Coping with Secondary Loss & Caregiver Grief

In this episode, host Pete Waggoner goes in-depth with Kathleen Helgeson and Amber Miller about the topic of secondary loss and caregiver grief. They discuss the smaller subsequent losses that happen after the death of a loved one, and how a loss can impact one’s roles and routines. They also delve into how to cope with the challenges that come with being a caregiver, as well as the grief it can bring before and after the death of the patient.

This episode is full of helpful tips and resources for those struggling with loss, as well as for those supporting someone through their grief journey.


  1. As a caregiver, having compassion for yourself is as important as having compassion for the person you are caring for.
  2. Loss can come in many forms, and each one can have a significant impact on our lives.
  3. It’s important to allow yourself to grieve in whatever way feels right for you.
  4. If you are struggling to cope with loss or grief, reach out for help from a friend, a professional, or a support group.

In this episode:

[3:23] Amber begins the discussion by defining what secondary loss is and explaining how death encompasses more than just the physical loss of a loved one. Kathleen further elaborates on this concept by sharing how she has seen different forms of secondary loss play out in her work as a funeral celebrant.

[7:40] Pete Waggoner transitions the conversation to the topic of how loss can impact one’s roles and routines. They all share their insights on how the death of a loved one can cause ripple effects that touch every aspect of our lives.

[13:02] Pete Waggoner asks about how a person can build a new support system after experiencing loss. Kathleen and Amber share their thoughts on the importance of seeking out help and being open to receiving support from others.

[23:50] The three talk about how caregivers can often experience their own grief journey while caring for someone else. They discuss the challenges that come with being a caregiver and how to find compassion for oneself to rediscover a sense of balance.

[34:48] Pete Waggoner wraps up the conversation by asking Kathleen and Amber to share some final tips to caregivers who might be struggling with their own grief. They both emphasize the importance of being patient and compassionate with oneself, as well as taking the time to feed one’s own soul.


  1. O’Connell Funeral Homes
  2. Kathleen Helgeson
  3. Amber Miller
  4. Read Show Transcript


  1. “Healthy relationships lean on each other’s strengths and allow for one another’s weaknesses without thought.” – Kathleen Helgeson
  2. “It takes courage to face our losses and our changes.” – Kathleen Helgeson
  3. “We can’t give if our gas tank is empty.” – Amber Miller

Listen Now: 

Read transcript here.

Send a Note or Share a Memory

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *