Mourner's Bill of Rights
By Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
You Have The Right To:
Experience Your Own Unique Grief
No one else will grieve in exactly the same way you do. So, when you
turn to others for help, don't allow them to tell what you should or
should not be feeling.
Talk About Your Grief
Talking about your grief will help you heal. Seek out others who will
allow you to talk as much as you want, as often as you want, about your
grief. If at times you don't feel like talking, you also have the right to be
Feel A Multitude Of Emotions
Confusion, disorientation, fear, guilt and relief are just a few of the
emotions you might feel as part of your grief journey. Others may try to
tell you that feeling angry, for example, is wrong. Don't take these
judgmental responses to heart. Instead, find listeners who will accept
your feelings without condition.
Be Tolerant Of Your Physical And Emotional Limits
Your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you feeling
fatigued. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Get daily
rest. Eat balanced meals. And don't allow others to push you into doing
things you don't feel ready to do.
Sometimes, out of nowhere,a powerful surge of grief may overcome you.
This can be frightening, but is normal and natural. Find someone who
understands and will let you talk it out.
Make Use Of Ritual
The funeral ritual does more than acknowledge the death of someone
loved. It helps provide you with the support of caring people. More
importantly, the funeral is a way for you to mourn. If others tell you the
funeral or other healing rituals such as these are silly or unnecessary,
Embrace Your Spirituality
If faith is a part of your life, express it in ways that seem appropriate to
you. Allow yourself to be around people who understand and support
your religious beliefs. If you feel angry at God, find someone to talk with
who won't be critical of your feelings of hurt and abandonment.
Search For Meaning
You may find yourself asking, "Why did he or she die? Why this way?
Why now?" Some of your questions may have answers, but some may
not. And watch out for the clinched responses some people may give
you. Comments like, "It was God's will" or " Think of what you have to
be thankful for" are not helpful and you don't have to accept them.
Treasure Your Memories
Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of
someone loved. You will always remember. Instead of ignoring your
memories, find others with whom you can share them.
Move Toward Your Grief And Heal
Reconciling your grief will not happen quickly. Remember, grief is a
process, not an event. Be patient and tolerant with yourself and avoid
people who are impatient and intolerant with you. Neither you nor those
around you must forget that the death of someone loved changes your
Copyright 2007, Center for Loss and Life Transition