COPING WITH LOSS
Loss is considered to be a natural part of life – yet coping with loss is one of the most difficult challenges we will face in our lives. Grief is a natural response to loss and the more significant the loss, the deeper our grieving will be. When a loved one dies, we may experience all kinds of difficult emotions – and it can feel like this pain will never ease. This is a normal reaction. Grieving is a vital process and typically, over time, these intense feelings will diminish in intensity. Everyone reacts differently and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Equally there is no ‘normal’ period for someone to grieve – and it may take months or years to come to terms with a loss. For most people, grief doesn’t go away – but it fades into the background. Thoughts and memories of our loved one are woven into our minds – and whilst missing our loved one may be part of our life – it doesn’t interfere with us living our life. Sometimes however, we can experience what is termed ‘Complicated Grief’. This refers to an intense and long-lasting grief that takes hold and doesn’t seem to lessen as time goes on. Many people come through the loss on their own – supported by friends and family – others benefit greatly from bereavement counselling.
Whilst there are no right ways to grieve – there are however, healthy ways to deal with the pain. People often report that grieving the loss of a loved one gave them a renewed sense of meaning, purpose and direction in their life.
Helpful steps include
1. Accept what you are feeling: If we deny or ignore our feelings it will only make it worse in the long run. For healing to occur, we need to acknowledge and face our feelings.
2. Talk about the death of your loved one: Talking to family and friends can help us to understand what has happened and remember our loved one.
3. Remember and celebrate the life of your loved one: Honor the individual – perhaps through making a collage of photos, planting a tree in their memory, donating to a favourite charity etc.
4. Be patient and allow the grieving process to naturally unfold.
Whilst we may often think of grief resulting from the death of a loved one, any loss can cause grief. Over the coming weeks we will explore grief and loss and ways we can deal with this.