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When a loved one dies, it’s emotionally difficult. When the death is unexpected, it can be a huge shock. There’s no time to say goodbye, and it can be hard to process what has happened. Understand that if you’ve experienced the sudden, unexpected passing of a loved one, you may experience many different emotional responses. Although grief is different for each person, there are a few general guidelines that can help you work through it.

  • Be prepared to be emotional. You may feel shock, anger, disbelief, sadness, or guilt. Other people who loved the person will probably be feeling similar emotions, but everyone doesn’t experience or show them the same way. Be patient with yourself and others as you work through your feelings.
  • Share how you’re feeling. When you share your grief with someone who is also grieving, you, you can help to lessen each other’s pain. It also gives you the opportunity to remember the person who has died, talking about happy times together and sharing good memories. This is a good way to support each other emotionally.
  • Don’t try to rush through grieving. There’s no wrong way to grieve, and the timetable for grief is different for each person. It’s important to take the time to participate in rituals like a funeral service or memorial to begin the healing process.
  • Accept help when it is offered. People will want to bring meals, run errands, or take care of your kids, and that’s wonderful. By accepting their help you’re giving them the gift of something to do, and you’re taking some of the pressure off of yourself.
  • When you can, go back to your routines. It may seem impossible to comprehend, but life does go on after a loss. Everyday routines can help you process your grief and start to feel “normal” again. If your children are in clubs or on teams, make sure they go to their meetings and practices. Have family dinners and get ready in the morning as you normally would. If the death of your loved one directly impacts your routines, acknowledge that as a family and find a way to move forward.
  • Consider counseling. If you’re feeling “stuck” in your grief, don’t hesitate to seek help. An unexpected death is traumatic, and a professional counselor can help you work through your emotions.

The Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose is committed to providing a sacred place, where you and your family can remember loved ones in a peaceful and hope-filled setting. If you have questions, we’re happy to answer them. We have three locations: Calvary Catholic Cemetery in San Jose, Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Los Altos, and St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Milpitas. For more information, contact us through our website, or call Calvary at 833-428-0379, Gate of Heaven at 833-304-0763, or St. John the Baptist at 833-428-0379.


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