We all face different challenges in life, but none are like the grief we feel when we lose a loved one. From the moment you learn of the loss, you can go through any one or more of a full spectrum of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual reactions. And you’ll not likely be prepared for any of them.
While there are so many different reactions, grieving often begins with a sense of anxiety and/or helplessness at the loss.
“We were laughing together just yesterday.”
Many people also experience episodes of anger and/or frustration.
“Why did she have to go?!”
And regret can be one of the most difficult feelings to come to terms with.
“I never told him how I felt.”
Of course, sadness may be the emotion most closely associated with grief.
Adding to grief’s wide range and unpredictability of symptoms, how long you go through the grieving process, and any phase of it, also varies greatly from person to person.
While there are no fast fixes for any of the symptoms you experience while grieving, there are ways to help yourself cope.
- Know that Grieving is Part of Healing – Grief is normal. Of course, you’ll have a sense of loss, disbelief, worry about the future, and any number of other reactions when you lose a loved one. But grief and grieving help you process your loss. You may be surprised at some of the feelings you experience and their intensity, but it’s important to keep reminding yourself that grief is a normal reaction to a profound loss in your life. Let the grief happen.
- Reach Out to Others – Grief can leave you feeling very alone. Make it a point to seek out the support of family, friends and/or spiritual leaders. If others are grieving with you, you may be able to offer support to each other. It also may help to talk to someone who is removed from the situation. Accept offers of support as best you can, instead of turning them down because you don’t want to be an imposition.
- Support Yourself – This might sound difficult when you are at such a difficult moment in your life. Your appetite might be affected, you may not be able to sleep, and you might have no interest or motivation to do much of anything. But being mindful of your health and wellbeing can give you some added strength for coping with your grief. Try to eat as healthily as you can. Keep your daily routine as intact as possible. Get exercise whenever you feel the slightest bit of motivation to do so. Take sleep whenever it comes at a convenient moment.
- Look for Signs that Your Grief is Taking its Course – As unpredictable, difficult and wide-ranging as your grief may be, it will change. You might never be entirely free of feelings of grief around the loss you have suffered. Anniversaries and photographs can bring back strong feelings of grief in an instant. But the powerful, constant feelings of grief that you endure immediately after your loss will become more subdued. At some point, there may be a moment where, for the first time in a long time, it went by without grief. When it feels like your world has crashed around you, and your life will never be right again, these moments can be positive sign that your grief is running its course and that there will be better days.
If your grief becomes more complicated and difficult to process alone, you are welcome to contact us here at BRCook Psychological Services and schedule an appointment.
I am a certified solution-focused therapist, and I integrate a number of theoretical orientations into my practice including cognitive-behavioural, humanistic, psychodynamic, reality focused therapy. In essence, my experience and style have been dynamically moved into an eclectic approach that best seems to fit the client and their personal needs.
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