In the News: Grief Before and After Death


While there is no guide book for handling grief, a recent article in The New York Times (Oct 12, 2018) attempts to shed some light on the subject.

The piece, titled “A Handbook for Grieving” by Caroline M. Grant, deals with the months, week and days leading up to the death of a mother, and the days after. While the story is deeply personal, it deals with grief in a very universal way.

The piece shows that in some cases, where a death is expected, grief can begin before the loved one has even passed. The article begins with the author’s mother going into hospice care. She is in denial that her mother is going there to die, but rather makes up clever excuses for this move.

The Grief of Waiting

The story highlights the hardships families and loved ones go through to prepare for the inevitable death of a loved one. From reaching out to out-of-town relatives to buying a funeral outfit, it can be hard to be practical and grieve at the same time.

You focus on the person dying – making sure they are comfortable and cared for during these final days. You lean on your friends, cry on their shoulders over bottles of wine. You make room for family in your home, bunking in close together while you wait for the call.

You are grateful for every night you make it without the phone ringing with the news.

Then the news comes.

After the Death

Your grief morphs from anxiously waiting to accepting the end. The pain doesn’t end, it just changes. Before, you’re dealing with nervous anticipation, but now all that’s left is loss.

“Now I have to learn how to live in this world.” This what the author said to her husband after learning her mother had passed. These words probably resonate with many who have lost a parents – the idea that you must learn to exist without them around.

When grieving for the loss of a parent – many express that they miss being able to call them, or ask them questions. It’s too late, and you have to feel the weight of that.

“Drink so much water. Grief is dehydrating.” – This is true, too. Take care of yourself and replenish those tears.

If you are struggling to deal with grief (both before and after the death of a loved one), the team at Chapel Ridge Funeral Home and Cremation Centre in Markham can help. We can recommend grief councillors in the area, or are available to listen as you navigate this difficult time in your life. Contact us today.