Gracelyn’s dad Chris passed away suddenly in 2016. She works alongside her aunt Melody to create photography projects that highlight survivor stories under Luna Peak Company. Their most recent project, Snapshots of Life After Loss, photographs and interviews grief survivors from all walks of life to show what life after loss looks like. This project gives a voice to grievers and is meant to show those newly grieving that there is a way forward after experiencing a close loss.
My aunt held us all up after my dad’s sudden passing. She managed the household as people came in and out of the house throughout that first week and also helped us plan a beautiful, special service for my dad. The fog of grief was so thick the first week and even the whole first year. I wish I had something better to say about how I got through those days or how to crack the code, but it’s really painful and confusing. I was kept afloat by my friends who also understood grief, my family and the fact that I needed to put one foot in front of the other to carry on. Now, three years after loss, the fog has lifted significantly, and these are the reminders that I want to share with others who are newly grieving.
- Give yourself permission to feel however you are feeling
- Give yourself permission to sleep more than usual, to ask for help with small and big things, to have some space while you process for yourself
- Give yourself permission to take the full bereavement period off of work or be proactive about asking to take the remainder of your time in a few months instead if you prefer to keep busy early on.
- Give yourself permission to directly tell people how you need to be supported and to let them know when they say things that are unhelpful
- Give yourself permission not to answer your phone or feel the need to respond to anyone. You don’t owe anyone anything at this time — you don’t owe anyone answers about what happened.
- All that matters right now is to do whatever you need to do to survive the next minute, hour, day, etc.
- Last, but not least, know you’re not alone. So many before you have walked a similar path, and many will walk it with you. Social media can help you feel less crazy and alone — opt into accounts that help with the early days of grief and/or accounts that share about specific relationships lost (e.g., suicide loss survivors or widow loss). Many accounts share stories and features and help you feel part of a larger community that understands grief.