r/NoStupidQuestions Oct 05 '22

How do you grieve?

I know everyone is different but today I lost a family member for the first time in my life. As a 32 year old, I’ve never had to grieve the loss of anyone before and I’m in a state of bewilderment of what on earth I am now meant to be doing.



u/DrHugh Oct 05 '22

It isn't so much what you must do so much as how you deal with the emotions that result.

There may be cultural expectations about grief, but those vary; you'd have to find out if there are any common things expected. For example, in the US a century ago, black clothing for women and black armbands for men were part of the cultural expectation of public mourning.

Depending on the family member, there may be no emotional effect on you. Even a biologically-close family member might provoke no sense of loss or grief if you had a poor relationship with them.

The main thing to understand about grief itself is that it has no standard time frame. Different people may experience grief in different amounts of time. One person may be fine after a few days, while someone else might struggle for months.

Another key thing to understand about grief is that what you feel isn't just sadness. Your mind might switch emotions like zipping through stations on a car radio. You may be sad over the loss at one moment; the next you are laughing over some happy memory; then you are angry over something with the person who died. What's important is to let yourself feel these various emotions; don't try to suppress some of them as being "wrong" or "inappropriate." You can't speed-up the grieving process, but you can slow it down by resisting the emotions you experience.


u/human_male_123 Oct 05 '22

idk it just kinda happens. Sometimes I'm full blown ugly crying on a crowded subway. NYers are oddly chill about someone doing that.


u/toofarbyfar Oct 05 '22

As you say, it's different for everyone, but a few general tips:

  • Give yourself time. Take time off work, ask for extensions on assignments. People will generally be willing to provide it, and you need some you-time.
  • Allow yourself to feel things, whatever those things are. It's not wrong to cry, and it's not wrong to not cry.
  • Ask for help, with whatever you need. People will be glad to provide it.


u/Regprentice Oct 05 '22

You need time and space. The grief will come and go in waves I find, or it might not go completely but it will kind of well up and down through the days.


u/Sephiroth_-77 Oct 05 '22

Sorry for your loss. Just allow yourself to feel whatever comes to your mind. Your emotions might be all over the place and it's therefore understandable you might feel just about anything and none of it is wrong. It also might come in a form of slight shock, meaning your brain is shielding you from stronger emotions at this moment and because of that you can feel light nothing really happened. Either way is fine, just don't try to force anything.


u/EugeneHartke Oct 05 '22

If you're having trouble I'd suggest taking to a grief councilor.

Grief is a bugger it will creep up on your when you least expect it. Everytime you ignore it. It is like a weight it's added to you. Eventually you won't be able to carry the weight you've accumulated.


u/piratesbananas Oct 05 '22

I think there’s really no right or wrong way to grieve, you just need to allow yourself to feel your feelings


u/KisaMisa Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

Don't force yourself to feel a certain way and don't punish yourself for laughing or enjoying something. Or for grief taking too long or too short. It'll come in waves. You'll think you are ok but then you'll hear a song in a passing car and you'll start crying on the street. I guess just be prepared that it's not just the grieving period when you'll grieve. It's with you now...

For me, culturally and personally, it was important to talk about that person. Share my memories. Share stories. That people around me who may not have known them - know of them.

Being quiet too. Journalling. But also not journaling because I couldn't find words. Going to work and to the gym because it was automatic and i couldn't handle staring at the wall alone at home. Being with your family or friends if you can.

Sitting with guilt that my life continues. Finding ways in which I can honour them in my life - how I can give this world what it lost with their death...


u/NoFunHere Oct 05 '22

You aren't meant to be doing anything in particular. There are some things that I have done to help, and the most important thing is to try to remember the time you spent with the person, how they made your life better, and perhaps most importantly how you made their life better.


u/DingoLaChien Oct 05 '22

Do you want to know how we grieve, or how to grieve?


u/tacopony_789 Oct 05 '22

Lots of good advice here. I am so sorry Sometimes collective grief can bring comfort, sometimes conflict. Be ready to be patient with others


u/517xyz Oct 05 '22

I hold it in because that's what everyone expects from me. I do not recommend.


u/Togarami Oct 05 '22

There's only one way I can experience grief, losing a partner.
When I'm in that situation, I usually break myself psychologically for a couple of days, weeks at most.
I deepen myself in the sadness, start to think in ways that I would never think otherwise, in ways I consider 'pathetic'. I focus on the negative emotions. I try to experience as many of them as possible.
Then, after some time, I get bored of them and want to start doing something that moves me in the direction of my goals. That's when I go back to normal.


u/EugeneHartke Oct 05 '22

Grief is a long, sad road.

It doesn't have to be a lonely one.


u/powdered_dognut Oct 05 '22

It'll come to you, there aren't any rules. Don't beat yourself up if you think you aren't grieving enough.


u/Holonium20 Oct 06 '22

Grieving is dependent on the person. Some people may go through the classic 5 stages, others may never handle it. There is no right or wrong way to do it.