Losing a loved one is one of the most devastating challenges one can face in their life. After someone you loved or who was very close to you passes away, the pain of their loss can be intense and overwhelming, feeling as if it may never dissipate. However, in time the intensity of your grief will subside and in its place, you may feel a renewed sense of purpose and an appreciation for life.
If you are currently struggling with grief and the loss of a loved one, know that there isn’t one way or a right way to grieve. There is also no specific time table that is “normal” in which one should grieve. To help you navigate this process, we have put together tips and strategies to help you process your grief and help guide you through this difficult time.
After the passing of a loved one, you may feel an intense sense of dejection and sadness, that may make you want to wallow in your pain and isolate yourself away from friends and family. However, it can be very beneficial to express your feelings and open up to friends and family about the pain you are experiencing. Confiding in friends, family or colleagues can help you understand and process what happened and the feelings you are dealing with. Avoiding and suppressing your feelings can lead to increased isolation and make it more difficult to cope with your grief.
During this time, you may experience a whirlwind of different emotions. You may feel shocked, heartbroken, dejected, confused, angry, overwhelmed, or perhaps even guilty that your loved one lost their life, while you are here to continue on without them. Know that these feelings you may experience are normal, and there is not one specific way you should feel. Before you can accept the loss of your loved one and be able to move on with life, you will need to accept the emotions and feelings you are experiencing surrounding their death.
To better cope with these various feelings you may be experiencing, it can be helpful to speak to a licensed therapist, psychologist or other mental health professional to help you better understand and make sense of your grief, as well as help guide you through your grief process.
After the loss of a loved one, you may feel stuck and paralyzed by your grief or feel that you have lost sense of meaning in your life. These feelings may encourage you to neglect your own health and wellbeing. As overwhelming and difficult as it can be to cope with your pain and intense feelings, it is of course not healthy to enable them to encourage you to abandon your own health and needs. It is important to continue taking care of your own physical and emotional health by eating nutritious foods, staying active and getting sufficient sleep. Grieving the loss a loved one can take a toll on your health and body. Taking care of your emotional and physical well being will be crucial in helping you cope through your grief process and be able to eventually move on with life. Also, make sure to look after loved ones who may also be dealing with grief from the loss and check in with them to ensure that they are continuing to take proper care of their health as well during this time.
As you are navigating your grief, it can be extremely helpful to reach out to your loved ones who are also coping with the death of your loved one. Remember, not to cut yourself off from family and friends as you can be each other’s biggest resource to help each other deal with each other’s grief, accept your loved one’s loss and eventually move on with life. Confiding in one another to talk about each other’s feelings as well as reflecting on and sharing happy memories of your loved one can be very beneficial for your and your loved ones, helping to uplift one another and making each other’s grief more manageable.
As emotionally difficult as it can be to cope with your loved one’s loss, looking back on their life to remember happy memories and celebrate their life can help you accept their passing and feel more at peace with their loss. Coordinating funeral arrangements to hold a memorial service for them can help you and your loved ones honor and pay your respects to the loved one you lost. You can also consider creating an obituary to commemorate, remember and record your loved one’s special and unique life story. Creating a family tree and incorporating your loved one’s personal information, and life highlights will help you pay homage to your loved one’s lasting legacy, as well as provide valuable pieces of family history for you, your family and future generations.