Loss and death do not discriminate. No matter who you are, you are going to experience the loss of a loved one at some point in your life. The process of accepting and coping with loss can be overwhelming but remember that you are not alone. We all experience loss, and we can help each other get through it.
To help you better understand your thoughts and emotions during this time, we are going to take a look at the stages of grief, the symptoms, and how to best cope with the loss of a loved one. Regardless of why you clicked into this post, this information on grief and loss can help bring you comfort and peace of mind during this hard time.
After the loss of a loved one, it is normal to feel and experience grief. Grief is a type of emotional suffering that people feel when someone or something that you love is taken away from you. The greater the loss the more intense the grief will be that you feel. Although grief is generally associated with the loss or death of a loved one, grief can surface under different circumstances involving loss, such as:
- Loss of a relationship, resulting in a divorce or a breakup.
- Loss of one’s health.
- Loss of a job.
- Loss of financial stability.
- Loss of an unborn child (miscarriage).
- Loss /Death of a pet.
- Loss of a dream.
- Loss of a friendship.
- The feeling of loss of safety which can be the result of a trauma such as traumatic experience or accident.
- Loss of a childhood or family home in a natural disaster.
Facts About Loss and Grief
When it comes to grief as a after a loss of a loved one, each individual’s grieving process will be different and varied depending on their personality, feelings, and needs. There is no “normal” grieving period or time period that a person is given. Some people can feel better in weeks, and others take years to fully grieve a loss. No matter what you are grieving, it is important to be patient with yourself and allow yourself time to process your emotions.
- Do not try to ignore your grief or pain. Ignoring your feelings will only make your grief worse in the long run, and it could resurface later in life.
- Acknowledge that it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it.
- Sadness, fright, and loneliness are normal reactions to loss. None of these feelings indicate that you are weak.
- It is okay to show these feelings to others so that they can help you.
- Understand that crying is a normal response to loss. However, if you do not cry, that does not mean that you are not feeling pain as deep as others.
Stages of Dealing With Loss
Typically, there are five stages of grief that an individual goes through when dealing with loss. They are:
- Denial: During denial, a person will pretend that none of this is happening to them, and they can have a tendency to block out any of the words and emotions related to the situation and hide from the reality. This is, of course, a result from the shock that they might be experience. It usually will constitute as the first wave of pain that someone goes through following the loss of a loved one.
- Anger: During anger, a person will question why any of this is happening, and they will look for someone to blame. If anything, the person will blame themselves for not saying or doing certain things before the loss.
- Bargaining: During bargaining, a person will like to play with the options that they “could have had” in an attempt to regain control of the situation. They will ask themselves questions, such as: “If only I have done this sooner”, “If only I had got a second opinion”, or “If only I had been a better person.”
- Depression: When hit with depression, the individual suffering from loss will not feel like doing anything. Instead they will want to wallow in the sadness and regret that they are feeling. The depression can either be very recognizable in someone, or it may be private.
- Acceptance: Eventually, a person will reach the acceptance phase and be ready to accept and move on from what happened. During acceptance, the sadness one is feeling will greatly lesson and they will begin to regain interest in their regular areas of life in order to get themselves back together.
How to Cope With Loss
When dealing and coping with the loss of a loved one, it can be helpful to apply these three steps to help you overcome the loss. Take things slowly, as everyone deals with loss differently.
Step 1: Face Your Feelings
- Do not try to suppress or ignore the emotions that you are feeling. Go ahead and admit to yourself and to others that you are in pain and that you may need help now or down the line.
- Know that it is okay to cry if you need to. However, if you cannot cry, that is fine too. Emotions are different with everyone.
- Do not try to look at loss or grief in a timeline to measure how fast it will go away. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a process.
Step 2: Get Support
- Get support from your friends and family during this time. Open up to them about the pain that you are feeling and allow them to console you. It is important that you ask for help during this time.
- However, if surrounding yourself with others does not have the effect that you hoped, it is fine to spend time alone as well.
- Join a support group if you need to. There are plenty of people who are suffering from loss just as you are. Support groups provide you with the console of others who are going through similar situations as yourself.
- In addition to support groups, seeing a counselor or a therapist might be a helpful option. These professionals are meant to help you sort out your feelings and give you advice. Just because you are seeking their help does not mean that you are weak.
Step 3: Take Care of Yourself
- Nurture yourself during this time and make sure you get enough rest. You might have trouble sleeping at first, but try to find some balance and stay away from any stimulants.
- Try to stay physically healthy. Make sure that you are eating plenty of delicious and nutritious foods, as well as drinking plenty of water. Try to incorporate some exercise, even if it is just walking, into your daily routine.
- Try to develop or find a new routine for yourself. Sometimes dealing with loss can be easier if you rearrange certain parts of your life. For instance, find a new schedule, pick up a new hobby, or visit a different coffee shop each morning.
- Chances are you have a lot of thoughts going on in your head. Try writing these out in a journal when you wake up and before you go to be each night to help clear your mind.
Take Your Time
Remember to be patient with yourself and with your feelings after the loss of a loved one. The person you have lost was special to you, and it will take some time to grieve and move forward. The best thing that you can do for yourself now is to take care of you.
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