Will it always be this hard?

When people find grief particularly difficult, they sometimes worry they will be this unhappy for the rest of their life, but for most people it isn’t like that. After a while, the grief usually becomes less overwhelming, and they find that they start to enjoy things and feel enthusiastic about life again.

If your grief doesn’t seem to be getting more manageable over time, read If you feel ‘stuck’ or desperate.

Many people say that coping with grief doesn’t mean getting over the death of a loved one. It’s about finding ways to live with the change and adapting to life without them. It’s not that your feelings about the person lessen, so much as a new way of living grows around the loss.

Ways to remember

You may find that doing something special to remember the person helps you cope with the loss.

Here are some ideas that other people have found helpful:

  • Plant a tree or garden, or place a memorial plaque in a favourite place.
  • Make a memory box filled with keepsakes such as: photos; a favourite item of clothing, such as a cap or scarf; a bottle of perfume or aftershave; letters or cards; a special recipe; and a list of shared memories.
  • Create an artwork in their memory, or use some of their clothing to create a quilt, cushion covers or memory bear.
  • Frame a photo of the person. This can be especially important for children.
  • Share memories by setting up an online memorial page.
  • Establish an award or scholarship in memory of the person, or make a donation to charity in their name.
  • Create special rituals such as lighting a candle, listening to special music or visiting a certain place. Rituals can be particularly helpful at challenging times such as anniversaries.
  • Be prepared for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays by planning how you want to handle the events.
  • Get involved in a cause that was special to the person. Many people have found an energy in their grief that motivates them to make a difference.
  • Talk about the person you have lost. You may feel uncomfortable at first but sharing your memories can help you cope.
  • Remember goals you shared and continue working towards them.

This information was last reviewed in April 2017
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