As a Pre-licensed therapist, I have always longed to help people through the process of grief- this has been one of my main leading motivations to seek this career. With the endless turmoil and heart breaking news we seem to encounter on a daily biases, this topic has been heavy on my heart to help you if you are struggling with your loved ones loss. Grief is never simple, after ten years of losing my beautiful sister and approaching three year after the loss of my beloved cousin, I am and will always be dealing with their loss from my life. Know that YOU WILL BE OKAY and will SMILE for a better tomorrow.
Here are a few suggestions that have helped me and may help you along your journey.
- Lean into your grief. Ok, I know this sounds crazy, but let us think about this for a second. How many more hours can you really put into work, or attempting to be the ultimate friend listening and supporting all your friends– all in an effort to avoid facing your grief or fear of having a breakdown? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to quit your job or to stop being a good friend, but what I am saying is pay attention to YOU, listen to your EMOTIONAL NEEDS. Don’t let people rush you through the process, as difficult as it may be embrace these feelings, good and bad alike. Dealing with the loss of your loved one is no small feet, it is such a LIFE ALTERING event, and it is NORMAL to feel these emotions.
- Talk about your loved one. Remember the memories and moments you cherish, by doing so- this will help keep their memory alive and will allow you to remember the precious times you had with them
- Identify traditions and/or habits that you want to maintain. I have personally continued to watch television shows, such as FRIENDS, which allowed me to remember the countless laughs I shared with my loved ones. Visiting places where my sister and cousin would frequent often, and most importantly continuing to nurture friendships and relationships such as my nephew, that help to keep their memories alive. This may sound more simple said than done—I know—these events/situations may be one of the hardest things to accomplish-but actually allowing yourself to revisit and capture old memories has been one of the most freeing and therapeutic feelings through this process.
- Talk to your loved one, laugh, cry, scream- know they are listening. Your relationship has not ended… its just to be continued.
- Lastly, acceptance is a key step in your process- though it may seem far off with many unanswered questions, feelings of anger, sadness, and loss of hope can set in and take over your emotions. Many individuals are familiar with the saying: “Help me change the things I can change, adjust to the things I cannot change, and give me the wisdom to know the difference.” Learn to grow from your loss, be gracious with yourself, allow yourself the time to process through your emotions and ultimate learn and grow from your loss. Doing so will help you to become resilient, to adjust and accept what you cannot change and to find a sense of meaning and purpose through your grief.
Working through these steps will allow you to replace these negative feelings freeing yourself from pain and have the compassion for yourself to move forward. You are a beacon of hope to those who are around you, continuing to engage in meaningful and compassionate relationships, and know that your journey will continue to see light, laughter, and a new sense of fulfillment.
If you, or someone you know, are struggling with the loss of a loved one, I would love to help you through this process or provide you with resources along your journey.