Grief Support – Getting back to regular routines…or not

by Jacque Amweg, LSCSW, Grief Support Specialist

Maybe it’s time to start getting back to regular routines…or not. This time of year, things like back-to-school, seasons changing, baseball ending and football beginning, the thought of upcoming holidays…all bring back memories and emotions that can be unexpected.

Kansas City Hospice Grief SupportSometimes I long for precious annual activities. I can’t believe so much time has passed since I held a little hand on the way into kindergarten. I remember the family gathered to watch the Royals playing in the World Series — both times! And, it’s time to start pulling out Grandma’s holiday recipes and deciding who is going to make what this year.

Seasons and events are signals of what comes next. There’s usually a flow and rhythm to lives. Think of the regularity of seasons, the routine of weekends, workday patterns or even the habits of meals or bedtime. People have a way of incorporating ongoing changes into lives almost without thinking about it — until you can’t.

These transition times can be disrupted in a powerful and painful way when someone dies.

We don’t want death to change how we live

I often hear people say they don’t want the death of someone dear to them to change how they live. They want their usual activities for children to continue and for traditions to be maintained. So, they want to live as though they’re not touched by this loss — when the reality is we are forever changed by a death.

Kansas City Hospice Grief SupportLife is bound to be different. It may be a comfort to maintain routines and traditions. But it may also help to allow some changes, if needed.

Holidays may need to be planned in a new way. You may not feel up to maintaining your same work times. You may find less meaning in some activities.

It may be hard to sleep in a half-empty bed. Chores and creative endeavors that used to give a sense of satisfaction may have less importance for awhile. Give some thought to when to force the routine and when to allow a change.

Everything may seem wrong or uncomfortable. Meanwhile, life goes on and you need to determine how (and how not) to keep going.

Changing or keeping routines takes gentle self-care. And this can be a painful and disorienting time.

Rely on a trusted friend or family member to share your experience and find ways of expression that are right for you. If talking to someone about some of these adjustments would be helpful, please give us a call to schedule time with a grief support specialist.

Creative ways to change routines

  • Sleep on the other side of the bed.
  • Invite a friend on the morning walk.
  • Create something.
  • Read before sleep.
  • Vacation with family.
  • Sleep late.
  • Meditate each morning.
  • Call a friend or family member every day.
  • Plan a special dinner with someone.
  • Arrange an area in your home with some special belongings and photos of the person who died.
  • Shop at different stores.
  • Hire out yard work.
  • Sit in her recliner.
  • Take the day off on his birthday.
  • Light a candle at meals.
  • Say “yes” to a friend’s invitation.
  • Tell the story.
  • Don’t fight the tears—let them come.

About Us


The mission of Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care is to bring expert care, peace of mind, comfort, guidance, and hope to people who are affected by life-limiting illness or by grief. ur vision is that each person in our community is valued from life through death and each family is supported in their grief.

Solace House
Center for Grief & Healing is designed to be a nurturing place to guide children and adults through the difficult time following a death. It is your space to share, listen, learn and heal.

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