Grief touches us all in different ways, regardless of our ages, circumstances or histories. Whether you’re mourning the recent loss of a loved one or struggling to navigate a longer grieving process remember that you’re not alone – we’ve all got experiences to share.
Remember that it’s okay to cry
Too many of us attempt to hide our emotions, for fear of appearing weak or overwhelmed. Perhaps the best thing that you can do is to be patient with yourself and to remind yourself that your emotions and responses are completely understandable. Don’t expect too much and express your grief in whatever way feels natural. Cry, laugh, feel angry and sad, and come to accept what has happened. Forcing your feelings or attempting to stifle your responses will only make the grieving process much harder to navigate.
Take things slowly
It’s okay to want to get back into a routine, but don’t try and run before you can walk; the grieving process can be long and unpredictable. Keeping busy can certainly provide distractions, but you might risk those quieter moments feeling all the more daunting when they roll around. Allow yourself to be guided by your emotions and those around you. Do you feel ready to head back to work, or begin to socialize again? Do only as much as you feel comfortable with.
Create a keepsake
Remembrance is a huge part of the healing process. Once we begin to accept our loss we often crave a reminder of that person, in whatever form it takes. While some will create a scrapbook, dig out old photographs or have items made from old clothing you might choose fingerprint jewelry as a way to immortalize your loved one’s memory. A fingerprint is completely unique and may remind you of the softness of that person’s touch. Those memories are even harder to forget when you have a physical reminder of their presence.
Write things down
Creativity breeds catharsis. If you’re struggling with any aspect of the grieving process try writing your thoughts in a journal, or creating a piece of poetry, artwork or even a letter for the one you’ve lost. It can be difficult to verbalize our emotions when we’re experiencing the raw, earlier stages of grief. Putting pen to paper could help you to recover hidden memories, realize your ambitions or expectations for the future, or simply help you to say what needs to be said.
Share the burden
It’s okay to ask for help. In fact, it may be beneficial to seek solace from a friend, family member or professional grief counselor if you’re finding it all too much. Speaking to those who knew your loved one will encourage happier memories and pleasant reminiscence. Don’t be afraid to discuss painful memories, too. Meanwhile speaking to a professional will help you to harness your emotions in a constructive way and to recognize that you’re well on your way towards a more untroubled state of mind.
Grief is a very personal journey, and it’s very difficult to know how we will feel or react until we have to face up to the loss of a loved one – or our own mortality. Whether you’re angry, sad, fearful or even joyful on occasions it’s important that you remember you’re coping in a way that best suits you. Whether you choose to create keepsakes, write your feelings down or reach out to others it’s possible to survive, and even thrive throughout the grieving process, if you’ll only give yourself a little time to heal.