by Mary Weeks, LMSW

You’ve lost a loved one. The memorial is over.
The mourners have all gone home. Now what?

Whether a loved one’s death came suddenly or after a long period of illness, the sheer shock of your loss can leave you feeling like you’re walking around in a fog. Here are some tips to help you clear the fog:

  • Mourning is a healthy and necessary expression of our grief.
  • You’re not going crazy, even if it feels that way sometimes…
  • Grief has no set timeline. Why? Every person is unique, and every loss is unique, so every grief experience will be unique.
  • You are the expert of – and master over – your own grief. No one else has a right to tell you how your process “should” go.
  • If possible, postpone major life decisions, like remarrying, moving, and making critical financial choices, for one year.
  • If you cultivate the courage to process the past and integrate your loss, you can come by your hope for the future honestly.
  • You can’t embrace the pain all at once. Feel it in small waves and allow it to retreat until you are ready for the next wave.
  • Practice self-care. Many people find they can’t manage all of the things they did before losing a loved one. Be mindful of your own needs and limits, and be willing to prioritize them.
  • Listen to your heart for creative ways to honor your loved one – and yourself – without concern about what others think.
  • Seek out empathetic grief companions from your social circle, faith-based organization, or a support group, and share your grief story with others who have experienced their own loss.
  • Grief is often compared to walking into a wilderness. While there’s no trail map, a licensed therapist can serve as a guide.

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