Few people are prepared for a loved one's death. People often don't like to think about death. So when it happens, it is harder to face. However, there are healthy ways to work through grief. In time, your loss can become more bearable, allowing you to lead a fulfilling life once again. Grief is a natural part of life. People express grief in their own ways. And, they learn to cope at their own pace. It may not seem so at first, but you can get through this difficult time.
Losing someone close changes your life. And the pain may differ, depending on whether you lose:
Loss affects people in different ways. It is not unusual to experience:
- A parent
- A partner
- A child
- An unborn child
- A companion in life
- Physical problems
- Prolonged depression
- Ulitimately--these feelings will provide personal growth
Be sure to take care of yourself. Grief can overwhelm you at first, but try not to neglect your own needs.
Get help when you need it. You don't have to go through bereavement alone. Sources of support include:
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Get proper rest
- Avoid abusing alcohol or medications
- Stay active
Healing takes time. Here are some suggestions that may help:
- Bereavement counselors--specialists who help people adjust to loss
- Support groups--bereaved people helping each other by sharing their experiences
- Hospices--which often provide services for families of dying patients
- Religious advisors--to help identify your spiritual resources
- Local mental health associations--for information and referrals
- Seeking support is not a sign of weakness. It's a positive step in the healing process.
- Allow yourself to grieve
- Postpone major decisions
- Accept comfort from others
- Express your feelings in writing
Keep memories alive. Even after your loved one is gone, he or she can still be part of your life.
- Look to your faith
- Deal with past regrets
- Complete a project your loved one started
One thing that can never be taken from you are your memories. Cherish them.
Life goes on, and yours can, too. Here are some suggestions that can help you heal--and grow:
- Set aside time to think of your loved one each day
- Save keepsakes that bring you comfort
- Carry out rituals in your loved one's memory
- Stay "connected" with your loved one
- Keep a photo album or scrapbook
- Share memories with friends and family
- Avoid isolating yourself in grief
- Develop a new routine
- Allow yourself to let go
- Get active
- Meet new people
- Set aside time for you
- You can begin to live life to its fullest once again!