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christy.kessler

Eulogies & Sharing a Loved One’s Legacy

By Explore Options, Meaningful Funerals, Planning Tools

When a close loved one dies, you may be asked to give a eulogy. So, you may be wondering, where do I start? First of all, what is a eulogy? How do I write one? And how can I share the essence of the person I loved with others in a way that will make sense to them?

Giving a eulogy is essentially telling your loved one’s story. The eulogy allows everyone to look back, remember, grieve, and truly honor your loved one’s unique personality. Oftentimes, mourners only know one or two sides of a person’s life. However, at the funeral or memorial service, they get a broader picture, with all of its heartaches, triumphs, and joys.

Nationally respected grief counselor and author, Dr. Wolfelt, puts it this way: “For mourners, telling the story is central to healing. In the context of the funeral ceremony, the eulogy is the grand, public telling of the story that unites” everyone who has come together to mourn.

How Does a Eulogy Help Us Share a Loved One’s Legacy?

The eulogy (also called “homily” or “time of remembrance”) is a time set aside to specifically and personally remember and honor a person’s life. Family, friends, clergy, or colleagues may come forward to share stories about the deceased’s life and impact. This is a time to talk about what your loved one left behind and what you will remember about them for the rest of your life. It’s a time to discuss what they imparted and how they left a mark on the world. This could mean sharing family stories, what they were passionate about, causes that were close to their heart, how they loved others, and how they made people laugh.

One person may deliver the eulogy or several people may be invited to speak. Often, the family meets with a clergy member or celebrant to share stories and what they’d like the eulogist to say. Sometimes people speak from their heart, one after another. You get to decide how you want it to be done and what will best honor your loved one’s life and legacy.

How Do Eulogies Help Us Grieve?

The eulogy is an important part of the journey through grief because it helps meet what Dr. Alan Wolfelt calls the six needs of mourning: 1) acknowledge the reality of the death, 2) embrace the pain of the loss, 3) remember the person who died, 4) develop a new self-identity, 5) search for meaning, and 6) receive ongoing support from others.

When preparing a eulogy, you can help those who are attending the funeral by addressing each of these needs.

1. Eulogies help us acknowledge the reality of loss

After losing a loved one, it can take a little while for our minds to catch up. Our first instinct is to deny the reality of loss because it’s hard to grasp all that we’ve lost. During the eulogy, you will be forced to use the past tense to tell the story of the life lived. Speaking in past tense helps reinforce the reality that a death has occurred and our loved one really is gone. Until we accept that truth, there is no way to move forward.

2. Eulogies help us move toward the pain of the loss

As humans, we naturally want to move away from pain. But in order to heal, we have to let ourselves look back before we can move forward. For a brief moment in time, the funeral and the eulogy especially gives every mourner the chance to reflect on and experience the pain of the loss together.

3. Eulogies give us the opportunity to recall and share cherished memories

One of the most common ways to deal with grief is to talk about the person who has died. It’s about remembering them, recalling favorite moments, discussing the wisdom they imparted, or even learning new things about the person you loved. As we come together as a group to mourn, we all bring different memories, different perspectives. That’s why a eulogy not only helps us remember the person who has died – it also reveals facets of that person we may not have known. Together, the words spoken and memories shared create a beautiful opportunity to reflect and take a step toward healing.

4. Eulogies help us develop a new self-identity

As we hear about another person’s life, we also reflect on our own. What can we learn from this person’s life? Did they change the world for the better? What can I do to be more like them? We consider what we need to change in ourselves to bring greater good to those around us and what we must do to make the impact we want to on the world. We emerge from the story of a life inspired, hopeful, and transformed.

5. Eulogies provide us with an opportunity to search for meaning

When faced with the reality of death, we often ask ourselves questions and search for meaning. Did this person live a good life? Why was this person taken from us? Why now? Why this way? What happens next? The eulogy may not be able to help answer these big universal questions, but it helps us explore our feelings about the loss. Through the laughter, the tears, memories, and stories, we see just how meaningful one life can be.

6. Eulogies help us receive support from others

Finally, grief can feel very lonely. But the eulogy provides everyone with a common experience that brings them together and creates connection. Everyone present feels the strength of solidarity, knowing that the person who lived impacted everyone’s life in some way. We tell the love story, not just once at the funeral, but over and over, at every gathering, every holiday, every birthday and anniversary. We tell the story to friends who never knew the person we loved, we tell the story on social media, and to family members who know exactly what we mean. And we begin, little by little, to heal.

The pain of the loss may never quite go away. The sharpness and immediacy of the pain will heal over time, but the scar will always remain. But scars can tell their own story — they become a part of your story. And they represent a deep and abiding love that transcends death.

Embrace the eulogy and make it a beautiful opportunity to celebrate your loved one’s life – they are worth it.

If you are interested in learning about the other essential elements of a funeral, click here.

If you need to write a eulogy, click here for some helpful tips on how to craft a eulogy.

10 Tips for Processing Addiction or Suicide Loss

By Grief/Loss, Loss from Suicide

Losing a loved one is hard and emotionally draining – every time. However, when you lose a loved one to suicide or addiction, the loss is not only hard, it becomes stigmatized and disenfranchised. In other words, it’s hard to talk about, hard to get people to understand, and in many ways, you may feel ashamed or unable to talk about what happened because you don’t even fully understand it yourself.

As you begin to work through the emotions you feel surrounding your loved one’s death, it’s valuable to understand that what you’re feeling is normal. Are you angry? Confused? Feeling guilty? Sad? That’s okay. Do you even feel a small sense of relief that the up and down struggle with your loved one’s emotional state is over? That’s okay, too. And completely normal, by the way. Your emotions are nothing to be ashamed of, but they are something you must actively process through so that you can reach healing and find a way to reconcile yourself to your loved one’s death and the circumstances around it.

Let’s review 10 suggestions that will help you on your grief journey as you work through your feelings of loss and find a way to move forward.

1. Remember, you’re not alone

While there is often a societal stigma associated with suicide or addiction deaths, don’t allow yourself to become isolated. You are one of many thousands of people, even tens of thousands, affected by the loss of a loved one to suicide or addiction. Seek these people out. You will find those who are willing to talk about their experience and help you walk through yours.

2. Confront the circumstances

It’s easy to deny the role that drugs or mental health issues played in your loved one’s death, but it’s better to find a way to acknowledge the circumstances of the loss. In many ways, your loved one did not choose to die. They were under the influence of highly addictive drugs or of powerfully persuasive and destructive internal thoughts. In both instances, they were unwell and not themselves. If you can find a way to accept the reality of the situation – tragic as it is – then you have taken an important step toward grieving in a healthy way.

3. Express your feelings

As with any type of loss, you need to move the emotions inside out. In other words, what you’re feeling on the inside needs to be released rather than pent-up. You can do this in a variety of ways. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, grief support group, or professional therapist. Take time to journal, create art, compose music, or capture photographs – all focused on capturing what you feel. If you prefer physical exertion to help you express your more intense emotions, go for a run, do woodworking, restore a car, or do something else that fits your particular interests. The main thing is to find options that help you offload whatever you’re carrying inside.

4. Understand what leads to addiction or suicide

While it may seem a difficult task, the more you understand what led to your loved one’s death, the more capable you will be to process through any feelings of guilt or self-blame. You may think that you could have somehow prevented the death or could have done more. As you learn more about the factors that lead to addiction and suicide, the more you will realize your own role in the narrative and that your loved one was the only one capable of overcoming their own battles. You could not have fought the battle for them. Don’t take on more blame than is actually yours to bear.

5. Stand up for yourself

Because addiction and suicide deaths are often stigmatized by society, you may come across people who are insensitive or unkind. Don’t be afraid to kindly tell someone that their comments are hurtful and not helpful. You will be able to tell if the person is being intentionally unkind or simply doesn’t realize their words hurt you. For those who are unintentional, explain why their comments aren’t supportive, and they will likely apologize. For those who are unkind on purpose, dismiss their words as unimportant. Then, if it’s best, avoid seeing them in the future. You are dealing with a deep, complex loss and the last thing you need is a human hurdle on your way to healing.

6. Learn about available resources

Often, there are grief resources available right there in your community. Whether it’s a professional counselor or a grief support group, you should be able to find help near you. Some support groups that are nationwide (though not in every city) are:

  • GRASP (Grief Recovery After Substance Passing)
  • Al-anon (not specifically for grief but offer family support groups for those with a loved one dealing with alcoholism)
  • Nar-anon (not specifically for grief but offer family support groups for those with a loved one dealing with substance abuse)
  • GriefShare (grief support groups)

If none of these meet your specific needs or aren’t available in your area, do a Google search or call local hospices or funeral homes to see if they may have a list of grief resources available in the area.

7. Care for yourself

Grief takes a physical, mental, and emotional toll on your body. Get plenty of sleep, stay active, and eat nutritious meals to give your body the energy it needs to sustain you through the grief journey. Take time to pamper yourself. Get a massage or a pedicure. Go out to the golf course for a few holes. Go for walks or runs with friends or alone. Buy yourself a treat (within reason). In other words, make sure that you aren’t running yourself ragged, but instead, are caring for yourself.

8. Meet your spiritual needs

As you take care of yourself physically, make sure to take time to meet your spiritual needs as well. Meet with a spiritual leader. Pray. Meditate. Sing. Write. Cry. As human beings, we are complex and have so many facets. We are the entire package – mind, body, and soul – and all three aspects need care and attention during times of grief. Right now, you may feel hiding or ignoring God, and that’s okay. He’s not going anywhere, so when you’re ready, reach out and He’ll be there for you.

9. Honor your loved one’s life

Dr. Alan Wolfelt, a nationally recognized grief counselor, author, and educator, often says “When words are inadequate, have a ritual.” In other words, take time to honor your loved one’s life in formal and informal ways. Plan a personalized funeral or memorial service. Invite friends over for a gathering to talk through your mutual loss. Attend the visitation to pay your respects. Give and/or receive condolences and sympathy. Make a collage of photos as a remembrance. Plant a memorial tree. Create a photo or scrapbook that will remind you of the good times. Some of these may resonate with you and others may not. Simply choose what works best for your life and personality.

You may be tempted to forego many of the normal funeral traditions because of the sensitive nature of your loved one’s death. While you can certainly make appropriate changes, take the necessary time to remember your loved one’s life and mourn what could have been.

10. Give yourself time

Healing from loss doesn’t happen in a day. Instead, it’s one day, even one moment, at a time. Don’t expect yourself to heal quickly. Give yourself the time and the grace you need to grieve well rather than in a hurry. There’s no timeline for grief. As long as you are doing the work of grief and working through your emotions, you can take all the time you need. There will be good days and bad days. Your grief will surprise you some days and will be absent on others. It’s all part of the process as you move toward healing and reconciliation.

Hopefully these insights will give you a place to start as you walk through your grief journey. While you may never know why your loved one chose this path, understanding their reasons isn’t the ultimate goal. What matters is that you take care of yourself through your pain, that you confront the emotions you feel, and that you allow yourself to heal and find renewed meaning and purpose in life. You can do this.

What Do the Coins Left on Veteran Graves Mean?

By Memorial, Veterans

If you’ve ever visited a national or state veteran cemetery, you may have noticed coins left on grave markers. But did you know that each type of coin has special meaning and significance? Let’s dig into this intriguing tradition a little more.

Origins

It’s not clear exactly when the practice of leaving coins on the graves of veterans began. However, many believe that the practice began in earnest after the Vietnam War. Leaving a coin was thought to either be 1) a way to pay respects to a solider without getting pulled into discussions about this much-debated war or 2) a down payment on a drink or a hand of cards when the friends are finally reunited.

For centuries, coins have played a role in funeral and remembrance practices. For example, in Ancient Greece, it was customary to place coins on the eyes or in the mouth of a fallen warrior. In Ancient Egypt and other ancient cultures, rulers and prominent citizens were often buried with coins as well as many household goods to prepare them for the afterlife.

While our funeral practices are no longer in line with the ancient world, coins have survived as a method for paying homage to someone we admire and respect.

What Do the Coins Mean?

Each of the four coin denominations have a distinct meaning, according to tradition.

  • Penny – signifies that someone (veteran or civilian) has visited the grave
  • Nickel – signifies that the coin-leaver attended boot camp with the veteran
  • Dime – signifies that the coin-leaver served with the veteran in some capacity
  • Quarter – signifies that the coin-leaver was present when the veteran died

As you can see, the higher the coin denomination, the closer and more personal the relationship to the deceased veteran. In addition to the four standard coins, it’s possible you may also see challenge coins left at a grave as a token of respect.

What are Challenge Coins?

Challenge coins started gaining more popularity during the Vietnam War when they were used by Special Forces units. Typically, a challenge coin proves group membership (i.e. in a certain unit). Or, unit commanders present them as a symbol of recognition and achievement.

If you ever see a challenge coin on a veteran’s grave, it is a sign of the highest respect. More than likely, it came from a brother or sister in arms. It’s not uncommon for the challenge coin to showcase the emblem of the deceased veteran’s military unit.

It should go without saying, but if you ever come across a challenge coin, please do not take it. Let it be a continual respectful remembrance for years to come.

What Happens to the Coins?

At national and state veteran cemeteries, cemetery staff eventually collect the coins. The cemetery then places the coins into a designated fund used to pay for maintaining the cemetery grounds (washing graves, mowing the lawn, killing weeds, etc.) and covering the burial costs of indigent veterans.

However, no one collects challenge coins. They remain at the veteran’s grave as a sign of remembrance and respect.

For veterans buried in private cemeteries, any coins are subject to the regulations of the individual cemetery. Many cemeteries collect the coins and use them to maintain the cemetery grounds.

Interesting, isn’t it? As human beings, we have an innate need to mark the passing of the people we love and respect. It’s followed us from the beginning of time, and for as long as human beings exist, we will practice the art of remembrance and value the lives of those we love. So, the next time you see a coin on a grave, remember that this person is loved and missed.

What is Complicated Grief?

By Grief/Loss

You are likely familiar with feelings of grief, but did you know that there are different variations of grief? Of course, the experience of grief is different from person to person, but sometimes “normal grief” can take a turn and become something a little different. The four most common variations are disenfranchised grief, complicated grief, compounded grief, and anticipatory grief. Today, let’s unpack complicated grief so that you have a better understanding of this potentially serious detour in the grieving process.

First, Let’s Define Normal Grief

Before we dive into complicated grief (also known as prolonged grief), it’s important that you understand what normal grief looks like. Put simply, grief is your natural human response to the loss of someone or something you love. The emotions of grief vary greatly – sadness, anger, guilt, relief, shock – but these are all normal responses to loss. As much as you may prefer not to feel or deal with these types of emotions, they are actually a healthy part of the grieving process.

Grief is often accompanied by age-old rituals that bring people together to grieve. We hold hands, offer words of support and love, send cards and flowers, make donations, and deliver hot meals to the grieving family. We stand together to support those who are grieving and give them emotional and physical support as they mourn. But what happens if nothing helps and you feel stuck in a downward spiral of grief and despair?

Enter Complicated Grief

As we move forward, we’re going to review several key aspects of complicated grief. We’ll start off with a definition before moving into the symptoms, who is susceptible, and how to get help.

A Quick Definition

When you lose someone or something you love, you’re going to experience grief. The initial period of time just after a loss, when your emotions are unpredictable and you can’t concentrate on anything but the loss, is called acute grief. It’s the hard beginning of loss. However, in most cases, after a period of time, you are able to move into integrated grief. This means that you have learned to accept the reality of the death, have found ways to cope and adapt to your new way of life, and have begun to hope again, finding renewed meaning and purpose in life. Moving from acute grief (initial feelings of loss) to integrated grief (a reconciliation to the loss) is a natural progression through the grief journey.

This movement or reconciliation takes time, but it’s characterized by a lessening of your grief feelings. You may bounce back and forth between sadness, shock, and anger for a little while, but then, your grief feelings gradually lessen until they become an ache that occasionally comes back to visit you (normally around special days and events).

However, sometimes acute grief doesn’t progress as it should. Instead of lessening over time, your feelings of grief intensify until all you can think about is the loss you’ve gone through. This is complicated grief. In most cases, complicated grief occurs following the loss of a person, but it’s not necessarily confined to that.

With complicated grief, the death becomes center stage in your life. Many of those suffering from complicated grief are unable to resume normal life and are stuck in a state of intense mourning.

Symptoms of Complicated Grief

As we’ve talked about, complicated grief is an extended time of intense grief when you are unable to move through the grieving process. The grief begins to take over your life and the future seems bleak and lonely.

At first, many of the symptoms of complicated grief look like normal grief. However, if grief indicators worsen as time passes, then it could be a case of complicated grief. Here are a few symptoms to look out for months and even years following the loss:

  • Intense sorrow, pain, or pining over the loss, focusing on little else
  • Problems accepting the reality of the death
  • Strong attachment to mementos/reminders or a strong avoidance of them
  • Numbness, detachment, bitterness, and/or easily irritated
  • Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose
  • Trouble carrying out normal routines, including personal hygiene
  • Increasingly isolated and withdrawn
  • Denial and defensiveness when asked about the grief
  • Guilt over feeling that they did something wrong, could have prevented the death, or should have died along with the loved one

If six months or more have passed since the loss and grief feelings have only gotten worse, then it’s time to consider getting help. Six months is not a hard and fast rule as some losses will take years to recover from, but it is enough time to ascertain whether grief symptoms are lessening or worsening.

Who’s Susceptible?

While doctors and mental health professionals are still learning about complicated grief, it’s believed that as much as 20% of those who lose a loved one will experience complicated grief. Unfortunately, it’s not yet known exactly what causes complicated grief, though it’s considered another type of mental health disorder.

As with many mental health disorders, the cause may be related to your environment, personality, genetics, or chemical makeup. Complicated grief occurs more often in women and particularly those of an older age. Outside these factors, other circumstances may increase a person’s risk of experiencing complicated grief, including:

  • The death was shocking, unexpected, violent, or premature
  • There was more than one death in a short period of time
  • You witnessed the death or suffering with the deceased (as with a long illness)
  • You had a close or dependent relationship to the deceased person
  • Social isolation or loss of a support system or friendships
  • Past history of depression, separation anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Traumatic childhood experiences, such as abuse or neglect
  • Other major life stressors, such as major financial hardships

Seeking Help

Just as with any other mental health concern, it’s best to seek professional support and care when dealing with complicated grief. If you find that you or a loved one have been unable to make distinct progress toward integrated grief and that your grief feelings are intensifying (no matter how long it’s been), consider whether now is the time to seek help so that you can come to terms with your loss and reclaim a sense of acceptance and peace.

At first, you may think you can handle things, but over time, complicated grief can affect you physically, mentally, and socially. Without the proper treatment, complications could arise, including:

  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Anxiety, including PTSD
  • Significant sleep disturbances
  • Increased risk of physical illness, such as heart disease, cancer, or high blood pressure
  • Long-term difficulty with daily living, relationships, or work activities
  • Alcohol, nicotine use, or substance abuse

At this point in time, it’s not clear how to prevent complicated grief. However, counseling and grief therapy soon after the loss (especially for those in an at-risk group) is thought to help curb the severity of complicated grief and put you on the path to healing.

What Can Family and Friends Do to Help?

Because those suffering from complicated grief are susceptible to additional complications like depression, anxiety, or sleep issues, the best option is to speak with a professional, who can act as a guide through the entire journey toward recovery.

However, as family and friends, you can do something to help!

Offer your full and loving support to the person dealing with complicated grief. Be there to talk. Be encouraging. Bring small gifts or tokens of your love. Actively listen and don’t interrupt. Plan positive activities, like taking a walk or doing something they’ve always enjoyed.

They don’t need you to try to fix them; they need you to accept them where they are right now. Be there for them. Realize that complicated grief is difficult on both of you and the road to recovery may be long and difficult. But it is achievable! When we do the work of grief, we can find a way to reconcile ourselves to loss and find new hope and meaning for the future.

How to Talk to Children About Euthanizing a Pet

By Grief/Loss, Pets

Pets are a lovable, adorable, and often irreplaceable part of our families. Because of our attachment to them, the decision to euthanize a pet is incredibly difficult, especially when you have kids. For many children, the loss of a pet is often the first death they experience. However, you can turn the decision to euthanize into an opportunity to teach your child about healthy grieving. Let’s talk through a few helpful tips for talking to your child about euthanizing a pet.

1. Be open and honest.

Your first instinct may be to sugarcoat the situation or rely on euphemisms. Instead, stick to the truth. Taking your child’s age and maturity level into account, gauge just how much information they need to hear. It’s preferable to use words like “death” and “dying” – it will help your child realize the permanence of your pet’s absence.

A few don’ts:

  • Stay away from euphemisms like your pet went “to sleep” or was “put to sleep.” Children are very literal, and by using these terms, you may inadvertently give your child sleep anxiety because they begin to associate sleep with dying or never coming back.
  • Avoid glossing over the truth with a white lie like “Sunny ran away” or “Fido went on a trip.” These may give your child a sense of hope that the pet will return, which prevents them from grieving and moving on.
  • Stay away from saying that the pet was so special that God wanted him in heaven. This could cause a child to grow angry at God or fear that they themselves might be next.
  • Don’t blame the veterinarian. Instead, consider asking your vet for advice on how to talk about euthanasia with your children. They may even be open to personally talking to your children about why euthanasia may be the best option for your pet.

Ultimately, the best policy is to tell them the truth in simple terms and then be ready to answer questions.

2. Help your child understand why euthanasia is necessary.

Perhaps the biggest challenge will be explaining to your children why euthanasia may be the best option. First, explain why you think euthanasia is necessary. This could be old age, terminal illness, or an accident. A few examples of what you could say:

  • Sunny is sick and the veterinarian has done everything he/she can to help. Sunny is hurting, and this will take away her pain.
  • The doctor has done everything he/she can, but Fido’s not going to get better. By doing this, we can help Fido die peacefully. He won’t hurt or be scared.
  • When an animal gets very old, their body stops working. When that happens, we can help by taking away their pain.

If your children ask what euthanasia is, you could say, “When a pet is really old or hurting, the veterinarian will give them a special shot that stops the heart and takes away the pain.” Maneuver through the questions as best you can, taking your child’s maturity level into account.

3. Discuss what’s happening as a family.

It’s best not to euthanize your pet without talking to your children first. In fact, if it’s possible, include them in the discussion. Talk about how old your pet is and how much pain they feel. Discuss your pet’s health diagnosis and the cost of treatment. Together, as a family unit, make the decision about what’s best. It may be a difficult conversation, but your older children will appreciate being allowed to participate in the decision. Also, it will be a growth opportunity as you model positive decision-making.

4. Give the kids the opportunity to say goodbye.

Once you’ve decided that euthanasia is necessary, give your child an opportunity to say their goodbyes. When we don’t have a chance to say goodbye – whether it’s to a pet or a person – there’s something in us that just doesn’t heal properly. So, rather than taking your pet to the vet while your kids are away, tell them what’s going to happen. Give them the chance to say goodbye and to hug or kiss your pet. They need this moment of closure just as much as you do.

5. Let your child decide if they want to be present for your pet’s euthanasia.

If your child is older (around 6+), let them decide if they want to be present for your pet’s euthanasia. For some children, seeing the peaceful reality is easier to deal with than whatever fantasy they may conjure on their own. If they don’t want to go, that’s fine, too. Just having the option to choose is often enough. If your child does want to attend, let the veterinarian know and do what you can to prepare your child for what they will see.

Children are often more resilient than we give them credit for and allowing them the choice can help create positive coping abilities for the future. Additionally, giving your child a voice in the process makes them feel part of the decision, giving them a semblance of control in what can feel like a helpless and overwhelming situation.

6. Help your children grieve.

Finally, after euthanasia has taken place, help your child through the grieving process. For many children, a pet can almost feel like a sibling – the bond is so close and deep. That’s why it’s important to help them grieve the loss of their dear, furry friend. You might plan a small memorial for your pet and let your child take part. Or, you could put together a scrapbook of photos and memories or create a DVD. You could place a photo of the pet in your child’s room or purchase a stuffed animal that looks similar to your pet to help bring them comfort.

Above all, encourage them to talk about what they’re feeling and look for ways to help them express those emotions. And don’t be shy about sharing your own feelings – they need to see them! What your children learn now will help them process grief as adults. Teach them now how to process grief in a healthy way, and they will carry it into their adulthood and use what they learned to cope with future grief.

Best Books on Grief for a Teenager

By Grief/Loss, Helping a Friend in Grief

Do you remember being a teenager and going through acne, mood swings, friendship drama, and all the rest? Imagine if you were going through all that plus grieving the loss of a loved one. You may want to shelter your teenager from death and the hard things of life, but it’s simply not possible. Instead, help them learn how to deal with their emotions and implement healthy habits for grieving.

Giving your teenager a book that will help them understand what they’re feeling and why will help them better understand grief and will give you an opportunity – as parent or caregiver – to have open and honest conversations about loss and how to grieve well.

Below, you will find a series of books appropriate for teenagers that focus on grief, loss, and dealing with death. While they are certainly not the only books available, they will give you a place to start.

Let’s begin!

When a Friend Dies: A Book for Teens about Grieving & Healing by Marilyn E. Gootman Ed.D.

When a Friend Dies helps to answer common questions teens may ask themselves after the loss of a friend, including “How should I be acting?” and “Is it wrong to still have fun?” and “What if I can’t handle this on my own?” Sensitive, gentle, and compassionate, this book includes advice from the author based on her own experience helping teens through grief as well as quotes from real-life teenagers who have experienced grief. This is a realistic, straightforward, and easy to understand resource that will help your teen through the loss of a friend.

Click here to view the book.

Weird is Normal: When Teenagers Grieve by Jenny Lee Wheeler

Written by a teenager after the loss of her father to cancer, Jenny Lee Wheeler recounts her own struggle to deal with grief and loss when she was just 14 years old. With a fresh perspective for her peers, Wheeler helps teens understand some important fundamentals of grief, including that grief is natural, it takes time, and there’s no easy or right way to grieve. For a slightly different take on what it means to grieve as a teen, take a look at Wheeler’s story.

Click here to view the book.

Help for the Hard Times: Getting Through Loss by Earl Hipp

Thoughtfully written and engaging, Earl Hipp draws on his background and experience as a clinical psychotherapist to discuss the losses young people experience. In this book, he gives teens the tools they need to grieve, to explore and articulate difficult feelings, and to find a way to move toward healing and reconciliation. With several books in print and more than a quarter million copies sold, Hipp is a respected voice in the grief care world.

Click here to view the book.

Grieving for the Sibling You Lost: A Teen’s Guide to Coping with Grief & Finding Meaning after Loss by Erica Goldblatt Hyatt

Losing a sibling at any age can be devastating but can be doubly so for teens who are still developing grieving techniques. In this compassionate guide, Hyatt helps teens identify their coping style, deal with overwhelming emotions, and find constructive ways to process the loss they feel. Whether your teen is dealing with loneliness, depression, anxiety, or some other deep emotion, this book will help them work through negative thoughts and find their way toward healing and new purpose.

Click here to view the book.

Grief Recovery for Teens: Letting Go of Painful Emotions with Body-Based Practices by Coral Popowitz

As the Executive Director of Children’s Grief Connection, a grief camp focused on helping children, teens, and their families process loss, Coral Popowitz brings years of experience with trauma and grief to the table in her helpful guide for dealing with the physical aspects of grief and loss. Grief brings feelings of sadness, loneliness, and even fear, but did you know that these emotions can also greatly affect your body? With sensitivity and care, Popowitz will help your teen understand the connection between the mind and the body and how body-based practices can help relieve the physical symptoms of grief.

Click here to view the book.

Healing Your Grieving Heart for Teens: 100 Practical Ideas by Dr. Alan Wolfelt

As a nationally respected grief counselor and educator, Dr. Alan Wolfelt often says, “When words are inadequate, have a ritual.” In this insightful read, Wolfelt breaks down some of the basics of grief and offers teens a series of healing activities that will help them express their grief in a healthy way and mourn naturally. The thoughtful ideas are targeted at helping young people process through difficult emotions and learn how to release their grief in a way that is healthy and positive so they can find healing and continued meaning in life.

Click here to view the book. To see an accompanying journal (not required), click here.

Straight Talk about Death for Teenagers: How to Cope with Losing Someone You Love by Dr. Earl Grollman

This classic book on grief for teenagers is still read and much lauded to this day. From award-winning author Dr. Earl Grollman, this book helps teens understand what is normal when you grieve, explains what teens can expect as they move through the grief journey, and offers helpful tips for coping with the emotions that accompany losing a loved one. A quick read, the book is divided into sections focusing on the early days of grief, facing the immediate future, learning to cope, and rebuilding your life. Down to earth and easy to read, this book is sure to help your teen work through the complexities of grief and find a firm foundation for moving forward.

Click here to view the book.

You are Not Alone: Teens Talk About Life After the Loss of a Parent by Lynne Hughes

Losing a parent is one of the most isolating and frightening experiences that a young person can face. Written specifically for teens grieving the loss of a parent, Lynne Hughes draws on her experience as the director of a bereavement camp to share words of reassurance and coping strategies. Using testimonials from teens she has worked with, Hughes brings the grief struggle to life, offering teens a look into the struggles of their peers as they discover what works and what doesn’t on the journey toward healing. If you know a teen who is struggling with the loss of a parent, look into this helpful resource and see if you think it might help.

Click here to view the book.

Living When a Young Friend Commits Suicide: Or Even Starts Talking About It by Dr. Earl Grollman

Another grief classic by Dr. Earl Grollman, this book focuses specifically on suicide loss. In the last few decades, the suicide rate amongst young people has increased, so the likelihood that your teen may lose someone they love to suicide is higher than ever before. In this sensitive read, Dr. Grollman offers solace and tender guidance to teens who are confronted with traumatic suicide loss at such an early age.

Click here to view the book.

The final book on the list is actually a resource for parents and caregivers as you work to help your teen identify and express their feelings in a way that is healthy and productive.

Teen Grief: Caring for the Grieving Teenage Heart by Gary Roe

A winner of the 2018 Book Excellence Award, this book was called “an invaluable resource for parents, teachers, coaches, ministers, and anyone who has a teenager they love and want to help.” No matter what type of grief your teen is facing – divorce, rejection, violence, abuse, illness, disability, death of a loved one – this book will help you:

  • Understand how your teen is viewing the loss and how deep the pain goes
  • Support your teen as they work through anxiety, depression, guilt, fear, and other emotions
  • Learn how to walk with your teen and be a safe person
  • And more!

With this resource at your fingertips, you will have a comprehensive guide as you help your teen navigate through the losses of life and find healing.

Click here to view the book.

While these books do not guarantee success or that your teenager will be able to process their grief quickly, they will serve as helpful resources on the journey toward healing. Grief takes time. Give your teen the time and loving support they need to process the difficult emotions they feel. As they do the work of grief and express what they feel, they will find a way to move forward into a healthy future.

Self-Care After Suicide Loss

By Grief/Loss, Loss from Suicide

Grief, in all its forms, is exhausting mentally, physically, and psychologically. In addition to all the emotions it stirs up, loss forces us into a life change – learning how to move forward without a loved one. For those who have lost a loved one to suicide, there are added complications, like wanting to understand why, feeling isolated, and dealing with stigma and the negative attitudes of others. Because of these added factors, it’s even more important to practice self-care as you move through the process of grieving, coming to terms with what happened, and figuring out how to move forward, even if you don’t have all the answers.

10 Self-Care Tips After Suicide Loss

1. Explore your feelings

With suicide loss, so many questions and negative emotions may be fighting for space in your mind. Why did they do this? What could I have done differently? Anger, shame, guilt, confusion, and possibly relief, may battle with the sadness you feel. These complex emotions are completely normal. You have been confronted with a devastating, unexpected loss, and now, you have to wade through the questions and emotions that come with it. Don’t be afraid to name your emotions, whatever they may be. The sooner you recognize them, the sooner you can learn to deal with them.

2. Find ways to express those feelings

For many people, expressing our feelings means talking to someone we trust – whether that’s a friend, family member, or counselor. With suicide loss, people are generally more reluctant to talk about the loss because they feel ashamed of what their loved one did, or they can’t bear to process the emotions raging within them. They’d rather bottle it up and pretend everything is okay.

It’s not healthy to keep things inside. The only way to begin to process your feelings is to express them. However, you can carefully choose your method of expression. Maybe it is talking to someone. It could also be writing down what you feel, painting, drawing, walking in nature, or any number of things. The point is – find what works for you and begin the work of processing any negative emotions you may feel.

3. Take your time

Grief isn’t linear. It doesn’t follow a timeline or schedule. We can’t input a formula, and in exactly 10 months and five days, everything will be over and dealt with. Ultimately, the time it takes depends on you. Dr. Alan Wolfelt, nationally recognized grief expert and founder of the Center for Loss & Life Transition, says, “I have learned that we cannot go around the pain of our grief. Instead, we must learn to embrace and express it. This is hard but absolutely necessary work.” Take your time – all the time you need – but do the work. Process your feelings. Learn to let go of the unanswered questions. Find new hope. Live your life and remember your loved one.

4. Treat yourself kindly

When something happens that you feel you could have prevented, you may blame yourself for not making different choices. You may be taking on part of the responsibility for your loved one’s death, but ultimately, it was their decision. Maybe you could have been kinder or more encouraging or noticed something sooner, but either way, the decision was out of your hands. While feelings of guilt may rise, treat yourself with kindness. You may need to accept that you could have done more, but in the same turn, also accept that your loved one made a choice that was beyond your control. Give yourself grace. Treat yourself and others with kindness. Love those still around you wholeheartedly.

5. Reach out to those you love

While your grief journey is something you must walk yourself, you don’t have to walk alone. Reach out to the people in your life who have been steadfast. Draw on your support groups – family, friends, church, volunteer groups, etc. There are people who love you, and they will stand by you as you process your loved one’s death. They may not always know what to say – you may not know what to say – but you can invite a few hand-selected people to walk with you as you learn how to move forward.

6. Eat well and get enough sleep

Grief can take a lot out of you. You may forget to eat or feel excessively tired. When dealing with suicide loss, sleep may feel elusive because questions plague your thoughts. No matter what, be intentional about taking care of your physical body. Make sure that you are eating, even if you don’t necessarily feel like it. Nap when you’re tired unless you’re having trouble sleeping at night. If you are having trouble sleeping at night, avoid naps, try journaling your thoughts before bed, and create a bedtime routine you can sustain. By journaling at night, you can get those niggling thoughts out before your head hits the pillow – it may just help you sleep through the night.

7. Allow yourself to have fun

It’s okay to have fun. You may still be dealing with the loss of your loved one, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the life you have. Take a long soak in a hot bath. Go out to the movies with your friends. Bake your favorite dessert. Go shopping for that new pair of shoes. Even though you’re grieving, you must hang onto the joy of life. There is so much possibility ahead of you, and while there will be dark days when grief shows its face, there are also days of joy and happiness to come. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

8. Establish a routine

When something unexpected happens in life, everything feels out of control. Your routine is upset. You are suddenly dealing with events and people you didn’t expect. This is what happens when we lose a loved one suddenly – our lives lose their normalcy and are thrown into disarray. By establishing a routine, you can begin to gain back some normalcy and control. When you feel comfortable in your routine, you can begin to process what’s happened and learn how to deal with and manage your grief.

9. Recognize when you need a little extra help

With every suicide death, an estimated six or more people become “suicide survivors” – people who have lost a loved one and are struggling to understand why. Research shows us that suicide survivors often need the help of a mental health professional or a grief support group as they process through the loss. Because of the complex emotions and the unanswered questions, it’s always important to consider whether you should talk to a professional who can help you move forward.

A skilled mental health professional or grief counselor can:

  • Help you make sense of what happened and process your reactions to the loss
  • Work with you to explore any unresolved issues in your relationship with your lost loved one
  • Offer specialized support and understanding as you walk through your grief journey

10. Enjoy the good things in your life

When dealing with loss, especially a traumatic loss, it’s important to keep perspective, to focus on the good things in life. Otherwise, we can get transfixed on what’s difficult and beyond our control. So, take time every day to hug your children. Embrace your parents. Spend time with the people you love. Do the things that bring you joy. The good things in life sustain us through the bad. They give us hope for the future, and even though it may seem like the world is ending, there are good things coming, if you take the time to look.

Understanding Your Grief: Hope for the Holidays

By COVID-19, Dr. Wolfelt Videos, Exclude from Top Posts, Grief/Loss, Seasonal, Uncategorized

This Christmas season, with the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting lives, Dr. Wolfelt shares a poignant message of hope and healing despite the unique challenges this year has forced upon us. With compassion and kindness, Dr. Wolfelt shares grieving tips and suggestions that will help you make it through. Click below to hear his message and may you find hope and healing this holiday season.

What Do You Do When Someone Dies?

By Explore Options, Meaningful Funerals, Planning Tools

If you’ve recently lost someone you love, you have our sincerest sympathies. For many of us, dealing with death and all the logistical and emotional details associated with it is unknown territory, and frankly, a little frightening. We ask ourselves, “What do you do when someone dies?” Here, you will find a comprehensive guide filled with a suite of articles and helpful tools that will assist you through the process from start to finish 

Let’s get started. 

Step 1: What to Do Just After a Death Has Occurred 

1. Report the Death 

The first step is to report the death. Depending on where your loved one was located when they died, this step may have already happened. However, if it hasn’t, you will need to contact the appropriate people. For example, you will contact a different person if your loved one died at home versus in hospice care. For help knowing who to contact, click here.  

2. Contact the Appropriate People 

Next, you will need to start contacting anyone who needs to know immediately that your loved one has died. This includes other family members, a funeral home or funeral director, a clergy person if needed, and any other key people, like close friends or your boss. Each of these people needs to know what has happened, and some of them will offer caring and support through the funeral planning process.  

3. Prepare for the Funeral Arrangement Conference 

After you’ve contacted a funeral home, a funeral director will come to your location, and they will respectfully transport your loved one’s body to the funeral home. At that time, you and the funeral director will schedule an arrangement conference so that you (and anyone you would like to bring) can discuss the details of the funeral or memorial service.  

After the time is set, you should prepare for the arrangement conference so that it goes as smoothly as possible. Go to What to Expect at a Funeral Arrangement Conference and What Vital Statistics Should I Bring to a Funeral Arrangement Conference? to learn more.  

If you don’t already have a funeral home in mind, look online for funeral homes near you that have a good reputation. However, if your loved one is currently in hospice care, consider taking a little extra time finding a funeral home partner. Feel free to read Top 10 Characteristics to Look for in a Funeral Home to help you choose a funeral home that will meet your needs 

4. Rest 

After you’ve reported the death, contacted the appropriate people, and arranged and prepared for the arrangement conference, make sure to take time to rest. The coming days will be difficult and require many decisions. You’ll need all the energy you can get. 

Step 2: Plan the Funeral or Memorial Service 

Next, attend the arrangement conference at the funeral home. If your loved one planned ahead for funeral wishes, the funeral director will pull their file and you can go over your loved one’s wishes. However, if no plans were set in place, you and the funeral director will need to start the funeral planning process from scratch 

There will be many decisions to make. You may know a little bit about what your loved one wanted – burial, cremation, beachside service, church service, etc. However, if you just don’t know, simply do your best. In the ideal situation, your loved one has already planned ahead, but if not, the most important thing to consider is how you can thoughtfully and meaningfully honor their life and legacy through a personalized tribute that truly reflects your loved one’s life, beliefs, and core values.  

The articles below will help you learn more about your options, how to personalize a funeral, and the burial benefits available to veteransAlso, here’s a printable Funeral Planning Checklist to help you out.  

Exploring Your Options: 

The 5 Basic Steps of Funeral Planning 

What Are My Interment Options? 

What Should I Know When Considering Cremation?  

Cremation and the Importance of Ceremony 

Selecting a Cremation Urn  

What Are My Burial Options? 

How to Select a Casket 

What You Need to Know About Anatomical Donation 

Personalizing a Funeral: 

7 Elements of a Healing and Meaningful Funeral  

Why Does Funeral Personalization Matter?  

5 Meaningful Actions to Personalize a Funeral 

6 Ways to Personalize a Funeral 

Helping Your Family Personalize a Funeral  

Adding Military Honors: 

The Core Elements of a Military Honors Funeral 

What You Need to Know About Veterans’ Burial Benefits  

Though it may seem like a lot, by working with a funeral professional, you don’t have to worry about missing anything. They will walk you through the planning process, step by step. Once you’ve planned a personalized service, you can move on to considering permanent memorial options.  

Step 3: Permanent Memorial Options 

In addition to planning a final tribute for your loved one, you will also need to consider permanent memorial options. If your loved one is buried, this may mean a grave marker. If they are cremated, it could mean burial, scattering, cremation jewelry, and more. But ultimately, you must make a permanent plan for your loved one’s remains so that they will be taken care of for generations to come.  

Here are a few thoughts to help you: 

 5 Reasons to Establish a Permanent Memorial 

Permanent Placement Options for Cremated Remains 

Selecting and Installing a Grave Marker 

Step 4: Pay for the Funeral 

Now that all of your selections have been made, you will need to consider how to pay for the funeral. If your loved one purchased a prepaid funeral plan, then payment should be covered already. For other families, there are a variety of options available to pay for a funeral or memorial service.  

5 Ways to Pay for a Funeral 

7 Ways to Pay for Unexpected Funeral Expenses 

Step 5: After the Funeral is Over 

The funeral or memorial service is complete. Hopefully, you feel a sense of accomplishment and deep peace that you were able to honor and remember your loved one’s life in personalized and meaningful way. Now, it’s time to turn your attention to a few more logistical tasks.  

1. Contact outside organizations

You will need to inform banks, insurance companies, health clubs, social media platforms, and many more places about the death of your loved one. More often than not, you will need to provide a death certificate as proof, so make sure to request plenty when the funeral home asks how many you wantTo help with this process, print this Things to Remember Checklist so you have a simple, printable list of places to contact and things to remember as you inform others about your loved one’s death.  

2. Probate the will

If your loved one had a legal will or trust, then you will need to work with an attorney or the court system so that you can begin the process of distributing your loved one’s property in the way they desired. If there is no legal will, you and your family will need to petition the court to find out what will happen to your loved one’s property and assets.  

3. Send thank you notes

During the funeral planning process, there may have been people who were particularly helpful or kind that you want to thank. It could be that they took care of your kids, sent flowers or a sympathy gift, or offered practical help. Regardless, you might consider sending a quick note to express your gratitude for their love and support. For a few tips on writing funeral thank you card, go to Simple Tips for Writing Funeral Thank You Notes 

4. Sort through possessions

For some, sorting through a loved one’s possessions can take place over a longer period of time, but for others, the sorting process is more immediate. No matter which camp you fall into, read Sorting Through a Loved One’s Possessions for a few tips about developing a strategy for success.  

5. Create memorial items

If you like to keep something to remind you of a time, place, or person, then you might consider the value of creating a memorial item. For instance, as you sort through your loved one’s possessions, you might find an old shirt that reminds you of them. Using that shirt, you could create a Christmas ornament or pillow to remind you of the one you love. For a few more ideas, feel free to read Creating Memorial Keepsakes with Funeral Flowers or Creating Memorial Keepsakes with a Loved One’s Clothing 

6. Put your own wishes in writing

Now that you’ve planned a funeral from start to finish, it’s easy to see how planning ahead for funeral wishes can protect loved ones from a lot of stress and worry. Consider putting your own funeral wishes in writing, a simple way you can give your family a gift of love even after you’re gone. Also, consider the benefits of estate planning, especially writing a legal will and putting your advance care directives in order. The more you do now, the easier everything will be on your family should something happen.  

Step 6Do the Work of Grief 

Though it is listed last here, grief will be your companion throughout the entire funeral planning process and beyond. In many ways, the funeral or memorial service simply marks the beginning of the grief journey, not the end. Now, you must do the work of grief and find a way to reconcile yourself to the loss you’ve suffered.  

Dr. Alan Wolfelt, a nationally respected author, counselor, and grief expert, says:  

In life, everyone grieves. But their grief journeys are never the same. Despite what you may hear, you will do the work of mourning in your own special way. Be careful about comparing your experience with that of other people. Also, do not adopt assumptions about how long your grief should last. Just consider taking a ‘one-day-at-a-time’ approach. Doing so allows you to mourn at your own pace.” 

In other words, this is a journey only you can take. It’s unique. It’s personal. You’ve lost someone you love – you have a right to feel what you feel. It may be sadness, anger, guilt, fear, or even relief. All of these are normal reactions to loss and nothing to be ashamed of. In the end, the main goal is to face your emotions, reconcile yourself to a future you didn’t ask for, and find a way to move forward with new purpose and meaning. It’s possible – one day at a time.  

How to Create a Memory Capsule

By Grief/Loss, Memorial

Sometimes, words aren’t enough to fully express what you feel or say what you mean. In the times when words are inadequate, participating in healing rituals and actions plays a key role in helping you grieve well and express what can’t be said. One healing action you might consider – either for yourself or your entire family – is creating a memory capsule.

What is a Memory Capsule?

Similar to a time capsule, a memory capsule is a container that holds precious mementos, photos, notes, and other memorabilia associated with a loved one. Once the capsule is complete, you hide it away until a specified time. Then, either alone or together with family, you open the capsule, remembering the person you love and sharing those cherished memories with each other.

But why should you consider a memory capsule? Remembrance is a key part of grieving well and creating a memory capsule is one way you can remember, reminisce, and embrace your loved one’s life. It will allow you to gather some of your most treasured items and put them in one place. You can go back to the capsule as often as you wish, or you can wait a specified amount of time. Regardless of what you decide, when you open the box, tender memories will flood you with love and help you lovingly remember and grieve for the person you’ve lost.

How to Create a Memory Capsule

With a few simple steps, you can create both a memory capsule and a meaningful activity for your family.

1. Determine where you’ll store the capsule.

First, you must decide where you will be storing the capsule. Whether you decide to store it indoors or outdoors will affect what kind of container you use and what types of items you place inside. So, before you can really begin, you need to determine how you plan to store your memory capsule. Also, select a person to take charge of the capsule. This person will be responsible for storing the container and bringing it out of storage at the appropriate time.

2. Choose your container.

Once you’ve determined where you plan to store your capsule, it’s time to select the type of container you intend to use. If you are planning to keep the memory capsule indoors, then you could select a box, a plastic container, a jar, or some other container that is easily storable.

However, if you plan to keep the capsule outside or you intend to bury it, there are a few things to consider. For outdoor safekeeping, find a container that is non-biodegradable, like something made of metal. Water, dirt, pressure, and critters won’t be friendly to your capsule so make sure that it’s strong, weather-proof, and watertight.

If you are making this a family activity, discuss together what kind of container you’d like to use.

3. Decide what to include.

Next, it’s time to decorate your container (if you wish) and gather your memories. Since this activity is meant to be part of a healing ritual, you might write a note expressing what you miss about them. Record a favorite memory. Gather photos, drawings, trinkets, clothing, or other cherished items. Find the items that are meaningful to you and place them in the container. With kids, have them write a note or create a drawing for the capsule. You could even write a note to your future self, saying what you’re feeling now and where you hope to be when the capsule is opened.

If you are planning to store your capsule outdoors, consider using good paper and permanent ink. Try not to use paper clips, staples, or rubber bands because they will rust or break with age. Consider placing photos and other paper items into plastic sleeves to further protect them.

WARNING: Make sure you don’t include flammable materials or anything else that may cause damage, such as liquids, food products, matches, or lighters.

4. Set a date.

Typically, capsules are left closed for several years, but you can do whatever works best for your family. For example, if you are putting together a memory capsule for a lost loved one’s birthday or at Christmas or Thanksgiving, you can open it the following year or several years down the road. The most important thing is to select a time frame and make sure that everyone participating knows what the time frame is. That way, each person can tailor their offerings to meet the time frame, if that’s needed.

5. Seal your container and store it.

Once everyone has had a chance to add their personal contributions to the memory capsule, all that’s left is sealing the container and storing it away until your agreed upon date. If you’ve made the memory capsule a family activity, make sure to gather everyone together (or use a video call) to make sure everyone is included in the sealing. You can even write a “Do not open until” date on the outside. For extra protection, seal the container with tape or a lock.

Before you disperse, give each other hugs and best wishes. This activity is not only about healing from your loss but about finding support in each other as you all mourn the loss of someone you love.

Continuing Your Grief Journey

Now, all you have to do is wait until the agreed upon date and do the work of grief. While creating a memory capsule will help you participate in a healing ritual and remember your loved one, it’s not a “one-and-done” kind of thing. As you grieve, you will need to continue to talk about your loss, participate in healing rituals (like journaling, attending a funeral or memorial, lighting candles, praying, etc.), and face the grief you feel.

Dr. Alan Wolfelt, a nationally respected grief counselor and educator, says this about grief: “From my own experiences with loss as well as those of thousands of grieving people I have companioned over the years, I have learned that we cannot go around the pain that is the wilderness of our grief. Instead, we must journey all through it, sometimes shuffling along the less strenuous side paths, sometimes plowing directly into the black center.” So, as you confront your emotions head on, you will begin to actually deal with them and find a way to move toward healing and eventually reconciliation.

Just remember, you’re not alone on the journey. Lean on your loved ones. Talk to your family and/or friends. While they may not always understand what you’re thinking or feeling, they love you and can be a source of support through the grief journey ahead. Take your time – there’s no rush. You are never going to “get over” the loss of someone you love, but you can learn how to move forward and find renewed purpose and meaning in life. It may seem impossible right now, but as you do the work of grief, it will happen, little by little. Best of luck on your journey!