We’ve all experienced grief at some stage of our lives. And with technology making ‘How to’s” readily available from our smart phones, we can access professional and opinionated articles on the loss of a loved one and how to deal with it. With the tap of a finger the topic floods your google search results. The truth is there is no ‘How To’ in coping with grief and great loss. We never fully heal from loss. We just learn to adapt to the pain while continuing to experience life.
There are; however, standard psychological stages that, when made aware, can lessen the pain process and they are:
1. Denial and isolation
6. Guilt (I add the most damning emotion but is not typically included in the standard stage list.
Many experience these stages in different order and some not at all. But no matter if you’ve cut yourself off from an abusive partner or someone close to you has died, you’ll have some of these emotions. Coping with them is a very personal function but it’s important to remember feeling those emotions is a healthy part of carrying on with your own life and some healing.
If you’re close to someone who has lost a loved one, it’s so extremely important to remember your support is the only thing, needed. Support has no ‘self’ component. It’s all about the grieving person. It’s not about who goes to the funeral or not, or gives more money or none; it’s solely about what the person, grieving, needs. And No, you don’t know how they feel. Albeit, may have experienced similar type of loss, you, nor anyone else, ‘know how they feel’. At that moment, they need to not feel alone but your experiences don’t come into play unless asked. You ask them what they need and never tell or advise. Lend your ear without opinion or judgment and listen to whatever they need to say. There is no way to stress this enough; grief is not about you, it’s about the person suffering.
Loss can bring on strange emotions and sensations, so anger and lashing out should not be a shock. Typically, things are said as a passive aggressive way to cope with guilt and express what they can’t put into context. So the best thing you can do is listen, oblige and show patience. If you can’t handle the situation without interjecting yourself then you’d be more support by stepping back or at the very least, remain silent.
If you’re in any of the stages of grief, allow yourself to feel. It’s important not to lose yourself to the point of no return. This is such a person journey and no one can tell you how to grieve. The best way to do this is take what you need from the help offered and don’t worry about how others take your attitude. Again, there’s no book or manual to follow, its your gig. I don’t recommend hate in any way, but it is a natural emotion when you’ve just lost someone you care for, deeply. You should not place high or unrealistic expectations on yourself at this time. Whatever the situation, it’s vital that you try to take care of yourself the best you can. Loss can drain you of all energy and leave you weak and vulnerable, not only emotionally, but physically. A good daily supplement can help especially when you’ve lost your appetite.
No one expects you to be strong but with the right support, you can be stronger than you give yourself credit for. Allow yourself to feel without checking your behaviour. And reach out to those you want close to you. Don’t think twice about what others say. It is all about you.