Social illness

When Grief Shows Up Later — Talkspace

How to Deal With Delayed Grief: 6 Tips

Delayed grief can begin weeks, months, or even years after the death of a loved one. It’s important to acknowledge that delayed grief is just as valid and authentic as immediate grief. However, because of this (sometimes extensive) gap between loss and grief starting, it can be challenging to know how to navigate this time. 

Here are six tips on how best to deal with this type of complicated emotion:

1. Find support

Reach out for help if needed so you don’t feel alone during this difficult period. Talk openly about what you’re going through with people who’ll listen without judgment, such as close friends and family members who knew your lost loved one.  

2. Seek grief counseling

If talking doesn’t seem enough, consider seeking professional help with online grief counseling. Therapists trained in bereavement counseling can offer advice tailored to help you manage intense emotions stemming from delayed grief.

3. Practice mindfulness

Some quiet moments each day dedicated to activities like yoga, mindfulness meditation, or journaling can help clear your mind while allowing space for reflection. These acts can bring clarity to thoughts and emotions, potentially making healing easier.

4. Be kind to yourself

Remember that there’s no right way when it comes down to grieving, so allow yourself to take all the time necessary, without any pressure from anyone else. Self-care means not pushing yourself too hard, either. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy meals, and do something you enjoy daily. It can even be small things, like watching your favorite movie or walking in your favorite neighborhood.

5. Let yourself feel

Allow yourself to fully experience all the different emotions connected with losing someone. Don’t suppress your feelings or think you need to move on quickly. It’s ok to cry, shout, and scream — do whatever feels right for you because, eventually, those feelings will start to fade naturally once you express them.

“It’s important to know that the way you go through the loss of a loved one may look different from another person. There could be times when people may think you are not grieving the way they think you should. This is where self-awareness comes in. If you are aware that your view of the world has gotten more dark, scary or less loving after your loss, then you could be stuck in one of the stages of grief and may need help to move through it.”

Talkspace therapist Dr. Karmen Smith, LCSW, DD

6. Honor the loss

Lastly, find ways to honor the memory of the person you lost. This could mean creating a photo album full of pictures together, writing a poem, holding a memorial, or doing something meaningful that was important to them. Sharing stories with others can keep your loved one’s legacy alive forever, and that can help you move through the grieving process. 

“Many people focus on what they have lost, and there may not be much healing. Switching their focus to what they gained from that person being in their life can bring huge healing.”

Talkspace therapist Dr. Karmen Smith LCSW DD

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