Starting to move on

Most people find that as time goes on they will begin to adjust. Their feelings will be less intense and they can begin to look to the future. Things might be difficult from time to time, but it tends to happen less often.

Deciding when to return to work will be different for each person. Talk to your employer about how you are coping. You may find it easier to work from home or work part time for a while.

Anniversaries, birthdays, and special occasions can be very difficult, particularly during the first year. With time, these feelings will often get less intense. You may find it helpful to do something special to mark an anniversary or birthday. You might find it helpful to organise an event in their memory. Or make time at a celebration to remember your relative or friend. You can use social media accounts to share memories.

Social events can also be hard. You may find it helpful to start off by going to them for an hour or two, or to take a relative or close friend along with you.

Starting to move on

You may continue to have days when you feel overcome by grief. But as time goes on, most people find they start to have times when their feelings are less intense and they can begin to look to the future. Life will not be the same again following the death of your relative or friend. But you can start to enjoy life in different ways.

As time passes, most people are able to remember their relative or friend and talk about them without being overcome by their feelings. They start to enjoy things again, feel more comfortable at work and feel able to join in different activities.

Things might continue to be difficult at times, and you may sometimes feel very emotional again. This is not unusual, but it tends to happen less as time goes on.


Returning to work

Deciding when to return to work will be different for each person. Some people feel able to carry on working and take very little time off, while others need longer. Sometimes people who return to work quickly find they need to take some time off later on. Some people may have to go back to work as they do not get paid if they are not working.

Tell your employer how you are coping and talk to them about the best way for you to return to work. You may find it easier to work from home or work part-time for a while, if possible. It can also be helpful to talk to your employer about telling the people you work with. You can tell your employer if you are happy for them to contact you while you are off.


Special dates

You may find anniversaries, birthdays, and special occasions very difficult after the death of your relative or friend. They may be particularly difficult during the first year. People describe starting to feel better and then feeling shocked about the strength of their emotions again.

With time, these feelings will often get less intense. Some people find it helpful to do something special to mark an anniversary or birthday. Or they make time at a celebration to remember their relative or friend.

For example, you could:

  • sit quietly in a place that has special memories for you
  • share memories and stories at a family celebration
  • post on a memorial page on a social media site
  • organise an event in memory of your relative or friend.


Social events

Social events can be very difficult after the death of your relative or friend. It can be hard if it is your partner who has died and you are not used to going to events on your own.

Going out with family or friends can also bring back memories of times when your relative or friend was with you. This can be upsetting.

You may find it helpful to start by going to social events for an hour or two, instead of staying for the whole thing. You could also ask if you can take a relative or close friend with you. People will want to help you, so it is okay to ask for support.

Some people find it helpful to join a support group. Other people join a club, do some volunteering, or start a new hobby.


Social media and memorialised accounts

Your relative or friend may have had a Facebook or other social media account. When someone dies, it is possible to convert some of these accounts into memorialised accounts. This allows you and other family members and friends to share memories. You can get information about these accounts from most social media websites.

You can also create a new group on a social media site, where you and other people can share memories of your relative or friend.


In-memory events

Some people find it helpful to remember or celebrate the life of their relative or friend by donating to or raising money for charity.

It is one way that people can:

  • express their grief
  • channel their energy
  • focus on moving forward.

If you would like to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, we have more information about remembering someone in this way.

Back to Coping with bereavement

Grief

Grief is a word for how we may feel after the death of someone close to us.

How grief can affect you

You may have many different emotional and physical symptoms after your relative or friend has died.

Your feelings

People describe having many different feelings after someone close to them has died.

Prolonged grief

If you continue to find life difficult after a bereavement, it is important to get help and support.