This resource provides some tips on how to cope with the loss of a loved one. We hope this material will help you and your family.
Grief is a normal response to loss. Grief has psychological, emotional, and physical manifestations.
After the death of a loved one, you may experience shock or not believe what happened. Some people feel numb or feel as if they are in a dream. There may be times when you feel sad, empty, or alone. You may even feel angry, guilty, or relieved. It is normal to experience several of these emotional states at the same time.
Grief can also be accompanied by physical manifestations, including changes in appetite, weight, or sleep patterns. You may have a head or stomach ache. It can also be difficult for you to think about returning to your daily activities or work. You may have more strength on some days as compared to others. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to get over grief. Each person goes through this in their own way.
The first months after the loss may be the most painful, but feelings will change over time. Some people will tell you that the grief over the loss of a loved one has not left them for a year. There is really no clear time frame for this feeling. Each loss is unique and everyone experiences it differently.
How to deal with the change associated with the loss of a loved one
We’ll name a few things to keep in mind as time goes by.
Honoring the memory of a loved one: In various cultures and religions, there are rituals to honor the memory of a person after his or her death. Sometimes families create their own rituals, such as candle lighting or a special family meal. If you want to honor the memory of your loved one more openly, you can hold a solemn commemoration and post a video of the event on the Internet, order a memorial plaque with the name of your loved one, or plant a commemorative tree or garden; all this will contribute to the formation of a sense of community and kinship. You might want to talk with a clergyman or friends and family about how you want to honor your loved.
How to dispose of personal belongings
Your loved one’s clothing and personal belongings can be of special importance to you. Some people feel an urgent need to empty their closets and shelves immediately after the death of a loved one. Others prefer to keep everything as it was before the loss. Someone finds comfort by putting on some of the clothing of the deceased or by reading his books. You can also give these things to family and friends. Only you can make these decisions. Take your time to decide something and do what is most acceptable for you and your family.
Chatting with family and friends
During this time, you can be supported by family and friends. However, they will have their own feelings and reactions associated with the death of a loved one. Some people do not know what to say to the bereaved and may say something tactless when they try to sympathize. Your needs may not always be obvious to your partner, your parents, or friends. Therefore, it is important to find ways to stay connected with others, even if it’s hard for you. If you’re not ready to talk, you may find it easier to email them or send them a text message. It can also be helpful to have a friend or relative near you to help you interact with others during this period.
You may find it difficult to make decisions at the moment. Therefore, after the loss of a loved one, it may be better to postpone such important issues as moving, switching to a new job, or reviewing financial affairs for several months or even a year. When the time comes or it becomes impossible to postpone these decisions, ask your friends and family to help you make those decisions.
Other useful tips to take note of:
- Pay attention to your personal care
- Create a support system and don’t grieve alone
- Recognize the need for professional help if necessary
If your worries persist or even intensify after 6 months or more, you may need to consider seeking professional help.
Various consultants can help you. These include social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, religious clergy, as well as art and music therapists. A counselor can help you cope with changing perceptions of your life, caring for yourself and your family, and completing your daily activities.
Losses are an inevitable part of our lives, but with time, patience and support, we can survive them.
Rachel Aredia, LCPC, Coping with the Loss of a Loved One, September 24, 2018
Retrieved from: https://www.apa.org/topics/grief
Retrieved from: https://www.mhanational.org/bereavement-and-grief