What is healthy or unhealthy behavior while grieving?

My name is Jamie. I am very new to this community, though I am not new to the world of grief. I lost my mother about 11 years ago when I was 25. Just recently 8/17/2019 last week I lost my soulmate and best friend. He was 38 years old and it was totally unexpected. We are still waiting on he autopsy results to confirm but it is believed that it was cardiac arrest. He was living part time at my house and part time at his moms. On the day that he passed I found him unresponsive at my home and called 911. I did chest compressions until EMS arrived and took over but they were on unable to revive him. Travis and I had a very unsteady past when it came to our relationship. We had been in and out of a relationship with each other since the age of 13. The universe has always found a way to bring us back together. This time we had great plans to get married and stay together forever. Now that you have the back story I can ask the original question is it unhealthy to do things like wear his clothes to bed? Use his pillow and blanket? Or just spray his cologne so that I can smell him for a minute? And since we weren’t married yet is it bad for me to stay in touch with his family? Thank you in advance and I am sorry for the long story as I am still very early in my stages of grief. Wishing you all the best.


morning so sorry for your loss, it is 15 months since my husband of 50 years passed away suddenly. I still spray his deodorant around the bathroom and on one of his favourite shirts. it is not unhealthy at all. there’s no time limit on grief nor is there an easy fix.

our grief is personal to each and every one of us, everyone on here understands and supports each other.

please take comfort in what ever helps you at this very difficult and emotional time.



Dear Jamie
Words do not exist to describe the devastating shock of losing a loved one. Even more so when their passing is so sudden. In my view you are honouring Travis’s memory by doing what you are doing. It will also bring the love you still have for him closer and help with the grieving process. My lovely wife of 50yrs passed away nearly 2 months ago. We slept in seperate beds due to her various illnesses. On the day she passed I slept that night in her bed and did not change the bedsheets until it was totally necessary. And I continue to sleep in her bed. So you see I’ve been doing something similar to you and I strongly suspect most others going through such a grieving trauma do similar things. Believe me my friend there are no rights or wrongs in anything we do to bring comfort in our hour of need and loss.

Love and Light.

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Hi Jamie. For goodness sake no! Nothing is ever right or wrong. You do what you want to do. Grieving is very much an individual process and whatever you do will be ‘normal’ for you. We get so caught up with guilt when it’s entirely unnecessary.
You loved your partner and that’s really all that matters.
Love will carry on in spite of anything. The love in your heart will never diminish.
If you want to stay in touch with his family why not? You need all the help you can get, and you should try and get help.
It looks as if you live in the US so I can’t suggest any services for bereavement, but I am sure there are some. Thank God for the internet and your ability to come on here. Everyone knows and we all feel for you.
Don’t ever be sorry for unloading on here. That’s what it’s about.
You are very early in grief so take your time and take it easy. You will never forget but the pain often eases as we press on.
Blessings and take care.

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I appreciate your kind words, I am working with my therapist who is wonderful and am surrounded by many caring supportive people. But I do not think I could handle this loss without a professional.

Thank you all for your kind words and support.

Carry on, your doing it right. I wear my husbands clothes (that fit), I spray after shave around the bedroom, I have his toothbrush etc still in it’s place in the bathroom. His slippers are in front of his chair. I sleep on his side of the bed and hug his pillow and for a while had a jacket of his by me. I have given away my garden furniture as I couldn’t imagine wanting to sit out there again but I kept his garden seat and I sat on it today for the first time since he died (November). As for Travis’s family if they still want to be in touch then great, you need support,
Keep posting if you want support, everyone here understands and never be sorry for your story, this is what we all do, this forum has helped so many of us and still does…
Good luck and take care

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Geoff, please don’t take this the wrong way but I do feel I must make a point as I have seen the following comment quite a bit lately.

Your words. “The devastating shock of losing a loved one, even more so when their passing is so sudden”
My husband and I had ten years together after he was diagnosed with Cancer, he shouldn’t have lived this amount in weeks but with the Therapy that we chose he did. However I can assure you that it is just as devastating when you do lose them. I spent ten years of my life worrying myself sick about him (although he was fit and well for most of that time). Working out diets and lifestyle, praying for another year together each New Year. Thanking God for the year we had just had. It was a form of physical and mental torture and when he did start to deteriorate after nine years I knew what the outcome was to be. My every second was occupied with this on my mind. Could I do more. I cried and prayed harder than ever and when he became so very ill in his last months I decided that I would nurse him single handed and I prayed again for the strength both physically and mentally. I thought I had prepared myself for that final moment as I held him when he passed. You would have thought I would have, after all that time, but no, the realisation hit me like a bombshell and I am still trying to recover from that torturous time and the trauma of losing Brian, watching such a good man suffer so much pain will haunt me forever…
By the way I lost my fit, healthy, non smoking, non drinking, lovely father in his forties as he sat in his armchair My mother didn’t even know he had gone, that’s how sudden so I know both sides of the coin and the devastation and shock of a loss no matter how you lose a person you love so very, very much.
Take care Geoff and all the best to you.


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Hi Pat
Sorry my terminology wasn’t to your liking. But I’m trying to get over the passing of my wife through terminal pancreatic cancer. What else is there to say to someone else’s posts? The usual “I’m sorry for your loss.” ? I’m off out of this site.I don’t need to be judged when I’m devestated at her passing.

Love and Light


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Hi Jamie, l lost my husband and soul mate suddenly in May this year. We met at school at 15. He was 63 when he died. I am heartbroken, and yes, l sleep in Peter’s tee shirts, and spray his aftershave around our home. I am so glad l found this forum, and appreciate that l am not on my own with this awful pain in my heart. I visit this forum every night, and reading the messages gives me so much comfort and strength to carry on, and hopefully it will for you too. Sadly we are all on this journey together. Take care of yourself, and keep doing what gives you comfort. Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Sandra F

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Geoff ,
I can only echo your words about the devastating shock of losing a loved one, especially when the loss is so sudden.

My partner went out , collapsed , by the time I got to the hospital it was too late. No previous warning. After 47 years together to have no chance to say goodbye is beyond cruel.
People have said to me " it was so quick what a way to go" they have no idea what they’re talking about.

The shock has totally destroyed me and after 17 months I can find no peace of mind and no reason to carry on living. I don’t think I ever will get over the shock of that night.

There is no good way to lose a loved one and I have experienced both .

Your words were understanding and supportive and I hope you keep posting in this site.
You’ve obviously got a wide experience of life and we need people like you on here.
Take care , Jx

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Hi Jamie I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, nothing you do is wrong grief is a very personal thing I recently lost my husband 4 weeks ago suddenly to cancer I speak to him everyday tell him how much I love him and always will I go to bed at night with pillows, a photo and anything else i need to get me through it’s a wonder I can get in the bed lol you keep doing what you need to to get you through, talk to people about him especially his family they will help get you through this horrible time. Take care sending big hugs xxx

Oh please Geoff no! Don’t leave the site, your posts are a great help to many. Please don’t feel angry. Pat is one of the kindest people on here and would never deliberately cause offense. It’s so easy to misunderstand and we are all raw with emotion.
Please reconsider. Take care.

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Dear Geoff
Can I please second Jonathan’s reply…don’t go because someone else in pain wrote something that sparked more pain in you! Grief does strange things to our thought processes and sometimes the most innocent of remarks can set us back.
Watching someone suffer is horrendous…the watcher drowns slowly: suddenly losing someone without warning is like being struck by a tsunami…there is nothing good in either analogy but the resultant grief and pain is universal.
Like everyone here, yours and Pattidot’s words spring from your particular loss but both of you have reached out to help the rest of us…and those posts have certainly helped me so thank you both.
Take care x


Geoff, I was very careful how I worded my post and it was only my experience of loss no one else’s and no matter how we lose our loved ones it can be so terribly traumatic and life changing. Neither is what any of us would choose or want. Not sure how that was judging you.
I know that I would never have the strength to cope with watching someone I loved so much die so slowly and painfully again. I prayed at night as I lay on the floor by his bed for God to take him and release the terrible pain and confusion that I was watching. I felt so helpless and useless as well. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. I loved that man so much.
Which death would I have chosen for him, suddenly with no pain or long drawn out, intense pain and fear but with more time together. I can’t say that. I do know that I see his pain every day.
Perhaps I should be off as well, as it has been said recently, ‘I don’t want to have to tread on eggshells.’ I just want to help if at all possible.

Hi. Pat. Misunderstandings will occur. We are all on an emotional knife edge. It doesn’t take much to upset us. You do help, a lot. I think that provided we stick to the guidelines on the site then we can still express an opinion within a very wide range.
No one wants to cause offense, and no on would do it deliberately.
Best let it all be. I see no reason for anyone to leave the site. That would be a really sad.
Love and best wishes.

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I do hope that Geoff has decided to stay in the group, he has been a very supportive member since joining and I feel gave balanced posts/replies. I personally felt a connection in his reference to the impact of sudden loss. It wasn’t made in comparison to the anguish of loss after a protracted path and associated pain for our loved ones and ourselves. My experience was the pain of my husband’s terminal cancer diagnosis at 66, our wish that we would bring my husband home, only to lose him to a catastrophic bleed after staying by his hospital bed 24/7. I’d nursed him from midnight to 3am. Exhausted we both fell asleep only for me to awake and see him at the end of his life. This was both sudden and traumatic. I have if course reflected that his suffering ended and he was spared from so much pain but that doesn’t stop us wishing we had been given more time with him. This may have prepared us for his death, perhaps not. I am sure that we all share our experience on this site in an honest way, not intending to cause upset to anyone or taking anything away from another persons experience.

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Hi Jamie,

I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of Travis, and I’m glad that you’ve had such supportive responses from our community. I hope that they have helped to reassure you that it is not unhealthy to do things that help you feel closer to him. There is a theory of grief called Continuing Bonds, which says that it is normal and healthy to continue to feel a sense of connection to a loved one who has died. Things like keeping their possessions, talking to them, or writing to them can be part of this. If anyone would like to read more, this is a helpful article: https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-concept-care-continuing-bonds/

Hi you do what you need to do to help you. We all react and behave differently no one has a right to judge they are not in your shoes. Of course you should stay in touch with his family if it is what both parties want/need.
I’m sorry for your loss take care x

Hi liz123
My husband passed away 9 weeks ago and I too keep his photo beside me on the bed sleep on his pillow and spray his favourite jumper with his deodorant and aftershave . It does help a bit although nothing takes the pain away of losing your soulmate . I still cry every day every time I look at his photo and relive those last cruel weeks of his 5 months illness . I have fantastic friends and family to support me but the worst part is in the evenings when we used to chat about our day . Now there is just silence except for the tv how do you get used to that ? I do still speak to him like you do and feel that the love we had has grown even more since his passing . I don’t know about you but I feel lost and can’t find my direction at the moment without him . It is so comforting reading about other people’s thoughts and experiences making me feel that I am no different to everyone else who is grieving .