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Grieving, Sadness and Healing

Shock, Pain & Acceptance

When you lose a loved one, it can feel as if the world
is crashing down on you. You will go through many different feelings and emotions, and it may seem like you will never recover from the loss. However, it is important to know that with the support of family and friends and others close to you, you can get through the
pain. It is also important to know that your feelings are part of the normal grieving process.

During the second phase, the numbness may begin to wear off, and pain that may seem unbearable sets in. Facing the fact that your loved one is gone, you may go through a vast array of emotions, may have trouble sleeping and may express anger at family, friends and God. During this time, you may search through possible reasons for your loved one's death.

The acceptance phase is when you start to adapt to life without your loved one and get back into a routine. During this phase, you will begin to have periods of normalcy. You may start doing things you previously enjoyed and begin to feel calmer and more energetic.

The whole process can take months or years, and everyone experiences it differently. People may skip a phase completely, or the phases may overlap. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. It is important to remember that, although the pain may seem unbearable now, you will move through the grief to find hope and peace.


In the first phase, shock, you may feel stunned. During this intensely emotional time, you may experience feelings of disbelief, numbness or panic.


As you go through this process, there are many things you can do to help yourself by taking care of your physical needs as well as your emotional and spiritual needs.


  • Eat a balanced diet and avoid junk food. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco products.
  • Get daily exercise and try to go to bed at your usual time every night.
  • Follow up with your physician.

Emotionally & Spiritually:

  • Resume your friendships when you feel ready.
  • Reading can help you find comfort, and writing in a journal can be therapeutic.
  • Discuss your loss with your clergy if you need spiritual guidance. Although you may feel angry at God, your religious beliefs can help you through it.
  • Big decisions should wait until 18-24 months after your loss.
  • Consider joining a support group or seeking counseling.
  • Wait until you are fully ready to put your loved one's things away.
Don't suppress your emotions - talk to your family and friends. Being open and communicating with your loved ones will benefit everyone.

The loss of a loved one will affect everyone you are close to, and it will be hard for them as well. However, many people have a difficult time finding the words to express sympathy and are afraid of saying the wrong thing. If they seem to be pulling away from you or avoiding the situation, it is most likely because they are unsure how to act. It is OK to tell your loved ones what you need from them. Maybe they can provide a home-cooked meal or run errands for you, or maybe they can simply listen to you and let you vent your emotions.


Some helpful tips for dealing with friends and family:

If it seems that support from your friends and family has lessened after a while, it doesn't mean that they have forgotten about your loss.

Remember that you need to grieve on your own schedule. However,
if you believe that you are lingering in a particular phase of the grieving process for too long, you may want to speak to a counselor, pastor or chaplain, or join a support group.


  1. You have the right to experience your own unique grief.
  2. You have the right to talk about your grief.
  3. You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions.
  4. You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits.
  5. You have the right to experience "grief bursts."
  6. You have the right to make use of ritual.
  7. You have the right to embrace your spirituality.
  8. You have the right to search for meaning.
  9. You have the right to treasure your memories.
  10. You have the right to move toward your grief and heal.