A Griever’s Right to Choose Their Path

There is no one path that a griever should walk. There is not even a right path. There is only your path.

As a griever, you are already walking a path that you did not ask to be on. The death of your loved one washed away the life path you were walking with them, and thrust you onto this unwanted and lonely path of grief and loss. A path that initially appears to lead nowhere.

You are left trying to find a passage that will eventually lead you out of the darkness and back to a place where you can begin to repair the pieces of your heart and the fragments of your altered life.

A griever has the right to choose which direction will be the most healing for their heart, even if others around them don’t understand or agree with their choices.

We all grieve in our own way, in our own time, with our own thoughts about God, and our own personal beliefs.


Some grievers choose to forge their own path, finding their own solutions as to what will help them heal their grieving hearts

Other grievers prefer to follow a well-traveled path that has been laid out for them by others. They rely on methods and organized beliefs that have worked for other grievers.

Both paths are valid.

Forge your own path, or follow an already established trail.

This choice is the griever’s alone to make.

You may start down one path and realize that it is not right for you. Listen to your heart. Your heart is your inner compass and can help to guide you when you need to change direction. Sometimes you will have to walk many paths to finally arrive at the one that is meant for you.


As grievers, we all share a common experience: Pain and loss.

As grievers, we are all focused on the same goal: Healing our broken hearts.

Society doesn’t always understand our pain, or our choices. When we are judged to be grieving poorly, or to have chosen the wrong path, we are only put in more pain.

Sometimes other grievers don’t understand our path either, and that is especially difficult. As grievers, we should do our best to support, and not judge, other grievers. We should have respect and tolerance for other grievers who may be on a different path than our own.

There are many paths that all lead to the same destination: Healing.

Your God may be different than my God. That is ok.

Your culture, and how you perceive death and the afterlife, may be different than how my culture views death and the afterlife. That is ok.

Everyone who is grieving is fighting a tough battle. We may not understand someone else’s path, but that is ok, it is not our path to understand.

As a griever, you have rights. You have the right to choose your individual path to healing.

Do not let anyone else block your path with their version of how your grief should look, how your faith in God should look, or how your beliefs should look.

Don’t let anyone stop you from walking your path.

This path is yours to choose, and yours to walk.

Stay the course.

Find your True North.

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You can find my book The Other Side of Complicated Grief here:


4 thoughts on “A Griever’s Right to Choose Their Path

  1. nancy

    Thank you for an excellent description of our journey through grief. I have lost both my children to addiction and the shame I receive from others is unbelievable! I am a recovering addict myself (20 years!) so I am to blame, especially by their father. He is an active alcoholic and I choose not to speak to him, but I am full of anger and resentment towards him. I need to find an outlet for my anger.


    1. Rhonda O'Neill

      Nancy, I’m so sorry the tragic losses of both of your children. I also have addiction in my family, my ex-husband and one of my adult daughters, who thank goodness has been in recovery for about a year. I also feel my ex influenced our children to engage in alcohol and drugs and have no contact with him either. If only we could go back and see the warning signs and do things differently. But, we can’t, and we are left to deal with the reality of the fallout. I hope you can find an outlet for your anger. I was also angry for many years. I finally realized the anger wasn’t helping me any and I was eventually able to let it go. Be prepared though, sometimes once you get over your anger what is left is a pretty significant depression which is also hard to deal with. Sending you strength and hugs as you go through your journey. Rhonda


    2. Rhonda O'Neill

      Nancy, I’m so sorry about the loss of your children to addiction. One of my children also has addiction issues and I know how heart breaking it is to watch them self-destruct. My ex is still an addict and alcoholic, so I understand all of the anger and resentment you feel. If you haven’t seen my blog on how unresolved grief and anger can make you sick, please take some time to read through it. Your anger and resentment and really set you back on your healing journey and can also make you physically ill. Sending you strength. Rhonda


  2. Vikki Plants

    Thank you for this website. I am very sorry for your loss. My older brother died on January 17, 2016 he was only 52, he too was an addict. He sat down on a bench (alone) and left us completely. It has been a very hard road for all of us.
    I just wanted to thank you.
    God bless,


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