Life Goes On, Even When Grieving

Grief brings a natural feeling of loss and loneliness. The person who has died left a void. There may not be someone to watch that favorite TV show with, or to share dinner. For caregivers, the time spent performing daily tasks for the other person may suddenly be empty. And chores performed by the deceased must now be taken care of.

According to the Hospice Foundation of America, death of a loved one brings a change in identity. A wife or husband moves to widow or widower. Sibling relationships and parent/child relationships change, too.

It can be a natural reaction to want to withdraw. But maintaining social activities—or seeking out new ones—can be a powerful antidote to cope with grief and to determine what life looks like now.

“Maintaining an active social life is important when feeling sad and/or depressed,” the Hospice Foundation of America says. “It steers you away from the cause of your stress and helps you relax. Similarly, when you socialize and speak to others, you get a chance to let out all those bottled up feelings. Initially, socialization will seem extremely daunting to you, but with time, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of socializing.”

Activities can provide a way to remember the loved one, especially if the action is something they enjoyed. Say the deceased loved one was a movie buff. Seeing the latest art film can trigger happy memories of movies seen together, or raise questions about what he or she would have thought of the film. Socializing also can offer an opportunity to take the mind off the sadness for a while.

It is important to remember that grief has no set time table and no firm rules. It will manifest differently in each person. But getting out in the company of friends can help.



Hospice Foundation of America
Center for Loss and Life Transitions
AARP Grief Resources