Practices for grieving

Gather your community

One of the most powerful things you can do is to set up a tool for communication with loved ones and friends during this difficult process.

Group Messaging
Facebook Group
Email Group
Group Messaging

Group messaging apps can feel very personal. You can easily add people, share images and stories, and receive messages in real-time.

As long as everyone has smartphones, group messaging is good choice for smaller groups or those doing planning and logistics.

Steps: Create a new group on WhatsApp or Messenger or another platform. These options can be better than SMS (text) messaging because they work reliably across Android and Apple devices, and do not incur extra charges internationally.

Add a photo and name (e.g. “Celebrating XX” or "Remembering XXX") for the group. And in admin settings, select if invitees are allowed to invite others.

Facebook Group

Facebook Groups provide space for longer-form posts, comment threads, and shared media. They are great for building community and can feel less noisy than a group messenger thread. Facebook groups are also good on both web and mobile.

Steps: Create a new Facebook Group. You will want to make the group private and add individuals as you go. See tips for help managing groups.

Add a photo and name (e.g. “Celebrating XX” or "Remembering XXX") as well as an introductory post that gives context to the people you invite to the group and guides them on how to participate.

Email Group

Creating an email group is a great way to keep a lot of people organized without asking them to learn anything new. An email group creates a new email address that reaches everyone you add to the group, and can allow anyone in the group to write back to everyone else. Email groups are a good choice for wider community to share their memories, grief, and reflections. They are also excellent tools for people who do not use smart phones or apps, as using an email nothing new has to be learned or downloaded to use an email group.

Try Google Groups or Groups.io, both of which are free.

Collect stories

In these conversations you may receive images or videos or hear stories about the person who passed. You may find that you want to collect these stories in a more permanent place. Consider saving these stories to a document or other tool. We've identified some tools that make it easy to do this as a group.

Create a Sacred Space

Create a special physical space to go where you can completely focus on grieving.

This could be an altar with photos and objects that remind you of the departed, or any place where you are comfortable to reflect. It could be a photo on the kitchen counter, or something very simple that doesn’t require much space at all.

Make Time for Reflection

Consider setting up a regular time to connect with family and friends both before and after the memorial. This is an opportunity to process grief over time, to share stories and reflections, and support one another in this process. To complement this, also make sure you give yourself the solo time you need.

A community vigil, such as lighting a candle or listening to a specific song at the same time every day, can be experienced together or practiced alone.

In person or over video call...

  • Talk about what you are feeling

  • Share stories and memories

  • Sit in silence with each other

  • Listen to music

  • Offer readings or passages

  • Talk about the memorial

  • Anything that helps you be with each other

It’s okay to...

  • Cry or express yourself

  • Not have words

  • Let others be uncomfortable or appear to be in pain

  • Lose control

  • Not be productive

In your personal time...

  • Journal

  • Go for walks

  • Revisit important places

  • Do art (painting, poetry)

  • Listen to your body, and do what it wants to do