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How to Overcome the Death of a Loved One
Losing a loved one is one of the most traumatic experiences you can go through in your life. When a family member, partner or friend dies, you can feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself.
Coping with a loved one’s death takes time and each person’s healing journey is unique to them. However, while every individual’s experience with grief is different, there are some basic universal tenets that can apply to everyone dealing with the death of a loved one.
Honor Your Feelings
Death digs up a variety of emotions so allow yourself to feel whatever feelings come your way. You might be overwhelmed with sadness, anger, and shock—and even experience these emotions simultaneously. Remember, there is no “right way” to feel after you lose someone close to you.
Give Yourself Time
The grieving process is comprised of five stages according to psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. While she based her research on patients facing terminal illness, people have applied them to feelings of loss like a death or break-up.
These stages are:
• Denial: You might be in a state of shock and disbelief and unable to comprehend your loved one’s passing. You may even find yourself combing through public death records, just to make sure your loved one is truly gone.
• Anger: As you begin to understand the situation, you might feel angry and direct your anger to your loved ones who have died, yourself, or even to God.
• Bargaining: You may also find yourself trying to cut a deal with God or a higher power.
• Depression: You may become overcome with sadness, but this will not last forever.
• Acceptance: Finally reaching a point where you are able to move forward with your life.
Reach Out For Support
Sometimes you will want to be alone. And sometimes you will want a shoulder to cry on or just someone to listen. Seek support when you need to talk. This could be from relatives, friends, a religious leader, or a therapist.
Whoever you feel comfortable talking to and processing your feelings with. If you want to speak to a counselor, reach out to the therapy Group of DC for help. Speaking to a licensed mental health professional can help you find effective strategies to cope and handle the loss. When you are finally ready to open up and talk, be sure to discuss the person’s death so you can fully come to grips with the reality of it.
Take Care Of Yourself
It’s normal to be so consumed by sadness when grieving that you forget to take care of yourself. During the bereavement period, remember to eat healthy food, get an adequate amount of sleep each night, and exercise. Doing simple things in the name of self-care—like just taking a shower—can help you establish a routine and begin to move forward.
After reaching the final stage of the grieving process, you may feel the need to honor your loved one’s memory. You can do this in a variety of ways including dedicating a garden or tree to them, making a donation to their favorite charity, sharing stories about them, or naming your child after the deceased.
You will also need to embrace your own life. As you accept the reality of living without your loved one by your side, you will come to terms with the concept of death and begin to move on. This is nothing to feel guilty over. Death is a part of life and learning how to process the pain and establish a life without the person aids in the healing.