GriefPlan.com with Dr. Jason Troyer

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Is it Normal to Talk to Your Deceased Loved One?

Transcript of Video

After your loved one has died, it is normal to want to stay connected. But you may have questions about what is the healthiest for your grief – or perhaps others have told you some things you shouldn’t do.

Let’s look at this through an example. Steve was married to Angie for 47 years. Like many widowed people, Steve was terribly lonely after Angie died. Within a few days of her funeral, Steve started talking to his wife. He said good morning to her picture on the nightstand. He told her he was getting some breakfast with his friends at the café as he left the house. He complained about the news to her – as if she were still sitting in her chair. And he said goodnight to her as he rolled over and tried to get some sleep. Steve wasn’t expected Susan to talk back, but he liked the feeling of being connected to her.

His adult children gave him a hard time about it. “Dad, how are you going to move on if you’re talking to her all the time?” Are Steve’s children right? Is Steve hurting his own grief process?

No. Steve’s children are not right and Steve is NOT hurting himself by talking to his wife.

By itself, talking to your loved one isn’t a sign of abnormal grieving. Some people are like Steve and make frequent comments throughout the day – this can be especially common when you have been living with your loved one – like a spouse or child. Others may talk occasionally – and some wait for special days like birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. Others may only talk to their loved ones in specific places – for example, they may talk to them at the cemetery or another location that is special and feels safe.

You may talk about day to day events or report on significant updates or major milestones in your life or your grief journey. You may talk to them to share a secret or ask or provide forgiveness. These are all healthy, common, and normal ways to have an ongoing relationship with your loved one.

So if it helps you to talk with them, then keep doing it and know that you’re not doing anything wrong or unhealthy. And if you’ve never talked to your loved one – you might give it a try. Many people initially find the idea to be weird or hokey, but then find it to be a helpful and often a very powerful experience.

Jason TroyerComment