Grief and Loss
Without a DOUBT, grief is very painful and life changing. It’s hard to explain to someone the changes that are going on inside you. How you feel different from the person you were before you lost your loved one. How life just doesn’t bring you the same happiness it used to and you are disconnecting from the world you once knew.
Friendships are changing, people that you were once close to are disappearing from your life.
The depressive feelings inside you, STOP you from leaving the house or going to events that you once attended.
Your internal world is riddled with loneliness and that empty feeling is so hollow, that it hurts to the core of your being. Life without your loved one feels helpless.
Each day brings more heartache, as you struggle to find ways of living without your loved one.
If this sounds like you, please be assured that you are NOT abnormal in any way. What you are experiencing is grieving the loss of someone you love. A love that was so beautiful, that learning to live without that love feels impossible.
WHAT IS GRIEF?
Grief is a natural response to a loss, usually to the loss of someone or something that has died. Grieving is a normal part of life.
Grief can impact our mental, physical, emotional, behavioural and spiritual wellbeing.
I think it is important to know that there is no right way to grieve, there is only your way. What this means is that each of us will grieve differently to a significant loss.
THE IMPACT OF GRIEF
The impact of grief can vary, yet the majority of us will experience similar grief reactions. Emotional impacts may be feelings of numbness, loneliness, emptiness, anger, hurt and guilt.
It is important to reduce the physical impacts of grief, even though this can be very hard for many of us. We can do this by maintaining a healthy diet, basic exercise such as walking and having adequate sleep and rest.
Behavioural impacts are things like crying a lot, poor appetite, sleep disturbances and social withdrawal.
Overall, grief can have a negative impact on our well-being, therefore knowing about the impacts can help you take better care of yourself while you are grieving.
Grief can leave you feeling:
Here are a few simple ways to honour your loved one:
Journal writing – keeping a journal of memories, thoughts, and feelings can help you remember your loved one and also help you let go of some of your overwhelming feelings of loss.
Writing letters – writing letters to your loved one can help you say things to them that you are not able to say now they are deceased. A beautiful and creative way of communicating with them.
Treasuring precious possessions – this might be jewellery, clothes, books, anything that was left behind that allows you to feel connected to your loved one.
Planting a tree – we plant a tree in honour of our loved one and take special care in nurturing it.
Writing a song or poetry – poetry and song writing is a beautiful way of honouring your loved one. Maybe you could keep a book of poetry/songs and share some of your precious words with family and friends.
Whatever feels meaningful to you, just do that… Keeping connected to loved ones can help us get through the toughest of days.
- Find a balance between being alone and spending time with family and friends. Both are important in your time of grief.
- Take care of your physical health. Grieving can be exhausting so it is important to eat a healthy diet, get some exercise and make sure you get plenty of sleep.
- Give yourself time out from the pain. Do things you enjoy, even if you don’t really feel like doing them. This can help you feel less stressed and exhausted and bring a little bit of relief to your tired mind and body.
- Try relaxation or meditation to help to manage stress and difficult emotions.
- Work towards getting back to your normal routine, work, social activities, sport etc. Don’t feel guilty about trying to get back to your life. It’s part of the grief process.
- Approach any drug and alcohol use with care. Substances can numb your feelings but they also make it harder to heal.
- If possible, avoid making any big life decisions until you can think more clearly.
- Consider your spiritual beliefs and whether these can provide you any type of comfort.
Remember when we lose someone we love; it can take months or even years for someone to find their way again. We should not put any pressure on ourselves to feel a certain way, after a certain time. Each one of us experience grief uniquely and we should never compare ourselves to how others are grieving or even coping.
Being gentle, caring and compassionate to yourself can help you get through some of the hardest days. Finding a daily self-care ritual can help, something as simple as lighting a candle for your loved one and having a cup of tea as you honour the feelings of loss. One of the worst things we can ever do, is deny ourselves of our grief feelings. Whatever we feel, deserves our attention and acknowledgement.
It’s important to take care of ourselves when we are grieving!
Download the Grief and Loss Infographic: Grief and Loss Infographic