Top Ten Things I’ve Learned About Grief

Grief Top Ten List

By Denise Brown, MA, ATR
Art Therapist/Grief Support Specialist, KCH&PC

  1. The world hasn’t ended. It may feel like it and it’s probably slower than I’d like, but adjusting to life without my loved one does happen.
  2. Emotions are like waves in the ocean. They move and change during the grief process. It could be by the hour or by the day, but allowing the flow of feelings to happen makes it easier to be with grief.
  3. I have to take good care of myself. Being careful not to neglect myself, I try to find balance in life that includes physical activity, healthy eating and doing things I enjoy.
  4. My memories can help fill the void. Remembering the good times helps me honor my loved one and my relationship. Writing about memories sometimes helps.
  5. People who hurt me need forgiveness. When people in my life do not behave as I need or wish they would, I give them a break. Some people react to my grief in ways that I find hurtful. I need to be ready to forgive them.
  6. Staying busy only helps to a point. Feelings in grief do not go away without addressing them. I need to give myself time to process and to heal.
  7. I need to think “how” instead of “why.” When I’m able to reflect more deeply, it helps to ask questions like “how can I live my life more fully to honor my loved one?” “How can I change and grow because of this?” “How can I love more fully?”
  8. It’s not helpful to avoid my sorrow. I have to be aware of how I’m managing my life, to stay away from numbing habits that can become patterns of destruction or keep me stuck. In the end, it only prolongs grief and possibly makes it worse.
  9. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. It’s not weakness to lean on others or ask for help. We are all in this together.
  10. Grief is a great teacher. When I am not afraid to be with it, grief has the potential to be profound and beautiful.

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