The 12 things you should know about grieving

Just why I had to write a book about grieving escapes me right now. Do I really think I am the wise one who can enlighten the millions of us who are in grief at any one time? Is it hubris that I have appointed myself the guardian of new ways to look at this? Where do I get off? Well, I get off at the point where I sat in on the grieving of hundreds of my counseling clients, and am a good student of what they taught me; not to mention what I’ve learned from my own personal journey. It wouldn’t be right to keep quiet.

Besides, I’m so far into it now that it would be insanity – or cowardice – to stop now. Of my 12 chapters, only three are unreadable and I’m working on them. The others have some punch to them, in my crusade to free us all from the strictures of old fashioned ideas that don’t help at all.

Maybe I should have done a poster instead. It would look like this:

There are not really 5 stages of grief so quit spending time trying to figure out which one you are in.

Grief is universal; the expression of it is highly particular.

You have your own theory about grief; once you figure out what it is, just do it your way.

It’s all about action and resilience; don’t let anyone tell you not to do anything different the first year. (But don’t run off to Borneo and tell people that I told you it was a good idea.)

It’s a tough journey; expect obstacles and bring your courage.

You can’t do this alone; pick a team that can walk alongside.

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you must let go and move on. You get to hold on to your attachment, just in a new way.

You can finish unfinished business even after death. I’ve done it.

Stay with me here: there are gifts in grieving having to do with growth, backbone, wisdom, etc., even if they are unwanted, but you have to keep your eyes open.

You can find hope again, and comfort.

It’s a big help to find concrete ways to pass on the legacy of a loved one who died.

You need to write this loss into your life story so that it informs your present and your future.


See how simple that was? Remind me next time I come up with a book idea: poster, not book. If you’d like some more while waiting for me to finish my big tome, visit my grief website

And here is a bonus post from the past about my own grief journey.

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