How to Grieve a Loved One
Have you ever had someone who was very close to you die? Maybe it was a brother or sister, a parent, a grandparent, or even a close friend. The death of a loved one is very difficult, and everyone, at some time, will have to go through this painful experience. And the grief usually hits you in a way you least expect it, flooding you with overwhelming feelings you never realized you had. Have you lost someone special in your life? How did it affect you?
Are You Struggling with The Death of Someone You Love?
Richard wrote, "I lost my first love (Kelly) at age 15. We did everything together. Kelly died on the same road I lived on at the time. That has been 7 or 8 years ago and I'm still not over her. I feel lonely and hurt without her. Life isn't the same. As I lay down to sleep at night and close my eyes, I still see her beautiful smile. At times I feel like I can't go on with life. All I think about is being with Kelly."
Richard can't imagine life without Kelly, even though the reality is that she has been gone for quite some time. Richard appears to be in deep denial. Denial is one of the ways people attempt to deal with the death of someone they love.
This is what Reagan said she did to deal with the death of her uncle. "My uncle passed away on Halloween 2009 and to this day I haven't accepted the fact that he's gone, he meant the world to me. He was like a father to me, and I wanted him to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day."
The biggest hurdle you're going to face is getting trapped in how horrible you feel. That's natural and it may take time to get past those feelings. But be careful, because before you know it, you'll find yourself defining yourself by your misery. The better choice will be to focus on taking care of yourself and dealing with your grief in a more healthy and productive way.
What are some healthy ways to deal with your sadness and grief over the death of someone close to you?
1. Find somebody who you trust and talk with them about how the death is making you feel. Don't try to carry it all by yourself. Elizabeth wrote: I've mostly talked it out, etc. It's been nine years since my dad's passing. It'll never completely go away. If you keep your feelings locked up inside, you'll only increase the stress you are under.
2. Look for other people who have experienced similar losses and hear their story. Learn from them about how they have dealt with death and loss. You can learn a lot from others who have had similar experiences; they have already been there and can prepare you for what's ahead.
3. Try to remember good memories about the person who died. This will help you reflect on the fact that their life had purpose and had a huge impact on your life. Enjoy reflecting on the good about them. The way they made you laugh. The way they cared for others. The good they brought to the world.
4. Don't be afraid to express your emotions. It's normal to cry. It's actually a really good physical and emotional response to help you cope with your loss. If you haven't cried, or don't feel like you can, try expressing your emotions in other ways, like through writing, painting, music, or even exercising. There are many healthy ways you can help get your grief out. Teresa wrote: We removed life support on our 5 yr old daughter and my husband and I felt we made the most loving decision of our lives. Even though it has been 18 years I have good days and bad days and crying mostly helps.
5. Find ways to help other people. One of the best ways to get your mind off your grief is by giving away your time to other people. You can find ways to help people with anything they need. Sometimes just giving someone a listening ear is very valuable.
It is Hard, but It Can Get Better
Realize, in time, you will feel better. A while back I was introduced to a woman whose son died two months earlier. I began to tell her how terrible I felt about her situation. She looked at me and said, "It is hard, but it is getting better." I never forgot what she said. On the one hand, she agreed her experience was very difficult. Yet on the other, she was acknowledging that healing was taking place.
The pain you are feeling right now is real and valid. However, as time goes on you can allow your pain to do one of two things: You can let it turn you into a depressed, self-centered person, or you can let it make you into a compassionate person, capable of being sympathetic to others going through their own difficult times. I hope you would choose the compassionate route. I imagine your loved one would hope for the same.
Healing takes time and it cannot be rushed. Yet we can comfort ourselves by knowing, in time, it will get better. And if you let it, it will make you into a deeper, more loving person.
As you walk through this journey of loss and grief, God has not left you. He is there to bring you strength and comfort. He often brings comfort through the people he puts around you. Look for how God is at work in your life and cry out to Him when you feel lost. He loves you and longs for you to bring your hurt and your heart to him. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
GriefShare has caring support groups throughout the country of people who have also experienced loss and will walk alongside you through one of life's most difficult experiences.