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Video: What should you be feeling after a death….and why aren’t you? What’s normal in grief?

What should you be feeling after a death….and why aren’t you? What’s normal in grief?

Hi there,

In the video below I’m talking about a really common concern people have (and probably the most common email I get ). That is….what is normal to feel after someone dies and what if you aren’t feeling that?  What it means, what it says about you, what you should do.

Take a look…

Much love,




Leo October 8, 2014 at 11:53 am

Hey Kristie – you are right on the mark as usual. “The experience you should be having is the experience you are having”. Beautiful.

Every death I’ve been around has been different. And often the grief experience has not been what I expected.

NIce video post. You inspire me to get my act together and offer something similar!



GE October 8, 2014 at 12:13 pm


Angela Sherman October 8, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Enjoyed your video, Kristie. The stress of not knowing if a feeling is ‘normal’ in grief can be painful in itself – and so remembering that any feeling is normal is a great relief.

Linda Fiore October 8, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Dear Kristie, I love that you acknowledge how different everyone is in coping with loss. Losing a part of ones identify is so true after that person passes but I found (so far) that my brother is in so many parts of who I still am. Thank you for all you share.

Kristie West October 9, 2014 at 1:04 am

Hi Leo, yes get videoing – I’d love to hear more from you! xx

Kristie West October 9, 2014 at 1:05 am

You’re welcome 🙂

Kristie West October 9, 2014 at 1:06 am

Thanks Angela. Yes the stress and worry and guilt for people over thinking they’re somehow doing it ‘wrong’ initially (or that it says something about them as a person) just adds more difficulty…and often people have enough going on around a death already without that!

Kristie West October 9, 2014 at 1:11 am

Hi Linda,

You’re absolutely welcome. And thank you for your comment. 🙂

Absolutely, it is different for everyone. Though I’m definitely not about coping long-term. Coping is what can happen initially, you’re absolutely right, and it’s important for people to take the time to really express what’s going on for them….so they can then move on to true and complete healing, beyond just coping or managing.

And it can certainly feel like we have lost part of our identity….but in truth our identity just changes. Though when we expect something to be as it was before we are unable to see what it has changed into as we are only looking at a space rather than seeing what it shifted to. But certainly the experience of identity shifts, especially the large ones that death can bring about, can be incredibly painful and challenging.

As you say, they are always part of who we are. And when we’ve healed it’s so much easier to feel that.

Linda Fiore October 9, 2014 at 2:09 am

Dear Kristie,
Thank you very much for your time in writing back to me. I wasnt expecting it. I have been reading you since my brother past away and you have been through so much. Its incredibly kind, generous and giving to share all your thoughts, ideas and conclusions. They make so much sense on a deep level and I am fortunate to have found you.

Its been 2 1/2 years since Ricky passed and yet it seems like yesterday. I visited the place where he is buried just today. It was a beautiful fall day and the sun was shining brightly in the sky with a strong wind moving the trees. Its like how I described every visit.

So I am still in a place that I say out loud “I cant believe my brother died” or “my brother died” as it sometimes feels as if that didnt happen or maybe its me not wanting it to be true. He was sick off and on since he was 26. Maybe I am stuck here in this identity space that seems as though coping may lead me toward healing. Yes typing that does feel as if completely healing would not honor Ricky but I do every day when I look at all his works of art that adorn the walls of my town house. Also in honor of him I entered photos into a Backyard Photo contest as he didnt get the chance to do so. I had this terrific man at Bethel Photos work the pictures size for me to enter. With all that said I do want the feeling of healing the sadness and often I ask Ricky to see over me and help me with my pain but I guess this is my work and maybe he wants to show me something important. Well I think about many happenings before he passed and I even wrote down the details no matter how painful. I dont want to forget what he went through and what I went through. The biggest thing for me was feeling upset that he never felt truly loved but I processed this and came to an astonishing conclusion. He did feel the love unconditionally as I walked this process with him every step of the way. I have thought that maybe if I was in the distance it wouldnt hurt so much but that was for him and not for me. But I do feel broken now and I know this will change somehow. I really do but I never knew just how much I loved him. I took his last breaths with him.
Enough said. Again, thank you and I will continue to hear your heart felt messages.

Angela Sherman October 10, 2014 at 8:20 am

Your comment is very moving, Linda. I can certainly empathise with your feeling that completely healing may not honour Ricky. I imagine many people experience this. For me personally, I found I needed to explore the difference between healing and forgetting. I had been in a place where I feared if I allowed myself to heal then I would forget the person who had died. I can never forget them, but I can heal, and that has been so liberating. I wish you well.

Kristie West October 10, 2014 at 11:10 pm

I love your insights Linda. And the realisation that you feel like completely healing may not honour Ricky is an important one…because any belief you hold that to keep the grief is the right, loving, honourable, caring to do, will block you from healing. The good news is that when we can identify these beliefs we can do something about them. It isn’t the circumstances of a death that make the difference between healing or not. It is our beliefs about grief and whether we have any reasons or motives to hold on to it…because if we have motives then we will hold on to it and will not heal.

Here is a question for you to think about: how would it honour Ricky ever MORE and even BETTER if you weren’t in any pain or any grief? Answer that again and again until you can see it. Because when you can see this it will dissolve this particular block.


Kay October 15, 2014 at 9:48 pm

My husband passed away March of 2013 (of dementia) and a year later I have totally different feelings. I am more sad in some ways, more feelings of “just one more day” and several other feelings. I have forgotten some of the stuff (events) that took place. I was in a fog, it seems, just going through the motions. Now it is real and pretty much how my life will be for the rest of my life (at 74 yrs). I don’t anticipate any new changes as such. I have talked with many of my women friends that have gone through this with me in support group and they too, have lost their husbands during this past year. All those funerals. I wonder if every year will be different. Some say it never gets better. I hope it does. I want it to. But some aspects, I think will not change. I do journal from time to time and have gone back to activities and things that once gave me pleasure. I am trying, but its just damn hard to do it. I have been blessed with a huge family and friends support and I value and trust that. I am not alone, although I sleep alone. Your videos and writings are such a comfort to me also. Thank you and God Speed.

PAT October 16, 2014 at 1:22 am

Thank you Kristie for all your e-mails, your time and talks. It helps to hear some one talk about the pain and agony in losing a loved one. I lost my husband in Feb. 2013 at the age of 60. We didn’t get a chance to enjoy retirement. We have no children and I have no one that understands what I am feeling. So, I just cry when I need to cry which seems to be every day. At times, I feel such anger that God made him so sick and took him away from me. Is this so mean for me to feel this way??

Nick Capocci October 21, 2014 at 8:15 am

As an aside… Isn’t a lot of the pain of grief to do with contemporary cultural ideas and ideals? In older cultures death was celebrated and the dead virtually worshiped! Death was certainly seen, by the size and position of the monuments erected to it, as the central issue of life and in no way to be avoided or sugar-coated.
As always, your blogs and videos continue to inspire and provoke. Thanks.

Kristie West October 22, 2014 at 9:21 am

Absolutely, Nick! Spot on. Our experience is a reflection of our beliefs around death and around grief.
The emotions people go through are the symptoms of the deeper cause and a part of that deeper cause is usually contemporary ‘wisdom’ and ‘common sense’ around grief and death.
But firstly, it’s really important that people first let whatever feelings are coming happen…partly because it isn’t healthy for the body and emotions to repress anything…no matter what the cause of it is. But of course just releasing and releasing and releasing doesn’t heal…because it’s dealing with symptoms…and not the root cause.
Which leads us to reason 2…people often need to experience their pain, discomfort, guilt etc to be able to identify it, examine, question it, and then change it. Kinda like if you have a physical pain in your body. First you have to pay attention to that pain to be able to see where it is and what it’s doing. The pain may well be serious indigestion from eating something really crappy (like swallowing society’s grief ‘stuff’) but the reality is that whatever the cause the pain is now there…so no matter what caused it you still need to be able to find it to do something about it.
Hope that analogy makes sense!

Kristie West October 22, 2014 at 9:28 am

Hi Kay, you are never alone. 🙂
People will say it never gets better, you’re right. Don’t listen to people. It takes work to heal and those that wish this and commit to the journey will get there. Most people haven’t done this (and healing won’t happen with time or by accident) so will imagine it impossible. Don’t buy into societies norms – they aren’t helpful. As someone who has healed totally and works with others and gets to see them do the same, I can tell you that if you want a result that other most people don’t get (like healing from grief) you can have it… will have to just do things differently than most people do. xxx

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