10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Grief

Grief is a complex emotion that affects each person differently, but it has become clear over our years working with our neighbors in Indianapolis that the only way someone can successfully process grief is to start the steps of working through it.

At St. Pierre Family Funeral, our staff has been guiding families through their grief for decades. We’ve been there to help plan funerals, cremations, and burials — and we remain ready to help long after the service is over.

At St. Pierre Family Funeral, we have a variety of grief recovery resources on our website to help your family, and we also offer a 12-week grief support class three times per year. What’s more, our staff has compiled a list of tips to help during the grief journey. Losing someone you love conjures up complicated and surprising emotions, and we’re here to help on your road to healing.

It’s Okay to Sit with Your Grief
If you are someone who enjoys being on the move and avoids negative emotions as much as possible, it might not feel right to sit and allow yourself to feel sad. It can sometimes feel like a waste of time or cause you to feel guilty about wallowing. As you are grieving the loss of a loved one, it’s okay to sit in your grief and to feel sad. If you’re concerned your grief has caused depression, please reach out for help.

Grief Can Be Unexpected
As the months and years pass, you might come across a fond memory you’ve shared with a loved one who has died. This memory could resurface while you’re doing something completely unrelated, such as driving around town or listening to a song, and it’s normal to find tears welling up in your eyes. As much as that moment stings, it’s a reminder that grief will come and go — and that it is okay.

No One Has the Perfect Words
Although it’s hard not to place our complete trust into our friends and family members, you may discover that no one will be able to make the pain go away completely. There are no magic words that will heal the grief, and it’s unfair to put that expectation onto anyone, including your spouse, friends, or family members. Working through your grief must start from within.

Seeking Out Guidance Helps
When we are being weighed down by negative emotions, it is easy to feel guilty about “dumping” our sadness onto someone else. That’s why many so people find it helpful to rely upon the support of a therapist or a faith leader to share what they are experiencing. Having the support of a professional is helpful, as they can listen to you objectively and provide suggestions for healing.

Holding a ceremony is a valuable step toward healing.
Too often, a family will put off or forego having a funeral or memorial service in their loved one’s honor. This may be at the request of the person who died because family lives across the country, or due to circumstances like COVID-19 restrictions. However, the importance of gathering and acknowledging a loss cannot be overstated. Even if some time has passed since the death, it’s never too late to hold a memorial or even get together to share memories and a meal.

Take Care of Yourself
While it’s OK to take time to feel sad or to sit in your emotions, you have to remember to take care of yourself. As difficult as it may be, try to practice your daily hygiene routine and try to engage in exercise and social interactions. It’s okay to put in the minimal effort, but you still need to make sure this happens, as you are the only one who can fully take care of yourself.

Grief Can Have Physical Symptoms
Grief can sometimes manifest itself through unexpected physical symptoms. Some people may experience extreme fatigue, nausea, chest pain, or headaches. Always make sure to reach out to a medical professional if you are experiencing any health concerns, as grief can exacerbate pre-existing conditions as well.

Changing Seasons Affect Grief Too
Something unexpected about grief is that it can be impacted by certain seasons. For example, we may feel as though we should feel happier in the spring or summer than in the winter. This can be challenging when we’re still feeling sad and it seems like everyone around us is having a great time.

Grief Could Affect Your Relationships
When experiencing a serious loss, you may find yourself lashing out at those who are closest to you, including your spouse, children, or parents. You may be feeling angrier or more short-tempered than usual. While it’s normal to feel these emotions, it’s also helpful to raise your awareness of your actions, thinking through why you reacted the way you did. Also, ask your loved ones to hold you accountable if they find you continue acting out in inappropriate ways.

Grief Doesn’t Always Involve the Loss of a Person
Grief could sometimes be triggered by an unexpected and disappointing change in future plans. Due to COVID-19, many of us are mourning experiences and events we had planned, and it’s OK to be sad about those as well. We can simultaneously acknowledge our grief while having the awareness that other people are battling challenges as well.

At St. Pierre Family Funeral, we are always available to Indianapolis families for assistance 24/7. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.