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What to Know About Delayed Grief
May 05, 2020   11:18 AM
by Karen

When you are faced with an intense trauma such as the death of someone you love, you may not be ready to completely feel all the emotions that loss brings. Or maybe, you are someone who has gone through life repressing most emotional pains that you have experienced because you are afraid to process your emotions.

Repressing these overwhelming emotions and keeping yourself numb instead of grieving and mourning is a common response to losing a loved one, but definitely not the healthiest. This is what delayed grief is – repression of emotional pain that results from a traumatic experience. In other words, you don’t fully experience your grief until later on.

These repressed emotions will likely surface later on, which can lead to mental and emotional breakdowns. Even if they don’t surface and you don’t deal with them directly, they have a significant psychological impact on you and influence your thought patterns and behavior, even when you don’t realize it.

What does delayed grief feel and look like?

If you are experiencing delayed grief, you may show several emotional, mental, as well as physical symptoms later than expected. You may feel completely numb and detached, and you may feel more moody or anxious than usual. This will obviously affect your day-to-day life. Your personal relationships and work may suffer.

People experiencing delayed grief also tend to have headaches, body aches and pains, disrupted sleeping patterns, and loss in appetite.

What to do if you are experiencing delayed grief?

It is important to know that people react to loss in different ways, and there is no normal or accepted way to grieve. If you suspect that you are dealing with delayed grief, make sure that you are putting in extra effort to look after your health. It can be easy to slip into unhealthy coping mechanisms that can affect both your mental and physical health, so focus on self-care.

Also, make a conscious effort to stay connected to the people you love like your friends and family, and know that you don’t have to be isolated. There is no shame in reaching out for help.  

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Coping with Grief During a Pandemic
Apr 23, 2020   10:14 AM
by Karen

The coronavirus may have brought the entire world to a halt, but nothing can hit pause on loss and grieving. If you have lost a dear one during this global pandemic, wrapping your head around it and coming to terms with your loss may be difficult. Here are some important things to remember while you are grieving:

  • Connecting with others is important

Losing a loved one is painful as it is, but when it happens during a pandemic while almost the whole world is in lockdown, it can be an even heavier weight. Grieving when you have to practice social distancing is difficult for anyone, which is why reaching out to others via phone calls, text messages, video calls, etc. is so important. Make use of the communication tools available to remind yourself that you are not alone.

  • Don’t let guilt weigh you down

With social restrictions in place, you may not be able to attend the funeral of your loved one, or the funeral may have been postponed. Don’t let these restrictions, which are completely out of your control, result in guilty feelings. Believe that you are doing as best as you can during this difficult time. You don’t need the additional weight of guilt on top of the grief that you are experiencing.

  • Be kind and patient with yourself

Maybe you are not grieving the way you thought you would. Maybe you are experiencing disbelief and shock, or maybe you are extremely sad. Perhaps, you are angry, or you feel numb. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, especially at a time like this, when our mental health is not at its best. You might not grieve the same way you would have under normal circumstances, so be patient with yourself.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

How to Safely Conduct Death Rituals During Covid-19
Apr 21, 2020   12:10 PM
by Karen

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty about funerals and events commemorating the passing away of a loved one. While funerals have always been a chance for your immediate community to gather in unison and pay their respects to the deceased, such gatherings are no longer permissible or desirable during a pandemic. Yet, the dead need to be seen off ritualistically, and families will hold funerals for their dead either way, even if these events must be held privately, even for those who have died due to the virus.

Guidelines recently announced by healthcare advisories have instructed that only a limited number of individuals may have access to the dead body of a person who has died from the novel Coronavirus. It is because, like all surface areas, even those who died of COVID-19 can carry the virus. Those in contact with such a corpse remain at risk of contracting the virus through exposure.

Since the dead body of the infected person carries with it the virus for hours, it is recommended that this dead body be disposed of as quickly as possible. The family members of the deceased can choose whether they’d like to have it cremated or buried. Either way, they are recommended to take care of these death rituals as soon as they are able. Storage in extremely cold conditions such as under 50 degrees F might be able to stave off decomposition.

However, if the body is allowed to decompose, exposure from the virus contained will maximize. Individuals tasked with handling the dead body need to be extremely careful. If funerals are to be held publicly, they should, at no point, defy the rules laid out for social distancing. Also, these individuals should keep themselves safe from the risk of infection by wearing PPE or personal protective equipment like face masks and gloves.

The funeral handlers should also wear long-sleeved water-resistant gowns that they can later dispose, to keep themselves protected against contamination via contact with the dead person’s bodily fluids.

These times require abnormal procedures.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

4 Life Lessons Death Teaches Us About Life
Feb 13, 2020   09:15 AM
by Karen

Death is one of the most effective and eye-opening teachers of life and what is important to us as human beings. The death of a loved one can be heartbreaking, but it also teaches you so many lessons in life you would have never have learned otherwise.

Let’s take a look at some of these lessons:

  • Time heals all wounds

The truth that lies in this old saying shines brightest when a loved one is lost. It can be difficult, and often times, you will feel like the world doesn't make sense anymore. But after you have grieved, you start to realize that day by day, the pain of losing someone you love and care about hurts a little less. Even if the most painful of experiences can be healed by time, it must be true that all other wounds can be healed too.

  • Now it is all that we have 

We were not meant to be on this earth forever. As humans, our time here is limited, and none of us know when we will leave, so now is all that we have. It's easy to lose sight of this amidst all the daily worries we have, but death puts things into perspective.

  • Every day is a new day to give yourself another chance

Another important lesson death teaches us is that every day that you wake up feeling healthy and alive is a new day to give yourself another chance. You might not have tomorrow, so why not forgive yourself and try again today at something you may have failed to achieve?

  • The power of love and support

Losing a loved one may be one of our darkest times, but it is also when all the love and support we have from our friends and family shine the brightest. This is a reminder that we are not alone in our struggles.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Signs You Are Healing from Grief
Jan 16, 2020   09:16 AM
by Karen

Grieving the loss of a loved one is a difficult experience, and sometimes, it feels like you probably won’t stop grieving. The pain and sadness seem like it’s not going to end anytime soon, and sometimes, it feels like no one understands you.

The process of grieving can be slow and agonizing, but be assured it gets better over time. You may have lost a loved one recently, and if you are wondering whether you are taking steps forward in your grieving process, here are some signs that you are healing from your grief:

  • You have accepted the death of the person

When you have lost someone you care about, it can be difficult to accept their death. You hold on to their memories and the times you spent with them, and have no desire to move on. But once you accept the finality of their death and truly know that they are not returning, it means that you have taken one of the first steps towards healing.

  • You are comfortable being alone

While grieving, it can be difficult to spend time by yourself or be alone with your thoughts. Often, this makes people sadder as it gives them more opportunities to wallow in their sorrows. If you notice that you are comfortable being alone and you don’t show signs of intense grieving when alone, such as breaking down and crying, it’s a great sign that you are slowly, but surely, moving forward.

  • You are in a position to reach out to others

Sometimes, when you grieve, you may find it difficult to reach out to others for help or form any sort of connection. However, if you are healing, you may find it easier to connect with people again, ask for help when you need it, and maybe even offer help to those who are going through a similar experience.

  • You enjoy old activities and/or find new interests

When you are healing, you often learn to enjoy hobbies or other activities that you used to enjoy but gave up because of your experience. You may even find new interests.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Grief Therapy Dogs At Funerals
Nov 20, 2019   09:11 AM
by Karen

Pet therapy has become very popular in hospitals and universities across the globe. Indeed, interactions with these trained animals can be extremely comforting and calming, especially during stressful and challenging times.

Usually pet therapy includes dogs and cats that have been trained and are assisted by a handler. They are calm, friendly, and approachable, and should be comfortable interacting with humans, even strangers and those who are not used to having pets around.

It appears pet therapy, especially dogs, has yet another use. Many funeral homes provide grief therapy dogs as part of their service, and this is of great help to many who are grieving and mourning the recent loss of a loved one.

What do grief therapy dogs do at funerals?

When a funeral home offers the services of a grief therapy dog, it is usually for funerals and memorial services. They can even be helpful during the funeral planning process. For instance, if a child has lost a loved one, chances are they may not be comfortable talking about their feelings, or they may be unable to express their grief. At such times, a grief therapy dog can help in providing comfort and a sense of peace and companionship.

It is not just children who can benefit from the services of grief therapy dogs. Even adults and seniors can experience the same feelings of comfort from therapy dogs while they are mourning.

With their unique skill sets, grief therapy dogs can sense the stress, emotions, and anxiety of the solemn atmosphere at funerals and during the funeral planning process. This enables them to contribute positive interactions with those who are grieving.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

 

Due to their immense value, many funeral homes are now including grief therapy dogs as part of their staff. The success of therapy dogs shows that words are not always required. Sometimes all it takes is a loving, positive, and calming presence.

How to Cope with Grief During Halloween
Oct 24, 2019   08:17 AM
by Karen

It’s that time of the year again when the holiday season is starting to kick in and Halloween is just around the corner. For most people, it’s a time to dress up in costumes and go trick or treating and party with friends and family, but if you have recently lost a loved one, this may be a difficult time for you.

There may be different reasons why you may not be all that excited for Halloween. Maybe you have lost someone you love during this time of the year, or maybe you have lost someone recently. Perhaps, the person you lost used to love Halloween and now it’s not just the same without them. Maybe all you have now are bittersweet memories that only make it more difficult for you to cope with your grief. It could also be that you simply don’t enjoy Halloween because of what the festival represents.

If you find it difficult to cope with your grief during Halloween, here are a few tips that may be able to help you.

  • Surround yourself with loved ones

When you have loved ones by your side, it’s much easier to handle anything at all. So, if you are feeling lonely or if your bittersweet memories are too much to handle, surround yourself with friends and family during this time.

  • Write down your feelings

Writing down your feelings is a great way to understand your emotions better. It gives you a sense of clarity that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Perhaps you can even gain a better understanding of why this time of the year is so difficult for you and what you can do about it.

  • Take a trip somewhere

If you just don’t want to deal with the festivities, take a trip somewhere alone or with close friends. Enjoying yourself in a new place may even help you gain a new perspective.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

4 Must-Read Books on Grieving
Oct 22, 2019   09:28 AM
by Karen

Grieving the loss of a loved one is a difficult time in your life. Even when you have lost someone you love before, it does not make it any less painful. The truth is no one can prepare for death and the grief that comes along with it, which is why having the right support during these times is critical. You may find these books helpful. 

  • I’m Grieving as Fast as I Can by Linda Feinberg

If you want a detailed book that may be able to help you through your grieving process step by step, this book is perfect. Written by a grief therapist who has counselled thousands of people who lost their loved ones, Linda writes with empathy and practicality.

  • On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss by Elisabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler

This is a famous book that started a national discussion on the five stages of grief. Elisabeth Kubler Ross was a renowned psychiatrist who, along with David Kessler, wrote this book from their professional knowledge, personal experiences, and case studies. 

  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

This book by famous writer Joan Didion provides readers with front-row seats to her life after the sudden death of her husband in 2003, when she had to take care of an unconscious daughter lying in a hospital bed while also dealing with the loss of her husband for 40 years.

  • Grieving: A Beginner’s Guide by Jerusha Hull McCormack

This book gives a different and unique view of grieving and mourning, claiming that it could be transformative and even liberating. Author Jerusha Hull McCormack wrote it after she lost her husband, and she didn't know any other widow to help her get through the pain. So, she decided to write this book for others who are mourning.  

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Simple Mental Health Tips For Those Who Are Grieving
Sep 17, 2019   09:33 AM
by Karen

Losing a loved one can be a devastating experience, one for which you can never prepare yourself. It takes a massive toll on your mental health, as you find yourself dealing with all kinds of turbulent emotions. This is precisely why it is so crucial for you to take extra care of your mental health during this time. Here are a few tips to help you with the distress.

Acknowledge and accept your emotions

It is important that you do not try to ignore what you are feeling. You may think that if you don’t want to experience the pain, you simply ignore it, and it will go away on its own. That’s not the way emotions or grieving works.

Understand that you must not run away from your emotions and instead learn to acknowledge them. Whether you are feeling hurt, angry, sad, lonely, or confused, know that it’s reasonable to go through these emotions.

Understand that grief has different stages

In psychology, grief has five different stages – denial, anger, negotiation, depression, and acceptance. Understand that during your grieving process, you will go through each of these stages like any other person but in your own time.

There is no set timeline for the stages, and you may even find yourself falling back on previous steps at times. Being aware of the process may therefore be able to help you cope better.

Have the right balance of spending time by yourself and having good company

Last but not least, it’s essential that you spend quality time with yourself as well as others while you grieve. You may want to be alone at times, which is entirely okay, but remember not to isolate yourself completely. Surround yourself with people who make you feel comfortable and who understand what you are going through. 

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Common Physical Symptoms of Grief
Sep 05, 2019   11:05 AM
by Karen

We are all aware of the mental and emotional symptoms of grief. But when you lose a loved one, it’s not just your mind that is affected. Your body and physical health can be affected too.

Below, we discuss the common physical symptoms of grief that are often overlooked.

  • Body pains

While you are grieving, you may find that you have body pains such as back pain, stiffness and soreness, joint pain, headaches, etc. These are results of the increase in the amount of stress hormones released.

  • Weakened immunity

While you are grieving, you are under large amounts of stress. This can affect your immune system, making you more susceptible to fever, common flu, headaches, and other types of ailments. The surge in stress hormones affects the production of certain white blood cells, weakening your immune system and leaving you prone to illnesses.

  • Respiratory problems

Respiratory issues are another common physical symptom of grief. You may find that you have difficulty breathing, or you have a heavy feeling in your chest. Some people even have panic attacks where they are unable to breathe during the episode.

  • Fatigue and lack of energy

You are under a lot of mental, emotional and physical stress when you grieve, so it’s completely normal to feel like you don’t have any energy to do the things you normally do. Fatigue is one of the most common physical symptoms of grief.

  • Decreased or increased appetite

You may find that your appetite has suddenly decreased or increased. Some people change their eating habits drastically. While some find it difficult to even eat, some resort to comfort food, using food as a means of coping with their loss.

  • Heart problems

Heart problems are also quite common among those who are grieving. Studies have found that a person’s chance of having a heart attack increases with the death of a loved one.

Be sure to consult a health professional to determine the need for assistance when the symptoms become bothersome or life-threatening.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen