Living with Grief 3

How to Survive the Death of a Loved One

Part 3: Tips for Dealing with Grief

Mourning is the process of experiencing the feelings of grief and adjusting to life without the person who died. Mourning takes time and energy, and it can be difficult to allow ourselves the space we need to mourn. It is vital, however, to our health and well-being that we do this. It helps to know that powerful, overwhelming feelings will lessen with time.

There are a variety of ways we can be supported and help ourselves through grief and mourning. Listed below are some of the most important ways, followed by a list of resources for further ideas and support.

1 — Seek and accept support. Support from others is one of the most important ingredients for healing grief. A grief support group can be especially helpful.

2 — Accept your feelings. Allow yourself to roll with the tides of grief. Your feelings may be different and more intense than usual. It’s normal to feel all sorts of strong emotions and essential to allow yourself to feel them.

3 — Express your feelings. Talk about your loss with those who are able to be supportive. Writing in a journal can also be extremely helpful.

4 — Learn about grief. Knowledge about grief can be essential to the healing process. It helps us to relax about what is happening and gives us tools for coping.

5 — Nurture yourself and keep yourself healthy. Try to keep a regular schedule and maintain the basics of good health — exercise, good food, rest. You may need more rest than usual. This is the time to pamper yourself — get a massage, listen to relaxing music, take walks in nature, etc.

6 — Pace yourself. Avoid unrealistic expectations of yourself. Grieving takes time and energy.

7 — Involve yourself in work or meaningful activity, but also leave time for grieving. It’s important to take allow time and space for grieving, but it’s also helpful to continue some meaningful activities and connection. The key is to not pressure oneself about accomplishments and goals.

8 — Don’t be afraid to have fun. Even in the most trying times, the capacity for humor and fun can be present. It is not a betrayal of the loved one to be able to feel some joy.

9 — Get professional help if needed. If you find that you are in great distress or in long-term depression, individual or group therapy from a counselor who specializes in grief may be advisable. You can ask your doctor for a referral.

When we are in the midst of grief, it is painful and can seem overwhelming. It can be hard to imagine that we will ever feel good again, but we all have the capacity to heal from loss and create a new life without our loved one. I encourage you to learn more about grief and read the stories of others who have survived the loss of a loved one. You don’t have to go through this journey alone. Others have experienced what you are experiencing and are available to support you now.

Part 1: Living with Grief

Part 2: Characteristics and Symptoms of Grief

Internet Resources for Grief

http://www.griefhealing.com/ — our favorite — lovely, informative website

http://www.hospicenet.org/html/bereavement.html — especially well-written and informative website

http://www.americanhospice.org/griefzone/articles/helpingself.htm — how to help yourself with grief

http://www.griefnet.org/library/biblio/index.html — extensive book list by topics

http://www.compassionatefriends.org/ — support with the death of a child

Comments

Living with Grief 3 — 2 Comments

  1. Your website was very helpful. I lost my mother about one month ago. It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. I am feeling so many mixed emotions. It has helped to read about others going through the same thing.

  2. I lost my mother 5 months ago. I found this article very helpful. I know my feelings of depression are from the grief of losing my mother, but i’ve been very hestiant to go to a GP as i’m worried they wouldn’t understand and just put me on an anti-depressant. I have read many articles on grief and depression but this article has given me a sense of relief – thank you.