When Money Complicates Our Grief


Against the Grief Wall

Financial issues are naturally stressful. So is loss. Put the two together, and the pressure can be overwhelming and frustrating.

Though the following article is adapted from Comfort for the Grieving Spouse's Heart: Hope and Healing After Losing Your Partner. No matter what your loss, chances are you will be able to relate to the Grieving Heart below.  Loss is expensive, in many ways. Our hearts just want to be free to love and to grieve.




I wish money wasn’t such a big deal. It can be such a pain — and so stressful.

You left and I don’t know where anything is. At least, that’s the way it feels. Bills keep coming. There are more expenses than I could have imagined. Losing you was enough. I don’t want to have to worry about money, too.

Just having to think about finances is frustrating – even infuriating at times. There are too many decisions to make. A new decision pops up every day, if not every hour.

I miss you and want to grieve. Frankly, I could care less about money right now. And yet, I’m worried about it too.

I resent money right now. I resent all these decisions that have to be made. I resent having to talk to the bank, Social Security, insurance companies, and all the rest.

Everyone wants proof of this or that. I can’t get into this or that account. I need a death certificate for this, and another one for that. Th ere’s a waiting period for this. I have to wait on probate for that.

I’m drowning in paperwork and details. I feel angry and scared.

You’re not here. It’s just me now.

I suddenly feel nauseated.


Money can be a source of stress in grief. 

Financial management can be stressful even in settled seasons of our lives. When a spouse departs, money issues quickly descend upon us from every direction. Like ocean waves, things to do and decisions that must be made keep rolling in. Our already broken hearts can feel further battered and bruised. 

Bills. Phone calls. Death certificates. Banks. Social Security. Insurance. Utilities. Name changes, additions, and removals. Car titles. Real estate deeds. Investments. The list goes on and on. 

We can feel violated. We’re stunned and feel immobilized. We’re grieving and the emotions are intense. We’re missing our mates desperately. These details – which we know are important and can’t be ignored – invade and nip away at us. Decisions relentlessly poke and prod our already sensitive souls. Our minds reel under the weight of a to-do list we didn’t want or ask for. 

Now everything falls on you. All the world is looking to you for a yes, a no, a signature, or an action of some kind. And the monetary issues we needed an answer about yesterday seem to all come with a large label that says, “Wait.”

And in our digital age, finances are inevitably linked to usernames, passwords, and security questions. We understand the reasons for these measures, but they can be overwhelming at a time when intense grief is pounding our system. If we don’t have a handy and easily understandable list of our financial information ready for such emergencies, these details can tip us over the edge and into feeling overwhelmed. 

Though frustrating, these financial matters are part of our grief journey. Let the emotions come. Find healthy ways to express them – talking out loud, writing in a journal, sharing with others, etc. Look for some helpful, healthy people who can walk with you through this. 

We grieve one step, one moment at a time.  

Affirmation: Money and financial matters can be frustrating and draining. I’ll handle them one at a time.


Adapted from Comfort for the Grieving Spouse's Heart: Hope and Healing After Losing Your Partner.  Watch the brief book trailer here.


About the Author

Gary Roe is an author, speaker, and chaplain with Hospice Brazos Valley. He is the author of the award-winning bestsellers Shattered: Surviving the Loss of a Child, Please Be Patient, I'm Grieving, HEARTBROKEN: Healing from the Loss of a Spouse, and Surviving the Holidays without You and the co-author (with New York Times Bestseller Cecil Murphey) of Saying Goodbye: Facing the Loss of a Loved One. Visit him at www.garyroe.com.