Learn and Plan | Dealing with grief after a loss: how life insurance can help
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Dealing with grief after a loss: how life insurance can help

Apr 29, 2024, 6:32:11 PM | Reading Time: 5 minutes

The loss of a loved one can lead to a whole range of emotions and processing grief can look very different from person to person. In addition to being emotionally stressful, a family member’s death can also be very financially overwhelming, especially if there is no plan in place to cover expenses and day-to-day bills. Life insurance is designed to help replace income, pay for funeral costs, and alleviate some of the financial hardship that can follow a loss. Here is a closer look at how to cope when someone you love has died and ways that life insurance can ease the burden during this difficult time.

dealing with grief after loss

Coping with the loss of a loved one

Dealing with loss, especially immediately following a loved one’s death, can be an all-consuming experience. Along with sorrow, you may feel anger, anxiety, guilt, fear, or disbelief. You may also experience physical symptoms like loss of appetite, weight changes, sleep difficulties and fatigue.

In the article, Coping with Grief and Loss, researchers cite a study by psychiatrist Dr. Kubler-Ross who introduced the five stages of grief, which has become a common framework for the feelings people experience following a loss. The five stages include:

  1.  Denial: This can’t be happening to me
  2.  Anger: Why has this happened? This is unfair and unjust
  3.  Bargaining: What if I had done this…I could have changed the outcome
  4.  Depression: I am too sad to do anything or participate in life
  5.  Acceptance: I am at peace with what happened

Remember, grief is a very personal experience and you may go through all of these stages, only a few, or jump back and forth between them. Give yourself the space and time to process the way that’s best for you.

What is the best way to deal with grief?

There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief, but there are some actions you can take that can help you process your loss and offer support as you heal and begin to move forward.

Honor customs and celebrate life

However your family, culture, or religion chooses to honor someone who has passed; taking part in this ritual can be a meaningful way to celebrate the life of your loved one and begin to come to terms with their departure. As time goes on, you may want to find ways to recognize this person every year; even if it’s a small ritual you do within your own family to keep their memory alive.

Express your grief

Holding your feelings inside can often cause more distress and hold you back from processing your loss. If you feel comfortable, try talking with family or friends, a grief counselor, or a therapist. You can also journal about your experience or write a letter to your loved one who passed. Oftentimes, sharing your emotions can relieve some of the pain of this difficult time.

Seek help

Beyond seeking emotional support, you may also need to turn to someone you trust to help with any immediate decisions. When dealing with grief, having to confront any challenges, especially financial ones, may just feel too overwhelming. Find a friend or family member who can help you map out the problem, brainstorm possible solutions, and determine a necessary plan and timeframe. Creating a strategy may give you a little more time to get in a better headspace to make important decisions.

One way to help protect your family from financial hardship and having to make immediate decisions during a difficult time is through life insurance protection. Acting as a financial safety net, benefits from a policy can be used for a variety of purposes and allow surviving family members to focus on remembering their loved one instead of worrying about money.

How life Insurance can help with final expenses

Upon the death of an insured person, the beneficiary—typically a spouse, partner, or family member—will file a claim with the life insurance company. This is usually paid in a lump sum benefit and can be used to pay for a variety of needs, including funeral or burial costs.

What does life insurance cover?

Along with paying for final expenses, life insurance benefits can be used to cover day-to-day expenses like the rent or mortgage, pay off debt, create an emergency fund, or to put funds toward retirement or a child’s education. Some policies even offer living benefits, where the insured can access a portion of the death benefit while they’re still alive and are diagnosed with a qualifying illness.

How life insurance helps families cope

Grieving is one of the hardest and most painful parts of life, but also a universal experience we all face. Whether someone you love had a life insurance policy or you’re looking for ways to protect your family from the unexpected, life insurance coverage can help create a more secure future, and lessen the stress and uncertainty of the grieving process.

By alleviating some of the financial stress that can often follow a loss, family members can spend less time worrying about paying bills or having to make an immediate decision like moving or selling their house and can spend more time processing their grief and making room to heal.