There is no doubt that no matter how prepared you think you are, losing a loved one is extremely difficult. When someone has touched your life in such a profound way, there is no way to get around the inevitable feeling of a hole forming in your heart. While you will probably never stop missing that person, fortunately the sharpness of the pain will eventually ease with time and hopefully be replaced by warm memories.
Deep sadness is a normal reaction to the passing of a loved one, but there is no right or wrong way to feel. Everyone experiences these moments in life differently. Some take a week to regain their typical emotional state, while others feel the weight of grief for much longer. It is highly personal and no one is ever able to understand the exact way you feel, because their relationship with that person was not the same as yours. This realization can add to intense emotions. Factors that may contribute to your grieving style include your personality, life experiences, faith, and the way you cope.
Myths about Grief
When coping with the loss of a loved one, be patient with yourself and those around you. Other family members and friends are in pain, too. You may also feel that someone else is taking it harder than you are, which makes you feel guilty. None of these assumptions are necessarily true. There are several myths about dealing with losing someone you care about that should be dispelled.
Instead of trying to find the perfect formula for grieving, let the process unfold naturally. This may mean a roller coaster of emotions ensues, or perhaps only one. Once again, there is no right or wrong. You may find yourself feeling:
In addition to an emotional toll, grief can manifest physical symptoms too. You may feel fatigued, experience weight fluctuations, and have stomach problems or changes in sleep patterns.
How to Cope
Remember that grieving does not need to be a solitary activity. Draw on comfort from various sources of support. Speak with family and friends and reminisce about fond memories. There are also support groups or counselors/therapists who can help if you feel like the emotions are too strong or that your family just doesn’t understand. For many people, their faith can also be a comfort.
During this time, it is also important to remember to care for yourself. It is easy to let your physical and emotional health decline when you feel sad. Depleted energy levels make it difficult to care about putting together the perfect outfit or cooking a full meal. It is important to continue to fill these needs though in order to cope in a healthy way. Eat right, get enough sleep, and continue to exercise. Continue to do activities you enjoy to boost your mood and maintain a sense of normalcy.
One thing you can do that often helps is to honor your loved one in some way. Make a scrapbook or display one of their favorite belongings in a room of your home. You might also do something special around a holiday or anniversary in remembrance of them. Although loss can be sad, that does not mean that happy memories die, too. Those last forever.
If you find that the grief is too much to bear and it is too hard to have even a few moments of happiness in between all the emotions, it may be sign of depression. Depression can make it difficult to function at home, work, or school normally and the feeling of despair is constant. Please seek the help of a professional if you feel your grief is emotionally damaging or may be life-threatening.