Overcoming Grief & Loss
One of the hardest encounters we will face in this life is the lost of someone we love. Overcoming grief is challenging, but when faced with great adversity, it is an opportunity to learn who we are and strengthen our human experience. In 2015 my Grandmother passed away unexpectedly. Our relationship was so special, and when she was called home, I was torn. To this day her death has been the hardest pain I’ve dealt with, but I survived through it. I learned several ways to deal with lost, so I’ll share 7.
1. Understand there’s no remedy To What You Are Feeling
This sounds harsh, but it couldn’t be any truer. Losing a relationship that you will never get back is a sad reality. The pain just means the depths of your love ran deep. Grief is just evidence that you love. People who care about you, but don’t understand grief, will attempt to appease your pain with giving practical advice: Get out the house, know him/her is in a better place, him/her wouldn’t want you to be sad, try not to think about it etc. While they mean well, understand its okay to feel hurt. Everyone grieves in different stages and time frames and only time can truly heal the pain, so be patient with yourself and understand you will always mourn that relationship, and that’s okay.
2. Don’t Feel Pressure To Be Anyone’s Idea of Strong
You will receive a lot of advice, to be strong. The truth is strength looks different to everyone. Strength to some may be not crying at all, for others its not resorting to drugs and alcohol, or it could be just getting up everyday to go to work. Don’t feel pressure to be anyone else’s idea of strong to make them comfortable. Find what keeps you going each day, and don’t conform to the world’s view of strong.
3. Surround Yourself With Loved Ones
Obviously you wouldn’t want to be alone in such difficult times right? Wrong. The temptation to be by yourself will come. But you should surrounded yourself with those who love you and hurt with you. Funerals are hard, but give they you the opportunity to share your memories, emotions, anger, etc with family and friends who can truly empathize with your pain. It is a sensitive time, so while alone time is important, there will be plenty of time for it. Surrounding yourself with loved ones is essential to overcoming grief.
4. Don’t Pick Up Bad Habits
You ever suffered a hard break up? Death of a loved one feels like that times 10. You’ll want to fall into old bad habits or pick up new ones. Addictions that are comfortable to you: sex, alcohol, drugs, self harm, jumping back into unhealthy relationships, isolation etc. The pain should never be an excuse to self destruct.
Your comfort can come in other forms, such as investing in causes your lost loved one was passionate for, fulfilling an accomplishment they’d be proud of you for. For me it was graduating college and starting my own magazine. My grandmother was elated at the idea of attending her first college graduation. And while her absence as I walked across the stage was a disappointment to say the least, it was her sacrifices that brought me to that point. You must lose the bad habits, and when the pain no longer takes lead in your life, you’ll be proud you didn’t give up on your own purpose.
5. Give Yourself Time To Grieve
While each person grieves in different stages and in different ways, give yourself time to cry, be angry, etc. Depending on your situation there may be others that depend on you to be strong or you might just have too much pride. Whatever the situation, don’t hold back. Cry, mourn, write, paint, record, the key is to release the pain. And nothing brings more comfort then doing your God given talents.
When you hold back, you’re only postponing the grief. It will come out in greater ways, irritability and aggression toward others. Allowing yourself to feel, will bring the healing necessary to continue.
6. Find Purpose in Pain
The hardest one on this list is Finding Purpose in pain. Grief is hard but believe it or not there are strong life lessons that come with it. For me it was empathy. I’d never experience hurt to that extent. And I knew that I wasn’t alone, I could only imagine the hurt that others experience on the day to day. It helped me to empathize with others on a greater scale–a life lesson that has helped me to become a better daughter, sister, friend and person.
7. Be Patient With yourself
Time doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t hurt. But time certainly gives opportunity to heal and subdue the pain. You should expect to experience the the stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. As mentioned the time in which you will experience pain will be different for everyone, so don’t compare your journey to others.
Remember there is no formula to overcoming grief, but hope and healing wills always come.
riginally Published September 2017