Old Man’s Advice To Grieving Woman Goes Viral

by Emerald Pellot
Emerald Pellot graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a degree in Writing & Popular Culture. She worked as Senior Editor of College Candy for 2 years, covering feminism, popular culture, and college life before joining LittleThings in 2015. Based in New York City, Emerald covers a wide range of topics from human interest pieces to celebrity news.

There is nothing more devastating or heartbreaking than losing a loved one. Whether they’re a friend, partner, family member or even a beloved animal, the grieving process is real — the pain never really goes away.

When one woman on Reddit lost her best friend, she was deeply mourning, talking to strangers on the internet for advice.

Fortunately, a self-proclaimed “old man” was in the mix of commenters who offered her tidbits of knowledge on how to deal with loss. However, what this “old man” said was so deeply powerful and eloquent that it has since been shared thousands of times.

Sometimes the advice from someone we don’t know with a little more life experience is the only thing that can help us.

One man shared his difficult relationship with his father, and it was a little girl who forgave the dad that abandoned her, that helped him.

Wow. Thank you for this. I lost my dad a little over a year ago. This is exactly how it felt; it’s how it still feels. I have not been able to accurately put it into words, so that I could explain the feeling to those close to me, such as my girlfriend, when she asks me how I’m doing,” one commenter wrote.

Thank you for this. My voice will be just another drop in the well, but that was beautiful,” another said.

Read this beautiful passage on handling loss and love.

SHARE if you know a family of friend who could use this wisdom right now!

A grieving Reddit user needed some advice. She said: “My friend died. I don’t know what to do.” However, when one self-proclaimed “old man” responded with this beautiful advice, everyone was blown away.


Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.”


“I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to ‘not matter.’ I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it.

Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.”


“As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph.

Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.”


“In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out.

But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.”


“Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself.

And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.”


“Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”

SHARE if you have felt this way about a lost loved one before.