Unfortunately, we are all going to face the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives. It’s a challenging, confusing, painful and very personal journey.
There is no right way to process the loss of somebody.
It can be overwhelming, and the likelihood is that you’ll experience lots of waves of different emotions often when you’re least expecting to. Ultimately, grief is something that never goes away.
It can’t be cured.
Instead, you find ways to cope with your feelings and honour the person you love.
Table of Contents
Acknowledge Your Feelings
One of the most important parts of grieving is allowing yourself to feel. It can be very frustrating when your emotions are unpredictable or overwhelming; however, it is important to be kind and acknowledge these feelings.
NHS England lists lots of ‘symptoms’ of grief, and although it may feel odd to view grief as something with ‘symptoms’, it can also be helpful. Many people talk about the five stages of grief:
- Denial- shock, disbelief, confusion, panic
- Anger- often this involves ideas of blame
- Depression- tired, feeling hopeless, like you’ve lost perspective or feel isolated
- Bargaining- feelings of guilt
- Acceptance- starting to find ways to move forward, not forgetting about your loss, just finding ways to navigate it.
It is crucial to say that not everyone grieving will experience these emotions. Similarly, not everyone will experience them in that order, and it is likely you will feel other emotions that are not listed. Don’t take the five most common stages of grief as gospel. However, it is worth knowing them so you can be mindful of what you’re experiencing.
When grieving, you can feel alone. It is very easy to feel that the whole world is carrying on without you. However, you do not have to navigate grief on your own. Contact friends and family who can provide a listening ear. You never know; a lot of them may be feeling similar feelings to you or have experienced grief before.
Equally, if you don’t want to talk, still contact friends and family. A lot of people find doing fun or even mundane, ‘normal’ things with those in your life can be a good antidote to overwhelming grieving feelings. This may include going on a walk, heading to a cafe, or even just doing your weekly shopping together. It is important to give yourself time to process your emotions alone. However, it is also essential to try not to isolate yourself from those who want to be there for you. Sometimes, it can be useful to arrange a regular time in the week to see a certain person; many people find establishing a routine in such an overwhelming time helpful.
Consider Professional Help
There is lots of professional help to ensure you feel supported when grieving. This can be in the form of emotional support or in more practical ways of helping. Be sure to do your research when looking for the best people or companies to help you. Some people find themselves needing to try out different types of support before they find what works for them. Don’t be put off if whatever you initially try doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean you can’t be helped.
As well as navigating the emotional side of grief, a lot of people find the admin that comes with the loss of a loved one stressful and just as overwhelming. Many people turn to professional companies to help sort everything out. This can be from organizing a funeral to sorting through a will. It can be a lot more legal than you may think. For example, a probate lawyer can help families settle the assets of a loved one in a professional and efficient way.
Create Rituals and Memories
One of the things a lot of people find helpful when grieving is creating happy memories or rituals in honour of your loved one. This could be in the form of lighting a candle, creating memory boxes or even agreeing that every month, you and your family are going to visit a certain place. This can be a great way to find some comfort and laughter in such a dark time. Appreciate what you have around you and remember your loved one for all the good times you shared.
Lots of people find lighting candles helpful
Overall, grieving is a process. You need to be patient with yourself and acknowledge that it’s not an easy road. Emotions are unpredictable, and that’s okay. Try to surround yourself with people who will look after you when you’re down and make you laugh when you need to.