Why Grief Often Heightens During Spring and Summer


“Every May, my mom helped me plant a garden. She died last fall and I tear up even thinking about shopping for flowers without her.”

“When the weather would warm up, my grandpa made his famous BBQ chicken just about every weekend. Now that he’s gone, even the smell of a cookout makes me sad.”

“My older brother loved summer in Milwaukee. Since his death, I’ve avoided thinking about how I would feel when June rolled around – and now it’s almost here.”

Every year around this time, our staff at Krause Funeral Homes hears from family, friends, and neighbors who unexpectedly face a new wave of grief following the death of a loved one. After all, with so many months of being cooped up, those in Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Brookfield look forward to sunny, warm days. Surely their mood will lift after a long winter. Yet many who have lost someone close to them feel worse than before. Some even say that grieving during summertime can feel downright excruciating, in part because everyone else seems to be having the time of their lives.

Indeed, during the winter, it’s much easier to stay inside, avoid loved ones, and skip out on social gatherings. But once the weather warms up, feelings of sadness and depression can deepen as those around you are happier, more active, and excited to enjoy all Wisconsin has to offer.

This pain only intensifies as each new season brings new memories of the person who has died, along with the realization that you can no longer share experiences together.  Revisiting these special times can be painful and difficult, and may seem like a setback in the grieving process. But here’s what is important to remember: Grief is not a typical emotion, nor is it predictable.

When emotions hit, when you feel blah or numb or antisocial, keep in mind that there is no timetable for grief. Experiencing the death of someone close to you doesn’t create a set of feelings that can be worked through in six months or a year. It’s not about moving on; it’s about adapting over time and dealing with the loss in a way that helps you. This might mean meeting with a counselor or support group, writing in a journal, or turning to those around you who offer encouragement and a listening ear.

Grief changes us – and this is even more complicated as we face the added uncertainty during the COVID-19 crisis. This summer will have added layers of loss, as events are postponed and cancelled, and every Milwaukeean is affected in different ways.

We’ve been helping families in the area for more than 80 years now and have many connections and numerous resources available. For immediate support and to learn more about the grieving process, check out our Guiding Grief Interactive Online Help. You will be guided through steps to help you find answers to many questions about grief and suggestions for your own healing or help with someone else’s healing.

Losing a loved one changes life forever. But it is possible to grieve in a healthy way. If you ever need a helping hand or listening ear, please remember we’re always here for you.

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