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