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Symptoms of Bereavement

Most people who suffer a loss experience one or more of the following:

  • Feel tightness in the throat or heaviness in the chest

  • Have an empty feeling in their stomach and lose their appetite

  • Feel guilty at times and anger at others, angry over things that did or did not happen in the relationship

  • Feel restless and look for activity but have difficulty concentrating

  • Feel as though the loss is not real and that is didn't actually happen

  • Sense the loved one's presence and expect the person to walk in the door, hear their voice or see their face

  • Wander aimlessly and forget things that they have started

  • Have difficulty sleeping and dream of the person

  • Experience intense preoccupation with the life of the loved one

  • Feeling very angry at the person for leaving them

  • Feel like they need to take care of other people who seem uncomfortable and not talking about the loss

  • Neet to tell, retell, and remember things our them

  • Mood changes over the slightest things

  • Cry at unexpected times

All of these are natural and normal grief responses. It is important to grieve, cry and talk with others. Learning about the process of grief, expressing your feelings, will help you arrive at a healthy readjustment of your life and reinvestment of emotional energy.

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woman in chair looking out window

Stages of Grief

Shock and denial

This is a state of disbelief and numbed feelings.

Pain and guilt

You may feel that the loss is unbearable and that you’re making other people’s lives harder because of your feelings and needs.


Anger and bargaining

You may lash out, telling God or a higher power that you’ll do anything they ask if they’ll only grant you relief from these feelings or this situation.


This may be a period of isolation and loneliness during which you process and reflect on the loss.


The upward turn

At this point, the stages of grief like anger and pain have died down, and you’re left in a more calm and relaxed state.


Reconstruction and working through

You can begin to put pieces of your life back together and move forward.


Acceptance and hope

This is a very gradual acceptance of the new way of life and a feeling of possibility for the future.

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Guidance and Support

Healing After Loss

Below is a list of organizations that provide a variety of grief and bereavement resources.

AARP Grief and Loss

600 E Court Ave., Suite 100
Des Moines, IA 50309

Phone: 1.866.554.5378

Resources Offered: Widow-to-widow support group

American Childhood Cancer Organization

6868 Distribution Drive
Beltsville, MD 20705

Phone: 855.858.2226 Ext.102

Resources Offered: A national support group for victims of childhood cancer and their families

American SIDS Institute

528 Raven Way
Naples, FL 34110

Phone: 239.431.5425
Fax: 239.431.5536

Resources Offered: Families grieving the death of an infant

Big Brothers / Big Sisters of America

2502 N. Rocky Point Drive, Suite 550
Tampa, FL 33607

Phone: 813.720.8778
Fax: 813.749.9446

Resources Offered: Programs are available to children who have had one or both parents die

Center for Loss in Multiple Births

PO Box 190401
Anchorage, AK 99519

Resources Offered: CLIMB is a national organization that provides resources and referrals for parents who have lost one or more children in multiple births

The Compassionate Friends

1000 Jorie Blvd., Suite 140
Oak Brook, IL 60523

Phone: 877.969.0010

Resources Offered: A national group for parents whose child has died

  • Central Iowa Chapter
    3601 Westown Parkway
    West Des Moines, IA 50266


  • Marshalltown Chapter
    2409 South 6th St.
    Marshalltown, IA 50158-4406


  • Story County Area
    3816 Fletcher Blvd.
    Ames, IA 50014

​​Every Step Grief & Loss Services

Amanda the Panda

1821 Grand Ave
West Des Moines, IA 50265

Phone: 515.223.4847

Resources Offered: A bereavement counseling group for children in camp setting

First Candle

49 Locust Avenue, Suite 104
New Canaan, CT 06840

Phone: 1.203.966.1300

Resources Offered: First Candle provides support for new and expecting parents or those dealing with stillbirth and SIDS


511 E. John Carpenter Freeway
Irving, TX 75062


  • Iowa Chapter
    30805 216th Street
    Bellevue, IA 52031
    Phone: 563.872.4474


National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

1731 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone:  703.837.1500

National Organization for Victim Assistance

510 King Street, Suite 424
Alexandria, VA 22314

Information and Referrals for Victims of Crime and Disaster:

Phone: 703.535.6682

Resources Offered: NOVA provides a support referral service for families of violent crime victims

Parents of Murdered Children

635 West 7th Street, Suite 104
Cincinnati, OH 45203

Phone: 513.721.5683

Resources Offered: This group offers grief support groups and resources to help victims of violent crimes understand the justice system.


Parents Without Partners

1650 S. Dixie Hwy., Ste. 510
Boca Raton, FL 33432

Phone: 561.391.8833

Resources Offered: PWP is a national organization for single parents either through death or divorce

Polk County Crisis & Advocacy Service

2309 Euclid Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50310

Phone: 515.286.3600

Resources Offered: Provides assistance to victims of crime in Polk County

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There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.



Let not your heart be troubled;

ye believe in God, believe also in me.

In my Father’s house are many mansions:

if it were not so, I would have told you.

I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you,

I will come again, and receive you unto myself;

that where I am, there ye may be also.


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness

For his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley

of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for you are with me;

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

In the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life,

And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.



I will life up mine eyes unto the hills,

From whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord,

Which made Heaven and Earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved;

He that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, he that keepeth Israel

shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is thy keeper;

The Lord is thy shade upon they right hand.

The sun shall not smite thee by day,

Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil;

He shall preserve thy soul.

The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in

From this time forth, and even forevermore.


Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed by thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,

on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespassed against us.

And lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil;

For thine is the kingdom, and the power,

And the glory, forever and ever. Amen


God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

As it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right

If I surrender to His will;

That I may be reasonable happy in this life

And supremely happy with Him

Forever in the next.



Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.


O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen


Hail Mary, full of grace.

Our Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,


Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners,

now and at the hour of our death.



May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

and rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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A beautiful life

that came to an end,

he/she died as he/she lived,

everyone’s friend.

In our hearts,

a memory

will always be kept,

of one we loved,

and will never forget.​


When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me,

I want no rites in a gloom-filled room

Why cry for a soul set free?


Miss me a little-but not too long,

And not with your head bowed low.

Remember the love that we once shared.

Miss me-but let me go.


For this is a journey that we all must take,

And each must go alone.

It’s all part of the Master’s plan,

A step on the road to home.


When you are lonely and sick of heart,

Go to the friends we know,

And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.

Miss me-but let me go.


God hath not promised skies always blue

Flower strewn pathways, all our lives through;

God hath not promised sun without rain,

Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.


But God hath promised strength for the day,

Rest for the labor, light for the way,

Grace for the trials, help from above,

Unfailing kindness, undying love.


God looked around his garden

And found an empty place,

He then looked down upon the earth

And saw your tired face.


He put his arms around you

And lifted you to rest.

God’s garden must be beautiful

He always takes the best.


He knew that you were suffering

He knew you were in pain.

He knew that you would never

Get well on earth again.


He saw the road was getting rough

And the hills were hard to climb,

So he closed your weary eyelids

And whispered, ‘Peace be Thine’.


It broke our hearts to lose you

But you didn’t go alone,

For part of us went with you

The day God called you home.


Little I knew that morning, God was going to call your name.

In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same.

It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone,

for parts of me went with you, the day God called you home.

You left us beautiful memories, your love is still our guide,

and though we cannot see you, you are always by our side.

Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same,

but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.


When God calls little children

to dwell with Him above.

We mortals sometimes question

the wisdom of His love.

For no heartache compares with

the death of one small child,

who does so much to make our world

seem wonderful and mild.

Perhaps God tires of calling

the aged to His fold.

So He picks a rosebud

before it can grow old.

God knows how much we need them

and so He takes but few,

to make the land of Heaven

more beautiful to view.

Believing this is difficult

still somehow we must try.

The saddest word mankind knows

will always be “Goodbye”.

So when a child departs,

we who are left behind

must realize God loves children,

angels are hard to find.


I know not what the future hath

Of marvel or surprise,

Assured alone that life and death

His mercy underlies.


And if my heart and flesh are weak

To bear an untried pain,

The bruisèd reed He will not break,

But strengthen and sustain.


And so beside the Silent Sea

I wait the muffled oar;

No harm from Him can come to me

On ocean or on shore.


I know not where His islands lift

Their fronded palms in air;

I only know I cannot drift

Beyond His love and care.


God saw you getting weary,

He did what he thought best;

He put His arms around you

And said, “Come and rest.”

On that heartbreaking day,

And with His arms around you

You gently slipped away.

It broke our hearts to lose you,

you did not go alone;

Apart of us went with you

The day God called you home


God saw he/she was getting tired

And a cure was not to be,

So He put his arms around him/her

And whispered, “Come with me.”


With tearful hearts, we watched him/her fade away,

Although we loved her dearly,

We could not make her stay.


A golden heart stopped beating,

hardworking hands to rest.

God broke our hearts to prove to us,

He only takes the best.​


Life is but a stopping place,

a pause in what’s to be,

a resting place along the road,

to sweet eternity.

We all have different journeys,

different paths along the way.

We all were meant to learn some things,

but never meant to stay.

Our destination is a place

far greater than we know.

For some the journey’s quicker,

for some the journey’s slow.

And when the journey finally ends,

we’ll claim a great reward,

and find an everlasting peace,

together with the Lord


When I must leave you for a little while,

please do not grieve and shed wild tears,

and hug your sorrow to you through the years.

But start out bravely with a gallant smile,

but for my sake and in my name,

live on and do all things the same.


Feed not your loneliness on empty days,

but fill each waking hour in useful ways.

Reach out your hand in comfort and in cheer,

and I in turn will comfort you and hold you near.

And never, never, be afraid to die

for I am waiting for you in the sky.


There is a place I have been told,

beyond an open gate.

All have been invited

where friends and loved ones wait


It holds eternal promise

of everlasting peace.

No pain or sorrow ever comes,

And teardrops there have ceased.


Abundant life is evident,

constant, fresh, and new.

A garden of provision

with eternity in view.


The promise is awaiting

a place we can abide,

fulfilled for ALL who answer

the call to come inside.


A limb has fallen from the family tree.

I keep hearing a voice that says, “Grieve not for me.

Remember the best times, the laughter, the song.

The good life I lived while I was strong.

Continue my heritage, I’m counting on you.

Keep smiling and surely the sun will shine through.

My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest.

Remembering all, how I truly was blessed.

Continue traditions, no matter how small.

Go on with your life, don’t worry about falls

I miss you all dearly, so keep up your chin.

Until the day comes we’re together again.”​


Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.

I’m following the path God has chosen for me.

I took His hand when I heard him call;

I turned my back and left it all.


I could not stay another day,

To laugh, to love, to work or play.

Tasks left undone must stay that way;

I’ve now found peace at the end of day.


If my parting has left a void,

Then fill it with remembered joys.

A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss;

Oh yes, these things, I too will miss.


Be not burdened with times of sorrow,

Look for the sunshine of tomorrow.

My life’s been full, I savored much;

Good friends, good times, a loved ones touch.


Perhaps my time seems all too brief;

Don’t lengthen your pain with undue grief.

Lift up your heart and peace to thee,

God wanted me now He set me free.


Those we love remain with us for love itself lives on,

and cherished memories never fade because a loved one’s gone.

Those we love can never be more than a thought apart,

for as long as there is memory, they’ll live on in the heart.


When I come to the end of my journey

And I travel my last weary mile,

Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned

And remember only the smile.


Forget unkind words I have spoken,

Remember some good I have done.

Forget that I ever had heartache,

And remember I’ve had loads of fun.


Forget that I’ve stumbled and blundered,

And sometimes fell by the way.

Remember I have fought some hard battles,

And won, ere the close of the day.


Then forget to grieve for my going.

I would not have you sad for a day,

But in summer just gather some flowers,

And remember the place where I lay.


And come in the shade of evening

When the sun paints the sky in the west.

Stand for a few moments beside me,

And remember only my best.


Should you go first and I remain

to walk the road alone

I’ll live in memory’s garden, dear

with happy days we’ve known

in Spring I’ll wait for roses red,

when fades the lilacs blue,

in early fall, when brown leaves call

I’ll catch a glimpse of you

Should you go first, and I remain

for battles to be fought,

each thing you’ve touched along the way

will be a hallowed spot

I’ll hear your voice;

I’ll see your smile,

though blindly I may grope

the memory of your helping hand

will buoy me on with hope

Should you go first and I remain

to finish with the scroll,

no length’ning shadows ahall creep in

to make this life seem droll

We’ve known so much of happiness

we’ve had our cup of joy,

and memory is one gift of God

that death cannot destroy

Should you go first and I remain,

one thing I’d have you do;

walk slowly down that long, lone path,

for soon I’ll follow you

I’ll want to know each step you take

that I may walk the same,

for someday down that lonely road

you’ll hear me call your name


Last night I had a dream. I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonged to me, the other to the Lord.


After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.


This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”


The Lord replied, “My precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of suffering, when you could see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”


Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.

I am not there. I did not die.


I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.

I’d like to leave an after glow

of smiles when life is finally done.

I’d like to leave an echo

whispering softly down the ways.

Of happy times and laughing times

and bright and sunny days.

I’d like the tears of those who grieve,

to dry before the sun.

Of happy memories that I leave,

when life is finally done.


When I am gone, release me, and let me go,

I have so many things to see and do.

You must not tie yourselves to me with tears,

Be happy that we had so many years.

I gave to you my love, but you can only guess,

How much you gave to me in happiness.

I thank you for the love you have shown,

But now it’s time I traveled on alone.

So grieve awhile for me, if you must,

Then let grief be comforted by trust.

It’s only a for short time that we must part,

So bless the memories with your heart.

I won’t be far away, but life goes on,

So if you need me, call and I will come.

Though you can’t see me or touch me... I’ll be near,

With all of my love around you soft and clear

And when this way you must come,

I’ll greet you with a smile and a ‘Welcome home’.


Don’t look for the flaws as you go through life;

And even when you find them,

It is wise and kind to be somewhat blind

And look for the virtue behind them.

For the cloudiest night has a hint of light

Somewhere in its shadows hiding;

It is better by far to hunt for a star,

Than the spots on the sun abiding.


The current of life runs ever away

To the bosom of God’s great ocean.

Don’t set your force ‘gainst the river’s course

And think to alter its motion.

Don’t waste a curse on the universe—

Remember it lived before you.

Don’t butt at the storm with your puny form,

But bend and let it go o’er you.


The world will never adjust itself

To suit your whims to the letter.

Some things must go wrong your whole life long,

And the sooner you know it the better.

It is folly to fight with the infinite,

And go under at last in the wrestle;

The wiser man shapes into God’s plan.


I cannot let you grieve for me,

For those who love must let us go.

In comfort, please believe I’m free,

From all the pain life can bestow,

As I begin my world anew,

Consider not what used to be,

I’m sending happy smiles to you

While I enjoy eternity.

Lord, bless the home

From which I came,

Yet brush each lonely hour away,

With fond remembrance of my name,

And a sunshine for a newer day.

Look to the wind to find me there,

Beside the hardest thing you do.

I’ve left my love within this prayer

I’m always watching over you.


Don’t think of her as gone away,

Her journey’s just begun.

Life holds so many facets,

This Earth is only one.

Just think of her as resting

From the sorrow and the tears,

In a place of warmth and comfort

Where there are no days and years.

Think how she must be wishing

That we could know today,

How nothing but our sadness

Can really pass away.

And think of her as living

In the hearts of those she touched,

For nothing loved is ever lost

And she was loved so much.


Sunset and evening star

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea,


But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.


Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark;


For though from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crossed the bar.


We thought of you with love today,

but that is nothing new.

We thought about you yesterday,

and days before that, too.

We think of you in silence,

we often speak your name.

All we have are memories,

and your picture in a frame.

Your memory is our keepsake,

with which we will never part.

God has you in His keeping,

we have you in our hearts.


Fill not your hearts with pain and sorrow,

but remember me in every tomorrow.

Remember the joy, the laughter, the smiles,

I’ve only gone to rest a little while.

Although my leaving causes pain and grief,

my going has eased my hurt, and given me relief.

So dry your eyes and remember me,

not as I am now, but as I used to be.

Because I will remember you all, and look on with a smile.

Understand in your hearts, I’ve only gone to rest a little while.

As long as I have the love of each of you,

I can live my life in the hearts of all of you.


I am home in Heaven, dear ones;

Oh, so happy and so bright!

There is perfect joy and beauty

In this everlasting light.


All the pain and grief is over,

Every restless tossing passed;

I am now at peace forever,

Safely home in Heaven at last.


There is work still waiting for you,

So you must not idly stand;

Do it now, while life remaineth–

You shall rest in God’s own land.


When that work is all completed,

He will gently call you Home;

Ah, the rapture of that meeting,

Oh, the joy to see you come!

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