How to Deal With Grief and the Passing of a Loved One

I recently lost my mother and share what are perhaps some universal ways to grieve, support one another, and cope with the sadness, loss and pain.

2.5k Views 140 Likes 62 Comments
Image for Step 1

This is my mother - Justine Tubiolo Gustin. Her life spanned 83 years - from August 22, 1929 to September 25, 2012.

Image for Step 2

Each culture, religion and nation has beliefs and customs on how to handle the passing of a loved one. I'm no expert - just sharing with you what I'm learning as I walk this path. (That's mom & me.)

Recommended For You
Image for Step 3

Nothing can prepare you for this. Losing a mother, a parent, is overwhelming. (That's mom and me over the years.)

Image for Step 4

The love and support from family and friends is truly important. But accept that there will be those who surprise you and will not be there for you. You learn a lot about people during grieving.

Image for Step 5

Most people WILL step forward. Sometimes they don't know what to do or what you need. It's ok for you to ask for help and tell them what you need.

Image for Step 6

Here are some wonderful things people said to us that have really given us strength. (That's mom and my daughter!)

Image for Step 7

"We hope that you have comfort in knowing how many children she helped to grow in the right direction over her long lifetime." (Mom did child care and taught school.)

Image for Step 8

"Everything that made your mom so special to you will live on through your memories."

Image for Step 9

"Your mom is present in your daughter and you, always."

Image for Step 10

"Know that she is still around you all. Talk with her. She will answer."

Image for Step 11

"Denying sadness denies healing. By letting your heart break you let your heart heal."

Image for Step 12

"Life is a blend of love and loss, but love is always stronger… Love lives on forever."

Image for Step 13

"I wish I could say I understand how hard it is, but every grief is unique. So I have no wisdom to impart – only the hand of friendship. The rest just takes time."

Image for Step 14

"The remedies for grief are time, courage and love… all applied with tenderness." (Mom with my daughter.)

Image for Step 15

"Grieving takes as long as it takes. This is a process. It may never truly end, but it will always change."

Image for Step 16

"This is a time of intense and mixed emotions. At times you may be surprised by what you feel."

Image for Step 17

People want to give something to mark the passing of your loved one. Oftentimes they send flowers. But we decided, in lieu of flowers, to ask people to donate to two causes dear to mom's heart...

Image for Step 18

To honor mom's work with children we designated a local organization that works with abused children and because mom was such an animal lover, we also designated a local animal shelter.

Image for Step 19

Rather than only mourn Mom's passing, we chose to publicly celebrate her life and legacy at a memorial attended by family, friends, and people who mom had taken care of when they were children.

Image for Step 20

We showed a slide show that shared highlights of her rich life. It made people both laugh and cry.

Image for Step 21

Looking at Mom's whole lifetime has been a source of joy. By not dwelling on just her final days (when her health was declining), we are reminded of the rich life she's led and that gives us strength.

Image for Step 22

At the memorial, I read a poem my mom had written when her own mother had passed away in 1986. Her words comforted us across the years:

Image for Step 23

"There is no more anguish./There is no more despair./There is no more pain./Only your laughter in the wind./Only your dreams to light our way./Only your love to fill each day..."

Image for Step 24

Rest in peace, Mama. You are forever in our hearts.

Image for Step 25

I hope this guide helps you when you encounter the loss of someone you love. And while they are still with you, remember to tell them how much you love them today.

keyboard shortcuts:     previous step     next step
View More Comments