Is "Keeping Busy" the Answer?

Conventional wisdom, many well-meaning friends and family members, and even others who are a little further down their own grief path than you may be telling us to "keep busy."  “The best thing for you right now is to keep really, really busy.” 

They tell us how important it is to fill our days with "stuff" to do. So, not knowing what else to do, (How would we really?  No one ever talks about what it's like to live with the death of someone you love.), we take their advice and we work really hard to fill our days with work, and errands, and task on top of task on top of task. 

"They" tell us that by keeping busy we keep our mind off of "it."  (“It” of course being the truth that someone we love has died and the world as we knew it shattered ~ in a million or more little pieces.) 

We hear people say, "It's so great to see you out and about. You're really doing well. You are so very strong."  Deep inside we know the toll that faking it to please others is taking on us ~ physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We wonder how long we can hang on.  The pain seems to actually be getting worse.  We feel pain on top of pain on top of pain.


And at night, when we finally drop into bed, exhausted from all the scurrying, and the running, and the pretending to be “just fine” ... we begin to get a glimpse of our new life.  Just a glimpse.  We begin to feel our feelings.  They bubble up.  They have to.  We can only deny, repress and pretend for so long. And very often this encountering of our own feelings is frightening and overwhelming and confusing and uncomfortable.  It feels messy.  Out of control. 

We have been lead to believe that feeling our feelings is the problem.  

Nothing could be further from the truth. Feeling our feelings ... and realizing that we are not our feelings ... is the path to healing.

It is important to realize and remember something when grief is expressing itself.  And that is that ~


I am not sadness. 

I am not anger. 

I am not despair. 

I am not loneliness. 

I am not confusion. 

I am not regret. 

I am not guilt. 

I am none of that.

And neither are you.

We are not our feelings and emotions.

We are actually spirits that have come to earth to have a human experience.  When we are finished, we return home.

If my NEW WAY of "doing grief" resonates with you, I'd love to work with you one-on-one.  If you are in the Rockford, Illinois area we can do that in person, otherwise, I am having great success working with people all over the country via Skype.  Email me at if you would like to take the next step on your grief journey and we can schedule a session.


  • I’m still very sad over the death of my only child, she died 9 years ago. I don’t understand why it still pops up like yesterday is today. My sister died 5 years ago. I just get so sad. I feel like some people used my grief for there good.

    Sharon Korando
  • Hi Tom,

    This is very encouraging information.Keep up the good work.

    Florence Wakaba
  • Hi Tom- Wondered if you were in contact with Katie Couric Show. I think it would be a topic she may be interested in and exploring the world of grief. She lost her husband years ago. Would love to see you get involved if she would get around to this subject. Thank-you for your constant inspiration and caring for others going through this painful time in our lives. You give us hope. Mary

    Mary Snedden

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