Choose a topic to learn more about handling grief

  • Shock & Denial

    The first stage of grieving commonly experienced is shock. During this period death is recognized but not fully integrated into reality. The griever may appear calm, rational, and emotionally contained on the outside, but may be automatically programmed from the inside. In the beginning, shock and numbness are necessary and welcome. The human mind can only accept what it is capable of handling. For that reason, shock allows us to calmly hear devastating news and yet still function.

    As the numbness wears off, however, sighing replaces the stabs of pain. Accompanying shock and sighing is the necessary stage of crying. It is a mistake to hold back tears, since crying is the language that helps us express anguish in a way that words cannot.

  • Emotional Release

    Characterized by tears and sudden outbursts. A greiver often worries about these emotional releases because he or she previously felt more in control and they worry that outside observers may consider this behavior excessive.

    Tears- Crying is an essential part of grieving. It would be close to impossible and unnatural to withhold tears after experiencing the loss of a loved one. In fact, some scientists believe that tears may contain chemicals that relieve stress in the body. For that reason, studies are currently underway and they are attempting to confirm this theory and identify their healing properties. Once identified and proven, we can claim that tears not only feel soothing but are actually adjusting our body chemistry to ensure a more comfortable state. Moreover, tears contain leucine-enkephalin which is one of our brain's natural pain relievers. Additionally, the Prolactin in our tears encourages the production of more tears.

    Sighing- is a natural way to relax the body and release stress. Poorly oxygenated blood contributes to anxiety, stress, depression, and fatigue. Good healthy sighs can help relieve this condition and in fact make a person feel more relaxed physically and mentally. So take a deep breath and exhale as often as you remember.

    Laughter- Some people may think laughter has no place in grieving. Indeed it does! Society makes us feel guilty if we are acting frivolous following a funeral, but human beings can use laughter as a release from stress.

  • Confusion

    When our mind is overloaded with thoughts, demands, decisions, and the emerging reality of loss, we can suffer confusion. This period is marked by forgetfulness, indecisiveness, and even irrational thoughts and behaviors.

    In the early stages of grief it is unwise to make any major decisions or changes in lifestyle. During this time a person is often incapable of thinking clearly, and the extra disorientation may add unnecessary stress. During this phase, little daily problems may seem enormous and can throw a griever into a tailspin. If this happens they should stop, acknowledge the fact that that they are under stress and confused and then reassess. Perhaps they may seek the advise of a trusted person.

  • Anger

    One of the hallmarks of widowhood the "unfair" time when blame is often misdirected, inwardly or outwardly and sometimes denied entirely and manifested through different emotions more acceptable to the person.

    Angry feelings arrive with a shocking force following the death of a loved one. Anger is a very real emotion and is frequently connected with grief.

    Evaluate your personal anger.

    1. Are you aware of your angry feelings?
    2. Are you angry at God or at your loved one for leaving you?
    3. How about the doctors who cared for your loved one?
    4. Are you angry at anyone else including yourself?

    Here are some positive ways to deal with feelings of any type: writing, exercising, and talking.

  • Guilt

    Self recrimination and self blame for the event of the past, unfinished business. "If only" and "I should have". Guilt will stand in the way of complete healing. When feelings of guilt are eating away at you, you cannot move forward.

  • Depression and Isolation

    A period of pervasive sadness self-pity and on interest in the world and the people in it. Depression is often the onset or reality and change of lifestyle.

    Depression is certainly normal for anyone who is grieving, but if it seems to go on endlessly it can be an indication of a more serious condition. If thoughts of suicide keep creeping in or if there is no desire to live week after endless week, then the drepression will need to be confronted. Depression can be the result of grief that is held inside tears that go unshed, or feeling that are not expressed. Unfortunately, it does not go away by itself, if ignored, it will only get worse. Here are some ways to ease depression.

    1. Pray and meditate.
    2. Talk about it with a trusted friend.
    3. Make a list, plan ways to deal with it.
    4. Pamper Yourself.
    5. Listen to your internal dialogue. Negative internal dialogue feeds depression.
    6. Find a creative outlet for yourself.

  • Recovery

    Acceptance the final stage of grief is reorganization or acceptance. To begin to form new traditions, change our goal, and look ahead aids recovery. Deceased loved ones will always leave voids in our lives and will continue to be missed; nevertheless, it is possible for life to be good again. We need to begin to set new goals.

    Are you willing to place your future in the hands of a loving and all knowing God? Do you trust in the ultimate goodness of His plan for your life? Will you face today's challenges with optimism and hope? You should. After all God created you for a very important purpose: And you still have important word to do: His work.

    As a wounded survivor, you will have countless opportunities to serve others and by serving others, you will bring purpose and meaning to the suffering you've endured.

    Every single day of your life, including this one, God will give you opportunities to serve Him by serving His children. Welcome those opportunities with open arms. They are God's gifts to you, His way of allowing you to achieve Greatness in His Kingdom.

    Good Mourning (Morning) to all. God has blessed us with a brand new day. This new day will be unlike any other day. Today you will begin to walk in the Son (Sun) of His Glory. Allow God to usher you into your newness of life.

  • The Exercise of Forgiveness

    Forgiveness is an exercise in spiritual growth, the more we forgive, the more we grow. Conversely, bitterness makes spiritual growth impossible, when our hearts are filled with resentment and, there is no room left for love. In those quiet moments when we open our hearts to God, theCreator who made us keeps remaking us. He gives us direction, perspective, and wisdom and He give us the courage to forgive other folks sooner rather than later. Most of us don't spend too much time thinking about forgiveness; we worry, instead, about the injustices we have suffered and the people who inflicted them. We must forgive those who have harmed us. That's why you must make the task of forgiving everybody (including yourself).

  • Nutrition

    Good nutrition is important at all times, proper sleep; proper nutrition can contribute to a feeling of well being. Eating problems can either begin during the grief process or become more pronounced. Good nutrition is especially important when you are mourning. Grievers must keep their bodies in good condition so they can be strong enough to deal with their grief.

  • Sleep

    Problems with sleep patterns may appear. Guard your sleep time carefully and take time to wind down at night before getting into bed. The best way to deal with insomnia is to experiment. For some people drinking a cup of hot chocolate at bedtimes, reading until tired, taking a relaxing bath in the evening or listening to soothing music may be helpful. Health good stores carry a wide variety of herbal teas blended speifically to calm and soothe. Calcium supplements taken at night bedtime have been found to aid in relaxation. Reading your bible and playing soft worship music, also creates an atmosphere of peace and serenity.

  • Grieving Duration

    Naturally when we are feeling such a torment we want to know when it will get better. The most frequent question asked is when will I stop hurting? How long will it last? There is no universal answer to this question. Different people grieve in different ways; you therefore, will grieve at your own pace.

    Mourning is a process that cannot be hurried; each significant loss is esperienced and processed according to its own timetable. But in darkness of your own particular sorrow, it is imperative to remember that God stands forever ready, offering His healing hands to you.

    The important thing to remember is that people respond to grief in widely varying ways, and that you will have ups and downs, good days and bad. Healing takes TIME, you will know that you are successfully working through grief when your stronger emotions begin to dissipate, such as when you no longer feel anger or deep sadness, and when your interest and involvement in outside activities return to their normal level.

    Time is a true factor in going through then grieving process and the length of time is predicated on that individual, and should not be rushed by anyone (Not Even Yourself).

  • Available Rescources

    As you work through your grief, you will find it helpful to utilize the resources that are available to you. God intends that you have a meaningful, abundant life, but He expects you to do your part in claiming His blessings. Thus, it is your responsibility to seek out help when needed. First and foremost lean upon the love, help, and support of your famiily, friends, church members, and your pastor.

    Others resources include:

    1. Various local counseling services including, but not limited to pastoral counselors, psychologist, and community mental health facilities.
    2. Group counseling program which may deal with your sepecific loss. Talking with others who have experienced a loss similar to yours will extremely helpful.
    3. Your personal physician. The local bookstore or library (which will contain specific reading material about your grief and about your particular loss).

    So you're grieving, don't grieve alone. And whatever you do, don't convince yourself that your situation is helpless. In truth, help is as near as your telephone. Use it.

  • Touch

    Touch is not only nice, it's needed. Scientific research supports the theory that stimulation (i.e body touch) is absolutely necessary for our physical and emotional well being.

  • Listen

    Lending a listening-ear does wonders for the greiving, because it allows the griever to express and release any painful or stifling emotions they may be harboring.

  • Encourage Activities

    Because it is easy for one to isolate into depression, it's a good idea to get the grieving person out of their home and involved in activities.

  • Assist Financially

    Fianancial assistance is always encouraged and welcomed.

  • Prayer

    There are many ways to help a loved one through the grieving process, but none more powerful than prayer. Set aside time each day to pray. GOD, through the holy spirit, will lead you.

    If you are not sure what to do just ask yourself a question, what type of assistance or help would you think that you would need, if tables were turned?

  • Legacy

    When we no longer have our loved ones to touch, the tactile sense sometimes needs a replacement. Making a picture collage is one way of remembering and expressing feelings as snapshots are collected and arranged. Filling a memorabilia box with favorite items that belonged to the loved one is another. Planting a memorial garden with favorite flowers of the deceased is another therapeutic activity. Pets are another great source of great comfort.

  • What to do before the Funeral

    Contact immediate family. Of course you want to update key family members. Bringing them together in person, by phone or electronically (via mass email, Skype or Facebook Family page), is an opportunity not only to comfort one another but also to share information about important decisions that must be made — some of them immediately. Do any of you, for example, know of an arrangement for the funeral or other source for burial wishes?

    Choose a funeral home. Most people want a funeral home to transport the body from the morgue to its facility. The deceased may have identified which home to use — and even prepaid for funeral services. If there's been no conversation about arrangements, the choice will be up to the family. "Do some research," Lynch says. "Check with people who have had an experience with one."

    Notify close friends and extended family. Make a list of as many people as you can. Find contacts through email accounts and personal telephone books. Contact an employer and organizations the deceased belonged to, if necessary.

    Meet with the director handling the funeral or memorial arrangements. Use instructions your loved one might have left and the earlier family discussion to guide the many decisions to be made.

    • Will the body be embalmed or cremated?
    • Will there be a casket, and if so, will it be open or closed?
    • If body will be cremated, will the ashes be scattered? If the ashes are deposited in an urn, will it be placed in a mausoleum?
    • Consider whether you need or want other financial assistance for the funeral and burial. Help might be available from a number of sources, including a church, a union or a fraternal organization that the deceased belonged to. Phone or send an email to the local group.
    • Enlist help for the funeral. Relatives and friends may be needed to serve as pallbearers, to create or design the funeral program, cook meals (for a repast gathering or simply for the household of the deceased), take care of children or pets, or shop for any items needed for the funeral or household of the deceased.
    • Arrange for headstone. You can typically purchase a headstone through the cemetery or from an outside vendor of your choice. Consult the cemetery about rules, regulations and specifications such as color and size, particularly if you go with an outside vendor.
    • Organize a post-funeral gathering. Depending on your tradition, it's called a repast or a wake. It can be held at the church, a banquet hall or someone's house. Enlist the help of friends and relatives to plan.
    • Spread the word about the service. Once a date and time have been set for the service, share the details with those on your contact list. Include an address to send cards, flowers or donations.
    • Make a list of well-wishers. Keep track of who sends cards, flowers and donations so that you can acknowledge them later.
    • Prepare an obituary. The funeral home might offer the service or you might want to write an obituary yourself. If you want to publish it in a newspaper, check on rates, deadlines and submission guidelines. Don't include such details as exact date of birth that an identity thief could use.
    • Handle the ethical will, if there is one. An ethical will isn't a legal document, but rather a letter of sorts written to your family and friends that shares your values, life lessons and hopes for the future. If the deceased left one, arrange to share it, maybe even have it printed.

  • What to do after the Funeral

    • Secure property. Lock up the person's home and vehicle. Is the car parked in a secure and legal area? Will the home be vacant? If so, you may want to notify the police (dial a non-emergency number), landlord or property manager. Have someone care for pets until a permanent arrangement is made.
    • Notify the post office. Use the forward mail option. This will prevent accumulating mail from attracting attention. It can also inform you about subscriptions, creditors and other accounts that need to be canceled. "That mail that comes in will be very valuable in tracking down what you may not have thought of.
    • Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D), Medicare Advantage plan or had a Medigap policy, contact these plans at the phone numbers provided on each plan membership card to cancel the insurance.
    • Look into employment benefits. If the deceased was working, contact the employer for information about pension plan, credit unions and union death benefits. You will need a death certificate for each claim.
    • Stop health insurance. Notify the health insurance company or the deceased's employer. End coverage for the deceased, but be sure coverage for any dependents continues if needed.
    • Notify life insurance companies. If your loved one had life insurance, appropriate claim forms will need to be filed. You will need to provide the policy numbers and a death certificate. If the deceased was listed as a beneficiary on a policy, arrange to have the name removed.
    • Terminate other insurance policies. Contact the providers. That could include homeowner's, automobile and so forth. Claim forms will require a copy of the death certificate.
    • Meet with a probate attorney. The executor should choose the attorney. Getting recommendations from family or friends might be the best approach, but an online search can also be an efficient way to find an attorney. If there is a will, the executor named in it and the attorney will have the document admitted into probate court. If there isn't a will, the probate court judge will name an administrator in place of an executor. The probate process starts with an inventory of all assets (personal property, bank accounts, house, car, brokerage account, personal property, furniture, jewelry, etc.), which will need to be filed in the probate court.
    • Make a list of important bills (mortgage payments). Share the list with the executor or estate administrator so that bills can be paid promptly.
    • Contact financial advisers, stockbrokers, etc. Determine the beneficiary listed on these accounts. Depending on the type of asset, the beneficiary may get access to the account or benefit by simply filling out appropriate forms and providing a copy of the death certificate. If that's the case, the executor wouldn't need to be involved. If there are complications, the executor could be called upon to help out.
    • Notify mortgage companies and banks. It helps if your loved one left a list of accounts, including online passwords. Take a death certificate to the bank for assistance. Change ownership of joint bank accounts. Did the deceased have a safe deposit box? If a password or key isn't available, the executor would most likely need a court order to open and inventory the safe deposit box. Most probate courts have administrative rules about steps to access the box of any decedent.
    • Close credit card accounts. For each account, call the customer service phone number on the credit card, monthly statement or issuer's website. Let the agent know that you would like to close the account of a deceased relative. Upon request, submit a copy of the death certificate by fax or email. If that's not possible, send the document by registered mail with return receipt requested. Once the company receives the certificate, it will close the account as of the date of death. If an agent doesn't offer to waive interest or fees after that date, be sure to ask. Keep records of the accounts you close and notify the executor of the estate about outstanding debts.
    • Notify credit reporting agencies. To minimize the chance of identity theft, provide copies of the death certificate to the three major firms Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - as soon as possible so the account is flagged. Four to six weeks later, check the deceased's credit history to ensure no fraudulent accounts have been opened.
    • Cancel driver's license. Clearing the driver's license record will remove the deceased's name from the records of the department of motor vehicles and help prevent identity theft. Contact the state department of motor vehicle for exact instructions. You may have to visit a customer-service center or mail documentation. Either way, you'll need a copy of the death certificate.


    Executor/Personal Representative- The person appointed to administer the estate of someone who has died leaving a will which nominates that person. The executor/personal representative must ensure that the person's desires expressed in the will are carried out. Practical responsibilities include gathering the assets of the estate, obtaining information in regards to all beneficiaries named in the will and any other potential heirs, collecting and arranging for payment of debts of the estate, ensuring estate taxes are calculated, forms filed and tax payments are made.

    Testator- The person who creates a valid will

    Probate- The general term for the entire process of administration of estates of deceased person. Including those without wills, with court supervision. The initial step in the process is providing a will is valid and then administering the estate of the deceased according to the terms of the will. The will must be filed with the clerk of the appropriate court in the county where deceased lived. If the courts determines the will is valid, the court then "admits" the will to probate.

    Probate Court- A specialized court that has jurisdiction over probating wills and administering estates.

    Interstate- The position of dying without a valid will in place.

  • Dating Guidelines

    The respectable waiting period of a year is still traditionally observed. But many widows and widowers say it took them much longer before they had any interest in, or could even contemplate, male or female companionship. However, it is not at all unusual, sinful or untimely for a widow or widower to seek male companionship earlier.

    You may not be the least bit interested in a male or female relationship. Your life may be filled with women friends, couples, and family and outside activities; a man or woman is just what you don't want. So don't allow yourself to be pressured to join the parade if you are following your heart. But also don't reject the idea because of guilt or fear.

    Again, time plays an important role in making decisions as it relates to dating. TAKE YOUR TIME!