The stages of grief are well known.

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

It's helpful to know the stages if you've lost a loved one through death. Understanding the stages assists in healing and is beneficial in understanding that the feelings you may be experiencing are normal. Some people may not go through all the stages or they may get fixated in one area and need help moving through to a place of acceptance and normalcy. Each stage can take an undetermined amount of time to go through. The grieving process is as individual and unique as the people who experience it. But the outline can help to give you a framework for your grief.

For more information visit at the-five-stages-of-grief

When we lost our baby, I was given a book called Gone Too Soon by Sherri Wittwer and the stages of grief were from SHARE, "When a Baby Dies" (pamphlet)

The stages were different.

  1. Shock and Numbness - Shock may be similar to the stage of Denial, but for me it was truly a time period where I just wanted to sit in the quiet of my home and stare at the walls. I didn't want distractions or feel like doing anything.
  2. Searching and Yearning - For me, this was an actual physical feeling. My arms needed to be full of a baby and he wasn't there. I felt the weight of that emptiness in a very physical way.
  3. Disor...


"Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles."
- Confucius, The Analects

When someone you love loses a loved one, your first instinct is to comfort. Follow that instinct. If you are sincere, your heartfelt words and expressions of love are always welcome. There are a few suggestions I would add. Here are my top 6.

  1. Refrain from comparing tragedies. Even if you have experienced a similar loss in your life, no one really understands the loss of each unique relationship we hold dear. It's always better to listen. Let those who are grieving tell you how they are feeling. You never want to minimize or assume you know what the person is experiencing. It certainly helps to have a network of people who have experienced loss and empathize. Just don't expect every person to experience death in the same way.
  2. Avoid philosophizing and religious platitudes. Of course some people have a faith that adds sustaining power in times of trial and heartache. I am one of those people. The stillbirth of our first son brought me closer to God than any other experience I had thus far. But let the grief stricken come to terms with their faith privately. Regardless of their religious belief or life philosophy, death's separation will still be painful. Faith does not take away suffering and may even cause additional pain when friends suggest that the deceased is in a better place. Remember again the opening thought. Sincerity is the key. Pay a...


"For many people, their obituary may be just about the only thing that is ever written about them in their whole life and death. The obituary can be the defining statement about that person for the family, friends, and community. An obituary can be read now, and saved for generations. All the more reason to make it lively and significant."

  1. Make sure it's accurate. A death is an emotional time and it is often left to a grieving loved one to write this tribute; the obituary. However, because the details are so important to those who mourn, it is crucial that the obituary is an accurate depiction of the deceased and those they leave behind. Write it and then proofread. Set it aside and proofread again. Have a friend or family member double check. Make sure names and dates are spelled correctly, accurate, and complete.
  2. Include all the vital information. Make sure to include birth and death date. Other important facts like marriage, children, employment, community service, etc. should also be included.
  3. Avoid identity theft. This is a concern for many people when a loved one dies; that their information and identity is kept safe. Do not give out addresses and phone numbers. If you are concerned, a shorter obituary can be published in the paper. Family members can keep a longer version for their family records.
  4. Talk about a life well lived; what the deceased should be remembered for. Telling a life story is a great responsibility. Ke...


"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. From an Irish headstone"
- Richard Puz, The Carolinian

You've been asked to deliver the Eulogy at your loved ones funeral. Where do you begin? Start with the purpose and definition of a eulogy.

A eulogy is a short speech of praise usually delivered at the beginning of a funeral proceeding. When considering the length of the speech, remember that this is your final moment to commemorate an important person in your life. While most are about 5 minutes in length, if you feel the need to lengthen the eulogy, use your best judgment.

The organization or structure can also be your choice. Many people tell a life story chronologically. You may also pick out defining characteristics of the deceased and organize your remarks in more of a bullet point fashion.

Write out your message, just in case you need to have someone else read your remarks. Sometimes the day of the funeral is overwhelming and emotional. It's best to be prepared with a back-up plan and let your alternate read through the eulogy a few times before.

Practice the eulogy enough to deliver it without reading it verbatim. You will want to work off notes instead of reading the eulogy. Write your remarks as you would speak and speak slowly.