Coping with grief

Coping with grief

When someone you love dies, the grief can feel overwhelming.

But there are ways you can cope — while both honoring the loss you feel and finding hope for your future.

At the Good Samaritan Society, we’ve been providing senior care and services for 95 years. We know that exceptional care needs to do more than address health issues. To truly feel cared for, we believe in helping people physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Contact us to learn more.

Here, leaders from the Good Samaritan Society’s mission integration team offer five ways to find comfort, strength and peace through your mourning.

1. Host a remembrance service

A memorial or remembrance service can provide opportunities for healing and strength after a loved one dies.

Ideas for memorial service components include:

  • Meaningful music to both sing and listen to
  • Time to name losses people have experienced or are experiencing
  • Opportunities for people to share favorite memories of your loved one
  • Scripture or other readings that focus on hope and peace
  • A symbolic act, such as lighting candles, holding and placing stones, writing out losses, ringing bells, or hanging ornaments on a tree

2. Acknowledge your feelings

Everyone will experience grief differently.

Whether you feel angry, numb, hopeless, lonely, guilty, sorrowful, depressed or any other range of emotions, it’s important to acknowledge how you feel.

This can help you better understand the loss, while also diminishing its power to weigh you down.

Click here for ways to share your feelings
  • Talk to a friend who is open to hearing your honest thoughts. Sometimes just saying them out loud helps you process them better.
  • Keep a journal of your thoughts and experiences as a release of what you’re feeling inside.
  • Pray. Lift up your sorrow and frustration as a lament. Prayer both honors your feelings and places them with God.
  • Attend a support group to remind you that you’re not alone.
  • Meet with a pastor or therapist if you’re looking for guidance on how to move on from your feelings.

3. Take care of yourself

Being emotionally exhausted can take a serious toll on your health.

Try to remember to:

  • Get plenty of rest — it’s OK to turn off your phone and computer to take a break
  • Eat healthy meals, even if you don’t have an appetite
  • Drink lots of water — dehydration can cause headaches, joint and muscle pain, and fatigue
  • Get out of the house once in a while, even if it’s as simple as walking around the mall or having a cup of coffee in the park

4. Turn to Scripture

God’s greatest gift to us — through Jesus’ death and resurrection — is the promise of life eternal.

Remind yourself of this promise by reading Bible verses that bring you hope and peace.

Click here for 9 comforting Scripture excerpts
  1. John 11:25–26: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
  2. John 14:1–3: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”
  3. Matthew 5:3–4: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” 
  4. Matthew 11:28–30: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 
  5. Psalm 23:1–6: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff — they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.” 
  6. Revelation 21:3–4: “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”
  7. Romans 8:11: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.” 
  8. Romans 8:38–39: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
  9. Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

5. Find small moments to be grateful for

Even in the depths of your grief, there will be moments that can fill you with gratitude — the warmth of a fresh cup of tea, the comfort of a friend who calls to say hello, the coziness of a favorite chair and blanket.

Take a second to acknowledge these small comforts, and give thanks for their presence in your life today.

“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:8–9

Remembering all the good you have in your life can help you move on from the pain of your loss.

Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting the loss.

Rather, it means choosing to focus on what is left.

With time, you can begin to remember what or who was lost with gratitude, too.

Let’s pray:

Loving and gracious God, thank you for the love we experience from the people and things you place in our lives.

We pray that your love brings hope and healing to those who are grieving.

Please fill their hearts with your peace that surpasses all understanding.

Help us remember your joyful promise of everlasting life with you in heaven.

We ask all these things in the blessed name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Not sure what to do or where to turn?

We're here to listen. And to help, if you'd like.


Contributions from Greg Wilcox, M.Div., D.Min., Good Samaritan Society vice president of mission integration; Julie Berndt, M.Div, D.Min., director of The Good Samaritan Society Way; and Bill Gran, M.Div., BCC, Good Samaritan Society pastor and spiritual ministries consultant

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