What to Do When You Lose Your Emergency Contact

January 6, 2023

Consider these 3 things when you feel as though you have no one to list as your emergency contact after the death of a partner, parent, or other close loved one.


There is nothing more devastating than the death of a loved one, especially if the loved one was the one person you could count on in times of need. In fact, the death of a partner, parent, or other close loved one is one of the most intense grieving experiences of the human experience. And sometimes, months or even years later, the pain returns with a vengeance in an otherwise mundane moment at the doctor’s office while filling out a form that asks you to list your emergency contact. 


Only one problem: They’re gone. 


Just like that, in a split-second rush, you feel the same seething pain you felt the moment you knew you lost them. You can lash out in anger that the damned doctors’ office makes you fill out these stupid, useless forms every time you visit, or you can take a different approach. One that allows you to sit with the pain and try to process it, so you don’t stay stuck and unable to see a glimmer of hope behind the dark cloud of loneliness and despair right there in the waiting room chair.


Here are a couple considerations to help you navigate the unimaginably painful and unpredictable moments that remind you the person you once listed as an emergency contact is no longer available to call in the event something goes wrong. 


  1. That person wasn’t just your emergency contact—they were your everything. Sometimes our triggers can be confusing, especially in real-time. You may think, “It’s just a stupid emergency contact. It’s just a silly form. Why am I so upset?” The reality is, though, that it wasn’t just your emergency contact—it was your life partner or it was a parent you grew up with who always had your back. It’s ok to remember this and to allow yourself to feel and process this pain as often as it comes up.
  2. Look back in gratitude for all the times they showed up for you. It’s ok to remember these happy moments. The time you rear-ended someone as a teenager and you had no idea what to do so your mom raced over to talk to the police officer for you. Or the time you awkwardly fainted at work right before you had to give an important presentation and your spouse met you in the ambulance. Happier times are also worth remembering as you navigate the complexities of grief. It’s ok to smile through the tears and find gratitude for the support they offered during your time together.
  3. Consider the possibility that you will again have someone who will show up for you in times of need. It may not be the exact same, but finding a trusted friend to show up for you in moments of need is not completely out of the realm of future possibility. You will again have someone to list as an emergency contact, someone to vent your frustrations to, someone to send your favorite new song to, and discuss your favorite trashy reality TV with. 


The reality is, no matter what words of encouragement someone may offer, if you have nobody to list as your emergency contact, there is nothing to truly minimize that pain. Losing a loved one is unimaginably heartbreaking and unendingly hopeless. We see you, we know you’re hurting, and want to offer you a safe place to share your story and feel supported in your healing journey. Contact us today to set up a free discovery call and spend some time with us – we’re here for you. 

Sharon Brubaker is a certified Life Coach and credentialed Grief Specialist who, along with her team, teaches women who are grieving how to process their thoughts and emotions. To learn more about navigating grief within the family, listen to the full podcast episode here or download my free e-Book, The Griever’s Guide, which equips you with the tools to live life after grief; because no griever should have to navigate a broken heart on their own.

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