Zoe Valentine: On Dealing With Grief


Josh Golombek plays Kent on Zoe Valentine, where his character and many others try to process the loss of Cleo: Zoe’s sister and Kent’s girlfriend.

Whether you are processing a loss in your own life, hoping to help a friend, or just want to know more, Josh shared his thoughts and information that can help anyone going through the process of grieving.

If you’ve lost someone you love

Know: It’s okay to be sad.

Explained: It’s common for people to hide their sadness or feel ashamed of it. Humans are conditioned to “pull ourselves together” or “stay strong” in front of others, but there is nothing wrong with being sad throughout your grief process (or in general). It can be healthy to find time to cry by yourself, or with a close friend or family member who can be there for you. Sadness is a natural and expected feeling when you lose someone you care about, so don’t try to suppress it or keep it within.

Know: Grief can be exhausting.

Explained: When you lose someone you care about, it can feel like the floor has dropped out from under you. Your body and mind have to adjust to an entirely new reality. You may find that things that used to be ordinary and routine have become more difficult to accomplish. For example, it may be harder to concentrate in school or socialize with friends like usual. Even everyday activities like studying, reading a book, or getting out of bed may feel tougher because of your grief. Do your best to recognize these feelings of exhaustion and allow yourself space in your schedule to process your feelings.

Know: Grief doesn’t have an expiration date.

Explained: There is no set timeline for grieving. It can take months or even years to heal from losing someone you love, and the effects can last a lifetime. Try not to let yourself or others put a timestamp on when you should be feeling better. It’s common for people to go through grief in waves, so don’t be surprised if important dates like holidays or birthdays feel harder than other days of the year. Be aware of these waves, and try your best to surround yourself with people who care about you and be kind to yourself during these times.

Things to try

Try: Noting memories on your phone.

How to do it: When you’ve lost a loved one, you may have a fear of forgetting the person. So, when a memory pops up, take your phone out and jot it down in the Notes app (or record a quick audio file). As your list of memories keeps growing and growing, you’ll have created a catalogue for yourself.

Try: Writing a letter.

How to do it: Using notebook paper or a journal, write a letter to your loved one. You can include whatever you want to say to the person you miss, ranging from the feelings you’re having to something you want to tell them to a memory you’re still thinking about. This technique may help you feel like you can talk to the person. The best part? You can say anything you want—it’s for your eyes only.

Try: Finding your local grief support center.

How to do it: In Zoe Valentine, Zoe, Kent, Autumn, and Kate attend a grief support group. These are very real programs, so check your local area for grief support groups that you can attend (you can look online, at a local business, or ask a trusted teacher or counselor if you’re having trouble finding a group). Sometimes, your friends may not know what you’re feeling and what it’s like to go through the grieving process. Grief support groups give you a space where people have gone through similar experiences, and they can help you with the feelings you’re having.

For more resources, see the @refugeingrief Instagram and contact your local grief support center.

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