Maria Menounos

Dianne Gray: Life After the Death of A Loved One

End of Life and Grief Doula Dianne Gray has helped Maria tremendously as she copes with the loss of her mother Litsa. Her tips got Maria through some of her toughest mourning moments. Dianne’s expertise not only comes from years of extensive research, but also from her 14-year experience as caregiver for her son Austin, who suffered from neurodegenerative brain iron accumulation disorders and died in 2005. She recently joined us on Better Together as Maria opens up on her mother’s 1 year death anniversary. The two discuss life after the death of a loved one, honoring late loved ones, building a new relationship with the remaining parent, proven scientific healing practices & more. 

Our 6 Key Takeaways From Dianne: 

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1. Start journaling

If you don’t know how to honor someone who has passed, start by writing down everything that they loved and go from there. But laying it all out on paper will help you figure out where to start. 

2. Understand Anticipatory grief

The first few years after her son died, Dianne would get nauseous and sick on the days preceding his death anniversary. This is called anticipatory grief – her body knew the day was coming before it arrived and all that grief started bubbling up again. Our body stores trauma and all that comes with it in ourselves.

3. Focus on remaining relationships

When you lose a parent, a new relationship will form with the remaining one. And it will be awkward, Dianne warns. They have to get to know you in a different way – you were the daughter that they took care of and now you are an adult that went through an incredibly difficult experience with them. One thing that may prove difficult is telling them what to do. As we get older, we tend to think we know what is best for our parents and we want to take care of them. But remember, they have the right to figure things out their own way and we can’t control them. 

4. Immerse yourself in nature 

It is scientifically proven that meditation, being in nature and being around water is healing. Bonus points if you can exercise in nature or near water. Music is also a great, free resource for mental health. Your brain actually creates new synopsys when listening to music, helping us heal. 

5. Remember, there is no right way to grieve 

Everyone’s journey is different. If you are crying everyday for a year, that is ok and if you stop crying after one week, that is ok too. Dianne does suggest looking into therapy if you seem to be stuck in your grief for a long time.

6. Your loved one never really die

Love is energy and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. If your relationship with someone who has passed is rooted in love, then their love can never leave you. It is around you all of the time and will always be with you.  


Maria Menounos guest Diane Gray on How to Cope with Death

Listen to our previous interview with Dianne here

For more episodes, check out Better Together with Maria Menounos, your Life Improvement series. 

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