Dealing with death is never easy.
The loss of a loved one and the grief that follows is nothing short of traumatic.
Sometimes the pain of loss can be so extreme that there seems no end in sight to it. Many people struggle to cope with the suffering involved. For example, teenagers are five times more likely to commit suicide following the death of a parent.
Time is, of course, the greatest healer. The emotional turmoil of grief relaxes its hold on us as the days, weeks, months and years go by.
However, in the midst of anguish, it helps to have some coping strategies to call upon. Easing the sorrow can make a vital difference in seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
Are you hoping to find some thoughts and strategies to ameliorate the pain of loss?
Read on for 7 tips on getting through this hugely challenging time of your life.
1. Get Some Space
It’s often hard to grieve in the immediate aftermath of someone’s death.
Before you have a chance to stop and reflect, there are numerous practical matters to deal with. Everything from notifying friends and family to organizing the funeral puts heavy demands on your time.
As the days wear on, be sure to find time and space for yourself. Being distracted by the wave of activity can be helpful in the short term. Sooner or later, though, you’ll be faced with the stark reality of what’s happened.
Having space to stop, remember, contemplate and grieve- away from the usual demands of life- will be an important means of overcoming the pain that’s sure to follow.
2. Get Practical Support
That activity we just mentioned can feel like a significant burden.
You want to honor the deceased’s memory and final wishes, all the while mourning their loss. It’s an enormous task for one person.
Try to share the load by soliciting help from friends, family members, and professional services. For example, for a cremation ceremony, work with the best cremation services possible to make your life a little easier.
With the funeral behind you, consider asking for some help with daily tasks too.
You might find yourself lacking the usual motivation and depleted by the intense emotions going on inside. As a result, you might feel unable, or unwilling, to keep up with usual routines.
Having a close loved one there for company and practical support can make a big difference.
3. Get Emotional Support
It’s worth emphasizing the potential need for emotional support.
Grief can be an exceptionally lonely experience. It’s tempting to hide away from the outside world, stuck in a whirlwind of internal torment. Things can quickly spiral out of control into depression.
Getting through this experience will be far easier with the emotional support of a trusted other. Talking and spending time with friends and family may suffice.
However, be sure to seek professional medical and therapeutic support as well, if required.
4. Acknowledge and Allow Your Suffering
One of the worst things to do is pretend that everything’s okay.
We live in a world where people feel unable to express their suffering. Afraid of coming across as weak, vulnerable, or a failure, they put on a brave face and fail to acknowledge their suffering.
Unfortunately, though much gets said about ‘faking it until you make it’, this approach is unlikely to end well. Instead, try to be aware and accepting of your emotional state.
Pay attention to whatever’s there, and allow yourself to feel that way.
Watch it without judgment, and know that you’re fully entitled to have that response.
5. There’s No Right or Wrong Way to Grieve
This point picks up from the last:
Expect to go through the whole range of emotions in your journey through grief. Realize that it’s called the grieving ‘process’ for a reason- you’ll pass through a turbulent set of phases.
You’ll probably rotate through a whole series of emotions. Expect denial, anger, and deep sadness, to name but a few. Some will make sense to you, others won’t.
Only one thing is for certain: your experience will be unique to you.
Whatever happens, try hard not to judge yourself for the thoughts and feelings that arise. There’s no right or wrong way to experience.
6. Avoid Drink and Drugs
We don’t have a huge amount of control over the emotions that arise following the loss of a loved one. However, we do have some say over how we respond to them.
Again, unless they feel utterly unbearable, don’t try and sweep your emotions under the carpet. They need to be acknowledged and respected.
It’s tempting to do what we can to blockade ourselves against the pain. When suffering occurs, it’s far easier to numb ourselves than confront it. Thus, alcohol and drugs become the go-to antidote for many.
Resist that urge in the knowledge they’ll only make things worse.
7. Seek Positive Strategies Instead
Thankfully, there are more positive ways to ease the pain.
To begin with, you may lack the motivation to try anything. Exercise patience and self-compassion until a time when you feel ready to take some action.
Exercising, spending time with loved ones, learning something new, giving back in some way, and meditating, are 5 examples of activities known to support wellbeing.
Make Dealing With Death a Little Easier
Dealing with death is never straight-forward.
After all, losing a loved one is one of the greatest trials we’re forced to go through in life. The process of getting through it is full of heart-breaking pain.
There’s no quick fix here- no magic wand you can wave and eradicate the suffering. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of letting time heal the wound.
In the interim, though, know that certain thoughts and steps could make a positive difference. Hopefully, this post has highlighted a selection of them to do exactly that.
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