Losing a loved one is one of the hardest moments of a person’s life, whether it’s an illness or wrongful death. Something inside you breaks and you feel like it is never going to heal.
The period after the death of a loved one is very hard for those who remain behind. It takes time to adapt to the new situation and to move forward with that hole in your heart. It’s a slow process but certain things can help you get back on your feet a bit sooner.
1. Create a ritual
Traditional rituals like the funeral or going to the church aren’t what I’m referring to here. It’s about creating a ritual you will do by yourself, privately.
For example, maybe you can continue doing errands you did with your loved one to keep the memory alive. Or you can wash the car every weekend, just like your family member or friend did.
The point is that this ritual that you choose to do helps you go through grief without feeling a deep loss and hopeless sadness. In a way, you gain control over your life and you are also able to reflect on the memories of your loved one without getting too upset.
Every ritual is deeply personal, so find an activity or an event through which you can honor the person who died. It will help you conjure positive memories about that person, the ones you shared, and you will also be reminded of the person’s positive qualities.
The point is to follow a ritual that will reinforce the connection between the two of you and not the feeling of loss. Of course, not every ritual has to be done in private, even though most of them are that way.
For example, there are volunteer groups that help those who grieve to establish the connection by “intentional remembering.” It involves volunteers recreating a family tradition to conjure positive memories.
2. Understand the grieving process after losing a loved one
You will go through the grieving process, with every stage taking you on a journey that is unique to you. You will probably revisit certain stages.
First, you will deny it and possibly feel numb and unable to believe your loved one has passed away.
Next, you’ll experience anger and even rage. This emotion can point towards anybody, including your loved one for leaving you, God, the doctors, or even yourself.
Bargaining, usually with the higher power, is the next step, where you will find yourself immersed with “if only” deals.
After that, you’ll likely feel overwhelmed with sadness and even depression. At this point, in particular, you will feel like your life will never be the same following losing a loved one, whether it’s an aging parent or someone else.
And finally, you will come to accept the situation and the loss. That doesn’t mean you won’t experience some of the previous feelings again from time to time but it means you will move forward with your life.
This is when you will probably decide to remove some of the things that belonged to your beloved. When you decide to do that, avoid the unnecessary stress of doing it yourself – contact professionals like The Junkman and let them remove those things for you.
3. Allow the feelings to overcome you
First of all, there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve after losing a loved one. It will probably take you longer/shorter than you expected, and it will be a different experience, too.
You will feel a lot of different emotions, sometimes more than one at the same time, which could make you think you are going crazy. However, you have to know that that’s all within the norm, that all those intensive, scary feelings are ok and you have to let them show. Don’t suppress anything and don’t question anything.
4. Find support
There will be times when you’ll just want to be left alone but it’s very important to have a support group of people close to you. They will provide you with emotional and physical support in times of need.
These people can be family members, a minister or even a therapist. Don’t hesitate to ask them for help or to simply be there for you and simply listen.
Final words on losing a loved one
At all times, be gentle to yourself and show yourself a lot of patience. The death of an individual you care about deeply takes a long to fully accept, so give yourself time.
About today’s writer
Stella Ryne is an art historian, traveler, conscious consumer, and a proud mother. When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book.
She’s deeply into green practices, cherishing the notion that sustainable living and sustainable travel will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit and what we eat, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. Stay in touch with Stella via Twitter and Facebook.