August 30th is National Grief Awareness Day. Why would somebody create a day celebrating grief? The day was created by Angie Cartwright in 2014. Cartwright was familiar with loss and became consumed by her grief. She wanted to find a way to support other people going through the same thing.

What is Grief Awareness?

You’ve likely heard the concept of “accepting” grief in order to move on and heal. For people experiencing grief, it’s important to accept that it is a part of your current life experience in order to permit yourselves to grieve and eventually heal. If somebody you love is grieving, you must accept that grief exists on their personal journey, and it’s not something you should judge or try to “fix.”

Why Grief Awareness is Important 

You may know firsthand that all too often, people who are grieving feel ashamed of their current emotional state and feel judged. Grief has no expiration date, and even after time passes, those who are grieving don’t and can’t  just “get over it.” 

Grief is a personal journey that each individual is on for the rest of their lives. It’s okay to not be okay, and there’s no schedule, calendar, or deadline for when grief will come or go. So, respect and honor each person’s grief journey for what it is — their own. There’s no need to put added pressure on people who are grieving.

Supporting Grief Awareness

In the hospice community, you may know somebody who’s grieving or you may even be grieving yourself. Here is what you can do to begin supporting grief awareness:

  • Offer to be there without judgment for all people grieving in your life.
  • Help where you can. There are simple ways that make a big difference when someone is grieving — for example, delivering a meal to them, sending them a card or flowers, or helping out with laundry and the school run — any of these small gestures can be a huge source of comfort for people experiencing grief.
  • Allow the memory of your loved one to live on by healing someone else. Make a donation in their name to a charity or organization that was close to their heart. 

On this National Grief Awareness Day, remember it’s okay to not be okay and no two people will ever experience grief the same way. Your feelings are valid.