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Coping with Grief

Allow yourself to mourn. It seems like our lives move with increasing swiftness as we age. After the death of a loved one, we are encouraged to slow down and mourn, but realistically we can only do so for so long. Eventually, we have to get back to work, back to helping our families, and back to living our lives. This does not mean that mourning also has to end. Grief is an individual process that does not move with any particular schedule. Give yourself the latitude to grieve and to hurt. Even if you must resume your day-to-day activities, schedule yourself plenty of “me” time.

Ask for help. When we’re grieving, even the simplest tasks can seem difficult. Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends with daily tasks such as grocery shopping, chores, or meal preparation. Try to take a few extra days off from work or volunteering. Don’t try to hide your feelings in order to seem strong; it will only inhibit your mourning process.

Overcome your fears. After losing someone, you might be afraid to resume daily activities or to continue with projects that you once did with the Deceased. Especially if you’ve lost a spouse, getting out of bed each day means facing a new reality. Though it is scary, embracing your new reality is the path working through your grief.

Try new things. It’s generally recommended to hold off on big decisions while you’re still grieving, but you can make small changes that greatly improve your outlook on life. If you’ve lost someone who had a regular part in your life, you may be left seeing a hole where that person once was, and be unsure about how to fill it. One way to fill the void that you experience is to use your energy to help others. You can try volunteering at an organization both you and the Deceased respected. You could also try to enter the workforce again if you’ve been unemployed for a period of time. Find something that fulfills you and you feel good about doing. Another option is to invest more time in your family. See your grandchildren more or visit relatives you haven’t seen in years. Remember all the wonderful people that surround you.

The contents of this checklist are intended to provide helpful suggestions to a family member or other survivor who has assumed the duties of concluding the affairs of a loved one/decedent. The list is not intended to be exhaustive. It is not intended to provide legal, financial, or mental health advice nor to e relied on in lieu of such services. If you have specific questions you may find it helpful to consult with a probate attorney, financial professional, or mental health professional.