Practical Forms of Coping


In November 2017, a group of ten bereaved parents and siblings brainstormed some strategies they found beneficial in helping cope with their huge grief.

Below is the strategies identified. As we discussed, some strategies worked for some, while other strategies worked for others. It is very individual what works for each of us.


  1. Physical exercise (e.g. gym or walking “I get a break from thinking when I walk; I exhaust myself”)
  2. Meditation/breathing – a focussed yet relaxing activity
  3. Think of things I do have (when I’m feeling low) (Thinking of the things it’s worth keeping going for)
  4. Plan my day / set up a routine (“Being unplanned leaves me more vulnerable to unproductive thought”)
  5. Using humour/finding a laugh
  6. Shared experiences/talking about my child or sibling or grandchild (e.g. support groups, phone support)
  7. Carrying a small book of photos – my child is with me/I take my child with me
  8. Photos in the home (saying “hello” and “goodnight” to my child, I talk with my child)
  9. Working occupies the mind (stop thinking about what ifs!!)
  10. Going out with sympathetic friends (a friend said give me a call anytime; that was very helpful to hear)
  11. Reading (I disappear into a book)
  12. Journals (helps me reflect back / make sense of my experiences / get the angst out of my system)
  13. Facebook discussion group – another form of writing & discussing
  14. Trying not to be alone too much
  15. Burning oils/candles
  16. Meditation (Buddhist) – “Accessing” child in dreams
  17. Receptiveness to signs