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About Grief

Many people will try to tell you how to grieve, but the fact is this is your grief and you can grieve how you want to.  It is very important to remember that everyone grieves differently.  Try not to compare yourself to others who have lost someone.  You won't grieve the same way you grieved in previous losses either.  Each grief is different.  


Often people believe there is a time limit to grief.  "It's been one year, you should be over it by now."  People then feel ashamed they are "still grieving" or they feel they have to hide the fact that they are grieving, but there is NO time limit on grief.  The truth is, I do not believe grief ever truly ends until your reunion.  Our society has no clue about grief.  Grief is not talked about or understood the way it should be.  Most people's first exposure to the topic of grief is not until they experience it personally.  


Grief has no stages and is not limited to a few emotions.  Anger, fear, sadness, frustration, guilt, denial, bitter- sweet, and anxiety; these are just some of the emotions of grief.  Often these emotions are felt at the same time.  The emotions of grief can change minute to minute.  Grief is the ultimate roller coaster.  


When you are grieving, you need to practice self care;  emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental time to recuperate.  You need time to reflect and time to heal, but most of all remember this, it's your grief and you can grieve how you want to.  

                                                                            Created by: Jennifer Ankele LCSW    



The DO NOTS when talking to someone who is grieving.

  1. Do not give advice.

  2. Do not say, I know how you are feeling.  Everyone's experience of grief is different and not comparable.

  3. Do not share your story of grief, unless the person who is grieving asks you.  Remember this conversation is not about you.

  4. Do not think that telling them to call you if they need anything is enough.  You must initiate the calls and visits.

  5. Do not take it personal if they decline your visit or phone call.

  6. Do not tell them to get rid of any of their late loved ones belongings or to sell their house or cars.

  7. Do not push your own religious or spiritual beliefs on them.

  8. Do not push your own belief of the after life on someone who is grieving.

  9. Do not say things like "They are no longer suffering."  This angers people when they are told this. It minimizes their grief.  Instead, let them realize this on their own.

  10. Do not expect the grieving person to stop grieving after a certain amount of time because grief never ends.

  11. Do not say "They are in a better place."

The DO's when talking to someone who is grieving.

  1. Do listen empathetically as often as the grieving person chooses to talk about their grief and loved one.

  2. Do initiate phone calls or visits.

  3. Do visit and call regularly.  Eventually the grieving person will agree to talk or spend time with you.

  4. Do offer to help them with basic tasks or roles their loved ones did prior to their passing or bring them food.

  5. After you ask them how they are doing, it is OK to share a little about your life.  This will give them some sense of normalcy.

  6. It is OK to sit with them in silence.

  7. It is OK if they cry or get angry.

  8. Do share with them grief resources such as books and support groups with no expectation or pressure for them to follow through.

  9. Do let them know you also miss their loved one if you knew their loved one too.

  10. Do reminisce with the person who is grieving happy memories of their loved one.

  11. Do share your own grief experience BRIEFLY but only if they ask.

  12. Do recommend the grieving person get professional help if the grieving person says something like, "I want to die."  If the grieving person has any plans or intention to end their life then call 911.


                                                                            Created by: Jennifer Ankele LCSW

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