Julio B., Father of Julio, ORGAN DONOR HERO
No, “normal,” amount of time to grieve exists. In many cases, grief may be a lifelong process; feeling the aftershock of loss for the rest of your life is normal. According to the Grief Healing Blog, “grief is like a deep wound that eventually heals and closes, but whose terrible scar remains and still can hurt at times.”
What We Need During Grief
You need time alone and time with others you trust to listen when you need to talk. Feeling and understanding the emotions that accompany loss may take months or years.
Get plenty of rest and relaxation. You may need more of things like hot baths or afternoon naps. Taking a trip may help, or having a cause to work for or helping others may provide solace. Any of these may help you transition into this new chapter of your life.
Exercise is important. Walk aerobically for 30 minutes each day with friends, if possible. Do what feels healing to you and what connects you to the people and things you love.
Take time for prayers, meditation or reflection. Grief is an emotionally exhausting process. You will need to replenish yourself. Ask others what helped them in their time of grief.
Try to reduce or find help for financial or other stress in your life. Allow yourself to be close to those you trust. Getting into routines helps. You may need to allow yourself to do things at your own pace. Make lists and set priorities.
You may find hope and comfort from those who have experienced a similar loss. Knowing things that helped others and realizing they have recovered with time will give you hope that sometime in the future your grief will be less raw and overwhelming.
Try to allow yourself to accept the expressions of caring from others even though they may be uneasy and awkward. Others are comforted when you allow them to help you. Helping someone else who is also experiencing a loss may bring you both comfort.
For a while, much of life may seem to be without meaning. At times like these, small goals are helpful. Something to look forward to, like playing tennis with a friend next week or a trip next month, will help you get through the present. Living one day at a time is a good rule of thumb. At first, do not be surprised if your enjoyment of those things is not the same; this is normal. As time passes, you may need to work on long range goals to give new structure and direction to your life.
Do not underestimate the healing effect of small pleasures. Allow yourself to enjoy sunsets, a walk in the woods or favorite food. All steps toward regaining your ability to take pleasure in life can be helpful.
Sometimes after a period of feeling better, we find ourselves immersed in the old feelings of extreme sadness, despair or anger. This is the nature of grief. This may happen over and over, for an extended period of time, but it does not mean that you are not healing.
Caution About Using Drugs
Even medication used to help people get through periods of shock, under a physician’s guidance, may prolong and delay the necessary process of grieving. We cannot prevent the pain or cure the grief.
Switchboard of Miami (Miami-Dade & Monroe Counties)
First Call for Help (Broward County)
Center Crisis Line (Palm Beach, Martin & St. Lucie Counties)
After the Funeral
Check with Social Security Administration about benefits.
*File claims for insurance, it applicable.
- Life insurance
- Credit card insurance
- Mortgage or loan insurance
- Insurance on bank accounts
- Accident insurance
- Auto insurance
- Other types of insurance (provided by employer of deceased)
Re-establish bank accounts and safe-deposit boxes in the appropriate name. Call before going to the bank to be sure that you have the necessary papers to make these changes. Having a co-signature on all accounts may be desirable. If so, make arrangements with the person of your choice.
Consult an attorney for advice about a will and other financial matters. If you do not have an attorney, the local Bar Association can provide a list of attorneys. If you cannot afford an attorney, the Legal Aid Society can help you find legal assistance at reduced rates.
*Check with the IRS about the paperwork you will need to file with your next tax return.
*The title of the car owned by the deceased may need to be changed. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Documents you may officially need to make changes:
- Social security number
- Marriage certificate
- Copies of death certificate
- Copy of will
- Birth certificates of dependent children
- Copy of insurance policies
- Copy of certificate of honorable discharge
- Bank account number or numbers
- Complete list of property
- Car title(s)
- At times, the medical examiner will request to perform an autopsy to determine the person’s cause of death. Investigations are conducted when the death is sudden, unexpected, unnatural, suspicious or violent.
- An autopsy that is requested by the medical examiner is a mandatory surgical procedure which involves the removal of the organs so that they can be examined. The investigation may include taking photographs, gathering pertinent evidence at the scene and speaking to family members.
- If an autopsy is performed, it is completed by a qualified physician to accurately establish the cause and manner of death.
- During donation cases, our staff works with the medical examiner and obtains consent so that the organs/tissue can be used for transplant and/or research.
- A copy of the autopsy report can be requested by calling the Medical Examiner in the county where your loved one died.
- If your loved was a tissue donor, it is probable that the Tissue Bank completed an autopsy as this is standard protocol in tissue donation. To request a copy, please contact Donor Family Services at 1-800-232-2892.
Information you may need for the death certificate:
- Name of deceased (first, middle, last)
- Age, date of birth (month, day, year)
- Place of birth (state, country)
- Country of citizenship
- Marital status
- Name of surviving spouse, if married (including maiden name, if applicable)
- Social security number
- Profession/occupation (type of business or industry)
- Employer’s address
- Residence address (state, county, city for street and/or mailing address)
- Father’s name & mother’s maiden name
- Physician’s name, address and phone number
- Funeral director’s name, address and phone number
- Pastor’s name, address and phone number (if applicable)
- Your information (your name, relationship to deceased, address and phone number)
- Other family member name(s), address(es) and phone number(s)