Offerings for Navigating Grief

Written by Addison Duane

May is Mental Health Awareness month.

I’ve been learning a lot about grief lately. Not because I want to, but because I’ve recently come face to face with it.

That grief can be synonymous with trauma makes so much sense. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network traumatic grief resources explain that grief can manifest in many ways, including:

  • Intrusive memories about the death
  • Avoidance and numbing
  • Physical or emotional symptoms of increased arousal (e.g., irritability, anger, trouble sleeping, decreased concentration, stomachaches, headaches, increased vigilance, and fears about safety for oneself or others)

In the aftermath of a sudden loss, members of my community have graciously shared so many helpful ideas and suggestions for ways to cope. Sharing here, today, what I’ve compiled so far for others who may be newly navigating grief, like me, for those coping with prolonged grief, and everyone in between.

A dear friend sent me a a journal and invited me to reflect or write responses to these prompts:

  • I’m holding moments of joy from…
  • I am a better because you…
  • I don’t know why but…
  • Today I will honor you by…

A family member started a playlist for us to populate with songs.

Colleagues offered different cultural grieving rituals to consider, like covering mirrors and not caring about your appearance for a week, preparing favorite foods from the loved one, ignoring clocks/time and moving at a pace that feels manageable.

Bottom line: grief doesn’t have to “look” or “be” one way, and it’s up to us how we move through it.

I’m sending love to others navigating grief in this season.

For more information on trauma and healing please visit our resources on our website.