Dealing with loss is an unimaginable process, something that, unfortunately, you have to experience to understand. But, this isn’t to say that there is one universal grieving process. Grief is individual and therefore will affect each person in their own unique way.
While we can conclude that loss is an inevitable part of life, nothing can prepare you for the reality of losing a loved one. There are many books and movies that deal with grief that may provide you with some insight into loss, but you can never be ready for this experience.
Although grief may feel like an impossible process, there are ways to cope with the pain that will, in time, make this experience easier to deal with. To help you through this hard time, here are 5 truths about grief that will make your pain more manageable.
- There are no set time-limits
When dealing with loss, it’s tempting to set expectations or limits on your process. For instance, you may feel that you should be at a certain stage in your process by a set-time, but this isn’t necessary. Since each person experiences grief in their own way, there aren’t universal guidelines that apply to everyone. This means that you should allow yourself to experience the full extent of your emotions before pushing yourself to move forward. When it comes to grief, there is no need to rush, as ignoring your feelings or ‘putting on a brace face’ will impact your healing process.
Most of us are familiar with the 7 stages of grief, but these stages should not act as a checklist. In reality, grief is not a straightforward or linear process. Even if you work through each stage, this doesn’t mean that your feelings will disappear at the end of the 7th stage. You may experience these stages at different periods in your process and at varying degrees, and that’s completely okay. Dealing with grief is about taking small steps, acknowledging any setbacks and allowing yourself time to heal.
- Your grief belongs to you
Although we will all experience loss at some point in our lives, grief is still an incredibly personal process. This means that in-spite of well-meaning loved ones, no one will completely understand your loss. That’s why it’s important to remember that your grief is not something you can trade or compare, it’s yours and yours alone. So, don’t feel pressured to compare your experience with someone else’s, as this could hinder your healing process.
While your friends and family may not fully relate to your experience, they are still there to support you through this difficult time.
- Remembering Will Help You Heal
Losing a loved one can feel impossible to reconcile with, especially if this person meant a lot to you. In the coming days or weeks following your loss, recalling old memories may stir-up painful emotions that are hard to deal with. But, this doesn’t mean you have to keep their memory locked away forever. Honoring your passed loved one may actually give you the strength to cope with your grief.
Remember that there is solace in your memories and shared experiences. So, instead of hiding their cremation urn or turning photographs to face the wall, remember your loved one for the person they were. Giving your mind a moment to reflect on the brighter times can lighten the heavy load of your grief and help you to see that you will survive this.
- Grief will affect your relationships
Grief is a deeply impactful experience that will forever change you as a person. No matter how hard you could fight this, this change is inevitable and you won’t be the only one that’s affected. The relationships you once shared with your friends and family may change as the result of your loss since grief will force you to reevaluate your life. When you experience loss, you may never enjoy the things you once did and your priorities may realign. While your close friends and family will remain by your side, not everyone will do the same. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as hard times can also unite people and strengthen pre-existing bonds.
- You Will Get Through It
There will be times when it feels like you never reach the surface. While grief doesn’t have an end-date, you can get through this. It may be hard to see right now, but you will eventually arrive at a place of peace. It may not come straight away, but have faith that you will get there.
If your pain manifests into something big and unbearable, don’t be afraid to seek help from a professional. Talking through your experience with a professional, will not only equip you with the tools to help manage your pain but will also offer you an outlet for release.
While grief may be a bad cloud in your sky, remember that the Sun will always rise again.