The Artists’
Grief Deck

How-to

Welcome to the Artists’ Grief Deck. There is no correct way to use these cards, but we have these suggestions:

  • Set aside time for yourself to go through them
  • Find or make a space for yourself
  • Look closely at the images
  • Be open to the feelings that arise
Learn More
A photograph of a figurine with a round medallion-like head with eyes closed. The whole rest of the body of the figurine is swaddled in rough cloth, wrapped carefully like a small child.

A Grief Doll

This simple activity may help ease your transition. • Draw a portrait of your beloved departed • Rescue their handkerchief (or apron, or other cloth of theirs) • Make a Grief Doll and keep it un...

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Co-existing Feelings

Allow yourself space to feel many, sometimes seemingly conflicting, things at once. We rarely feel only one emotion at a time. Sadness, fear, anger, hope, relief, joy… these feelings can all co-exis...

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Grief Rituals Honor Sorrow

“Measure thy life by loss instead of gain, not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth. For love’s strength standeth in love’s sacrifice and whoso suffers most hast most to give.” – U...

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A print that shows an off-kilter forest of dead trees that appears to be wounded and are oozing black goo. The sky behind them is a deep crimson with a golden sun.

Addressing Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural part of the grief experience. For some, however, it may become problematic, interfering with daily life. What things help to decrease your anxiety? Activities such as deep-breathi...

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Remember Your Ancestors Generously

remember and count your ancestors generously you are not alone find the place that knows this inheritance well - the nook of your elbow, the curve of your hair let yourself feel some light - the wind...

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Resonance

"Don't forget about music during the hard times, it will help you." These were my dad's dying words. Choose a piece of music that speaks to you in the moment. Create an intentional listening space by...

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A colorful, roughly-brushed painting that features tree-like figures with orange and yellow leaves, and other items in gray and brown and blue that may refer to the built environment.

Tune Your Senses

Look outside a window. Take note of the neighborhood you’re in, with all your senses. Sense the familiar or unfamiliar smells that are almost barely detectable. Hear the sounds that freely move and...

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Combating the Finitude of the Grave

You find a deer mouse lifeless at your doorstep and bury it in the yard. Place your pencil on the page where you imagine the grave. Now begin to trace the contour of the mouse: the skeleton, the pulmo...

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A very dark abstract painting oriented vertically. The grey, ghostly forms seem to drag down the frame weighting down the bottom.

Distraction From Grief

Distraction from grief is a healthy coping strategy. It is not necessary to experience grief intensely 100% of the time to move through your journey in a health manner. “Taking a break” from the g...

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A photograph of a white person's hand holding a photograph of an older white woman. In the background is a large body of water.

Carry Them With You

Find or create a likeness of your lost loved one. It could be a photograph, a small sculpture, an object that belonged to the person or something else. Choose something that represents them at their b...

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A painting of a Black woman's bust against a field of pink flowers. She has her eyes closed and is weeping.

Welcoming Tears

Patiently wait for the tears to come. When they arrive, soften your belly and welcome them. Capture the image of your face while it is still wet and flushed. Visit this image often. Spend time observi...

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Something Beautiful

Philosopher John O'Donohue once wrote to "keep something beautiful on your mind" during difficult times. To keep the grief from becoming all consuming think about something beautiful....a flower you s...

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Hold a Hand

Hold a hand, Hold the hand of your lost one, your beloved, the hand of the being who haunts you. And when you become accustomed to the deep presence of the absence hold any hand, your lover’s hand,...

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A vertically oriented abstract collage that includes images of plants and architecture as well as large color cutouts of grays and greens.

Working With Fragments

When I gather the fragments together, nothing makes sense. Everything is scattered and haphazard. But something may catch my eye, something accidental and unexpected. A color combination, a shape I ha...

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Natural Cycles of the Universe

The process of grieving is a natural one. Whenever I feel out of control of my life and my circumstances, I remember that there’s entire natural world out there that keeps moving without me. To remi...

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A black and white photo collage. The bare torso of a black man extends his arms forward and clenches his hands together. Caught within those hands is a smaller image of the shirtless black man, his arms constrained by the large hands within which he's held.

People Grieve Differently

Not everyone grieves alike. Some express grief through their feelings and gain comfort from talking to others. Still others express grief through actions and problem-solving, preferring not to talk ab...

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A black and white drawing of a trail of circles that are shaded to look like the surface of the moon. There is a black border around the image and the words "the journey" are printed in the bottom border.

Celebrate Signs of Healing

Healing is natural in a healthy grief process. Being able to enjoy time alone, laughing at a joke or funny movie, planning pleasant activities for the future, having a renewed sense of energy and purp...

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A colorful drawing of an overhead image of a person in bed under the covers. They have earbuds in their ears and across their face is a banner with the words "you are still worthy even if breathing is all you could do today."

Rest

Take a nap without guilt...

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Digital Memorial

Create a digital memorial for your loved one. You might use your favorite online content curation platform, look at reviews of available platforms and choose one that’s right for you, or ask someone...

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PREORDERING NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE GRIEF DECK from Princeton Architectural Press!: CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO