Losing a family member is one of the most difficult experiences a person can face. It’s even more challenging when it happens suddenly, as can happen when a loved one dies unexpectedly. Sometimes it doesn’t take long after death for the news to settle in, but for some, the grieving process takes much longer. They may consider themselves “over it”, only to discover that the loss is still on their minds years down the road.
When it’s time to deal with the death of a loved one, you may find yourself attempting to cope by burying your feelings. Unfortunately, burying your feelings isn’t the best coping mechanism to deal with a death, especially if the death was traumatic. Grief is a complicated and multifaceted psychological process that’s not easy to describe or understand, but there are ways to deal with loss.
Let Yourself Feel the Pain and All the Other Emotions
Losing a loved one is always hard, especially for someone close. You are probably feeling a wide range of emotions right now. You may feel a deep sense of shock, grief, numbness, guilt, anger, or even betrayal. Let yourself feel those raw emotions, and as difficult as it may be, allow yourself to cry when you need to. Don’t bottle it up!
Focus on Yourself
Losing a family member can be a heartbreaking experience, but you can help ease the suffering by taking care of yourself. This might mean spending time with friends, exercising, eating healthy, or engaging in therapy. While it may seem like a selfish choice, it’s important to remember not to become too consumed by your emotions when you start to heal. The healing process can be a long and difficult one, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to care for yourself so that you can better care of yourself and your family going forward.
Express Your Feelings
Coping with the loss of a family member is no easy task, and for the first few weeks, you’ll probably spend most of your time crying. Crying is healthy up to a point, but if you can’t stop, you need to talk to someone about your feelings. Getting things off your chest can help massively, and a problem shared is a problem halved. This is why talking therapy is so often prescribed for those suffering from grief – getting things out in the open will feel like a weight off your shoulders and will help you to understand your feelings better.
Relate Yourself to Others
Losing a loved one is a lonely experience, and at times it can feel like nobody understands your pain. It’s important to remember, however, that everyone around you probably feels exactly the same way. You’re not doing this alone, so talk to your family and friends who are also grieving. You may find that you relate to their feelings closely, which will help you to see that your feelings are normal. Knowing they feel the same way will also bring you closer, so this could be a good thing at the end of the day.
Reach Out for Help
Whilst it’s good to find your similarities with those close to you, everyone grieves differently and grieves at their own pace. It’s no surprise that grieving can leave you feeling completely overwhelmed and helpless. If you’re struggling to deal with the loss of a family member, you’re not alone. You can reach out to charities like Mind for mental health support, or you might even want to call your GP to arrange therapy sessions. Don’t cope alone; reach out.
Continue Your Normal Lifestyle
You might be wondering how to cope with that loss, how to take care of yourself, and what to do to keep your relationships strong while grieving. While it might not seem possible to get back to normal, it is possible to maintain a normal lifestyle, even after losing a family member. Take small steps at a time to maintain a sense of normality, even if it just means getting dressed or making a cup of tea.
Losing a loved one can be emotionally devastating, and grief can linger long after the funeral. The magnitude of the loss can leave you feeling lost and alone, but finding the right thing to do can help you along the way can ease some of the burdens.