Defining Cumulative Grief and How to Cope with It
Posted by: Erin Ward in Grief and Guidance, Memorialization | February 25
Coping with the loss of a loved one can look very different from person to person, especially since there are many different types of grief. One type of grief that’s not often talked about is cumulative grief.
Keep reading below to learn more about this grief type and how to find healthy ways to cope or show your support to a loved one who’s coping with it.
Defining Cumulative Grief
Cumulative grief is when someone experiences multiples losses at the same time or around the same time. For instance, multiple people may have died in a tragic accident. Or the griever may have had multiple loved ones pass away around the same time in unrelated circumstances. Whatever the case may be, grieving the loss of multiple loved ones at or around the same time can be overwhelming, especially since they may still be mourning the first loss when another one occurs. So, let’s go over some healthy ways to cope.
How to Cope with Cumulative Grief
First off, if you’re experiencing multiple losses, you may want to reach out to a professional grief counselor. While trusted family members and friends can be great listeners, a professional grief counselor has the knowledge and training to help you cope with your losses.
Practicing self-care is an important part of the grieving process, as well. While this includes treating yourself to relaxing activities like reading a book or taking a bubble bath, it also means taking time to process your loss and reflect on your feelings. Writing your thoughts down in a grief journal may help.
You also may find some comfort in creating a memento to honor and remember them by. If your loved ones were related, you can even create a joint memento. For example, if your grandpa and grandma passed away around the same time, you can create a joint memento for honoring them, such as a memorial frame or jewelry.
How to Support Someone Who Is Coping with Cumulative Grief
If your loved one is coping with cumulative grief, make sure that they know you're a resource for them. Whether that means listening to them talk, being a shoulder to cry on, running errands, or bringing homecooked meals. Anything you can do to help is one less thing for them to worry about while grieving.
What other ways can you cope with cumulative grief? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.