What are some good grief techniques

Grief work

Grief work - explanation of terms

What is grief work?

Grief is one of the strongest emotions in existence. Hardly anything can comfort the loss of a loved one. A bereavement in the family makes everyday life extremely difficult for the relatives.

Many people these days are not really prepared for the feelings of grief and the associated fears when someone close to them dies, since in our society the topics of death and dying are almost never discussed.

However, each of us will be confronted with the loss of a close relative or another loved one in the course of our lives.

The time after the funeral of the deceased is often the time for mourning work, in which the initial stress caused by the organization of the funeral slowly subsides and one can devote oneself to the actual mourning.

The circle of acquaintances does not always react positively

Grave diggers must also have a very thick skin, because other people often find it difficult to talk about death, which is why they turn away from grave diggers in their circle of acquaintances just to avoid being confronted with death.

On the other hand, grave diggers also experience some human abysses up close, for example when the little-loved mother-in-law dies and the relatives cannot go quickly enough to have her buried.

It is all the more important that grave diggers have a positive outlook on life, as otherwise their job can become unbearable. A healthy attitude towards life and death is thus to a certain extent a basic requirement for a gravedigger in order to do justice to their dignified and serious work.


Since grave diggers are always confronted with the transience of life, they have to be particularly resilient in this regard.

Carrying children to the grave in particular is extremely stressful for the grave diggers, who are already used to a lot in this regard.

The profession of gravedigger is not yet officially recognized, but there are efforts to set up a representation in the Chamber of Commerce. So there is still no uniform training for grave diggers and no special requirements for the candidates.

As a rule, grave diggers are employees of the cemetery administration, a funeral home or a stonemasonry. Depending on the region, you are usually responsible for several cemeteries.

However, this process is very difficult and can take several months, if not years, as an active confrontation with death is necessary. The time of grief work is characterized by phases in which you get along well on the one hand, and on the other hand can be overwhelmed by your grief again and again without warning.

Dealing with death

How do I deal with the death of a loved one?

In the event of the death of a loved one, there is unfortunately no magic bullet that can be used.

Everyone deals with death differently and what grief for a loved one looks like cannot be planned or calculated. Your personal grief depends primarily on your relationship with the deceased and is a unique experience that cannot be generalized.

Dealing with death is usually a slow, long process that does not end with the burial, but rather begins at this point in time. Getting to the point of accepting the finality of death often takes enough time.

During this time, a wide variety of emotions can emerge, which can be a great challenge to deal with. Because letting go of a person who is of great importance to us is not in the nature of people and is accordingly difficult.

Methods of grief work

What methods of grief work are there?

The grief phase is characterized by recurring waves of grief and you have to learn to deal with it. However, there are a few methods you can use to better weather the grief process.

It can be very helpful to share your experiences and shared experiences with the deceased with close confidants, i.e. relatives or good friends. Do not be afraid of emotions, as they can be very liberating.

It can also sometimes be helpful if you write down your feelings, be it in the form of a diary or a letter to the deceased.

Address your words directly to the deceased loved one, share your view of the portrayal of death, speak unspoken things, such as the most important moments after death, how you will address them in the future The deceased will think about the meaning of death now and in the future and about your wishes and goals in life.

Another important aspect that is only indirectly related to the work of mourning is your physical wellbeing. Often one forgets to take care of oneself during this difficult time. Give yourself something pleasant every now and then, try to pursue your hobbies and distract yourself a little.

Also pay attention to your diet, do not forget to drink enough, because your muscles are prone to tension in stressful situations.

However, these tips are only a small aid and cannot be compared with a checklist that you can work through and after which the grief work is over. Because every grief is very individual and can last for several years.

Help with the grief work

Who can support me in my grief work?

If you find it difficult to talk to friends and family about your grief, or if you have been feeling the pain of grief for a long time, grief support groups or grief cafes in every state offer support.

These are often offered by non-profit organizations and institutions such as Caritas or the Red Cross.

There you will find people who also have to deal with a bereavement. You have the opportunity, on the one hand, to tell your story and, on the other hand, to listen in order to share in the experiences of the other group participants and to support them.

It is often at least as helpful to talk to strangers who are going through a similar situation as it is to relatives and close friends.

Above all, it is about finding out that you are not alone in your grief. Also, don't be afraid to seek professional help if you experience very intense, debilitating grief over a long period of time. Specially trained psychologists and grief counselors can help you come to terms with what has happened.

Stages of grief work

What phases of grief work are there?

After a death one differentiates according to Prof. Dr. phil. Verena Kast generally in four phasesthat merge into one another. However, it can never be guaranteed how long the respective phase will last. This is perfect from person to person differently. If you notice that you have been in a certain phase of grief for a long time and that neither family nor friends can help you, it is advisable to seek professional support.

  1. The first of the four stages of grief is that Denyin which those affected find themselves in a state of emotional numbness or uncontrolled activities immediately after the death. One is numb and in a sense suppresses the death of the deceased. Usually the denial phase is very short and usually lasts a few days at the most.
  2. In the second phase, the intense erupting emotions, break out of all previously held back emotions. Among other things, strong feelings of anger, hatred, fear, despair and longing can arise. One often feels guilty or looks for someone to blame for the death of the deceased.
  3. The Search, find, let go is the third phase of grief, in which one relives familiar moments and common situations. It is often also a time of seclusion. It also often leads to insomnia, which in turn leads to permanent fatigue. At the end of this phase, ideally, you have reconciled yourself with your loss and can thus take the path in the last phase.
  4. The final phase of grief is the phase of Acceptance and a new beginning. In it one has the feeling of having said goodbye to the loved one inside and it gradually becomes easier to deal with the loss. However, it is not a process of forgetting, just a process of closing. The deceased has become a part that is fondly remembered, albeit with sadness.

You should therefore pay careful attention to the phase in which the mourner is currently and their individual wishes should be specifically addressed. But do not force any help, it must be sought by the mourner himself / herself. Just signal to be ready at all times in case you are needed in grief.