10 Reasons Why the Second Year of Grief Can Be The Worst
We often hear that the second year of grief is the worst, but is that just another grief myth, or is there some truth in it? Elizabeth Postle, author of this site shares her thoughts.
Grieving is different for everyone, and it can take a longer or a shorter time depending on the type of loss, and your own personality. For some, after a major loss, like the loss of a spouse or a child, the second year can certainly be tougher for a variety of reasons. This does not mean that the second year will be harder for you. This could depend on your own resilience and also the amount of support that you have.
Here we have explored 10 reasons why the second year might be worse, but please realise that it could be quite different for you;
1. Shock and disbelief have worn off, and reality kicks in. You start to realise that your loss is real and that this change in your life is forever.
2. Friends and family may presume that you are over your grief and you get less support and understanding. Read about why friends and family are not always great at helping you with grief here.
3. You realise in the second year that your expectation that things will suddenly get better one day are not true. There is no linear recovery timeline, or stages that you should have worked through by now. Grief is an up and down messy roller coaster of emotions. You come to the realisation that there is no endpoint. Grief is with you for life. How you deal with it is the difference in how you will live your life from now on. Learn some ways to deal with it here.
4. The second year of grief may be the time when you begin to question who you are now. No longer the wife or the mother, the husband or the father, the daughter or the son. Self-identity can be a huge challenge as we come to terms with the new parameters of our lives.
5. Now might be the time when you are having to adapt to being the only breadwinner and facing sorting out finances. Loss of financial security might be a difficult secondary loss for you.
6. You may start to think about whether or not you need to move house to downsize or because a change might be good for you at this stage. Sometimes the loss of a home can compound feelings of grief.
7. The realisation is sinking in that your dreams for your future life have changed and it can be hard to re-calibrate and work out what you now want to do with the rest of your life. Making decisions can be one of the hardest things when you are grieving, but in the second year you feel more pressure to make these decisions and move on.
8. You may have isolated yourself and kept away from your usual social life during the first year, and trying to re-connect with friends can be hard. You have changed a lot and may feel the need to make new friends with people who understand the person you have now become better.
9. There is a disappointment when you realise that it still isn’t over. People often ask “Shouldn’t I be over this by now?” Well, it isn’t ever really over. Bursts of grief can hit at any time even years later, but we do gradually learn to cope with them.
10. Often the second year is the hardest as that’s when the real grief work might begin. This is the time when you may be ready to face your grief head on and deal with any issues that are holding you back. If you’re not ready yet though, don’t feel guilty. There is no deadline and everyone grieves in their own time. You will know when the time is right for you to take the next step.
How to Deal with Grief in the Second Year
Honour where you are in this moment, and know that it is the right place for you to be. Listen to your inner self to find out what you need. It could be more rest and space to process your loss. It might be settling and reconnecting with the peace of your home.
It could be a new place or travel. It could be a change of career. It could be reconnecting with old friends, or meeting new ones. Take the opportunity to work out who you want to be. Do whatever feels right for you, as, after all, it is your life and it is precious.
We have many pages on this site to help you. From over 50 various pages on how to deal with different aspects of grief, to looking after your health, to specific ways to help such as meditation, online hypnosis sessions or yoga. We discuss how to get grief support if you need it, and also the pros and cons of online grief support groups.
Finally, if you do feel that you need professional counseling, we have partnered with Betterhelp to make online grief counseling easily available to you. Read more about it below.
ARE YOU A BEREAVED MOTHER OR FATHER?
We are two bereaved parents who have teamed up with researchers at Yeshiva University and Memorial Sloan Kettering to study how the death of a child impacts parents’ lives, and the resulting ripple effects as life continues without our children. We invite you to participate in a survey which will help us develop resources to better support parents experiencing the heartbreak of child loss.
For mothers or fathers who have lost a child (or children) of any age, and would like to make a contribution to our understanding of bereaved parenthood, this is a way to make a difference.
If you would like to participate in our study, please fill out this confidential survey at https://yeshiva.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cUXcBDFIiWAg6Ng It will take about 20 minutes.
For more details, you can contact the Principal Investigator:
Kailey Roberts, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University.
Thank you for your consideration --
Judith Kottick, LCSW and Jean Singer, PhD
IRB Approved at the Study Level, May 10, 2021. #30499052.0
Have You Considered Online Grief Counseling?
Get Private and Confidential Help in the Privacy of Your Own Home
The following information about online counseling is sponsored by 'Betterhelp' but all the opinions are our own. To be upfront, we do receive a commission when you sign up with 'Betterhelp', but we have total faith in their expertise and would never recommend something we didn't completely approve.
Do you feel alone and sad with no support and no idea how to move forward? It can be tough when you are stuck in grief to find the motivation to get the most out of your precious life.
Online counseling can help by giving you that support so you don't feel so alone. You can have someone to talk to anytime you like, a kind and understanding person who will help you to find meaning in life again, to treasure the memories of your loved one without being overwhelmed and to enjoy your activities, family and friends again.
- Simply fill out the online questionnaire and you will be assigned the expert grief counselor most suitable for you. It only takes a few minutes and you don't even have to use your name.
- Pay an affordable FLAT FEE FOR UNLIMITED SESSIONS.
- Contact your counselor whenever you like by chat, messaging, video or phone.
- You can change counselor at any time if you wish.
- Click here to find out more and get started immediately.
- Or read more about how online counseling works here.
Sales from our pages result in a small commission to us which helps us to continue our work supporting the grieving.
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Hypnosis for Grief - 10 Ways It Can Help You
Try a gentle hypnotherapy track to relax the mind. Learn how self-hypnosis can help you cope with grief at any time of the day or night.
Read more about it here.
Create an Online Memorial Website
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