How to get Through the First Couple of Weeks After a Death

By: Les Fee
Tuesday, February 16, 2016

For many, the service and the funeral are the end of grief. They go back to work, pick up their 

kids, and continue on. For the family of the deceased, though, it goes on. The first few weeks 

and months after a death are often much harder than dealing with the death initially. You can 

distract yourself with making funeral arrangements, cooking, and any of the hundreds of small 

things that come up for you to deal with. But when that’s done, you go home and it finally sinks 


So, what do you do after the funeral and everyone has gone back to their normal lives?

Be patient

Understand and accept that what you are feeling is real and valid. Be patient with yourself and 

others as you work through the strong emotions that follow a death. Forget normalcy for a while 

and do what you need to get through this trying time. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to reach out 

for support, from either loved ones or a professional grief therapist. 

During the first four to six weeks of a sudden bereavement, some of the thoughts and emotions 

you’ll experience may include painful thoughts (regret, anger, fears), insomnia and nightmares, 

physical illness, intrusive thoughts, and a feeling that no­one understands what you’re going 


Also be aware that others in your family will be going through similar emotions, so you need to 

be there for them, too. Reaching out goes both ways, and helping someone else work through 

their grief may also provide you with some much needed help.

Have a plan

In the aftermath of a funeral, there are other things that need to be taken care of, such as a will 

or dealing with insurance. You’ll need to ascertain what needs to be done and what can wait, 

and then draw up a plan of attack for dealing with the important stuff. 

When it comes to belongings and mementos, draw up a list of what you’re willing to part with 

and send it to immediate family members to help avoid any arguments when the time comes. If 

you fear that money is going to be a concern, then set up a meeting with your bank or financial 

advisor. Bear in mind, you should only deal with these when you feel ready to do so.

Finally, you should remember that grieving is an ongoing process. There are going to be days 

you feel better than others, and days where you feel worse than others. There are going to be 

moments where you get hit by something unexpected, like hearing a favourite song or seeing a 

particular movie, and that’s okay. Take it one day at a time.


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