The death of a family member/friend could have a lasting impact on your life. It is the most difficult life event to go through and will change the way you exist, live and plan your future. Many persons are stuck in the grieving process for m years, while others omit it from their lives and try to continue day-to-day living without thinking too much about it. There are many, many coping methods to deal with the loss of a loved one, but only you will be able to understand your own grieving process, move forward and live a healthy, productive life.
I personally went through the loss of a loved one, when my mother passed away in late 2010 from cancer. It was one of the most life changing experiences I ever had to endure. Her death not only changed my outlook on life, but it also re-shaped the person I used to be and made me more mature, more resilient and more spiritual. I used many healthy coping methods to deal with her loss, including meditation, therapy and breathing techniques. My life was changed forever. However, instead of allowing inside the dark depression that knocked on my door, I used her passing to celebrate my life and nourish other relationships. I made new friends; cut out the ones who negatively influenced my life and slowly rebuilt the fragile pieces of my existence. Today, two years later, I am able to look back on what I survived and think of her fondly during the times of remembrance. Every year, on the anniversary of her death, I do something to commemorate her life and acknowledge her time spent with me.
How does one deal with these horrible emotions? How does one cope? How does one survive? There is unfortunately, no clear-cut answer, as each loss is different for each person. The Let Life In website outlined a few ways to handle grief, and while most of the methods aren’t tried and tested, it’s at least something you can bite into during the difficult times.
1. Learn to let go of things that remind you of the person or situation – Go through the mementos of that person, hold it, touch it, smell it and then pack it away into a memory box. There’s no time connected to grief, but the initial stages of grief could be dampened by letting go of the important mementos and slowly, but surely, also letting go of the grief. Your loved one wouldn’t want you to waste your entire life mourning them, would they?
2. Write a gratitude journal – This method worked extremely well for me. Buy an empty journal and write in it each and every day. Don’t just write your thoughts and emotions, but write what you’re grateful for in life, what you still have. You’ll be surprised to see that your life is a remarkable gift that should be shared with everyone around you.
3. Engage in as many hobbies as you can – Keeping your mind busy is extremely important. You need to be able to cope, and a hobby is one of the best coping methods out there.
4. Don’t go it alone – This is perhaps the most important on this list. Do not shut out the people around you. Speak to them about the loved one, listen to their thoughts, take into consideration their emotions and hold them as tight as possible.
5. Don’t force the grief away – You have to be able to feel and experience the grief, even though you’re numbed beyond emotion. You have to allow yourself to listen to that little voice inside of you and take time out of the day to feel the emotions. This is the most important part of grieving, as without it, you will bottle up emotions that will come back to haunt you in years to come.
6. Have a spiritual life – This one crosses all religious denominations and is not tied to any single religion. Whichever religion you may be, make sure that spirituality plays a large role in the aftermath of the loss. Your mind will be ravaged by important questions about existence and it is extremely important that you’re able to at least try to answer these difficult questions through spiritual experiences.
7. Go to a support group – This one helped me more than anything else on this list. Look online for a support group in your area and go to the next meeting. These are people who experienced what you’re experiencing, but they will have a wealth of knowledge for you to tap into. A support group will also be there for you when it’s late at night and you feel like your life is falling apart.
The anniversary of my mother’s death will take place on the 6th of November. I shall be sitting on the beach to watch the waves rolling in from the Atlantic. This was her favourite place to go during her 49 years on the planet. I won’t be mourning her loss; I shall be celebrating the beautiful life she lived.