Most of us in the world can relate in some way to knowing the pain felt in the moment we found out someone we loved passed away. This moment is all too common but never less difficult to handle. Over time, we learn different stages of grief in various forms and how they are felt and expressed differently for each person. Do these stages help us feel any better with these situations? For some people, recognizing a perceived timeline helps them feel as if they are almost to the acceptance part of the grief which might mean the heart ache will lessen. For others they may choose to not let themself feel the loss and push the emotions aside to get through the funeral service or tasks needing to be done.
Losing someone we love will not have a simple solution of how to deal with the loss but there are different ways that can help you process your thoughts and feelings about the loss that could make it feel more manageable. First, it’s important for you to try and see the signs and symptoms of what could be grief. Things such as shock and disbelief, profound sadness, anger, blame, guilt, fear of your own mortality and/or physical symptoms like pain or weight loss. Once we start paying attention to what we are feeling and ask yourself “are these feelings becoming overwhelming or too much?”, we can find ways to help.
Many people dealing with grief find comfort in simply knowing that they are not alone. This is where finding support groups can be vital to the healing process or closure as they can teach you skills on coping as well as a sense of comradery/community. Other people find strength in faith-based practices/groups. Of course counseling can be a great resource as well. One thing to note about grief is there is no set timeline of what you should feel or when you should be over it. These feelings of grief cannot be ignored as it can turn into what is considered complicated grief which can lead to depression. It is important to find ways to let yourself feel emotions either out loud in a tangible way, such as celebration of life, memorial, or creative projects in tribute to the loved one. It is normal to feel numb, angry, sad, or even depressed following a loss but as time passes, those emotions should lessen in their severity.
Madison Smith, LMSW