Coping with Loss
Caregiving leaves its mark on us. No matter what we do to prepare ourselves, the hole left behind looms large. - Dale L. Baker
Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things many of us will face. And the reality is that everyone experiences grief differently, so there is no 'one size fits all'. Most of use have heard about the stages of grief, but we often do not move through those stages in a linear fashion and can even revisit stages. When grieving, we can experience s wide spectrum of emotions - from sadness and regret to anger and resentment. As time passes, sadness tends to diminish, but it is important to go through the grieving process in order to overcome these feelings and incorporate the loss into your current life.
With good social support and healthy habits, most of us are able to successfully navigate through our grief, but may take months or years to truly accept a loss. Even then, moments of intense grief can hit us out of nowhere. This is all normal. If you feel you are experiencing more grief than you are able to manage on your own, consider finding a counselor or bereavement specialist to help you process your loss.
Grief wounds us, scars us and inevitably changes us, but it also honors something that mattered. It’s the mark of something meaningful, the price that must be paid for love. — Leah Royden
Tips for Managing Grief
Understand that Grief is Normal
Grief is the expected response to death. It can be intense pain, sadness, disbelief, anger or guilt. It's the tears, numbness and physical exhaustion and the rush of memories and the yearning for the person you lost.
Allow Yourself to Mourn
Mourning is the outward or public expression of grief, a means of sharing grief with people who also are grieving or who want to support you. Religious rituals, cultural traditions and personal beliefs often shape how we mourn. Whatever form it takes, mourning is a critical process that can help you lessen the intensity of grief and help you adapt to your loss.
Look to Others for Support
It's common to feel alone in your grief or want to avoid others. However, the support of family members, friends or a spiritual leader is often essential. Let people know when you need someone to listen and be open to their offers of company.
Take Care of Yourself
Grief commonly results in disrupted sleep, a loss of appetite and a lack of interest in everyday tasks. All factors that can affect your health and well-being. Be mindful of your health and daily habits. Try to get adequate sleep, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. You might find that including a friend in meal or exercise routines can keep you motivated. Consider a medical checkup to ensure your health has not declined, especially if you have any existing health conditions.
Don't make Major Decisions while Grieving
Grief might cloud your ability to make sound decisions. If possible, postpone big decisions, such as moving, taking a new job or making major financial changes. If you must make decisions right away, seek input from a trusted family member or friend.
Remember that Grief is Unpredictable
Grief doesn't move along a predictable path or at a fixed pace. The overwhelming grief following your loss will become more of a cycle of grief. And over time your grief will likely become more subdued and may feel less constant. But long after a death, you may also find yourself caught off guard by a moment of profound grief, for example, on the anniversary of the death, during holidays or on your loved one's birthday.