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Tips for dealing with grief

Julia Faulks / 09 September 2015

When we lose someone close to us it can turn our world upside down. Here we look at ways you can start to deal with your grief and find the strength to move on.

Family sharing their memories
Sharing your happy memories can help you come to terms with your grief

1. Give yourself time to grieve

Losing a parent, partner, friend or child is one of the hardest things you will ever go through. You may go through many stages of grief before you feel that you have ‘come out the other side’.

“No one can say that things will start to get better after a certain time because it may be that you have a delayed reaction if something traumatic happened, which can mean your grieving is delayed. It comes down to many factors, such as any losses you’ve had before or the nature of the death,” says Jo Ruff, Head of Family Support at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall.

2. Focus on something positive

You may surprise yourself at how you manage to find the inner strength to cope following a loss. Focusing on something that gives you a sense of purpose can be one way to help the healing process. For example, you could:

  • Take part in community activities to raise money for a cause that is close to your heart
  • Carry on a legacy that was important to the person who has passed on
  • Do something that you’ve always wanted to achieve, but perhaps haven’t had the time to do, for example if you’ve been a carer.

3. Talk about the happier memories

It’s normal that you may find yourself replaying negative images in your mind, especially if you are dealing with the trauma of having been with that person at the time of death or seeing them after they passed away. 

Often there is a reason behind why this is happening, explains Sharon Cornford, Bereavement Service Coordinator at St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney: “It may be because you felt very helpless or guilty at the time of the death and this is where we may need to help people to resolve those feelings in order to let the sad memories fade.

“It can be helpful to work with people about what the happier memories are, so they may bring along photos or talk about the happier times so they can gradually remember these instead. There’s an issue about timing – people need to feel ready to think about the good times and to let those painful memories go,” she adds.

4. Seek further help if you’re struggling to cope

When facing the harsh reality that someone is not going to be coming back you are likely to feel great sadness, as well as denial and anger. 

Sometimes it can be really hard to move forward from these strong emotions. This is where you may benefit greatly from the help of a counsellor or psychologist who can help you normalise your grief and give you strategies to help you get through it. 

You can find out more about how to seek professional help in our article on where to find counselling after a bereavement.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.