Facing death's reality--telling and retelling the events around the loss, dealing with both good and bad memories, and perhaps pilgrimages to the grave or other significant places. Each time we face the death, it becomes more real to us and we are better able to deal with it.
Embracing our pain--coping well does not necessarily mean "holding up well." It often means the opposite. Give your pain an outlet. Make time to think, talk or write about it, cry, or shout. Take on a small dose here and there as you are able.
Remembering--You still have a relationship with your loved one. You reminisce, remember, and dream. Your home, mementos, mannerisms, etc. show his or her influence. If we deny that, we increase our pain. People may urge you to get rid of mementos, the home you shared, etc. They feel this will help you recover. The opposite is true. Remembering the past helps us build a healthy future.
Becoming yourself again--I am not only "me"; I am also a spouse, parent, and child. Relationships influence our roles and how we see ourselves. When a loved one dies, our identity changes. Meeting those changes squarely helps us learn who we are now, and grow into our changed world.
Looking for meaning--We ask tough, "forbidden" questions. "Why did this happen? Why now? How could God do this?" It's normal to question values, faith, and philosophy because relationships involve those. Death reminds us how powerless we are and how little we understand. Powerful spiritual people--like David and Moses--asked these questions.
Receiving support--Others who have mourned offer us "experience, strength, and hope." Find support people who listen unconditionally, try to understand, and realize that healing takes a long time. They will allow you the freedom to mourn as long as you need.
These signposts don't point us to a painless life. We have suffered a loss. We will remember and miss that person. These signposts will lead to a whole life rather than a life stuck in grief.