It might help to know that you are not alone during this difficult time. Whether you need support, advice, or just someone to talk to, your funeral director is available to help. We have created some grief support options for you below. But if you would prefer to speak to someone directly, please contact your funeral director. If you need help locating a funeral home, use our convenient "Search for a Funeral Home" on the right side of our Home page.
Involving a complex set of emotional and physical reactions to loss, the experience of grief is unique for each of us. If you or someone you love is trying to cope with loss, here's what you should know.
The Grief Process
The loss of a loved one, you could say, wounds us deeply. Whether you are helping yourself heal or a friend or child, this section will be helpful for you.
Funeral directors are completely dedicated to serving anyone who is faced with the many challenges brought on by the death of a loved one. Never hesitate to reach out to your director with your questions or concerns. If you need assistance in finding a funeral home in your geographic area, please see "Locate a Funeral Home" on our Home page, right side.
If you’d rather write to GFDA with a general question or concern, please email us. Note: Our office is open Monday to Friday with regular business hours. We are closed holidays.
The 1969 publication of what was to become a landmark book, On Death and Dying, written by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross changed the way we looked at grief. She described five stage of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance–stages which became the foundation of our understanding of the experience of grief for decades.
But later research has shown that we cope with grief not in linear or cyclical stages, but in a back-and-forth process which moves between the experience of sadness, anger, yearning, or crying; and the experience of feeling joy or contentment. This is almost a “safety valve”, giving the bereaved a period of rest in dealing with their grief.
Grief is, you see, work. And it seems the body intuitively knows that such hard work requires periods of rest. This natural back-and-forth process helps us to achieve the four essential tasks in grieving:
To accept the reality of the loss
To work through to the pain of grief
To adjust to an environment in which the deceased is missing
To emotionally relocate the deceased and move on with life
But what if you get stuck? Perhaps you can’t accept this new reality; or maybe working through the pain of grief is wearing you down. That’s when a qualified grief counselor can help.
Your funeral home can provide bereavement service referrals in the delicate time after you have lost your loved one.
Webhealing.com, the first interactive grief website on the internet, offers discussion boards, articles, book suggestions, and advice for men and women working through every aspect of grief. The site’s founder, Tom Golden LCSW, has provided book excerpts and contact information to help those healing from loss.
With nearly 50 internet support groups plus a wide range of online resources, GriefNet provides support for those dealing with all types of loss. Their companion site, kidsaid.com, helps children and their parents deal with grief and loss in an appropriate and safe environment.
Willowgreen offers support and information for those dealing with life transition & aging, illness & caregiving, loss & grief, and hope & spirituality. The site offers advice, products, and inspirational materials.
Growth House is an award-winning website that offers international resources for life-threatening illnesses and end of life care. The site features hypertext topic pages that explain major issues across the spectrum of hospice and home care, palliative care, pain management, grief, death with dignity, and quality improvement. It also offers disease-specific guides, an online bookstore, and even their own radio station.