Dealing With Grief: How To Cope With Death Of Parents, Loved Ones Or Family Members
The death of a loved one (parents, spouse/lover, family member, friend etc) can be quite a traumatic experience. Different people have different reactions to it but generally they all experience grief, pain and sadness.
There is no right or wrong way in dealing with grief. Everyone have theirs. Some people during this time crave for the company of friends and or other family members while others prefer to stay on their own till they recover .
Which ever the case, coping with the death of a loved one is something that happens to everyone at some point in time. Just find out which method works for you and do it.
There are also some helpful tips that can help you get over it. Whether it is the death of a parent(s), spouse/lover, friend the following will help you.
There are certain stages to go through. The first is the
Immediate Stage: This is the time when you just learnt of the death of your loved one.
It is Perfectly Okay To Grieve: it will be unseemly to be seen walking around dry-eyed. Such will mean you are perfectly okay with the situation.
Therefore it is normal to feel sad, pained and even angry. Do not chide yourself or think you will just get over it easily. Allow yourself to feel broken. This is not a sign of weakness but that of a deep sense of loss.
At this stage, you may experience the following emotions:
- Denial of the death
- Regrets( for things you did or things you should not have done)
Process Your Emotions: At this point, you mostly need a distraction from your current emotions. But somehow, the sadness and anger will still find a way to creep in and the more you try to ignore it, the longer it will take to fade away.
After the loss of a loved one, it is ideal to take some time to process your emotions and the negative emotions that come with it. If possible:
- Take some time off work
- Take time away from school (except perhaps during exam periods)
- Spend time with family and friends
Immortalize Your Dead Loves Ones: To keep the feelings alive and burning, you should immortalize your dead loved ones. You can do this by selecting an item of sentimental value that once belonged to them such as a piece of jewellery, picture, cloth etc.
Life will definitely go on but that does not mean you should forget them. Keep them alive in your heart and mind by remembering all the good times you all had.
Seek and Accept the Help of Friends/Family: As said earlier, some people may prefer to deal with their grief alone but when and if you feel up to it, accept help from family and friends and listen to how they managed to survive theirs.
Accept their help:
- When they come to help with the cooking and doing the chores, helping with the funeral arrangements.
- Or you can ask for an alone time if you feel like you cannot deal with the crowd just yet.
Take Care of Your Body: Remember that there is a connection between your mental and physical health. At this period, you may not want to eat or have an appetite for one. As difficult as it is, you ought to try to eat healthy meals, exercise, rest and get enough sleep.
Eulogize Them at the Funeral: Your emotions are most likely a turbulent mass but they are mostly poignant, happy memories of all the happiness you shared with them.
Try to conjure these feelings and let them suppress the negative ones (even if only a little). Remember that the way you feel now is going to affect your mood even after about two years (according to studies) so try and stay positive.
Grieve Your Own Way: There is no right or wrong way to grieve. So just go about it your own style. You can scream, wail or be silent etc. Just go about it your own way and with time, you will definitely get the hang of it.
After the funeral rites have been performed and your loved one has been buried, the next step is
Moving On With Life: Here you need to:
Gradually Move On With Life: At some point you will need to accept that your loved one is dead, gone and never coming back. All you have are their memories. Accepting this is when you will actually begin the moving on process. You are most likely surrounded by friends and family who are willing to support you during this very trying time so cash on it and let them be your succour.
Return Slowly to Your Routine Life: Take it one step at a time. Do not rush it. Explain to your boss or lecturer about what is going on. They are most likely to be sympathetic and will be patient with you as you slowly but steadily pick up from where you stopped.
Their Memories Will Last Forever: Yes they will, whether you want it or not. Things will aslo serve as constant reminders such as anniversaries, birthdays etc. Even certain sounds and smells can serve as reminders. To get past all these, you can start a new activity on that day such as visiting their graves or a memorial service in their honour.
Have friends and other family members visit you or you could go out with them. This will definitely clear your head and shake it off a little.
Seek Counselling: Sometimes, some deaths by virtue of our relationship with the deceased and the circumstances surrounding their deaths can be too much for one to handle.
In such extreme situations, there are professionals who can help you cope with the death of your loved one. They help you come to terms with it and also bring your zest back.
This is very important because it is in extreme cases as this that some get very depressed and even commit suicide.
Although losing a loved one is painful, even more painful is when the death is sudden. It is one thing for you to know that there is a huge chance of losing your loved one (perhaps because of a protracted illness) but when their death is sudden, it can make it all the more agonizing for you.
The good news is that you can equally overcome the sudden death of a loved one in the following steps:
There is no guarantee that you will have people around you (this is actually your best bet) when you hear the bad news but in a case when you are alone, try to breathe calmly and do not do the first crazy thing that rushes to your head.
Take your time to assimilate the news. If you are not in the same place where it happened, then you can make arrangements to travel.
Have Family and Friends Around You: This is not the period you should be alone. Surround yourself with people you trust. They can help you out. As much as you want to be alone, the truth is that you need people you can lean on.
Grieve: There is no denying the fact that you will be awash with grief. Take all the time you need to grieve. Cry, wail, scream, scratch, this is completely normal and expected. Express your grief which ever way that will help you.
Hold on to Memories: The memories are what helps you move on. If it helps, participate actively in their funeral rites, play the type of music you are sure they would have liked or display the colour that appealed to them.
Give Yourself Time: Take your time. There is no particular time or timeline for getting over grief. Just because Mr. A overcame his in three months does not mean you should or have to.
Seek Additional Help: This usually becomes important when it becomes obvious the person cannot deal with it alone. There are psychologists and therapists that are more than willing to help you pull through.
Get Busy: If you lock up, chances are that your recovery may take forever. Therefore, get a new hobby or learn a skill. Go out for walks or to the gym- just do literally anything to keep your mind active and kicking. This is a good way to wade off depression and other negative emotions.