Essays About Losing a Loved One: Top 5 Examples

Writing essays about losing a loved one can be challenging; discover our helpful guide with essay examples and writing prompts to help you begin writing. 

One of the most basic facts of life is that it is unpredictable. Nothing on this earth is permanent, and any one of us can pass away in the blink of an eye. But unfortunately, they leave behind many family members and friends who will miss them very much whenever someone dies.

The most devastating news can ruin our best days, affecting us negatively for the next few months and years. When we lose a loved one, we also lose a part of ourselves. Even if the loss can make you feel hopeless at times, finding ways to cope healthily, distract yourself, and move on while still honoring and remembering the deceased is essential.

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5 Top Essay Examples

1. Losing a Loved One by Louis Barker

“I managed to keep my cool until I realized why I was seeing these familiar faces. Once the service started I managed to keep my emotions in tack until I saw my grandmother break down. I could not even look up at her because I thought about how I would feel in the same situation. Your life can change drastically at any moment. Do not take life or the people that you love for granted, you are only here once.”

Barker reflects on how he found out his uncle had passed away. The writer describes the events leading up to the discovery, contrasting the relaxed, cheerful mood and setting that enveloped the house with the feelings of shock, dread, and devastation that he and his family felt once they heard. He also recalls his family members’ different emotions and mannerisms at the memorial service and funeral. 

2. Personal reflections on coping and loss by Adrian Furnham 

“Most people like to believe that they live in a just, orderly and stable world where good wins out in the end. But what if things really are random? Counselors and therapists talk about the grief process and grief stages. Given that nearly all of us have experienced major loss and observed it in others, might one expect that people would be relatively sophisticated in helping the grieving?”

Furnham, a psychologist, discusses the stages of grief and proposes six different responses to finding out about one’s loss or suffering: avoidance, brief encounters, miracle cures, real listeners, practical help, and “giving no quarter.” He discusses this in the context of his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis, after which many people displayed these responses. Finally, Furnham mentions the irony that although we have all experienced and observed losing a loved one, no one can help others grieve perfectly.

3. Losing My Mom Helped Me Become a Better Parent by Trish Mann

“When I look in the mirror, I see my mom looking back at me from coffee-colored eyes under the oh-so-familiar crease of her eyelid. She is still here in me. Death does not take what we do not relinquish. I have no doubt she is sitting beside me when I am at my lowest telling me, ‘You can do this. You got this. I believe in you.’”

In Mann’s essay, she tries to see the bright side of her loss; despite the anguish she experienced due to her mother’s passing. Expectedly, she was incredibly depressed and had difficulty accepting that her mom was gone. But, on the other hand, she began to channel her mom into parenting her children, evoking the happy memories they once shared. She is also amused to see the parallels between her and her kids with her and her mother growing up. 

4. Reflection – Dealing with grief and loss by Joe Joyce

“Now I understood that these feelings must be allowed expression for as long as a person needs. I realized that the “don’t cry” I had spoken on many occasions in the past was not of much help to grieving persons, and that when I had used those words I had been expressing more my own discomfort with feelings of grief and loss than paying attention to the need of mourners to express them.”

Joyce, a priest, writes about the time he witnessed the passing of his cousin on his deathbed. Having experienced this loss right as it happened, he was understandably shaken and realized that all his preachings of “don’t cry” were unrealistic. He compares this instance to a funeral he attended in Pakistan, recalling the importance of letting grief take its course while not allowing it to consume you. 

5. ​​Will We Always Hurt on The Anniversary of Losing a Loved One? by Anne Peterson

“Death. It’s certain. And we can’t do anything about that. In fact, we are not in control of many of the difficult circumstances of our lives, but we are responsible for how we respond to them. And I choose to honor their memory.”

Peterson discusses how she feels when she has to commemorate the anniversary of losing a loved one. She recalls the tragic deaths of her sister, two brothers, and granddaughter and describes her guilt and anger. Finally, she prays to God, asking him to help her; because of a combination of prayer and self-reflection, she can look back on these times with peace and hope that they will reunite one day. 

6 Thought-Provoking Writing Prompts on Essays About Losing A Loved One

1. Is Resilience Glorified in Society?

Essays About Losing A Loved One: Is resilience glorified in society?
This essay explores how glorifying resilience can prevent a person from healing from painful events

Society tends to praise those who show resilience and strength, especially in times of struggle, such as losing a loved one. However, praising a person’s resilience can prevent them from feeling the pain of loss and grief. This essay explores how glorifying resilience can prevent a person from healing from painful events. Be sure to include examples of this issue in society and your own experiences, if applicable.

2. How to Cope with a Loss

Loss is always tricky, especially involving someone close to your heart. Reflect on your personal experiences and how you overcame your grief for an effective essay. Create an essay to guide readers on how to cope with loss. If you can’t pull ideas from your own experiences, research and read other people’s experiences with overcoming loss in life.

3. Reflection on Losing a Loved One

If you have experienced losing a loved one, use this essay to describe how it made you feel. Discuss how you reacted to this loss and how it has impacted who you are today. Writing an essay like this may be sensitive for many. If you don’t feel comfortable with this topic, you can write about and analyze the loss of a loved one in a book, movie, or TV show you have seen. 

4. The Stages of Grief

Essays About Losing A Loved One: The Stages of Grief
In your essay, discuss each stages of grief and how they all connect

When we lose a loved one, grief is expected. There are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Discuss each one and how they all connect. You can write a compelling essay by including examples of how the different stages are manifested in books, television, and maybe even your own experiences. 

5. The Circle of Life

Death is often regarded as a part of a so-called “circle of life,” most famously shown through the film, The Lion King. In summary, it explains that life goes on and always ends with death. For an intriguing essay topic, reflect on this phrase and discuss what it means to you in the context of losing a loved one. For example, perhaps keeping this in mind can help you cope with the loss. 

6. How Different Cultures Commemorate Losing a Loved One

Different cultures have different traditions, affected by geography, religion, and history. Funerals are no exception to this; in your essay, research how different cultures honor their deceased and compare and contrast them. No matter how different they may seem, try finding one or two similarities between your chosen traditions. 

If you’d like to learn more, our writer explains how to write an argumentative essay in this guide.For help picking your next essay topic, check out our 20 engaging essay topics about family.

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  • Martin is an avid writer specializing in editing and proofreading. He also enjoys literary analysis and writing about food and travel.