Living Through Grief, With Hope for the Future

Giving yourself permission to move on with Lori Shaw, LBSW.

After you’ve made it through the first few months, or even years, after the loss of a close loved one, you may have already come to terms with the fact that your life will never be the same.

But it doesn’t mean you have to live without hope.

Hope is more than a platitude, it’s the ability to look to the future and know that though you may struggle with difficult emotions – especially on significant holidays or anniversaries – you’re going to be okay.

Hospice & Palliative Care of the Piedmont Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker, Lori Shaw, shares a few important factors to keep in mind as you enter a new phase of your grief journey: moving on.

Watch her video now.

Here are a few steps you can take to find hope after grief.

Remember: grief is different for everyone

There is no timeline for grief, and everyone’s journey is different. So, discovering you’re ready to take a step toward moving on doesn’t fall on a clinical timeline. 

Moving on doesn’t mean that you’re forgetting your loved one, that their time on this earth or their impact on your life is any less profound. But only you can know when you’re ready to begin to explore what it means to enter this new phase of your life.

Set goals for yourself 

It’s important, as you begin to have more “good days” on your grief journey, to set goals and plans for yourself beyond getting through the day. They can be as simple as going to the grocery store, or taking a special trip with your family.

Giving yourself something to look forward to can bring enjoyment back into your life as you begin to heal.

Ask yourself, “How would my loved one want me to spend the rest of my life?”

Asking yourself this question can play an important part in your first steps toward healing. In all likelihood, your loved one would want you to find stability and even joy following their death. Keeping this in mind as you continue your journey can help you heal and even start enjoying life to its fullest once more.

Grief can last forever –  but so can hope

You likely already know that though the searing pain of losing a loved one will never fully go away, it will eventually subside in due time. Though you may always live with  grief as you carry the memory of your loved one with you into the future, you can also carry hope for a brighter future with you, as well.

Learn more about our virtual grief series, Whenever You’re Ready.

It’s Okay to Let Them See You Cry

And other thoughts on helping your children through grief with Lynn Allen, LBSW.

When the loss of a significant loved one in a family takes place, it can feel nearly impossible to see past the frayed edges of your own grief.

Not only do adults have to manage and maintain their daily lives while working through deep sadness or depression of their own, they must also be present and responsible in helping children navigate through their own grief as well.

Hospice & Palliative Care of the Piedmont Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker, Lynn Allen, has spent the last several years helping children of all ages cope with the loss of a loved one. Here are a few ways you can guide your children through the grief process.

Watch her video now.

Be honest about how you’re feeling 

Children are incredibly perceptive. Through battling their own grief, they may sense they can’t talk openly about their feelings in fear that it will make others in their home upset. It’s important for them to witness and learn that it’s okay to cry. 

Be open and honest about how you’re dealing with the loss. It may give the children in your life the permission they need to open up about their own feelings.

Encourage your children to talk, write in a journal, write a letter or even draw a picture of their loved one as a healthy way to begin to work through their grief. 

Avoid speaking words that may frighten or confuse children

Words or platitudes that are often spoken by those outside of deep grief can have a damaging impact on the mind of a child. Avoid saying things like, “God took them,” when speaking about death. They may begin to fear that God will take them, too.

Remind them that it’s no one’s fault when someone dies and that it’s no one’s fault. Make sure they understand the difference between illnesses that are common (like colds or flu) and those that are terminal; they may begin to associate getting sick with a more serious situation.

Keep an eye out for disruptive behavior 

Common reactions of grief may look like anxiety, questioning or regression. A child may begin to suck their thumb again, or reach for a comfort item they no longer needed before experiencing significant loss.

However, if your child is having trouble sleeping, experiencing nightmares, having physical reactions such as headaches or showing disruptive behavior, it may be time to consider seeking professional counsel.

Be open to help from others

Walking through grief is a challenge on its own, but being responsible for the outcome of grief for a child is another load entirely. Seek help and guidance from a trust family member, a friend or a neighbor. Lean on the support of others if you need a break or time away to reset and gain a healthy perspective.

Consider a grief support group of your own, or enrolling your child in a grief camp through Hospice & Palliative Care of the Piedmont.

Learn more about the Whenever You’re Ready virtual grief series or sign up to receive updates on our email list.