Ask Kari: My mother died this year — when will my grief get better?

Dear Kari,

My mother died this past year and my grief is immense. I loved her very much; she was my best friend and confidant. I feel like only my siblings understand my loss. My friends try to help support me, but I can tell that I bore them whenever I begin talking about missing my mother. My husband also tries to console me, but it is just is not enough. When will it get better? How can I make it through my first holiday season without her?

Devastated Daughter

Dear Devastated Daughter,

I am sorry for your loss. Your mother sounds like she was lovely. Your grief is still very strong. I would suggest that you either join a local grief support group (look at your local hospitals for this resource) or seek additional support from a therapist who specializes in grief and loss. Grief typically goes through five stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) for people after they experience a loss, and it is not uncommon for people to move forward and then slightly back. All reactions are normal as the human heart feels grief differently at different times. Be grateful for the support of family and friends, but now is the time for you to recognize that you may benefit from professional support also in order to best move your life forward. It will get better. You will slowly be able to return back to your normal activities, but you may always wish you had another chance to see your mother again and touch her in the flesh. This desire tells us whom we really loved in our lifetimes, who mattered to us. I wish you peace. And remember, don’t be afraid to freely talk about her during the holiday season, especially when sharing stories or family traditions, as doing so allows your heart to breathe.


As published in the December 2013 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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