Losing someone close to you is a traumatic experience. Bereavement affects everyone very differently and there is no ‘right’ way to grieve. Follow your instincts and be gentle with yourself. Sadly there is no easy way to deal with the loss of a loved one, but here are some strategies that we hope can help you cope as best you can.
1 Do it your way
We’re all different, there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you feel, whether it’s disbelief, anger, sadness or a sense of relief, all your emotions are valid. Try not to deny or repress your feelings as they are all part of the grieving process. These feelings may not be there all the time and powerful feelings may appear unexpectedly but you have to find your own path through your grief, look for all the support you can – you do not have to make your journey alone.
2 Be kind to yourself
Your self-esteem may have taken a knock so try to acknowledge each time you achieve something, no matter how small it is. We can be very good at noticing our mistakes and ignoring our good points, especially when we are feeling down. Making dinner, washing your hair or spending the day in bed to rest are all small achievements, don’t try to do too much – set small targets that you can easily achieve.
3 Practice self-care
It is important to be gentle with yourself, try to eat nourishing food, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep where you can. Having alcohol might seem like a quick fix, but try to avoid it as it is a depressant that can make you feel worse. If you are worried about your feelings or your health, please speak to your doctor as they are there to help. Sticking to a regular routine of eating, sleeping, exercise and relaxation may help, but make sure you include time to reflect on what has happened to you.
4. You are not alone.
Reach out to people around you, take offers of support and tell people what you need. Although it can be incredibly hard to talk about how you’re feeling, it can help you process your emotions. Remembering your loved one and sharing stories with other people who knew them may help and can bring a little brightness to those seemingly darker days.
If it’s too hard to talk to someone, you could try writing your feelings and thoughts down in a journal.
If you don’t feel like talking to a friend or relative, please don’t be afraid to seek out professional help as that is what they are trained to do. You can search for local bereavement services here
5. Grief is a journey
A very hard one, but it will get easier, although unfortunately, there are no shortcuts and it takes time, often much longer than you may expect. Try not to rush through the process, just take it one step at a time. It will always be there to some degree, but in time you can use your grief to honour your loved one by keeping their memory with you.
6. Special Days
During anniversaries, birthdays or other significant events try to surround yourself with family and friends or reach out to support groups. It is times like these when you might experience extreme waves of grief, so try not to be alone.
7. It’s OK to live your life
Don’t feel bad or guilty for enjoying moments and remember it’s alright to find yourself not thinking about the person who has passed. They would want you to be happy and enjoying the life they loved watching you create.
8. Celebrate their Life
Remembering the happy times you spent with your loved one may be painful, but it can also be healing. Keep their memory alive through acts that honour their lives. Looking at photographs, visiting the places you shared with them, helping out at charities they supported, listening to music they enjoyed and watching movies they loved may also help.
- If you are struggling to cope please Contact your GP.
- Find bereavement advice from The NHS here
- Cruse Bereavement Care offers telephone, email and website support
- We have started a private Facebook group as a support network for people to connect with others, share memories, photos, quotes and poems and to remember those who held such a huge part of your heart. As a private group, all posts will be moderated and members approved to create a kind and supportive environment