Losing a loved one can be absolutely devastating, whether this is through death, divorce, or another circumstance. Even losing a pet can be terribly painful and mean grieving for months on end. You should never feel shameful about your grief and the things you feel. This is a normal process and will happen to everybody at some stage.
Below, you’ll find some advice for helping yourself to cope and also helping your family to cope.
Remember, There Is No Time Table For Grieving
There is absolutely no time table for grieving. If you’re wondering how long you’ll feel this way, it’s best to stop. Don’t search the internet. Some will say a few months, some will say a year – it’s totally individual to the person. Healing is not linear, and you should never rush or beat yourself up for still feeling a certain way. All you have to do is take one day, one moment at a time. That’s all you have to do.
Talk About It
Talking about the way you feel and what has happened can help you to make sense of things. Do not deny it, as this is an easy way to isolate yourself and will make things worse in the long run. You can’t ignore what’s happened, and you will be causing damage subconsciously if you do. Let it out, as painful as it may be at the beginning.
Accept Your Feelings
You need to accept your feelings – they may be difficult to deal with, sometimes even confusing, but you must accept them. You might feel bad because you’re relieved your loved one is no longer suffering. You might feel sad even though you were estranged from a parent who never treated you properly. However you feel, know that you’re not alone. It’s important to accept the fact that you may not feel ‘normal’ for a while, so don’t compare yourself or think ‘I should be behaving/feeling X way by now…’ Just accept that you are where you are.
Find Ways To Commemorate Your Loved One
You could find ways to commemorate your loved one. You could find cemetery grave markers, put up a bench, or plant a tree. All of these things can help you to feel better and give you something to visit when you want to remember your loved one or have some time alone.
Take Good Care Of Your Family
It’s important to take good care of your family at this time – however, we’re only touching on it now because you can’t possibly take the best care of your family if you’re not taking care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Look after yourself, and make sure as a family you are getting rest, staying active, eating well, and sleeping. Trying to stay in your regular routine can help, even though it may be tough at first.
You could try therapy to cope with your feelings – even family therapy could help. This will help you all to communicate better through this pain. Remember that everybody deals with loss and death differently, so you shouldn’t judge a family member if they seem to be dealing a lot better than you, or find ways to cope differently. Everybody is unique and nobody copes with grief in the same way.
Allow People To Be There For You
A friend may want to buy you coffee or make you dinner – let them. Learn how to let people be there for you and look after you. This could feel strange if you’ve been used to not doing this your whole life, but it’s a good way to give yourself a break.
Celebrate The Live Of Your Loved One
Why not celebrate the life of your loved one? Throw a party in their honor, talk through happy memories, frame pictures of the good times you’ve shared, and even plant a garden. Find numerous ways to cope and celebrate their life. Do things alone and with a family. You can always find positive ways to transform your pain.
Avoid Unhealthy Habits To Cope
It’s so easy to turn to unhealthy habits in an effort to cope. Smoking, drinking, and drugs may all seem more attractive when you’re dealing with feelings of confusion and despair. It’s so important to note that these things will make you feel worse in the long run. They may help you to feel better temporarily, if you’re lucky, but if you start to depend on them they can become a habit you can’t kick. They will affect your finances, relationships with friends and family, and maybe even your work. It’s better to steer clear of this way of coping altogether.
Continue Doing The Things You Love
Try to continue doing the things you love, as unappealing as they may seem at first. Take a break if you need to, but then try to spend time doing things for yourself. Plan exciting trips for the future so you have something to look forward to. Paint, draw, and run – don’t stop doing anything you love because of these feelings. Your loved one would want you to continue feeling your best and doing the things you enjoy. As we mentioned before, everybody deals with grief differently. You can’t feel guilty for indulging in your hobbies or for helping yourself to feel better. Wallowing will do no good for anybody!
Please try to remember that moving on from this pain does not mean you are forgetting your loved one. You may always get a lump in your throat or a pain in your chest when you think of them, but living day to day will eventually become easier. You will eventually laugh again. You will eventually go a length of time without thinking about it. You can’t feel guilty for any of this. If you’d like more help making sense of this situation, then please don’t hesitate to get help from a licensed therapist.