Stephanie Elsea is a freelance writer in New York City.
- Grief comes in waves, and it’s easy to feel like you will drown in the undertow. There’s no stopping the waves but you can remind yourself that yes, this, too, shall pass. Between waves, it’s so important to be kind to yourself in ways that are soothing but not self-destructive.
- Grief brings out the best — and the worst — in people. Be prepared for dear friends and even family to let you down. Forgive them, especially if they are also grieving the loss.
- People mean well, but death is uncomfortable. Tell people what you need. Many people will say, “let me know if there’s anything I can do,” because they want to help but aren’t sure how. If they want to help, let them. Tell them to bring you food or to take your dog for a walk or even just to come and sit with you. Don’t expect them to read your mind and be disappointed when they don’t.
- Lean into connection. When the voice in your head tries to convince you you’ve become a burden, and that no one wants to be around a sad and grieving person, tell it to shut the hell up! Isolation is a fertile place for depression to take root so surround yourself with people who love and accept you. Be sad, but do it in plain sight.
- It won’t last forever. Repeatedly remind yourself that this feeling is temporary. You will be okay — maybe never quite the same but a new normal will eventually settle in, and you will be okay.