6 Ways To Cope With Grief And Loss
When you lose someone dear to you, one of the most natural responses is to go through that grieving stage. You mourn the loss of their life, and how they’ll no longer be a part of your life forever. You mourn the memories you made, and how these are now just left as fragments of the past. You regret the time you didn’t spend with each other, and you long for more time. These are common after-effects of loss that you’ll have to go through.
But, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Grieving isn’t forever. Yes, you’ll miss the person, and you’ll still wish they’re around. But, eventually you’ll get over the grief. A lot has to do with how you cope.
Hence, this article will help you in walking through one day at a time – so that you can better cope with grief and loss. Here are the things to consider:
- Understand The Uniqueness Of The Grieving Process
Perhaps you’ve had a friend who also lost a parent in the past year, wherein you had to be the one to send your condolences. This year, you’re on the opposite side. But, during that time, your friend seemed to have recovered in two months. Remember that you never really truly know and understand what happens behind closed doors. People may look like they’re fine on the outside, but you don’t know how hard they’ve been sucking it in.
So, never compare. One's grieving process will always be different from another’s. If you find that it’s taking you so much longer to go through yours, then that’s all right. Remember that coping, healing, and moving on isn’t a race of who gets to that light at the end of the tunnel first.
- Know What To Expect
While grieving can differ from one person to another, psychologists have identified certain emotions that are normal to occur after grief. Some of these are:
So, if you go through any of these after the loss of a loved one, then don’t worry as that’s normal. Allow yourself to go through each of those emotions so that you’ll heal better. Typically, right after learning of a loved one’s death, there’s that chilling feeling of numbness. It's like the whole world just stops, and you want to replay those words over and over.
After that, that’s when the whirlwind of emotions, like those above, will start to kick in. Don't be too hard on yourself. If you’re in denial, then let yourself deny the death. If you’re confused, then let yourself feel it. Eventually you’ll spring back to reality, healing, and acceptance.
- Don’t Ignore The Pain
It’s a common misconception to believe that pain will go away if you ignore it. False. The more you ignore it, the more it’ll only keep coming back to haunt you.
You’ve got to learn how to go through the pain and feel it, so you’ll also be able to process it properly. Trying to ignore it will only make it worse in the long run. Facing the reality of pain and actively dealing with it can help you walk through it more positively.
- Seek Out Caring People
Because this is such a hard time in your life, it’s important to be in the company of people who care. The last thing you’ll want is to be with people who you know just don’t care at all about how you feel and what you’re going through.
Be with relatives and friends who understand your loss. Unfortunately, there might be those who aren’t that true with you, who’ll only make use of this dark time in your life to gossip or have a conversation starter with others. You'll want to avoid these people, as they’re going to be unhealthy for your recovery.
If you don’t have family and friends nearby, you can also seek support groups that can help you process through your emotions.
- Be Open About Your Feelings
Especially if you’re a parent now and you’ve got young kids depending or looking up at you, it can be common advice of many others to ‘stay strong for the sake of your kids’ or ‘don’t let them see you cry’. If you don’t find these pieces of advice good for you, then don’t feel compelled to follow it.
Whenever you want to cry, just let it out. If you want to burst out in anger, go in a place where you can scream and let loose. Crying doesn’t mean that you’re weak, and you don’t have to protect your family by constantly putting on a brave front.
The more open you are about your feelings, right there and then, you can actually better process through it. This means that your family also understands what you’re all going through, and your entire family can be on that road toward recovery together. No one gets left behind simply because there are those who are processing the emotions late because they were sugarcoating tears with laughter.
- Express Your Feelings
Don’t be afraid or shy to tell others how you’re feeling. This is precisely why that point on having a good support system is very important. You need to be able to openly talk about how you’re feeling without fear of getting criticized, judged, or corrected.
Unfortunately, there are still many people who are very poor at empathy. They'd rather just tell you to suck it all up because you placed yourself in that position in the first place or that there’s nothing you can do about the situation and talking negatively about your feelings won’t bring back the dead.
Choose the people you surround yourself with wisely. Then, loosen up and open up so that you can start expressing how you feel. The more that you open up about how you feel, the more you can actually better move on. You don’t have to keep going back to that spiral of fear that it’s better to just keep quiet.
All these considered, the most important takeaway for you to remember is that grief is a highly personal process. You can’t compare yours to that of another person. You need to give yourself that opportunity to mourn, to cope, and then eventually, to move on. It's a day-to-day process, one step at a time. The tips above can guide you so that one day, you’re one step closer to healing.