The death of someone you love can be very traumatic, you will likely feel a mixture of emotions, and there is no right or wrong way to deal with grief, it’s very much down to you. You’re unique and will deal with bereavement and the sense of loss in your own way which makes sense to you. But, as the adage goes “time is a great healer”, you will never stop missing that special person, it’s just as life moves on the pain eases. In life you will be faced with many losses, some harder to accept than others. Regardless of whether it’s an elderly parent whose time has arrived at a natural conclusion, an unexplained passing of a child, or an unexpected freak accident taking a friend from you, the feeling of loss can be overwhelming. Here are a few suggestions that I hope will help you deal with your loss.
How to deal with the pain.
Better in than out, a good cry will do you good, but not everybody can shed tears and it’s important not to be to harsh on yourself if you can’t unload this way. Tears may come weeks, months, or even years later. After the death of a loved one, it’s helpful to be around family and friends who care about you and help you through these difficult days. Part of any healing process is being able to talk about your feelings and emotions, being able to open up to a select few friends can ease the grief and burden. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of how you feel, sharing good memories, laughing about a particular incident, and talking about old times all help in the healing process.
The death of a child has to be the hardest tragedy of all, nothing can be more heart-breaking than losing a child. During the early days of grieving, it is natural to be in shock. Almost a denial, this is happening to someone else, that you are going to wake up from this dreadful nightmare. Many parents after losing a child feel they can’t go on that their life is over and that they will never be able to come to terms with the tragedy.
How to deal with your feelings.
As you struggle with depression, mood swings and anxiety get your feelings and thoughts down on paper. You might feel anger that the person has left you and you can’t cope without them. Just writing these thoughts down will help release the built-up frustration and despair. Perhaps, you could re-live a special day you spent together. Think about the joy and happiness they gave you and them you, you may have lost the physical person but you will always carry them in your heart. Imagine what they would say to you if they were beside you now. Some people like to think that their loved one is always with them in spirit and that they are keeping an eye on them, like a guardian angel, perhaps it’s a robin that lands on a bush outside your kitchen window or a butterfly that enters your home. We all deal with loss in different ways, but it is important to remember that all though the pain seems unbearable in the beginning, it will ease will over time and you will eventually come to terms with your loss and feel like your old self again.
When grief leads to depression.
For some of us, the loss of that special person goes beyond normal grief, and can manifest itself in an inability to cope, lead to extreme feelings of sadness, and a sort of obsession to think of anything else other than the person you lost. You may have difficulty accepting your loss, grief may get worse instead of better, coping with normal everyday tasks becomes more onerous and the feeling of exhaustion becomes overwhelming.
When grief leads to depression here are a few tips.
Seek expert medical advice, just talking with your doctor is the first stepping stone on the road to recovery.
Eat a balanced nutritious diet and stay away from junk and sugary foods as much as you can. Following a paleo diet can certainly help give you the nutritional balance required to deal with stress and emotional confusion for may be dealing with during your grieving period.
Go for a short daily walk, just getting outdoors in the fresh air will help to lift your mood.
Gardening is a wonderful way to get in touch with nature, many find it very therapeutic.
Search YouTube for relaxation and mediation sessions or even better find a local class you can attend.
Arrange a weekly coffee session with an empathetic friend, this will give you something you can look forward to.
Avoid people who don’t make you feel good about yourself and try to surround yourself with kind people.
Join a support group for the bereaved just talking to other people who are going through what you are will help you lighten your load.
Take up a new hobby or perhaps join a night class, meeting new people will help you move on.
Spending time with young children can be most beneficial as kids tend to live in the moment.
Consider getting a pet, this doesn’t have to be expensive if you visit your local rescue shelter.
Here’s what not to do, try to avoid the following…
Alcohol or drugs, although you may not be happy with the world you’re in at present, temporary escapism can be tempting and may give you short term relief but is not the answer. This can lead to long term health issues and very possibly lead to dependency problems which may take you on a journey that you may later regret and find very difficult to turn around.
Suppress your feelings, try to let grief out if you can, it’s in there somewhere, it does need to come out and you need to release. Look at it like finding a lost key or a release trigger. Your body is like a pressure cooker, a pressure cooker needs a regulator and it needs adjusting now and again or the lid blows off and food goes all mushy.
Becoming withdrawn, it can feel tempting sometimes to lock yourself away and hide from the world and for a short time this is perfectly understandable, but try not to let this become a way of life. Go for a walk two or three times a week, get a little gentle exercise and a bit of sunshine, this will help lift your spirit and chatting with those around you, especially strangers can often be quite comforting as they don’t know you can help to add valuable perspective on things.
Buttoning up and not talking about your feelings is common during the grieving period, find a friend who’s a great listener, and when you feel the time’s right share your thoughts and feelings.
In summary, the death of a loved one is difficult and can turn your whole world upside down and while there is never a quick fix, pain and sorrow will lessens over time. Acceptance and recovery affects us all in different ways so don’t overthink this, you just need to manage the process your way and in your own time.