Eight Secrets to Managing Grief

There is probably nothing that changes your life more than the death of a loved one.  I thought that my life was over after the sudden death of my mother, Jean, and our two daughters, Jenelle-age 19, and Amy-age 9 to a distracted semi-truck driver. Before their deaths, our lives were predictable, maybe even a bit boring.

We absolutely loved the family time activities and events like wiffleball games in the backyard or family cookouts. There are very few experiences in life that can be compared to the shock of death. Below are eight secrets to help you to better understand and manage your grief.

1. Proactively share with your friends and family how you are really feeling and specifically what type of help you need. Provide them with directions as to how to best help you. Ideas include:

  • Encourage them to share stories and pictures about your loved one.
  • Tell them to not try to fix your pain, but just to be there for you.
  • Encourage them to be patient and understanding with you.
  • Share with them that you have been through a traumatic experience and that you are a different person. Ask them to accept you for who you are now.

2. Try to understand that the world will go on, even without your loved one in it. It is so easy to get angry at the rest of the world. The sooner you understand this, the easier your grief will become.
3. Understand that “Everyone Grieves Differently”. If your spouse or parents or siblings appear to not be grieving or grieving differently from you, try to understand that everyone has the right to experience their own unique grief. It is not wrong, it is just different.

4. Accept the fact that it is natural for you to cry or get angry or be depressed. As a griever, you will feel multiple different emotions, sometimes all at the same time. These are normal. You are not going crazy.

5. Accept that your questions or “why’s” may never be answered. Example; Why did they die? Could I have done something different that might have saved them? Instead, let go of the “why’s” and accept what has happened and go on living. This is what the deceased would want you to do.6. Identify and acknowledge that secondary losses like “loss of dreams” or “loss of financial stability” are a normal part of grief. Where the death of a loved one is considered the primary loss, experiences that flow from that death are called secondary losses. “Secondary” means that these losses come because of the death.

7. Try to find “new meaning” in your life. Ask yourself, what would my loved one want me to do? Would they want me to be sad and angry for the rest of my life, or would they want me to try to find new meaning and be happy once again? I think you know the answer.
8. Create something to “look forward” to doing. This could be a family getaway or vacation or something as simple as planting a garden. Just having something to anticipate in the future will help you get through the toughest of days.

Randy StockerRandy Stocker is the survivor of an unfathomable tragedy with the deaths of three family members to a distracted semi-truck driver. Instead of wallowing in his grief, he took the path to learn about grief and grieving so he could help others. Stocker is the author of the book, “Hugs Help-Our Story of Tragic Loss, Survival, and Helping Others.” He is also a sought-after professional speaker, an organizer of multiple bereavement groups, and a great listener to others who have suffered tragic loss. Randy also runs a helpful Facebook group on grief and grieving.



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