Rochester Funeral Homes


Resource Guide

Other Issues

Grief Counseling, Writing a Eulogy, Writing an Obituary

Planning Resources Main Menu

Grief Counseling

We do not propose to be therapists or counselors at this site, but, having been through our share of funerals and grieving for any number of reasons, we offer the following support and advice.

Grief is an emotion that is purely individual. Feelings of despair or sadness brought on by a sudden death, or by a death after prolonged illness, are the same, but different. For the most part, grief is a reaction to experiencing loss. In our society, the death of a friend or family member is associated with varying degrees of grief. We will discuss the issue of 'stages of grief', and the ability to mourn, and we welcome your comments and experiences. It is often through sharing that we find the most peace in our grief.

Recently a generous author, Tracy Carson, wrote to us and offered to share her book "Grandma is now a Butterfly" with you. Tracy created the book to help children understand and cope with the loss of a loved one. The story is based on the loss of her Mother and how she helped her children understand and cope with such a tremendous loss.

The text version of "Grandma is now a Butterfly" is available here: Explaining death to young children. Tracy offers the full version with illustrations on her website grandmaisnowabutterfly. Your support of Tracy's work is encouraged and we thank her for her generous gift.

Grandma is now a Butterfly

By: Tracy Carson

While the emotions listed here are by no means the only emotions associated with grieving, they are the most prominent. You may also feel tired, depressed and/or confused. The action of grieving is complicated and may resolve itself in highs and lows, such as hopefulness one day and hopelessness the next. Some people go into a protective mode of feeling (or at least showing) no emotion at all. All of this is normal.

SHOCK: "I don't believe it!"
DENIAL: "It's not true. He'll come through the door at any moment."
GUILT: "I knew this would happen. I should have done something."
ANGER: "How could she (he) do this to me?"
FEAR: "Will this happen to me? To my children? To my family?"

Mourning is different than grieving. Mourning involves the public display of grief. In other words, the wearing of black, the church services to pray for the lost friend or family member, the seeking out of anyone willing to talk about the loved one. Not all mourning is done publicly, but mourning in and of itself is considered the public face we put on our grief.

Defined by Elsabeth Kubler-Ross in her book, "On Death and Dying," Macmillan Publishing Company, 1969, the stages of grief are as follows:

DENIAL: A refusal to believe or accept what has happened.
ANGER : Blaming others for the loss. Blaming oneself for the loss.
BARGAINING: This can involve bargains with oneself, or with God.
DEPRESSION : Listlessness, tiredness, a feeling of being punished.
ACCEPTANCE: Realizing that life goes on, thereby allowing yourself to heal.

You should be aware of the fact that there are differing viewpoints on the validity of Ms. Kubler-Ross's stages of grief, and we present them here only to help you identify and work through your loss. You will notice that the 5 Stages of Grief are quite similar to the emotions mentioned above. The important thing to remember is that what you are feeling is personal and may or may not be identified by the words written here.


In our research on this subject, the overwhelming response of grief counseling sites, funeral information sites, and therapists offering online help, was to allow yourself to let the grief out. Tears are acceptable and time is advised. Do not suppress your tears, and do not rush your recovery.

At, Grief Work is suggested.

Grief work can be summarized by the acronym TEAR:
T = To accept the reality of the loss.
E = Experience the pain of the loss.
A = Adjust to the new environment without your [loved] one.
R = Reinvest in the new reality.

Visit the link above to learn more about this valuable method of dealing with your grief. You are not alone. Recovering from the death of a loved one is a difficult task. See more writings at the links below.

Parallel Support - Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support
The Grief Recovery Institute - Grief Recovery Support
Grief Loss & Recovery - Articles, poems, and personal stories
ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center
National Hospice Foundation - Info about hospice & quality of life
About Death & Dying - Links to funeral planning and grief support




Site design by Annexa