There is nothing simple or straightforward about the end of life and death. Especially when it comes to losing someone close to you — like a parent, sibling or friend — the emotions, thoughts and feelings that arise can be confusing, overwhelming and almost too much to handle.
As convenient as it would be to have a rule book about how to handle each emotion as it comes up, and what to do with each overwhelming or negative feeling, no such thing exists. The best we can do during these challenging times is to educate ourselves on healthy coping mechanisms and find ways to process and understand our grief.
Talk about it
One of the least helpful ways of dealing with the loss of a loved one is by bottling up the emotions you might be feeling and refusing to talk about what happened. Undeniably, there will be a period of time when you don’t want to talk and simply process the experience on your own.
That’s completely fine.
What’s damaging to the grieving process, however, is never talking about it in any capacity and stuffing down emotions without any intention of dealing with them. As we all know, the longer emotions are kept bottled up, the more harm they cause in the long run.
To avoid this, turn to the people who you know you can trust and process with (as you are able). You might not be willing to divulge every thought and feeling immediately, but over time, you might recognize that having a confidante to turn to can positively impact your grieving process.
Find people who relate
Anyone who has suffered the death of a parent, sibling or friend knows what you are going through. While the experience may not be identical, the emotions — anger, confusion, numbness, disbelief — might very well be the same.
While grief can be a lonely and isolating experience, it doesn’t have to be. Coping with death can, and should, include talking with others who can relate to what you’re feeling. Maybe this means finding a support group for comfort from a community; maybe it means talking with a member of your family going through the same thing. Learn about their ways of coping and see if their strategies can help you.
Remember the good things
During the time of death — from the few days or weeks leading up to it to the days or weeks following — it can be hard to look back on memories. But, it is so important during this time to remember their life was so much more than the recent, painful memories.
Even though it’s hard and you might not be able to do it right away, don’t let yourself forget about the life they lived and the beautiful things they did during their time on Earth. Look back through old photos, watch the videos and remember just what a blessing their life was to all who knew them. Hopefully, this can help you discover comfort and even joy in the midst of the suffering.
Learn about the stages of grief
It’s difficult to accept that which we don’t understand, including death and grief. Taking the time to educate yourself on the concept of grief in addition to the five stages of grief can help you make a little more sense of the emotions you might be feeling. While learning about this won’t eliminate the pain, it can definitely help you grasp the “why” behind what you’re experiencing.
Talk with a therapist
It’s hard — when so wrapped up in emotions — to be able to appropriately process and cope with the concept of death, loss and grief. For this reason, it’s important to remember that therapy is available to help you make sense of and positively cope with the experience of death.
Whether this is the first time or not, the conclusions and perspectives you can find in a counseling session may be best acquired through the guidance of a professional. It can be worth considering if you find yourself struggling to find healthy coping mechanisms or having difficulty moving on during this time.
Looking for grief counseling?
Grief from losing a loved one is not something you need to go through alone, nor should it be. Whether you rely on family members, friends or even a support group or therapist, help is there for when you need it the most. To get in touch with counseling services today, consider The Light Program. Contact us anytime by visiting our website or calling our offices at 610-644-6464.