Coping with Loss
Grief is a normal response to loss. It can be the loss of a home, a marriage, a job, or, of course, the loss of someone special in your life. The death of a loved one is the most painful loss.
The Grieving Process
Grief is often both physically and emotionally painful and sometimes unbearable. These feelings will come and go, often when we least expect it. The “grieving process" is the period of time during which we actively experience these feelings. The length of time and the difficulty of the process are unique to each person. There is no time limit on grief, but over time, the pain will soften.
Grief is painful and often people will try to push the pain away. There is no getting over a loss of a loved one. Studies have shown that when people don’t do the necessary “grief work,” the emotions and feelings associated with the grief will manifest in other, often destructive, ways such as negative behavior or problems in relationships. Understanding the emotions of grief and its feelings and symptoms are important steps to begin the healing process.
The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry. Wherever the support comes from, accept it and do not grieve alone. Connecting to others will help you heal.
Begin the Healing Process
- Feel the pain and raw emotions. Grief hurts but the feeling the pain is what is needed to begin to heal. Acknowledge all the feelings of anger, sadness, and guilt.
- Talk about your sadness to family and friends. Share your story about your loved one.
- Be kind and gentle to yourself. Avoid the “could’ve and the should’ve” statements.
- Eat and sleep well if you can. Grief is exhausting and drains you of all your energy. Nap when you can, eat well, and try to take walks or exercise.
- Support groups can help you recognize your feelings and put them in perspective. It helps you feel that you are not alone. The experience of sharing with others who are in a similar situation can be comforting and reassuring.
- Seek the help of a grief counselor. Professional help in often a valuable tool in the healing process.
- See our events listing for support groups and healing and loss programs