Coping with loss of a loved one

Print on Demand

The loss of a close family member or friend will happen to nearly everyone at least once. And though it’s part of life, it can be one of the most difficult things a person ever faces.


When we lose a spouse, sibling or parent our grief can be strong and overwhelming. This may include feelings of shock, confusion, sadness and depression.


Fortunately, most people can recover from loss with time, social support and healthy habits. The amount of time needed to cope with loss is different for everyone. Human beings are naturally resilient. Most of us can deal with loss and then continue on with life after a period of time.


Ways to Cope

Mourning the loss of a close friend or relative takes time. But research tells us that it can also help a person find a renewed sense of meaning in life. The following tips may help you move through the process of grief and loss:

•  Talk about your feelings and about the person who died. This can help you to process what happened and to cherish good memories. Denying your feelings or the death itself may work against you, because people won’t know how to support you.

•  Accept how you feel. Even if you don’t feel like you think you “should,” it’s okay. Everyone deals with death in their own way.

•  Try to focus on your health. Eating well, exercising and getting plenty of rest help us get through each day and move forward with our life.

•  Help others who are dealing with loss. This can help you feel better and more positive while doing something good for another person.

•  Remember and celebrate your loved one’s life. Possibilities include donating to a favorite charity of the deceased, framing photos of fun times, passing on a family name to a baby or planting a garden in their memory. What you choose is up to you, as long as it allows you to honor that unique relationship in a way that feels right to you.


If you feel stuck or overwhelmed by your emotions, it may be helpful to talk with a professional. A licensed psychologist or other mental health professional who specializes in grief can help you work through your loss. Support groups are also very helpful for children, teens and adults. Though you may never be the same after losing a loved one, you can find ways to get back to living a healthy, happy and productive life.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


The American Institute for Preventive Medicine (AIPM) is not responsible for the availability or content of external sites, nor does AIPM endorse them. Also, it is the responsibility of the user to examine the copyright and licensing restrictions of external pages and to secure all necessary permission.


The content on this website is proprietary. You may not modify, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit, or distribute, in any manner, the material on the website without the written permission of AIPM.