, most thoughtful man in the world. Oh did I mention he was tall dark and handsome, well he was, a extra bonus there. Lol……. I am feeling trapped between two worlds. Wanting to be part of my kids and grandkids lives, and wanting so much to join him and my savior…… Does anyone else feel this way?

    1. My husband and I were spouses and work partners for 41 years. He passed suddenly 12 weeks ago. My family tries to fill that vast emptiness, but I only want to be with my husband and talk with him again.

      1. Same here I only want my husband, 42?yrs and suddenly also. It’s just very surreal. Sorry for your loss.

    2. Your thoughts are spot on. You have described so many of my feelings. I lost my husband Tj to a fierce battle with pancreatic cancer and 6 month later I had a near death car accident. Barely recovered my Mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. I lost Tj in 2013 and Mom lost her battle in 2015. I also grieve for my brother in law and Tj’s best friend who passed within months of his death. The smallest things become an enormous challenge. I grieve desperately not only for him but for the life we had and the future we were robbed of. We were lucky enough to have had 21 years together for which I am very great full. I can still feel the way his hand fit perfectly around mine. I relate to every feeling and emotion you described. People think it’s been a long time but in our reality it still all so unbelievable. I get the feeling I have just been coasting. You will move forward when you are ready and there is no other way. In the name of hope we made it thru another day!

    3. Yes, that is exactly it. And every day you can get out of bed and wash your face and brush your teeth and make your coffee if tea is an accomplishment. You can tell yourself your husband would want you to get up and be happy but that’s not reality. Reality is he is no longer on this earth with you. Here’s what you can do: remember who you are; remember he loves you and certainly would not want you to suffer; remember that we are born alone and we die alone. But love accompanies us into the world and out of the world.

  2. I just lost my husband just a little over a month ago.We were married almost 58 years. I miss him so much,and I’m so lonesome for him.We did everything together,and I miss all the things we did together..I Have lots of good memories,and a wonderful family.I feel ,how I’m going to live without him.

  3. Yes everyday, it’s like living in two worlds at the same time. Doesn’t seem to ever change. I know if I go, I’l just miss my other children, so it’s a no win situation. As much pain as I am in I know I would just be creating more pain for the rest of my family. I feel I must endure for their sake. I know how hard it is to live in this intense pain everyday. I really do not know how I’m doing it.

  4. In the last six years I lost my boyfriend of two years to cancer. Then my father four months later my stepmother . this last year has been the hardest ,devastation. The loss of my son and my baby brother passing away the morning of his funeral . I’m getting worse instead of better my deppresion and anxiety is getting horrible the closer the holidays come I have no hope , losing my brother has made my family frozen we are all to broken to be there for each other .I’m all alone and can’t keep going this way .

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