Death is inevitable, and so is grief. The loss of a loved one stirs different emotions among the surviving members. Consequently, the personal coping mechanisms of grief vary significantly. However, people have a few basic universal strategies to cope with the demise of a friend or family member.
Discover four basic tips that can help you during the bereavement and grief stages.
1. Allow the emotions
The experience of losing your loved one is often traumatic and can leave an empty void. However, letting yourself to feel this loss will accelerate the recovery process. Do not suppress the feelings of sadness, betrayal, anger and loneliness that death can bring.
Soak in these emotions, cry if you feel like it, revert to solitude if you must and do all other things that you feel like doing. You might also feel like you are going crazy during the grief period. Just know that this is normal and is okay; most likely, your body is overwhelmed with emotional baggage.
2. Know that grieving is a process
Grief is a process that has no time limit. The emotions that you feel after the death of your loved one are unique and have no duration deadline. However, the type of emotions you feel often dictate different stages of grief. These stages are:
- Denial: At first, the news of your loved one demise is unfathomable. You often find it difficult to realize your loved one’s death is true and remain numb oblivious of the event.
- Anger: At this stage, you will naturally feel enraged and angry as the truth of the situation begins to sink in. You could project the rage to yourself, a loved one who has abandoned you, doctors who have failed to heal your loved one or even God.
- Bargaining: Like many other survivors, you will find yourself trying to negotiate with a higher power to cope with loss.
- Sadness: At this stage of grief, you feel an overpowering melancholy that is natural. It won’t continue forever in most circumstances. However, you will realize and believe that life will never be the same again.
- Acceptance: Here, you will come to grips with the loss’s finality and move on with your life. While this stage is known as acceptance, this doesn’t imply you won’t revisit some of the stages above from time to time; rather, the sorrow of your loss will be more controllable.
3. Seek support
Sometimes during the grieving period, you might want to be left alone. However, you should create a support group around you in case you need them. At least, reach out to friends, relatives, ministers and possibly a therapist. If needed, these people can provide emotional support as well as physical assistance.
4. Keep the memories alive
You have several ways to keep the memories of your loved one alive. For instance, you could plant a tree or garden as a tribute to the person who died or honour the deceased in a meaningful way, such as participating in a charity run or walk.
You can also make a memorial box or folder with keepsakes of the deceased. Include memories, photos, phrases or anything else you choose. If you want, write the person a note. You might wish to express your emotions, say anything you would like to say, or thank your loved one for being a part of your life in it.