Grief 3 Months After Death: What to Do in the Third Month of Grief

Grief is a terrible and many-faceted experience. Your journey through grief is unique and might look very different than other people’s grief, and that’s ok. Some people start online memorials right away; others need more time. However, one fairly common experience during grief happens around the third month after a loss. Many grief experts say that the third month is one of the most difficult. Is this your experience? Are you wondering about grief 3 months after death? Please keep reading as we discuss the third month of grief. 

Why is There So Much Grief 3 Months After the Death of a Loved One?

In the first couple of months after a loss, you might feel that your grief is the most profound, most intense thing you’ve ever felt. And then month three comes, and a fresh wave of deeper feelings wash over you. If this is happening to you, you are not alone. Many people experience a greater intensity in their grief three months after their loss. The reason? The initial shock and numbness that come with grief are starting to wear off. Shock and denial are defense mechanisms your body and mind use to protect you from the full impact of a significant loss. It’s common to feel numb for the first couple of months following a loss. As time passes, these protective mechanisms fade into the background, allowing the full force of your grief to present itself. That’s why it is common to feel grief more intensely during the third month after a loss. 

How to Deal with Grief 3 Months After Death

If you’re wondering how it’s possible for grief to be worse, you aren’t alone. Many people are taken by surprise when the full intensity of their feelings comes into awareness during the third month. Here are some tips for dealing with the greater grief during month three.

  • Remember that feeling the grief allows it to heal.

All of the grief that you’re feeling now that you weren’t aware of before now was still present in your mind, heart, and body. It’s coming to the surface because you are strong enough to process it fully. And grief must be felt before it can be healed. 

  • Reach out for support.

Reach out to friends, family, a support group, a doctor, or a therapist. There are many support groups online; reading about similar experiences and sharing your own can be quite helpful. Support is essential for moving through grief. Do what you need to do to find support during this challenging time. 

  • Write or talk it out.

Expressing yourself can be very healing. It can act like a release valve, letting built-up emotions and pressure out safely. Therapy is often used as a tool during grief; it’s a very safe relationship for sharing. While your therapist likely cares for you, they have a professional distance that allows you to share what you’re feeling fully. Talking to safe friends and family members is also helpful as you work through the third month of your grief. If talking to another person isn’t enough or an option, consider writing or speaking to yourself. Writing is a safe and effective way to process emotions and thoughts. It’s private and free. But, if you hate writing or can’t access it right now, consider recording voice memos of your thoughts and feelings. Talking aloud, even to yourself, can be very healing.  

Grief Beyond the 3rd Month

Many of the tools you use during the third month, like talking to someone you trust, will continue to be helpful beyond month three. Here are a few ideas for ways to handle your grief after the third month.

  • Keep up with self-care as much as you can.

It is normal for daily activities like self-care to feel out of reach during deep grief. Try to do what you can and be kind to yourself if you cannot brush your teeth or take that walk. Keep your self-care simple: grooming, eating, drinking water, and sleeping. If you feel more energized, take advantage and get some exercise in. 

  • Do things to honor your lost loved one.

Many people find rituals that honor the memory of their passed loved one comforting and an aid to healing. Plant a tree, make your loved one’s favorite meal for friends, donate to their favorite causes, or volunteer somewhere. A ritual can be something you make up; as long as it feels meaningful, it will have healing power.

  • Practice self-acceptance. 

Even as you move through the third month of intense grief and the sensations lessen, grief can be cyclical. It’s common to experience deep pain in waves, so plan for them and decide to accept yourself in those moments as grief reoccurs. Self-criticism and judgment, while also a normal part of grief, ultimately get in the way of healing. You are feeling and grieving the way you are; try to accept this and your process; it will help you heal.

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