You are not alone

“The act of living is different all through,” C.S. Lewis wrote in the book, A Grief Observed. Lewis was reflecting on his experience of grief following his wife’s death. “Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.” In two sentences, Lewis captures something common to the grief experience: a sense of emptiness and the ache of loneliness.

Grief can be isolating. Each person travels their own path, and every part of the journey feels different. Even when a loss is shared, each person has their own memories, experiences and relationship. At times it can feel like nobody understands and words often fall short.

Here are some suggestions for navigating the loneliness of grief:

  • Adjust expectations. Sometimes loved ones aren’t there for us in the way that we had hoped. Yet, we may find unexpected companions for the journey. Be as emotionally flexible as possible as you navigate shifting relationships.
  • Plan ahead. If you know that a certain time of day is particularly difficult, consider adding something to that hour: a check-in call with a friend, a walk or quiet time to reflect. If a significant anniversary is approaching, think of where you’d like to be on that day – would it be helpful to visit the cemetery or gather with friends?
  • Find connection. When you are grieving, your connections with others can become a lifeline. Consider seeking additional support from a counselor or joining a grief support group.

Grief support groups

Finding Connection: Optage Monthly Support Group – 3rd Wednesday
Wednesday, September 20, 7-8 p.m. CT (Zoom)
In a season of loss, we may find it difficult to connect with others. We’ll offer suggestions for navigating the loneliness of grief as well as forming life-giving connections.

Mind, Body, Spirit (Four Weeks)
Tuesdays, September 19, 26 and October 3, 10, 1-2 p.m. CT (Zoom)
Explore the impacts of grief on the mind, body and spirit and learn what you can do to help ease the process.


Optage Hospice Chaplain Jenny Schroedel facilitates grief groups across PHS sites and in the larger community. Jenny is also an author, most recently of Naming The Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death.

If you are interested in joining a group, contact Optage Hospice or call 651-746-8200. Optage is the home and community services division of Presbyterian Homes & Services.