The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey
Understand the nature of grief and loss and their potential impact on all aspects of your life: physical,
financial, emotional, social and spiritual. Learn how to move through grief actively and
make the process of mourning a healing one. Find support and guidance in dealing with
the many facets of grief.
Tools for Healing ~ Coming to Terms with Grief
© By Marty Tousley, Bereavement Counselor
Grieving is hard work. Below find grief support suggestions
to nurture and comfort your mind, body and spirit as you go through the mourning process.
If you've discovered a special "remedy" that helped or is helping you through your sadness,
despair and the difficult experience of grieving, please
share it with us
so we can add to this list. It might be just the form of grief support and comfort another
could use right now.
Establish a Sacred Space
Choose a place in your home for your grief work. Consider creating an altar to hold candles,
photographs of your loved one and meaningful objects. Coming to this place consistently
helps to create a sanctuary of peace, healing and connection with your loved one within your home.
Plant a Tree or Plant in Memory of Your Loved One
Planting a tree or plant on your property and dedicating it to your loved one
(individually or with a small family ceremony of remembrance) provides you with an
outdoor sanctuary. This can be especially comforting when a loved one is cremated and
a cemetery is not used for burial.
Include Your Loved One in Family Celebrations
Even if you wish to pretend otherwise, the person who died will be on your mind -- and on the
minds of others -- on special days such as holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. Far better to
create a time, a ritual or
a ceremony that recognizes your loss
and allows the expression of grief.
Whether it's with a prayer or a toast, lighting a candle or sharing fond memories, take time in the
midst of the special day to acknowledge your loss and remember and celebrate the legacy of your
loved one. This can be done alone or with others, and can be especially meaningful for children.
(For example, you can use or adapt
the lovely candle-lighting service
as described in
Holiday Help: A Guide for Hope and Healing.)
Light A Candle for Your Loved One
Light a candle in your home or place of worship for your loved one -- or light one online.
Light A Candle Online,
where you can light a virtual candle on-line and leave a message
in honor of your loved one.
Let Grief Healing Support Groups Help You
Contact your local hospice, mortuary, church, synagogue or mosque and ask what bereavement
support groups and grief counseling may be offered in your community. (For help in finding a hospice in your area, see
How to Find a Local Hospice
Let Online Support Groups Help You
web sites with
allow you to connect with others (24/7) who are also in mourning. Sharing your experiences
with others on a message board can reassure you that, although the loss of your loved one
is absolutely devastating, you are not alone in your pain, despair and sadness. Reading
the accounts of other survivors offers hope that, if they've found a way to manage their
grief, then you can find your own way, too.
grief-healing email course
offers ongoing support for the
first year of grief
via email lessons.
Try Yoga to Rebalance the Body, Mind and Spirit
practice takes one through a series of asanas (postures) in preparation for
shava (deep relaxation and meditation) at the end of the practice. Yoga can be deeply healing
for the mind, body and spirit when practiced over time.
Heal Using Breath-work
Prana is Sanskrit for life force. Breath is life force. Think of life force as the light
that finds the darkness deep within the soul and heals it. Pranic healing can be effective
in dissolving many of the disabling effects of grief.
Bach Flower Essences
Flower essences are designed to rebalance one emotionally without adverse side effects. Try Rescues Remedy
flower essence (four drops under the tongue four times daily). You can get these at your
local health food store, or for more details,
Chamomile and peppermint teas help can calm nerves and digestive tract; valerian tea may be helpful
for anxiety and sleeplessness.
Let Friends and Family Help
If there has ever been a time to ask for what you "need," this is one of them. Find time with others to talk, to touch, and to receive support. Be honest with others about what you're feeling. Don't expect others to guess what you need. When you want to be touched, held, hugged, listened to or pampered, say so. If all you want from others is help with simple errands, tasks and repairs, say that.
Let Holistic Practitioners Help You
There are many alternative and spiritual healing options available in many communities these
days. Consider chiropractic care, massage, Reiki, rebirthing, yoga or flower
essence. Find what calls to you and make an appointment. See the resources listed here:
Pray for Healing and Inner Peace
Divine guidance is always there for the asking.
Let Tears do their work
Crying is a universal expression of sorrow. Welcome your tears as a natural and helpful form of release. See
Shedding Tears, Healing Waters
Watch a Movie and Cry
Movies and video/DVD rentals that dramatize others coming to terms with their pain may serve as a
valuable tool to help you and your family members move through the grieving process. Healthy
grieving requires that we acknowledge, experience and express the pain of our loss. For many of
us, this is the hardest part of grief work, and we may prefer to put it off or avoid it all
together. Sometimes we need help to get started, both in getting in touch with the pain and in
finding the relief that comes from having a good cry. Watching a sad movie can be a simple but
very effective way to put us in touch with our feelings and help release the pent-up emotions of
grief. Find a list of movie suggestions
Marty Tousley, CNS-BC,
You are invited to rate and comment on this article.
What is your special "remedy" that helped or is helping you through your grief?
Copyright © Marty Tousley, CNS-BC,
. All rights reserved.
Recommended Course Pace:
bi-weekly receipt of lessons