Losing a loved one is one of the most painful, inevitable experiences in our lives. Each person will experience grief differently, but is there a “right” way to deal with grief? The short answer is no. Everyone has a right to express and go through the grieving process in their own time, their own order, and their own way. The death of a loved one will never be forgotten and grief is a healthy emotion to pass through, just remember not to set up camp and live there forever. Here are some ways to help us cope with grief in a healthy way:
- Cry it out. Let go of anything that is keeping you from fully feeling the grief. Cry, wail, break down. It is normal to be sad. It is normal to cry. Let it out.
- Talk to someone. Reach out to someone you trust and just talk. Let your mouth flow freely and share. Tell them about your feelings, regrets, thoughts, things you wonder about, memories you have, everything. Sharing helps us feel better.
- Start journaling. If you are not much of a talker or don’t feel comfortable sharing your intimate feelings with anyone, try writing them down.
- Pray. Pour out your emotions, questions, thoughts, etc. in prayer. Emptying your heart is good, keeping it all in is not good.
- Join a support group. Getting together with people who know this pain personally in a great way to get through it. When tragedy strikes us we often feel as though nobody in the world could possibly feel what we feel or know what we are going through. Joining a group of people who can show us otherwise can be a relief and it helps to know that you are supporting each other because it removes the stigma of being a burden to others.
- Be creative. Create some type of art, write a poem or story, take some photos of places that bring them to your memory, create a collage or scrapbook to memorialize your loved one.
- Create a memorial. This can be a physical memorial like a park, garden, bench, tree, etc. or it can be something like a scholarship fund, a gift to charity in their name, an award for people who share something unique with them, etc.
- Socialize. Know that continuing to live a healthy, happy life is what your loved one would have wanted for you. Get out and surround yourself with people who understand and support you, but also who encourage you to continue enjoying life.
All of these are great ways to help yourself heal when grieving the loss of a loved one. Take care of yourself. Do not rush the process, but also do not let the process bog you down and keep you from living the rest of your life.