Family, Marriage

10 Things I Have Learned about Grief and Loss

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Coping with death and grief, 10 things I have learned.

Coping with death and grief

Well. Today is the day I dread more than any day of the year. August 19, 2004 my father-in-law died in a work related accident. I really hate this day. It’s a reminder of his death, the aftermath, and that we will continue on without him. Of course, we feel his death all throughout the year, but this day really hurts. My husband and I were only 23 and 24 when he died. Not even married for two years. We have learned a lot about grief, loss, and life in the last ten years.

What I have learned about coping with death and grief

1. First and foremost, “You don’t get over it, you just make room.”

It may be corny to quote “The Walking Dead” but it is the most accurate description I have come across. You never get over this, you simply learn to live with it. Some days are easier than others but you never truly get over it.

2. Life is short.

One tiny slip, and it could all be over. When I got the phone call that my father-in-law was dead, my heart sank into my gut. I remember thinking, “It takes one phone call to change everything.”

3. Life can change instantly.

Our life could easily be divided into before my father-in-laws death and after. In the blink of an eye. Everything changes.

4. Family doesn’t have to be blood.

Death brings out the best and worst in people. The people who support you the most don’t have to be family.

5. Hard times reveal true friends.

See previous ๐Ÿ™‚

6. Grief hits you when you least expect it.

We have had meltdowns after watching United 93, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings. You never know when that grief will strike you and you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach like the moment you found out.

7. Time heals shit.

Time heals all wounds is bullshit. A great quote I found is โ€œThey say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite.โ€ Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince.

8. Your kid’s relationship with their dead grandparent is difficult.

I felt tremendous guilt that my kids never got to meet their other grandpa. But I don’t want to burden them with my loss. It’s a delicate balance between remembrance and baggage.

9. You will feel their presence.

No matter your beliefs, religion, or skepticism. There will be days when you feel your loved one with you ๐Ÿ™‚

10. Grief changes you.

But know that you can move on. Don’t let yourself get stuck.

Coping with death and grief is a continuous process and changes as you go through different stages of life. How I help my husband cope with the death of his father is different today than it was in the days after my father-in-law’s death. But one thing that has never changed is my complete support and emotional availableness any time he needs it.

A sudden death can shake your world. Coping with death and grief can be hard road to navigate. What I have learned about death in the past 10 years.

9 thoughts on “10 Things I Have Learned about Grief and Loss”

  1. Very well said Katie. I so agree. Time does not heal all wounds but we just carry on. Losing a parent or a child or any close family member, never goes away. We just cope the best we can. You have built a beautiful family and I am sure Jason’s dad is very proud.

    1. Thank you so much Sharon. Your loss was such a tragedy and I can’t begin to imagine losing a child. But death does teach us about empathy for others in a much deeper way. Jason and I have been through a lot, but so many others have experienced much worse. I am so sorry for you loss and thank you so much for reading. Your kind words mean so much to me ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I agree! This is very simply and very well expressed. The only thing I’d add is that it also helps you comfort others better when they go through a similar loss. Rather than glib, pat remarks, you can actually KNOW what will help them in their grief, rather than add to it. I’m sorry this date is painful for you. Comfort and peace to you and your family.

    1. Thanks so much Heather. And yes, it is so much easier to talk to people when you have gone through something similar. I usually find myself without words and express how much the situation sucks. It’s probably not the most eloquent answer but sometimes that is what the situation is. The day was surprisingly well. No breakdowns. Thank you so much for your kind words ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Wow, I agree with everything. You adapt to the grief and pain but it never “goes away”. After my brother’s and father’s deaths I developed a level of compassion and empathy for others I never had before. Thank you for being honest about grief!

    1. Thank you so much. I pride myself in the ability to be honest about things. I, too, have found my compassion for others has improved. We went through a lot with my father-in-law’s death, but others have experienced much bigger tragedies. Thank you so much for reading, and I am so sorry for your losses. Have a lovely weekend.

  4. Wonderful pointers Katie. We had a horrible year with a dear friend, who at the tender age of 28 was struck and killed by a car. Then several months later my beloved grandmother died.

    Grief comes in crazy waves… and it takes some time but eventually we find our “new normal”.

    Thanks so much for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop)!

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

    1. Yes, the “new normal” is a great way to put it. As sad as it is, we adjust to life afterwards and it is sometimes hard to remember what life was like before. Thanks for reading!

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