Two Stories of Grief and Healing Honoring National Grief Awareness Day

4 years ago


August 30th is National Grief Awareness Day.  Two women shared their journey of healing with us in the hopes of helping others who are grieving the loss of a loved one. 

 My husband died of a stroke three years ago.  I cared for him for seven years as his health declined.  I would like to share some thoughts with you that helped me cope with what I call, “living with the quiet.”   It was painful and lonely after my husband died after 34 years of marriage.  I needed to give grief a voice so I started seeing a grief support counselor and transitioned into a support group.  These are things that helped me and perhaps will help you or someone you know that is grieving the loss of someone close. 

Helpful tips:

  • Seek help outside of family and friends.  I needed to speak to others who could relate to my situation.  The grief support counselors and bereaved in the grief support group provide insight and comfort.
  • Participate in social groups.  For seven years my caregiver’s job was 24/7 so my social life dwindled as a caregiver. Over time I decided to get more involved in new activities.  Right now I volunteer as a reading tutor for second graders.  
  • Start a support network.  Some of the individuals in the support group share phone numbers and call each other if they are feeling lonely.  We also have lunch together occasionally.
  • Drive yourself to social events.  If you feel like leaving early, you don’t have to give a reason or inconvenience others. 
  • Establish new social circles.  As a single person, you may not be invited to certain social events like you were when you were married.  Reach out and meet new people.
  • Organize memorabilia a little at a time. Three years later, I am still organizing my husband’s memorabilia bit by bit.  It’s too emotional to do all at once.  I have asked for help from family and friends, but some of it I just need to go through by myself. 
  • It’s helpful to write down my thoughts and feelings. 
  • Say your loved one’s name in public.  I have learned that friends may be afraid to say your loved one’s name when speaking with you. They don’t want you to be sad. However, I feel people need to know that I am lonely at times.  They need to know that I miss Roy, but I’m putting the building blocks of my life together one at a time. 
  • Find a support group that meets your needs.  As new people came into the support group, which I had been attending for over 2 years, it became difficult to hear their raw emotions.  I wasn’t in that stage of grief.  The issues that challenged me were not the same as the people who had experienced a recent loss.  Find others that can meet your needs.



I lost my husband, Jim, ten months ago after eight years of caring for him as he struggled with Parkinson’s.  A few months later I reached out to others who had lost someone close to them.  I joined a grief support group.  No one can imagine the pain of losing the love of your life.  As the one-year anniversary approaches, I am starting to relive his death.

 I have found a few things that have helped me cope along the way.

  • Let yourself cry.  It’s important to let yourself grieve and feel the pain. 
  • Volunteer and participate in community activities.  It’s important to keep busy and meet new people. 
  • Take up some new hobbies such as Tai Chi or line dancing. 
  • Go out to dinner with other widows and widowers.  They will provide support when you need it the most. 

My motto is: take it one day at a time. If you can’t do that, take it an hour at a time. If that doesn’t work, take it a minute at a time.

National Grief awareness Day is an opportunity to support those who are grieving by breaking the isolation.  Grief should not be a taboo subject. Don’t hesitate to reach out to someone who has lost a loved one.  They are aching for you to tell them it’s OK to grieve and share in their journey.

Warm regards,





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