Grieving: When you lose someone close
When someone you love dies, your world falls apart. Life seems horribly unfair. The emptiness in you seems as though it will swallow you. You took for granted the one you’ve loss would be there forever and that everything would always work out okay. You are not so certain of anything anymore. You feel awful—angry, sad, guilty or crazy—it’s all grief. Grief is a natural part of life but a painful process. There is no set amount of time for grief and no set regimen for effectively dealing with your pain. Everyone grieves different. There are however, some positive steps you can take to help you heal and find strength to get through each day.
Be patient with yourself. Right now you can’t imagine ever being happy again. Others around you may tell you to “get over it” or “get on with your life.” While they mean well, you may not be ready to “move on.” Tell them you need more time—tell them you need them to listen, share memories of your loved one or just be there with and for you. No one can put a time on your grief but someday, you will let go of the anger and pain. Gradually, you will learn to accept and move beyond your sorrow.
Accept your feelings. You never have to act as though nothing has happened. You have experienced a painful occurrence. Recognize the pain and the loss. It’s okay to cry or just feel sad. Whatever emotions you are feeling are valid because that is how you feel. Express your grief in a way that is safe and comfortable to you. Try writing a farewell letter or a poem to your loved one. You may be surprised at some of the thoughts you are having or experience survivors guilt. You may begin thinking of your own death and become frightened. You may be angry at the person who died or yourself for not spending more time with them. You may even be mad at God who “permitted” this to happen. All of these reactions are natural. Be gentle with yourself rather than criticizing your reactions. You have enough pain in your life. Do not inflict any additional pain upon yourself.
Reach out to those you trust. Loneliness is one of the most difficult part of grief. No one seems to understand how much you hurt. Most people find comfort and protection in their bedrooms but you have to leave the comfort of your room to survive. Do NOT isolate yourself. Share your grief with those you love and trust. Find someone to confide in and who is supportive—a counselor at your school, a support group, a minister at your church—a person who has experienced loss will be most understanding.
Set little goals for yourself. Getting beyond grief takes time and lots of effort. You may feel uncomfortable returning to normal activities but getting back to a routine helps. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to set small goals—one goal a day—call a friend, clean out a closet, get tickets for an event, volunteer at the loved ones favorite charity or start a creative project. As you try to accomplish your goals, you will find yourself moving beyond your grief. The grief will no longer paralyze you.
Turn to God. It is not uncommon for you to find yourself angry with God when a love one dies. Or even wonder if the Lord is there for you. However, this is the time to let God know how you feel. These thoughts and feelings can be communicated in prayer. God understands your pain and suffers with you. All you have to do is open yourself up to God’s healing love. Believing in life after death can also be a great comfort. The thought that you will see your loved one again can bring you peace and comfort.
Have faith in God and in yourself as you slowly learn to live without your loved one. You will never stop missing your loved one. Birthdays and holidays may be difficult. Gradually, you will get through a whole day without feeling stabs of pain—and then a week and then a month. Over time, your efforts to become stronger will pay off and you will have a deeper appreciation of life. Eventually, you will be happy again and live fully again. Hold the memory of your loved one in your heart forever.
Healing a World of Hurt
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Columbus, OH 43211