Coping with Grief in the Spring

Even with a relatively mild winter (for Wisconsin, that is), our team at Krause Funeral Homes has never been happier to welcome the sunshine and warmth of springtime. We’re guessing our Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Brookfield friends and neighbors feel the same, as flowers bloom, beer gardens open, and BBQ season begins.

Yet during these beautiful months of April and May, many people we’ve talked to over the years say they’re caught off guard by renewed feelings of sadness over the loss of a loved one.

Instead of a sense of rejuvenation, restoration, and renewal, there is a realization that a friend or family member is no longer there to share experiences together.

Instead of the anticipation of summer and the excitement and fun to come, there’s a melancholy due to their absence.

There are memories – new and old – that can be painful and difficult to think about. It almost feels like a setback in the grieving process. Those who faced loss expect to feel more upbeat once spring arrived . . . yet this isn’t always the case.

When feelings of numbness, fatigue, or “the blues” seem overwhelming, it’s essential to keep in mind that there is no timetable for grief. There’s not a list of feelings that can be worked through in six months or a year following a death. Loss changes us – and continues to change us as time goes by.

Activities to Soothe Grief

In our many years helping Milwaukee families plan funerals – and through our own experiences of loss – we’ve seen how certain activities can be soothing to grief. Healing is not about “moving on” but about adapting over time and dealing with the loss in a way that helps you. These ideas are a great place to start.

Gardening: Getting your hands dirty – whether it’s tending vegetables, weeding, or planting a memorial tree in honor of your loved one – has far-reaching benefits. Studies report that people who garden are more likely to get a solid seven hours of sleep at night while experiencing an improvement in mood and a drop in anxiety levels. Gardening can even help with recovery from something stressful.

Kite flying: It may have been years since you’ve flown a kite, but our windy springtime weather makes for perfect conditions. You might be surprised how much you enjoy watching your kite take flight, and with parks and grassy fields at every turn in Milwaukee, you’re all set for an afternoon of fun. If you’re in the mood to relax in the sun, grab a cup of coffee and head down to the lakefront to watch kite experts (and maybe a few novices) in action.

Bird watching: This tranquil activity is scientifically proven to lower stress and boost mental well-being. In Milwaukee, hundreds of species migrate through between late March and early June. Visit the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center on Brown Deer Road or the Hoyt Park Trail on Swan Blvd. in Wauwatosa to listen, watch, and be amazed by the miracles of nature all around us.

Explore a nature center: During winter, it’s easy to get into your routine and hunker down at home. But now’s the time to discover areas in the city you’ve never visited. Nature centers abound in Southeast Wisconsin, providing unique beauty and interesting programs. Check out the Wehr Nature Center in Franklin, Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha, or Hawthorn Glen on 60t St. in Milwaukee.

If you continue to feel stuck in grief or are considering seeking professional help, don’t hesitate to reach out to our staff. We have many connections and numerous resources available. For immediate support and to learn more about the grieving process, check out our Guiding Grief Interactive Online Help. You will be guided through steps to help you find answers to many questions about grief and suggestions for your own healing or help with someone else’s healing.

As days become longer and temperatures increase, we hope you will take advantage of all our wonderful community has to offer. Experiencing the death of someone close to you changes life forever. But healing is possible, and we would be honored to be part of it.

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