Losing someone you care about can be one of life’s most difficult experiences. There are no easy answers when trying to help a bereaved family come to terms with their loss.
Every situation is unique and people react in different ways.
This section is designed to offer you a brief guide in trying to understand your grief and provide you with details of ongoing support, available to you in your community. Whether you need emotional, practical or financial guidance, you should be able to find a local professional organisation, that have the knowledge and expertise you require.
Knowing how to move forward is one of the hardest and biggest challenges we face when we lose a loved one. To enable ourselves to navigate through grief we must first understand what grief is. When we are aware of the unpredictable nature of grief and how it affects us all differently, we can then start to make our own way through it. Each person’s experience of grief is as individual as they are. Just as no one person is the same, no one’s grief experience is the same.
With this in mind, may we offer you a few suggestions.
Be patient with yourself
The grief process is a time to heal. Coming to terms with the loss and adjusting to a new life does not happen overnight. Grief usually takes longer than most people expect. Do not compare yourself to anyone else, or allow anyone to compare you to another situation. Grieving is a journey. A journey with many ‘stop-offs’ on the way. Some people’s journeys are longer than other’s. There is no right or wrong pathway to take. Only what feels right for you. The only thing that is certain, is your start point.
By being patient and allowing how you feel to set your pace, you are ‘half-way’ there.
Accept your feelings
You cannot choose your feelings. They choose you. Your emotions may be very raw. You may experience anger, panic, guilt or depression. You may feel other emotions. This is all normal. You are going through one of the most difficult and unpleasant experiences of life. It is painful and it hurts.
Ask for and accept help
People will say “don’t hesitate to let me know if I can do anything”. Most mean it, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. You are not alone.
Talking to those closest to you, can be of great support and comfort, enabling you to move forward, together. We also understand that sometimes you would rather talk to someone who is outside of the direct impact of the loss, to help with perspective and clarity. There are professional services that are available to help you.
Take care of yourself
When we are faced with low points in our lives, our motivation can be affected. Taking proper care of ourselves can become easily overlooked. Sleeping may be difficult, but at least try to rest. Nutrition is important, resist the temptation to skip meals or eat junk food. Also, recognize that sometimes you may eat to compensate for loneliness or anxiety. Instead, have a walk or a warm bath to feel better.
Don’t torture yourself with regrets and ‘if only’s’. Maybe reading books on grief will help understand what you’re going through.
Do not feel guilty if you have fun, you are not dishonouring your loved one’s memory. Recalling happy or funny memories will help your recovery. Research proves, positive emotions produce positive chemical changes in the body.
Hold on to hope and trust that someday this pain will subside and life will have meaning again.
You have begun your journey. Sometimes it may seem the road is too difficult and too long. You may wonder if you will make it.
The answer is:
“You can if you want to”.
Although maybe not the answer you expected or wanted, it is a realistic one.
Every time we experience a loss,
we confront a dragon.
We choose whether to slay the dragon or be vanquished by it.
Loss is inevitable,
but recovery is optional.
Grief can be a challenging experience, but not more powerful than your ability to work your way through your many emotions.
No one else knows how you feel.
Do not let anyone try to squeeze you into their expectations of what grief should be like.
We have offered these suggestions but only you know the way that is right for you. This is your fight, use every weapon you’re offered, slay the dragon.
For further information and advice on understanding and overcoming your own grief please visit:
Here you will have access to a wealth of information on coping with the loss of a loved one and the most comprehensive grief support resources available online.