My Loved One is Gone, Now What? – 20 Tips on Surviving Grief

Several of my friends have recently lost loved ones, which caused me to think about my own journey after my grandmother’s death one year ago. After the loss of a loved one, you’re left wondering how to fill the hours you used to spend with him or her.  You try to figure out how to forge a new life and identity without feeling that you’re leaving your loved one behind. Some days are easier and better than others. Some days are easy, breezy, wandering-through-the-city-with-a-Frappuccino-in-hand kind of days. On other days, I lay with the memories of my grandmother as they envelope me in the cool darkness of my bedroom. And at other times, my grief is a dull pain that’s always present but not debilitating. What I know for sure is that grief is a journey fraught with many detours, relapses, and discoveries. Here are some tips I have learned along the way.

  1. Join a support group or see a therapist.
  2. Reach out to friends or family members.
  3. Learn something new. Take a class or learn a new hobby.
  4. Forgive yourself for all of the things you should’ve, could’ve, or would’ve done.
  5. Think about what you would like for your life to look like, and then get busy trying to complete that picture.
  6. Remember that your loved one is always with you and that love never dies.
  7. Fight for your life. It is worth living, even without your loved one.
  8. Cry if you want to.
  9. Find a cause or volunteer project to dedicate your time to.
  10. Cherish those you love who are still alive.
  11. Do not make any major decisions in haste.  It’s OK to wait awhile.
  12. Get ahold of yourself. Do not let grief, loneliness, or depression cause you to make decisions that are not in your best interest or that do not serve you well.
  13. Just say no to the tactless and insensitive individuals who may crawl out of the woodwork to ask about everything from life insurance proceeds and moving into the newly vacated bedroom, to taking furniture they think you no longer need and taking your loved one’s belongings.
  14. Reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
  15. Remember that it’s OK to enjoy your life.
  16. You don’t have to get rid of or sort through your loved one’s belongings right away. There’s no rush.
  17. Take care of yourself and your health.
  18. It does get easier with time.
  19. Be grateful that you were blessed enough to have your loved one in your life.
  20. Remember that living your life well is the best way to honor your loved one’s memory.

5 thoughts

  1. I enjoyed this post! I was talking to someone yesterday who lost her mother a couple months ago and she was telling me that it still hurts every day and she wonders when it will get easier. These are great tips.

  2. Sheryl, thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I’m so sorry for your friend’s loss. Tell her that it takes time, but it will get easier. She just has to take it one day at a time.

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