Get a Grief Buddy

Many grief books and articles say it’s important to tell your story. Indeed, telling your story is a forward step on the healing path. And one way to improve the odds of that happening: Get a grief buddy.

Grieving people need to tell our stories so we can come to terms with reality. When we can tell our stories without sobbing, we are making progress.

What are the benefits of telling our stories?

According to the Grief Recovery Center website, telling our stories helps us to become familiar with the stages of grief, find support, and feel less alone. Every griever has a story and “it’s one of the most important parts of the bereavement process.”

Tell Your Grief Story

Telling our grief stories helps us face facts, find things in common, and cope with feelings like guilt and self-blame. Over time, telling our stories helps us develop resilience. Each grief experience makes our stories more meaningful.

My husband died on November 28, 2020. We had been married for 63 years and I was his caregiver for seven of them. After my husband died I did well because I didn’t have to accomplish a myriad of caregiving tasks. I didn’t have to rush every minute of the day, worry about him while I was shopping for groceries, or cope with sleep deprivation.

Aloneness Can Be Intense

But life changed about eight months later. In some ways, it was as if my husband died again. I had to accept the fact that he was gone forever. There was no one to chat, no one to ask for advice, no one to hug and kiss. Other family members and friends had died, and this intensified my feeling of aloneness.

“Coping with Grief and Loss,” an article by Melinda Smith, MA, Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, PhD, asks grievers to seek face-to-face support from people who care about you. This led to the idea of getting a grief buddy. The more I thought about the idea, the more it made sense.

How would the buddy system work? The only way to find out was to test it. I asked a recent widow who lived in my apartment building to be my grief buddy.  Her husband died several months ago, and her grief was still raw.

Buddy System Guidelines

We met for an hour on a Sunday morning and quickly became involved in a serious discussion. At our second meeting we discussed buddy system guidelines:

  • We would meet weekly.
  • Our meeting would last one hour. (We could always talk longer if we felt we needed to.)
  • Confidentiality was paramount. We would trust each other with information and our deepest emotions.
  • Laughter was welcome and something to share.
  • Each of us would keep a log: date, topics discussed, and future topics to discuss.

Though we’ve only met twice, my buddy and I have already found we many issues and ideas in common. We’re looking forward to future meetings. Are you mired in grief? Getting a grief buddy may be just the solution you need. One buddy can lead you out of the darkness into the sunshine.

Read more by Harriet Hodgson: Memories Can Help Us Heal Our Grief – Open to Hope

Learn more about Harriet Hodgson’s books on her website: Harriet Hodgson




Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 43 years, is the author of thousands of articles, and 42 books, including 10 grief resources. She is Assistant Editor of the Open to Hope website, a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, Alliance of Independent Authors, Minnesota Coalition for Grief Education and Support, and Grief Coalition of Southeastern Minnesota. She is well acquainted with grief. In 2007 four family members died—her daughter (mother of her twin grandchildren), father-in-law, brother (and only sibling) and the twins’ father. Multiple losses shifted the focus of Hodgson’s work from general health to grief resolution and healing. She has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows, including CBS Radio, and dozens of television stations, including CNN. In addition to writing for Open to Hope, Hodgson is a contributing writer for The Grief Toolbox website and The Caregiver Space website. A popular speaker, she has given presentations at The Compassionate Friends national conference, Bereaved Parents of the USA national conference, and Zoom grief conferences. Her work is cited in Who’s Who of American Women, World Who’s Who of Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories. For more information about this busy grandmother, great grandmother, author, and speaker please visit

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