The loss of someone you love may generate intense emotional and physical responses unlike any you have experienced before.

As a result, grief can leave you feeling isolated and hopeless. Many grievers even report feeling as if they are “going crazy.” Well-meaning friends and family can complicate matters with their need to get you back to your old self, by imposing unrealistic expectations for your healing. The truth is that grief is not an illness to be cured. Grief is the natural human response to loss and change. There is no recipe for working through your grief, and no timeline for healing.

Give yourself the permission that you need and deserve to grieve your loss. No loss can be compared with another, your loss is the worst because it is yours. Never apologize for tears. Bottling up your emotions is unhealthy, but tears can be very healing. On the other hand, just because you do not cry or show outward emotion does not mean that you are not grieving. Not everyone wears their heart on their sleeve.

Recognize that responses to grief and loss may be emotional, physical, and or spiritual. identify ways to honor the memory of your loved one. Continuing a tradition that was important to them, or creating a new one with them in mind, can establish a renewed sense of connectedness.

Consider attending a grief support group. While no loss can be compared to another, there is great commonality in grief. It can be especially helpful when your feelings are validated by others who are facing similar challenges. There is strength in numbers and there is comfort too. Put it in writing. Journaling special memories will create a sense of permanence. Journaling also helps you to privately explorer feelings of anger, guilt, or regret, without the judgement or unwanted input of others. Expect setbacks as part of your process. The journey of grief is rarely a straight line. Grieving is a series of ups and downs, which may be why it is so often compared to a “roller coaster.”

Please contact Hospice Promise for more information on grief and loss, as well as support options in your area. Hospice Promise is also available to provide education on a variety of grief-related topics to your group or organization.