When you lose someone you love, it is an extremely distressing and traumatic experience. You will be overcome by strong emotions, and this can make a bad situation even more stressful. While it is normal to experience these emotions, you need to cope with the loss of your loved one because it can affect you mentally, physically and emotionally. Your grief can also affect the way you relate to other people.
If you want to heal, it is necessary to face your grief and make an effort to deal with it. Feeling anger toward the person who has just passed away and feeling lonely, sad, guilty or frightened are all normal reactions. If you want to cry, let yourself and don’t hold back; there is no need to put on a brave front. Here are some tips for getting through this trying time.
Tips to cope with bereavement
It is important to realize that grieving for a loved one is a personal and individual experience. The way you grieve depends on numerous factors, including your personality, your faith and religious beliefs, the way the person died, your coping style, and your life experiences. While there is no fixed timetable to overcome a loss, there are a few things you can do to help you grieve and heal so that your life can continue.
Talk to family and friends: Do not bottle up your emotions. Instead, actively seek out supportive family members and friends who care deeply about you. Open up and speak about your feelings and the person you have lost. Do not pretend like nothing happened or you risk isolating yourself and frustrating the people who want to help and support you.
Help organize the person’s funeral or cremation: As hard as it may sound, you should actively take part in the friend or family member’s funeral services. This will help you accept that your loved one is no longer with you, which is an important part of healing. Take it upon yourself to select the right funeral or cremation services for your loved one.
Be mindful of your own health: When you are sad and depressed by the loss of a loved one, it is very easy to neglect your health and wellbeing. You may feel that your world has come to an end and there is nothing worth living for. However, if you want to begin the healing process, it is necessary to eat and sleep well. Avoid depending on alcohol or prescription medications to escape from your feelings.
Join a support group for the bereaved: When you are grieving, you may feel that no one understands your feelings. This can isolate you and make you feel lonely. If you feel you cannot talk to your family and friends, join a support group. Sharing your pain and sorrow with people who have also lost a loved one can help you cope with your grief and loss. Look at hospices, funeral homes, local hospitals and counseling centers for a support group.
Take solace from your faith: Many times, when people lose a loved one, they begin questioning their faith. If you experience this, speak to a leader from your religious community. You might also find some comfort from performing the mourning rituals of your faith. Certain spiritual activities, such as praying, meditating or going to a house of worship, can ease the storm brewing inside you.
Accept that your life is worthwhile: Sadness can give way to depression, and you may begin feeling that your life without your loved one is pointless. Do not give in to this feeling. Instead, accept that life is precious and is meant for the living. Stop dwelling on the past; focus on your present and future. If you have suicidal thoughts, call a suicide helpline or speak to a grief counselor or therapist right away.
Maintain a journal: Many times, you may not be able to express your feelings and thoughts to your support system. This can make it tough to cope with your loss. Some people find it helpful to maintain a journal. Write down your feelings or pen a letter to the person you’ve lost. This will help you express your feelings in a more creative manner and help you come to terms with the loss.
The bottom line
Losing a loved one is never easy, and you will go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. At each stage, you will experience a plethora of emotions. However, by adopting these tips to overcome bereavement, you will be able to move on. Keep in mind that it can take months for you to accept your loss, so be patient.