Coping with the Loneliness of Grief


BY: Theresa Suing, MSW, LSW, SW-G, CHP-SW

CATEGORY: Grief and Loss

​One of the most difficult aspects of the grieving process is the feeling of loneliness. Many bereaved find an empty house, the phone not ringing as much, loss of companionship or the sounds of silence difficult to manage as they learn to adjust to their new normal.

It’s important to acknowledge loneliness is a common part of grief. Sometimes people feel it is best to ignore their grief. Over time, unresolved grief will manifest itself  psychologically, physically and spiritually. This can lead to problems such as ulcers, isolation and emotional issues. Having solitude allows us to process our grief. We need to recognize how the death has affected our lives and come to terms with all our feelings.

Consider these ideas to confront our grief:

  • Talking with supportive people
  • Writing letters, journals or poetry
  • Actively participating in a grief support group
  • Engaging with art or music
  • Exploring bereavement topics by  reading a book on the subject

Loneliness often affects our daily lives and can be crushing at times. After struggling with what may have been a long illness and then the death of our loved one, we are lonely and exhausted. You probably have cried more tears than you ever thought possible and now there is an enormous void.

How can we prevent loneliness from becoming overwhelming? It is helpful to gauge what days or time of day are the most trying. That way you can have a plan that will hopefully counteract the intensity of loneliness. Write this plan down and keep it visible in your home.

You may find yourself reluctant to reach out to others. Often they are willing to talk and be supportive, but may not want to be intrusive. They are waiting for you to make the initial call. Make time to reach out to others, but don’t expect them to know what you need from them. Let them know you need to talk, to get out of the house or just need a hug.

Consider altering your routine as a way to manage the void. For example, if driving to work reminds you of the places your loved one enjoyed, consider a temporary route change to cope with the drive.
When you begin to have more energy, think about attending activities where you can meet new people. Through the use of these strategies, you’ll be able to better manage the loneliness of grief.

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