The AgingCare.com forum is filled with people coming together to share valuable information. We’ve compiled experienced caregivers’ best tips and suggestions for honoring a loved one’s memory and grieving in your own way, at your own pace.
Caregivers’ Thoughts on Grieving
“Letting yourself heal is a personal journey. There will be ups and downs, and you have a right to your feelings.” –jennc133
“There will be first holidays, that one-year mark and all kinds of other things that will sneak up on you. Plan little things, like time off work, special memorials, or gatherings with friends for those times. Plan whatever will comfort you and bring you peace.” –vstefans
“You know what? The sun will shine again. The joy will return. You’ll always hold them in your heart and always be reminded. Music, perhaps a special song, the smell of spring time, or the bitter winter cold will bring back strong feelings that you’ll marvel at. And, for a longer-than-you’d-think time, you’ll cry or get choked up. Then, one day, you’ll find yourself humming or laughing like the old days. Life will take a turn for the better, and you’ll marvel at THAT. When my husband died, I lost my whole life. Everything I knew was thrown up in the air, blown around and strewn on the ground. I stayed in bed and didn’t answer the phone. All the joy had left my life—every single ounce. But then I chose life. I got busy and stayed busy. Every day I told myself that, even though I was filled with heartache, I would ‘act as if’ I was happy. Weeks went by—weeks of losing things, forgetting things, driving past my destination in distraction, and so much more. Then, slowly, those things began to happen less and less. One day a few months later, I found myself la-la-la-ing to the radio on my way home from the store. I know that sounds crazy, but that’s when I knew I was going to make it. Just keep on keeping on. My mantra was, ‘Just wake up every single morning and do the next right thing.’ ” –MaggieMarshall
“Many in society expect you to ‘get over’ your loss by a certain time, and they act as if there is something wrong with you if you don’t. A person who was an important part of your life for many years does not just disappear when they die. You still have feelings for and memories of them that need to be honored. Hanging on to the hurt is common and something that many have to work through, because it feels like you are betraying your loved one if you find enjoyment in things without them.” –golden23
“Grief that overwhelms you all the time can be given a schedule that both honors and contains it. This helps you to not feel so helplessly overcome when you least expect it. Set aside a time each day to privately honor your loved one, and work on gradually reducing it to once a week, then once a month and so on. Have a box of mementos and look through photos. Talk to them, grieve, celebrate them and remember the good things. Then close the box and put it away until your next appointment with your grieving process. You will notice changes within yourself each time.” –Singingway
“Each person’s response is unique. I just lost my mother after caring for her for years. To think that there is a sudden return to normal seems unrealistic because I need to find a new normal. There is life after loss, but it is probably a new life that looks a little different from what you expected.” –Sudie7
“Death is a part of the circle of life. All living things will pass on, but knowing this doesn’t make it easier when someone we love passes away. My mom has been gone 11.5 years, and while I still miss her, the pain I feel has changed over time. We always miss our loved ones, and it is more difficult for those of us left behind. I wish I had my mom back, but death can be a release—no more pain or suffering. Your loved one is still with you in all the memories you have. They live within your heart and that love will never die. Give yourself time to grieve and recognize your loss, but know this is the natural order of things and that life does go on.” –terryjack1
“Each person is individual. Grieving is a long road, but in the end, the sweet memories of the one you loved will replace the pain.” –marksburg
“The stages of grief are passages that some of us will pass through again and again until we are done. We do not necessarily pass through in any order, nor do we pass through them just once. All that said, to all of you who are healing a wounded heart from the loss of someone who impacted your life, know that all feelings (sad, bad, angry and scared) are temporary, but LOVE is eternal.” –justbreathe
“Grief is called grief work because that is exactly what it is: WORK. Work makes us tired, and that means we have to make and take time to rest. Never let anyone tell you that you should ‘get over it.’ We never get over it. Time does NOT make it better, but it DOES make it different. I know that it is hard to believe now, but one morning you will wake up and the loved one who has passed will not be your first thought. I worked as a palliative care nurse and an oncology nurse for many years. My advice to my patients and their families was what I found to be most helpful for me:
Talk about your loss until you bore your friends. Then talk about your loss until you bore yourself. THEN hopefully you can begin to heal.
There is no timetable for grief. Each of us works at our own pace and in our own way. This is how we honor our loved ones and how we honor ourselves.” –Cathberry