Grief and loss are part of life but unlike many parts of life, no one teaches you how to cope with grief, this is because it is a personal process and there is no cookie-cutter way to deal with it.
You sort of just ‘wing it’.
However, there are a few tips that will make this process easier.
1. Remember We All Grieve Differently
Don’t judge yourself harshly if you cannot seem to cry or are crying uncontrollably over the death of a loved one as we all have our coping mechanisms.
2. Know That Grief Is A Process
A process that can take months, years or even a lifetime.
In her book On Death and Dying Elisabeth Kubler-Ross outlined five stages of grief:
- Denial – You can’t believe your loved one is gone and if you lived together you hope that once you get home you will see them.
- Anger – The anger can be directed at doctors for not saving your loved one, anger at your loved one for dying or even directing your anger at a higher being.
- Bargaining – People that have lost a loved one try and negotiate a way for them to come back with a higher being.
- Depression – Devastating sadness over the loss of a loved one
- Acceptance – The final stage where you accept that your loved one is gone.
3. Don’t Isolate Yourself
No man is an island and things will get worse if you are alone during this traumatic process of grieving the loss of a loved one. Hang out with family and friends who will distract you from your sadness and also be there for you when you are feeling down.
Some people can cope with the loss without professional help, maybe because they have a strong support system but not everyone is that lucky. For some people, the death of a loved one is very overwhelming so if you feel like you are in over your head, seek professional help.
5. Remember It Will Happen to Everyone
When you lose a loved one, most of the time it can feel like the universe or the gods are conspiring against you but the hard truth is that we will all grieve at some point or another and you are not being picked on.
6. Don’t Fight It, It Is Okay to Cry
Bottling up emotions is the name of ‘being strong’ is very unhealthy. If you feel like crying, cry because sometimes grief just pounces on you when you feel like you are coping well.
In the words of Natalie Whipple, “Grief is such a strange thing. Sometimes it seems to be gone entirely, but then one smell or sound or memory and it’s as if it was waiting there, in the shadows, until you noticed it following you.”