Grief is as if a different language; a language that only those who have lost someone or something very important to them, may understand.
We recently asked someone who unfortunately lost a family member last year to COVID-19 and the way they described their feeling of grief is truly heart rendering.
They mentioned grief similar to being in a physical place. An unfamiliar landscape that seems lonely and dark; sometimes pulling them in like quicksand.
Other times, it makes them feel exhausted like walking through a barren desert with no end in sight.
They said that there is no way around this place, the only way is through it and you do come out on the other side they told us, but never the same as before.
How does the loss affect us?
Chances are, many of us will at one point or the other, experience the loss of a loved one which can change people in ways that are permanent, ways that are sometimes unrecognizable to their own self.
Ironically, despite the absolute finality of this event, no one can ever be prepared in the face of Grief, which when hit, can feel like being caught in the eye of a storm that will cause unthinkable and irreparable destruction before it passes on.
One often wonders, can there be a way to stay prepared before the grief hits? Can they come out on the other side, unaffected and normal?
Grieving is necessary
Although the process of grief does not have a quick fix, it is necessary. Death can leave you feeling shocked, helpless, uncertain, fearful, mad, almost physically in pain, even frozen.
If the relationship with the deceased person was complex and unresolved, it can also make you feel excessively guilty or angry. The best you can do at the moment is acknowledge these feelings, and let yourself grieve.
Some people find solace in spending time with close family and friends, some write letters to themselves when they can find the energy; remembering the deceased in their own way.
There is no right or wrong way to go through this process. While you wait to experience hope again, you can do a few things:
1. Embrace the memories
Do not try to forget the memories. Remember them and put it on paper – write, sketch, journal all the small things you remember about your loved one.
2. Talk it out
If you feel like it, talk about the loved one you lost with people you are close to. You can also join a support group and start sharing your sorrow with others who may have experienced similar losses.
3. Celebrate the lost person’s value in your life
Cook a meal s/he enjoyed, visit their favorite place or listen to their favorite song.
4. It’s okay to cry
Cry like a child if you feel like it. But also, laugh without guilt if a light moment catches you on your way. Let the emotions flow naturally without filtering or controlling.
5. Give it time
You can not rush through grief. Grief may come in cycles – some days may feel calm and quiet, the other days you may feel physically hit by the same intensity of grief as if losing the person all over again, and then again.
6. Ask for help
Talk to a professional who can help you process and cope with your feelings after experiencing a loss. However, the decision is yours so do it when you’re ready.
The loss of a loved one is not an event one gets over, you learn to accept that the person will continue to live in your memories. It will be hard but so are you.
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