Although you will always grieve for your loved one, the intensity of grief should fade over time. As with the experience of grief, the rate at which that happens is individual and depends on the circumstances. You cannot have any expectations when it comes to grieving. You can’t force grief away, especially by ignoring it, but there are ways to cope with grief and help it fade more quickly. An important thing to consider is that others cannot always perceive how you feel, so it is important to express your grief to others when you need their support.
Talking to others about your loved one’s death and your grief can be awkward for all involved, but it is vital to the coping process. Initially those you talk to should focus on listening, not try to take away your feelings, or burden you with theirs. There will be time as you recover for sharing each other’s feelings and supporting each other.
There is never a best thing to say, so no one should be afraid of saying the wrong thing. However, cliched reassurances, such as ‘your loved one is in a better place now,’ ‘look what you still have to be thankful for’, ‘you need to move on,’ ‘everything happens for a reason,’ or ‘maybe it was for the best,’ should be avoided. It helps to share positive feelings and memories of your loved one. Even talking about anything else can be helpful.
To successfully talk about your grief, allow yourself to feel and openly express the pain and other emotions that come with grief. Find those who can understand your feelings of loss and avoid putting on a brave face to protect them .
Support groups can be very helpful, especially if they include others who have similar losses or experience and understand what you’re going through at a closer level.
Professional help is available if you want or need it. Grief counsellors are trained to help you through the grieving process and will identify and treat any psychological symptoms that develop as a result of your grief.
There are many situations where you should seek help. Some may be quite urgent.
Your primary care provider may be able to help or contact counseling centers. The Resources section below lists some online sources to help you look.
An important part of coping with grief is to adapt to the changes in your life brought on by your loved one’s death. Once you have accepted your loss you will need to adjust to daily life, seek ways to deal with your new reality, and make plans for life without your loved one. Enlist as many people as possible to help you adapt.
Most of this will involve adapting emotionally, but will also involve adapting to your new day-to-day life. This may include:
In fact, you may have to significantly restructure your life. When you do this, try to include regular and sometimes familiar routines, such as meals and bedtime at the same time you previously did, regular exercise and recreation, and/or group activities you enjoy.
Adapting occasionally results in something termed post-traumatic growth. This is where you experience positive psychological, social, or spiritual changes after emotional trauma. You can become a better person through the experience.
Your family and friends will also have to adapt to your new identity and changes in your life. Their identity, roles, and day-to-day life may change as well.
It can be hard to process and cope with grief when you are overwhelmed with things to do. The list of every need to be done can be very long. You will need emotional support during this time. You should build a support network that can help you and be there when you need them.
Express your memories, feelings, hopes, and goals. This can include:
Spending time with others doing things you enjoy will help you move through your grief and overcome any sense of isolation.
Take care of yourself, including your physical and emotional health.
Times of grief are not a good time to make any major life changes. You should give yourself time to adjust to your loss and get a sense of what your new life will be like.
Seek new meaning in your life and/or for meaning in your loved one’s death.
Reach out for spiritual support.
You may want to search for other inspirational readings.
Social media sites have become a popular way to deal with grief.
Unfortunately, aside from the usual risks of posting sensitive content on the internet, using social media for this purpose can be risky for a number of other reasons.
It’s important to remember that while social media can be a useful tool for reaching out to others, it can’t replace the face-to-face support you need at this time.