Coping with Grief in the Summer

I have been working in the grief space for long enough that it is something I now feel confident to claim as true… It is not uncommon for people who are in grief during the summer to feel alone or overlooked. As summer comes around, many of us hit pause on our normal social activities as we spend time with family, travel, and take breaks from sports and school. We tend to see our friends less, and we do not run into them regularly at school pickup or drop offs, church services or gatherings, or during regular activities that center around the non-summer months.

And while that pause on mandatory activities can be so healthy and good for our spirits and hearts, the reality is that grief does not stop for summer break. When we do not see each other regularly in person, it is a normal result that we share less information about our personal losses or experiences. We may not realize that a friend is going through a really difficult time this summer, or if we are the one who has experienced loss in the summer, we may not not know how to reach out and share the news of our loss to our friends and support system.

The natural result of this is that people who experience loss in the summer may receive less support than they would otherwise. Likewise, people whose loss happened outside of summer months may notice that support they had previously been receiving declines as friends and family get more busy and distracted. 

Unfortunately, however, grief does not stop because the summer months begin. If you are someone who is experiencing their grief during the summer, you know what I am talking about. It can feel painful to realize that your friends and family might be less supportive than you had hoped, and you might be afraid that you will bother them by reaching out and asking for what you need this summer.

If this is you, I want to first acknowledge that what you are going through is hard. It can be really challenging to feel so much heartbreak during a time of year that is supposed to be carefree and full of rest and rejuvenation. Maybe you feel resentful that your summer is going to be marked by the pain of loss. You might feel angry that your friends and family are less available to you during this time of year. And maybe you feel left out of the fun and carefree experiences that you see your social network enjoying. All of these feelings are really normal reactions, and I want you to know that you are not alone in feeling them. 

It can help to find a support group of people who have experienced a similar loss as you, and lean on them heavily during the summer. It can also be helpful to reach out transparently to family and friends who are safe and loving to share your feelings. You might be surprised that they rally around to help you through this difficult season.

And if you are supporting a friend who is grieving in the summer, I also want to encourage you to go out of your way to be a support system for them during this time of year. If you are sticking close to home this summer, invite them to spend time with you doing a low key outdoor activity.  If you are traveling and want to send them a meal, I love the idea of sending them something from Take them a Meal, which makes it easy to send comforting and nourishing meals from afar. And if you feel led to love on them with a sympathy gift, we specialize in helping you show your support from near or far with our meaningful keepsake gifts. 

No matter how you choose to find or give support this summer, we want to encourage you to keep showing up for each other. In so many ways, we belong to each other and need each other, no matter the season.