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The first anniversary of my Father’s passing is approaching. I have learned so much in this first year of Bereavement, and I think it might be useful to share some of the things that have been helpful to our family.

There is no “wrong” way to grieve. Like all processes in life, one size does not not fit all. You and your family will find your own way to honor and respect your loved one, and their memory.

Be gentle with yourself. Many of the things you think you should be doing can wait. Grief can sap energy and interfere with sleep. It is common for folks to feel exhausted. It’s okay to rest, it’s ok to say “no.”

Don’t try to be totally independent. Your loved one filled a role in your life that is irreplaceable, but many of life’s tasks can be delegated. Up until now you may not have needed an accountant, an housekeeper, or a driver, but don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially in this first year.

Take good care of your physical health. Be sure to see your family Doctor and apprise them of your bereavement. They will be able to assist you with some of the symptoms that can arise during this stressful time, like headaches, stomach and gastric difficulties and insomnia. Its a good idea to monitor your caffeine and alcohol intake during this time.

Address your loneliness. Loneliness thrives in solitude. Find ways to be with others on your own terms. You may want to attend church, or become a volunteer, or join a card group, or meet with a friend for a walk. Attend a local theatre production or local sports event. Be a person among people.

Some cultures have strict practices for the bereavement period, but in our family we have found great comfort in maintaining the simple family celebrations as they have arisen. Christmas, Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Thanksgiving- are all opportunities for just that: a time to embrace life and be grateful.