Lately there have been quite a few people around me faced with loss and the grief that accompanies a loss. Grief is something that is rarely talked about, and many people are uncomfortable trying to think of the right way to help someone who is grieving. Losing those we love, and grieving is always hard. When we allow grief to come in, to have the emotions and feel the loss the healing tends to be more complete, and the ability to have a life after loss is better. Today I wanted to focus on just a few things to help you grieve well when you are the one experiencing loss. Though grief is painful grieving well has benefits.
Grief can be so painful, people often describe a broken heart, along with literal and physical pain that comes from grieving. Even though it feels painful don’t push the feelings away. Allow yourself to cry, to acknowledge the depth of the pain and the fact that you don’t feel like yourself. Grief is very physically exhausting, and the work of grieving will make you feel physically tired. The tiredness is most acute near the time of the loss and slowly begins to fade when the grieving process is progressing normally. It’s normal to have to modify your expectations for yourself during this time. This period of grief is very intense but don’t try to rush through, shorten your grief, or bury and push out the emotions that are coming up.
As you have emotions come to the surface cry whenever you feel you need to. It’s not beneficial or helpful to try to hold in your tears. There can be times and places that you may not want to cry and that’s ok as well. When you are in the right place and time let go of the emotion you were holding in and cry. Crying has a very real physical release that comes with it. When you allow the natural process to go as intended your grief is resolved more smoothly as well as with less complications as you move forward. Partly resolved or unresolved grief become something called complicated grief. When you allow yourself time and space to cry you are allowing emotion to flow instead of being blocked or stuck.
It’s normal to have good days when you feel back like yourself and bad days when you feel pretty terrible. It’s also normal to be able to imagine life without that loved one again. Part of grief is very much going back and forth between what you remember in the past as well as what can be again in the future. It is not forgetting about the person, dishonoring their memory, or ignoring your grief to imagine a life in the future without the loved one. There is often back and forth during grieving between happy memories and the pain of loss, between struggling to imagine life without them imagining a positive future. Grief is a time of mourning and experiencing the pain of loss while eventually moving into seeing and incorporating your life without the loved one. When grief is done well there is a way to remember and honor the loved one’s place in your life while continuing to live.
Grief and loss can be devastating but when you acknowledge grief and allow yourself to feel, cry, and heal your life after loss can be good again. There are many emotions and reactions that are all normal when grieving but if you feel like you need support reach out for help. Grief is common but no one needs to experience it alone. Be gentle to yourself as you grieve and heal. The grief may last for a period of time but the memories you share can last forever.