How do I deal with the grief I still feel about my grandfather's death two years ago?

A fellow caregiver asked...

I'm 25 and my grandfather passed away two years ago. I'm still mad that he died and still cry when I think of him. Am I still grieving? How do I stop thinking about this?

Expert Answer

Martha Clark Scala has been a psychotherapist in private practice since 1992, with offices in Palo Alto and San Francisco, California. She regularly writes about grief and loss, the necessity of self-care, and substance abuse. Her e-newsletter, "Out on a Limb," is available to subscribers through her website.

If you still cry when you think of your grandfather, it's probably because he was very dear to you, so his death hurts a lot. It’s not unusual for grieving to last quite a while, especially if there are unresolved feelings about the person who has died, or how they died, or the circumstances surrounding their deaths.

We live in a world that sometimes expects us to "get over it" a bit too fast; this expectation often just isn't that realistic.

If you hope to stop feeling angry and sad about your grandfather's death, you might consider talking about your feelings with someone you trust, or with a professional counselor. Many communities have organizations that provide, or could refer you to, a grief support group.

If none of these suggestions are appealing, try sitting down and writing a letter to your grandfather. Tell him about every single feeling you've been struggling with since he died. Then read the letter out loud to him.

More than likely, if you give your feelings some "air time," the grieving and persistent thoughts of your grandfather will lessen. But remember: Grieving takes time.