Grief Lessons: 10 Things You Never Wanted to Learn

Grief is the person we never wanted to meet. The class we didn’t sign up for. The club we never wanted to join. The journey we never wanted to take.


And while grief can be one of life’s most impactful teachers, most grievers would say they are experiencing and learning things they hoped they would never have to know:

  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 to clean out your loved one’s belongings (and how different your timeline may be from others when it comes to this task).
  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 final lesson at the end of this class…but it can only be found 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 and painful 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.

But possibly the hardest lesson of all is that hope can only be found if we take an active role in our grieving. Like most teachers, grief expects a lot from us. There is work to be done here. Connections to be made. Insights to be had. Self-exploration, self-discovery, along with some pretty intense honesty about who we are, what we need, and how best to get it.

You don’t have to do this all on your own.

You can do the work with us…and we can help.


If you’re looking for the support of those in our grieving community, sign up today to participate in our forums and connect with those who have had a similar loss: www.griefincommon.com

Need more individual support? I provide individual Grief Coaching services for those who are looking for encouragement, validation, compassion and direction as they try to rebuild and figure out what comes next. To learn more, follow the link: Grief in Common GRIEF COACHING.

12 thoughts on “Grief Lessons: 10 Things You Never Wanted to Learn”

  1. Some very helpful advise for those of us in this “club”, especially number 10. It is very difficult seeing the world in color again, when everything after our loss is in black and white and gray. Stop the world, I want to get off becomes our mantra. Hope is possible, but it takes a long time to give up on our dreams. They are the last to die.

  2. Oh Boy! Did I need to hear this today! I’ve tried in vain to explain grief to those around me that think it’s been 8 months now, you need to start getting out of the house, start making new friends, we just moved here 2 months before my husband passed with only 17 days warning. I am starting to come out of the fog a bit because I simply have to. There is outside work that needs done now that it is spring. Thank you for this!!

    1. It’s been 17 days and I can’t quite grasp the concept of hope right now – the first 9 steps are already part of my self healing (at least as often as I can) – my grief still makes me revolt against them sometimes . But now I’ve heard the word HOPE I can tuck it away and keep it inside until it’s ready to break free…

  3. Thank you for sharing this.
    For me, lesson number 10 incorporates the first 9 and sometimes everything is just so overwhelming. Loss really takes a toll on the bereaved.

    1. Its been 14 months since both of my parents died. 7 weeks apart. I feel like you lonely and the pain is still horrible. I had a very hard realization this past weekend, I don’t even remember my fathers voice.

  4. It’s been 13 months. Does the pain ever end?
    54 years, 3 sons, 11 grandchildren…
    Friends, home…great dog…
    It’s just lonely and doesn’t stop hurting.

  5. It’s been six and a half months that I lost my darling husband after 25 years together.
    No children, no relatives in this country, I got a few good friends and very kind neighbours. However I don’t think anyone really understand my loss. He was my everything and that we were very close.
    Work has kept me sane, but I have not found a reason to continue living without him. I no longer like this life of me. It has been really hard to continue on without him.

  6. Very helpful, and true as children we do not get taught a lot about grief. Some people are fortunate enough to not see death in their childhood, while others see death at a young age. Regardless there is a commonality among those who have witnessed death and that is the grief that comes afterwards. There is no wrong or right way to grieve in my opinion, but there are tools that one can use to help them through the process. I enjoyed reading this post thank you for the advice.

  7. I am grieving for my loved one who is still alive (dementia) and the fact I allowed him to be put in memory care, while grieving the fact I did not try and do more for him, listening to others’ advice.

    1. Micky, I get it. I had to grief that horrid disease also. But, 7 weeks after my mother passed my father passed. I just knew he would pull through. He couldn’t. It was/is the hardest thing I have ever been through in my life. I cannot seem able to keep jumping these hurdles. But, it helps knowing others are going through similar situations and reaching out.

  8. Good day,

    I would like to receive emails, etc. From you My only son, 24 years old, passed 6.5 years and it is still difficult to accept. I was diagnosed with complicated grief. I would appreciate being on the email list. I would like
    my email address to be marche.elaine@protonmail.

    Thank you

    Elaine Marche
    Cold Lake, AB
    T9M 0C6

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