When you get the news that a loved one is ill and the prognosis isn't great, there's no right way to react.
Some people may immediately react with sadness and visible tears; some may be caught off guard by rage that doesn't seem in their character. For others, they may be ashamed by how numb they feel. In the past 3 years, 57% of Americans have experienced a major loss.
Losing a loved one, or hearing you may soon, is a lot to take in.
When you witness someone in your life going through a period of grief, it's overwhelming, a dark mountain looming in your path. There is no way forward other than to climb the mountain.
But many of us, whether we are experiencing the grief and loss ourselves or witnessing a loved one deal with the pain, aren’t sure how to begin processing the information.
- What do you say to someone who just learned that their sibling has passed away or that their parent has a terminal illness?
- How do you react when someone lets you know that their beloved pet and companion of the last 15 years is no longer there?
Online Resources Can Be Very Helpful
It's not always about knowing the right thing to say. Often, it's just an acknowledgment that you're listening.
I'm here. I hear you. I'll sit with you. I support you.
We've developed this list of grief resources so that if you're in the midst of a loss, standing at the base of the mountain, you know where you can turn to talk when you're ready.
Our catalog of resources includes blogs, websites, support groups, grief podcasts, and more to help in your grief recovery.
If you're a friend or family member who wants to support someone who is grieving, this is a resource for you, too. You are far from alone.
Here are all the places that exist as an outlet.
Grief Blogs and Websites That May Help
The last thing we want anyone to be feeling when they're going through a loss is isolated.
We've researched a great number of blogs, and forums to narrow it down to ten blogs and five support forums, for a total of 16 grief support resources that you can turn to when you need support during the grieving process.
When you need to know that someone else has been where you are, right now, and has come out the other side--or maybe they're walking along the corridor of grief at the same point you are--you can look here.
1. Reimagining Grief & Grief is a Sneaky B*tch.
Reimagining Grief is an organization based in Austin, Texas focused on changing the narratives around grief. The founder and CEO, Lisa Keefauver, is a grief warrior herself, both with her own experiences and through her work with others. She had worked as a clincial social worker and narrative therapist where she had the privilege to bear witness to others’ experiences of pain, chronic and terminal illness, trauma, and grief.
She often also shares how excruciating it was to have her husband die in her arms, leaving her a widow at age 40 and a single parent to their 7-year-old child. You might also want to know that a few years after that, she held her friends’ hand while he passed away from a long-endured terminal illness. Perhaps the fact that she co-founded a nonprofit program to support cancer patients and their families is relevant, or that she have countless family and friends who have or are currently enduring loss, chronic and terminal illnesses too.
All of these experiences she channels into a podcast titled Grief is a Sneaky Bitch, where she gets down and honest about what grief looks like, with guests who have experienced it firsthand.
She also has created a line of Empathy Cards you can send to friends or family members experincing loss. These aren't your typical Hallmark ones, either. Instead, they say things that people who are grieving actually want to hear –– and can help.
2. Open to Hope.
Open to Hope is an organization that is a testament to how not-alone you are. With over 10K readers, the non-profit organization has over 500 articles and resources that exist beyond the web, in a podcast, on television and in books as well.
With upwards of 530 individual authors, you'll have the opportunity to hear from people with experiences both alike and different from your own, who are willing to share their own stories to help you heal.
Regardless of whether you've experienced the death of a child, parent, sibling, or friend, you'll find content by authors who understand the difficult times ahead of you first-hand.
And yes, you can submit your own story as a griever, too (though it is not a requirement to access the content).
3. What's Your Grief?
What's Your Grief? is an organization spearheaded by two mental health professionals with over 20 years of experience with grief and bereavement. Suffice it to say, they know how to help.
With articles from the passing of time to the actual definition of grief itself, WYG also offers low-cost resources like books, e-courses, and webinars.
What the Grief? explores a wide variety of grief, like managing self-care during difficult times, supporting mourners, how to move on as a parent or widow(er), or how to support friends with a miscarriage or stillbirth. It also has a section devoted to kids, teens, and grieving children.
If you're interested in turning your grief into a learning opportunity to better understand yourself and your experience, check it out.
4. The Grief Healing Blog.
Marty Tousley has been a grief counselor for nearly two decades and in addition to having a presence on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, she sought an organized way to share her knowledge with other people in the trenches of their own grief.
She uses the Grief Healing blog as a way to write about nearly every topic regarding grief under the sun.
If you are experiencing grief over family members, the loss of a child, helping grieving children or are wondering how to communicate about grief with a child, teenager, or young adult, this is a fantastic place to start the conversation.
5. Pallimed: A Hospice & Palliative Medicine Grief Blog.
We hear about the stages of grief a good amount, but what are the stages of grief for the professionals taking care of those who passed? Pallimed is a blog addressing Hospice and Palliative Care medicine. There are several hundreds of articles to review as you're becoming more educated on grief. For those
What's different about Pallimed is that the blog explores the many different facets of grief: grief in the arts and humanities, the ethics of palliative care, reviews of case studies, reviews of articles focusing on palliative care, and more.
What's most unique about the contributors speaking to palliative care on Pallimed is that the majority of contributors are physicians, nurse practitioners, or PhD.'s, so there is a great amount of knowledge on grief specifically as it relates to palliative care.
If you are in the healthcare field and looking for a support system of professionals that understand the emotional toll these roles take, this is a fantastic resource for grief support you now have at your fingertips.
6. Grieving Dad's Project.
Keith Farley began the Grieving Dad's Project in early 2010, after years of struggling with grief and depression after losing both of his children, a daughter and a son.
Keith realized that in our society, it isn't easy for men to express their emotions and explore their grief. Leading with his vulnerability, Keith started blogging about his family's significant loss and their path towards change.
He shares his own experiences of living while grieving his children and also helps other men share their stories, whether that's as bereaved parents or otherwise. After years of helping men explore life after loss, Keith also wrote a book entitled Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back.
7. Refuge in Grief.
It's Ok that You're Not Ok. Not only is this the title of Megan Devine's book, but it is the message that permeates her words.
On her blog, Refuge in Grief, she offers compassion, support, and an offer to help visitors learn skills that will help them with their grief. A regular contributor to podcasts, Megan helps unveil a more approachable side of grief, her content making it a bit easier for grievers to come forward during difficult times.
Megan also dives into the type of grief that's linked with suicide and substance abuse. If you or a loved one is concerned with suicide prevention, Megan's content on grief during difficult times is well worth the read.
A psychotherapist since 2001 with first-hand experience in loss and heartache, Megan not only leads courses on skills to practice during bereavement but also hosts a podcast. If you're not ready to talk, then you can at least have a listen.
8. The Grief Recovery Method Blog.
The Grief Recovery Institute was founded in the mid-1980s and this blog is run by the organization as a resource for anyone experiencing various types of grief, from grief after suicide, to grief after a divorce, to trans-generational grief, you'll find online resources here.
The Grief Recovery team is a team of experts who've studied bereavement and how to walk alongside those living with loss; experts live all around the world and if on the other side you decide you'd like to help those in need, you can look into training materials for your study on grief counseling.
9. Diary of a Widower.
Diary of a Widower began as a blog when Tim's wife Jennifer passed away in Holland after an unfortunate and completely unexpected accident resulted in her death. Living abroad with his late wife being from the US, Tim's vulnerability and heartache are palpable in his blog, which is later published into a book.
He accounts for the time spent after Jennifer passed away and how he and his two sons continued in the land of the living, their lives changed forever.
As a widower openly dealing with grief, Tim Overdiek's content is refreshing for any man or mourner experiencing pain that he feels he is not able to adequately express.
10. Still Standing Magazine.
To have a child die is what many like to describe as an inexplicable pain. Unfortunately, many more parents know this pain all too intimately. If you or a loved one are grieving from the loss of a child or infertility, then Still Standing may be a beacon of light in your darkness.
A beautifully designed publication, this digital magazine offers space for the bereaved to explore different stories of others living in the aftermath of the death of a child.
With topics from miscarriage, to child loss grief, the loss of an adult child, and supporting a friend who has lost a child, there are several personal stories in this magazine to prove that regardless of where you are in your grief recovery, you are not alone.
11. Heartlinks Grief Center Blog.
Based out of the Midwest, USA, Heartlinks Grief Center is a home for any griever looking for refuge and support during a time of grief and loss.
They offer information on events to encourage folks against isolation and post monthly on their blog, where the grief-stricken can share their stories of both challenge and hope.
They also make grief resources available on their information page where you can download brochures on grief and bereavement and find supportive communities.
12. The Conversation Project.
The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. It is a topic that is too often pushed under the rug, leaving friends and family members to guess at what their loved ones want at the end of their lives. It’s important to have the conversation now, to think through your options, and to focus on dying the way you want to –– giving your friends and family comfort that your wishes were seen through.
This site offers kits, games, and so much more to make the conversation less awkward, and more “just part of life,” because it is!
The Conversation Project is the organization under which events like Conversation Ready NTX’s Breathing Life Into Death Project could take place. And we went! Check out out Day in a Life below!
13. Reimagine End of Life.
The Reimagine event is a San Francisco-wide celebration of death, dying well, and grieving well. It was started as a project by IDEO, a creative strategy agency, which challenged itself to better address death and loss.
Reimagine takes over the entire city, and offers education, immersive experiences, art contests and so much more.
14. Aging with Dignity.
Aging With Dignity believes every life is important and deserving of dignity. They honor this belief by empowering all people, of every age, to plan in advance for the challenges that may come with aging, serious illness, disability or loneliness.
The site offers services to make it clear what you want at the end of life, as well as articles and education as examples so you can choose what feels right for you.
15. The End Well Project.
End Well is a non-profit media platform with an annual conference that pulls in heavyweight speakers that will make you laugh, cry, and inspire you to talk more about death so we might all have a better go of it.
They believe all people should experience the end of life in a way that matches their values and goals. Their goal is to create a cultural shift to normalize conversations about our mortality throughout life. Their platform supports new collaborations, systems, protocols, products and fosters new and existing networks of support to make the end of life more human-centered for all.
If you’re in free to attend their event, you definitely should!
16. Option B.
Option B is named after the book of the same titled by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. She wrote it after her husband’s sudden passing, and what she learned in the aftermath about grief, healing, and the cultural conversations and stigmas that occur during those times.
Option B the website offers tons of fantastic insight and advice for grief of all sorts, and their Instagram is a safe haven of likeminded individuals lifting one another up.
17. Nursing Home Abuse Center.
For those experiencing grief from a challenging nurse home experience, the Nursing Home Abuse Center blog can help you understand legal options as well as how to find quality nursing homes in your area. You aren't alone in this situation, and you have options as well as rights.
18. Churchill's Guide to Coping with Grief and Loss.
As Churchill navigates the landscape of life insurance, they have developed "A Guide to Coping with Grief and Loss" in which they delve into how to understand grief, whether it be your own or someone else's. Everyone will experience loss at some point in their life. Churchill's guide offers advice on different ways in which you can care for yourself during seasons of grief, as well as how to help children and friends through their experiences of loss and grief.
19. Choosing Therapy
Based in Brooklyn, NY, the online mental-health start-up, Choosing Therapy has created the ultimate guide to grief counseling that can help you begin that journey if you are interested. They spell it all out: from the core concepts and where to find a grief counselor, to the major mental health benefits and things you should expect when you walk in for the first time. If therapy is something you are considering, this guide can help get you on your way!
Grief Support Forums
Forums got their start in Ancient Rome and were traditionally spaces for people to meet and hold open discussions.
Nowadays, forums are held on the internet.
People experiencing grief and loss often experience loneliness, depression, and isolation.
The forums described below are great grief resources in that they provide a community where you can interact with other people who have empathy for your situation and pain and that they provide an environment for grief share.
Grieving.com started in 1997 as an online environment for people in need of empathy and support during times of loss.
Whether you've lost a sibling, parent, child, friend, partner, pet, or otherwise, there are forums for nearly every type of grief--and if you can't find one, you can start your own.
There is no limit to experience here--rest assured you'll find compassionate friends whether you're looking for survivors of suicide, grievers dealing with anticipatory loss, other bereaved parents, you'll find a national alliance of folks willing to lend an ear to your thoughts.
If you want a resource that you don't have to check regularly, this site is particularly great because you can sign up for the newsletter and receive new information periodically.
2. Grief Healing Discussion Groups.
Grief Healing Discussion Group goes alongside the Grief Healing Blog lead by Marty Tousley. On the blog, you can read about many experiences of grief.
Here in the discussion groups, you can come to receive empathy and sympathy from other individuals experiencing similar types of loss and grief.
Unlike other forums that consider loss equivalent to death, there are also forums for loss of a relationship and even impending, anticipatory loss. This is an online community that helps ease the transition into what life used to be life for grieving individuals and what it is like now that there's a new normal to embrace.
3. Online Grief Support.
Online Grief Support is a social community for those experiencing grief in the aftermath of a loss. In addition to having forums and chat groups for members, they also have a section of the site to help members explore After Death Communication (ADC).
After Death Experiences are common but not often discussed; the online grief community provides a safe space to express yourself during a vulnerable time.
For those taking care to build a spiritual practice into their grief resources, this may be a community to explore.
4. Pet Loss Grief Support Message Board.
Pets may be animals, but to the majority of pet owners, they are family. Many would describe their pets as a best friend of sorts.
Whether you consider a pet a type of child, sibling, or friend, losing a pet is no easy event for anyone and the pain can be excruciating.The Pet Loss Grief Support Message Board offers a place for those suffering the loss of a pet to come and grieve openly while receiving support from others who have been in their shoes. Just as with human loved ones, the grieving process of a pet is not defined or linear.
The Pet Loss Grief Support Message Board has online resources to help mourners of pets take one step forward in their lives at a time.
5. Web Healing.
When someone dies, regardless of whether it's an expected event or comes as a shock, it's the type of event that never makes it easy to find your footing.
Web healing offers a simple interface for chat forums on a variety of topics related to loss and grieving.
Regardless of whether you're seeking someone to talk to about the loss of a sibling or the loss of a pet, you'll find kind people here willing to listen.
According to our numbers, there are many people in pain from grief:
- 32% of people have experienced the death of a family member or a close friend
- 20% have experienced the loss of a pet
- 3% have lost a partner or spouse
- 2% have lost a child.
Bear in mind that these numbers are based on a surveyed amount of people who voluntarily came forward to talk about their grief. Not everyone who experiences a loss chooses to be open about the pain that they experience and the status of their mental health, both in the aftermath and for a time afterward.
And why is that?
It's because being vulnerable isn't easy. Expressing pain can be difficult. And it's hard to take the first step.
Luckily resources exist, many of which were started by people just like you who have experienced a loss in their own life. You now have 16 resources for grief, loss, and healing in your grieving process toolbox. You can begin the road to healing on your terms, in your own time.