Wellness Series: Healing & Grieving After Loss

Happy Friday! I hope that you have encountered a week full of blessings. This week I am discussing the topic of healing after loss. Loss can be defined in multiple ways and have a different impact on each of us.  

  • The loss of a loved one.
  • The loss of a sporting event
  • The loss of a beloved pet
  • The loss of a something tangible
  • The loss of employment
  • The loss of housing or food resources

The list can go on and on. The loss of anything really can be devastating depending on so many other factors. The loss of a loved one is the topic that I really want to talk about this week. How do we move on after a loved one has died? Do we ever move on? Or do we just learn to live in a different way?  I believe that we learn to live differently. We begin to cope with loss and learn to live our life without our loved one beside us. Our life changes with loss and will never again be the same as it once was.

There are many things that enable us to begin to cope with life after the loss of a loved and finding the ones that help you are important.  Time is a healing and coping mechanism but it does take time.

Time

“It takes time” is one of the hardest parts of living life after a death. Hearing those words as words of advice in times of grief can be overwhelming, frustrating and, for some, maddening. We are impatient people! We have everything at our fingertips and we do not have to wait for much these days it seems. No more going to the library to look for answers in the encyclopedias, just “GOOGLE IT!”

So many things differ, and time seems to pass slowly when dealing with the loss of a loved one. Time seems to creep along ever so slowly in the healing process. Finding ways to fill your time is of the utmost importance, but this can be difficult. Staying busy is helpful in that it allows the coping process to begin and continue.

Remember to allow yourself to grieve. Give yourself time to think and process your thoughts and feelings in a healthy manner.  Identify what those thoughts and feelings are. Maybe use a notebook to help with the processing.  Jot down your thoughts and feelings and in doing so, give yourself the ability to be done with those thoughts. Allow yourself time to grieve and process but then make yourself engage in something that allows your mind to focus on something other than the loss of your loved one.

Feelings of Guilt

Blaming yourself for a multitude of things can take place after the loss of a loved one. Placing blame on ourselves is something that frequently happens to each of us. We wish that we had done things differently, said different things, listened more. The feelings of guilt can inhibit individuals from allowing themselves to find ways to keep busy and begin the healing process.  Finding new hobbies or going to new places can seem overwhelming and individuals can feel guilty for feeling happiness in doing things again. No living, or at least not living fully, is in a sense letting the guilt win. Ask yourself this question; “Would my loved one want me to feel this way?” Chances are the answer is no! So how does an individual let go of guilt?

Give Forgiveness

Forgive is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake. A Pardon.” To forgive yourself or someone else is very freeing and can enable individuals to proceed with the healing process.  It can take time to be in the frame of mind to be able to forgive yourself along with the individual who was lost. Forgiveness enables us to be able to continue to grow, cope and change.

Helping others through grief

The hurt and emptiness that the individual feels is different for everyone. Being aware that we all experience and process grief differently is important. Saying “I know how you feel” can have a negative impact on the person who is experiencing grief. You may be able to relate, but you will never know exactly what they feel. You will never know what their last conversation was with that person or maybe the tone of voice that they used.

After a loss, some individuals feel the need to be surrounded by family and friends to help in feeling somewhat normal while learning to live without their loved one. Others may feel the need to be alone to process their thoughts and feelings.  Being cognizant of what the individual needs can be so very helpful. If an individual wants to be alone it is important to respect that while still remaining engaged and available but not smothering the individual. For those who want individuals around them it is important to make sure that you or someone else can take time to check on them. Even delivering a meal or just sitting and being present can help with the healing process tremendously.  Sometimes the grieving individual does not want to talk, but just wants to know that someone is there. Sitting quietly seems like you are doing nothing when to that person you are helping them so much.  

I have included below a link to a helpful grieving. I hope that this week is chalk full of blessings.  Is your glass half full or half empty? You decided! Look for the positive, change your perspective, and take time to just BREATHE.

Be GREAT this week!