How do I help myself and others process grief? - LydiaN586309

 

Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness. The pain of grief can also disrupt your physical health, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or even think straight. These are normal reactions to loss. The more significant the loss, the more intense your grief will be.

 

Coping with the loss of someone or something you love is one of life’s biggest challenges. Even subtle losses in life can trigger a sense of grief. Whatever your loss, it’s personal to you, so don’t feel ashamed about how you feel, or believe that it’s somehow only appropriate to grieve for certain things. If the person, animal, relationship, or situation was significant to you, it’s normal to grieve the loss you’re experiencing. Whatever the cause of your grief, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain, and with time, they can ease your sadness and help you come to terms with your loss. Eventually, you can find new meaning. 

 

Grieving is a highly individual experience; there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and how significant the loss was to you.

 

Inevitably, the grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried – and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and to allow the process to naturally unfold.

 

How to deal with the grieving process:

  1. Acknowledge your pain.
  2. Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions.
  3. Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you.
  4. Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you.
  5. Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.
  6. Recognize the difference between grief and depression.

 

Below are some additional suggestions that can help with the grieving process.

 

COPING WITH GRIEF:

 

  1. Accept support from family and friends
    • According to your needs, balance time spent with others and time spent alone.
  2. Watch your diet, and make time for exercise
  • Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, and exercise moderately.
  1. Get plenty of sleep
  • Recognize that sleep is essential to dealing with the fatigue of grieving.
  1. Be flexible
  • Since everyone grieves differently, find what works for you.
  1. Avoid self-destructive habits
  • Avoid the misuse of alcohol or drugs​—which creates more problems than it solves.
  1. Balance your time
  • Alternate periods of grieving with time for socializing and recreation.
  1. Keep a routine
  • Regain a sense of normalcy by keeping yourself occupied with a good routine.
  1. Avoid making big decisions too soon
  • If possible, wait a year or more before making big decisions you may later regret.
  1. Remember your loved one
  • Collect pictures and mementos or write in a journal to keep your memory of the loved one alive.
  1. Get away
  • Make time for a change of pace​—even if for just a day or part of a day.
  1. Help others
  • Renew your sense of purpose by doing things for those who need help, including others affected by the loss of your loved one.
  1. Reevaluate your priorities
  • Use this opportunity to gain new insights into what truly matters and, as needed, adjust your priorities.

 

Realistically, nothing will completely erase the pain you feel. However, many who have lost someone, or something, can attest that taking positive steps, such as those listed above, helped them to find comfort. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list of every possible way to alleviate grief. But if you try some of these suggestions, you may find they bring you a welcome measure of relief.

 

7 Ways to Help Others Grieving the Loss of a Loved One – by Amy Florian

Here are seven suggestions on how you can help friends and family who are experiencing grief:

  1. Let them know it’s not a good idea to suppress tears and emotions. Suppressing grief can result in clinical depression. Besides, tears are a sign of love. They wouldn’t cry if they lost a trinket; it’s only because they lost a treasure. It is normal and healthy to feel that loss deeply.
  2. Help them find a support group or a counselor. This person can reassure them that their grief is normal and assist them in processing it in a healthily way, without getting overwhelmed or stuck.
  3. Give them a good book about grief. It can provide valuable information about what they are experiencing.
  4. Remind them of all they still have to live for. That could include friends, children and/or grandchildren, creating a legacy that honors their loved one and doing things they always wanted to do but didn’t have the opportunity when the loved one was alive. A good phrase to use: The greatest memorial they can build to their loved one is to live life now as fully as possible, enriched by their memories.
  5. At the same time, encourage them to tell the stories of, and remember their loved one. Too many others expect them to “put it behind them” and move on. But forgetting is not the point of healing. You heal by remembering, processing the emotions, and going forward into the future with the memories and lessons intact. Don’t be afraid to say the name of the deceased loved one and help keep their memories alive.
  6. Encourage healthy eating, adequate water consumption, and good sleep. These are three crucial factors in protecting immune systems. Recommend that they talk to their doctors if they temporarily need medical help to get good sleep or if they’d like the help of a nutritionist to figure out a healthy eating plan as a single person.
  7. Ask about the things that have brought comfort in the past. Perhaps it is a soak in a hot tub, a walk through a forest preserve or along a beach, bird-watching, listening to music or getting a massage. Encourage them to regularly schedule those activities into their lives so they get moments of respite and renewal of their spirits.

Here are some additional suggestions on how to help or support someone grieving:

 

Know what to say to someone who’s grieving

While many of us worry about what to say to a grieving person, it’s more important to listen. Oftentimes, well-meaning people avoid talking about the death or change the subject when the deceased person is mentioned. But the bereaved need to feel that their loss is acknowledged, it’s not too terrible to talk about, and their loved one won’t be forgotten. By listening compassionately, you can take your cues from the grieving person.

 

How to talk—and listen—to someone who’s grieving

While you should never try to force someone to open up, it’s important to let your grieving friend or loved one know that you’re there to listen if they want to talk about their loss.

 

Talk candidly about the person who died and don’t steer away from the subject if the deceased’s name comes up. And when it seems appropriate, ask sensitive questions—without being nosy—that invite the grieving person to openly express their feelings. By simply asking, “Do you feel like talking?” you’re letting your loved one know that you’re available to listen. You can also acknowledge the situation. For example, you could say something as simple as: “I heard that your father died.” By using the word “died,” you’ll show that you’re more open to talk about how the grieving person really feels.

 

Express your concern. For example: “I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you.” Let the bereaved talk about how their loved one died. People who are grieving may need to tell the story repeatedly, sometimes in minute detail. Be patient. Repeating the story is a way of processing and accepting death. With each retelling, the pain lessens. By listening patiently and compassionately, you’re helping your loved one heal.

 

Ask how your loved one feels. The emotions of grief can change rapidly so don’t assume you know how the bereaved person feels at any given time. If you’ve gone through a similar loss, share your own experience if you think it would help. Remember, though, that grief is an intensely individual experience. No two people experience it the same way, so don’t claim to “know” what the person is feeling or compare your grief to theirs. Again, put the emphasis on listening instead, and ask your loved one to tell you how they’re feeling.

 

Accept your loved one’s feelings. Let the grieving person know that it’s okay to cry in front of you, to get angry, or to break down. Don’t try to reason with them over how they should or shouldn’t feel. Grief is a highly emotional experience, so the bereaved need to feel free to express their feelings—no matter how irrational—without fear of judgment, argument, or criticism.

 

Be genuine in your communication. Don’t try to minimize their loss, provide simplistic solutions, or offer unsolicited advice. It’s far better to just listen to your loved one or simply admit: “I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care.”

 

Be willing to sit in silence. Don’t press if the grieving person doesn’t feel like talking. Often, comfort for them comes from simply being in your company. If you can’t think of something to say, just offer eye contact, a squeeze of the hand, or a reassuring hug.

 

Offer your support. Ask what you can do for the grieving person. Offer to help with a specific task, such as helping with funeral arrangements, or just be there to hang out with or as a shoulder to cry on.
Source: HelpGuide.org


Things to avoid saying to someone who’s grieving
“It’s part of God’s plan.” This phrase can make people angry and they often respond with, “What plan? Nobody told me about any plan.”

 

“Look at what you have to be thankful for.” They know they have things to be thankful for, but right now they are not important.

 

“He’s in a better place now.” The bereaved may or may not believe this. Keep your beliefs to yourself unless asked.

 

“This is behind you now; it’s time to get on with your life.” Sometimes the bereaved are resistant to getting on with it because they feel this means “forgetting” their loved one. Besides, moving on is much easier said than done. Grief has a mind of its own and works at its own pace.

Source: American Hospice Foundation

 

To connect with others, share your story, and offer tips of your own, visit this topic in the Online Community.

Comments

We had a daughter killed & the grief I experienced is indescribable.

 

At first, I thought it was a dream, I kept waiting to wake up. It just could not be true she just walked out of my kitchen a few hours earlier to buy her 19-month-old baby boy an Easter Outfit & candy. 

 

People don't believe it but I had a feeling for about an hour & 1/2 before that something was wrong. I almost called my DD but said NO, she's 20 she's OK. I couldn't read my book, couldn't watch TV, I was just nervous. 

 

I remember it like it was yesterday, 3 policemen came to our door telling us she had been killed but our GS was OK.  I laid on the floor for 1/2 hour begging them to shoot me instead, please shoot me. My husband had open-heart surgery & he cried so hard I was afraid of his heart giving out.

 

Then for months, I hated GOD for allowing this to happen, & going through a Court case made my grieving process be postponed.  The BF of our GS would not let us see him as he blamed us for her death, that was a 2nd Court case to see him. He was a little over 2 when we finally got 50% custody of him. 

 

I can't say when I really started my true grieving but I went to 2 Support Groups & after my Court cases I actually had 1 man say after a year I didn't seem as mean. Actually 3  Court cases & a killed daughter made me very mean.  I couldn't get past My DD's name is  Dean'na and I'd start bawling. Finally, after a year I thought I have heard everyone else talk about their child's death, I need to talk about mine. 

 

I have been many years getting through this ( you NEVER get over it ) & have become VERY UNHEALTHY during this process. I lost 20 pounds in 8 months & didn't even realize it. I got Christmas clothes that didn't fit then I realized it.

 

I have boxes of things I can't throw away, some things I gave to my DD and GDD. We had a quilt made out of her clothes which is on my wall that I can see every day.  I made quilts for my KIDS, GDD, GS, and MYSELF but they're really not as professional as the one we paid to have made, but we can use them in the winter.  

 

It has taken years for me to get where I am but I am not the person I was I am a new me.  I think of my DD every single day, many times. I say her name whenever I can & I am very happy when I see her in our GS. 

 

I learned not to rush my grief, not to listen to others who say I should be over it. I learned losing friends was normal, but hurtful. I have learned family & friends stop acknowledging her life & her death accept for her God Mother one of my best friends. I learned things said hurtful isn't meant to hurt me, so I ignore them. 

 

Death for anyone is horrible to deal with but with a child it is unbearable. Hug your kids & always let then know you love them because as I have on my sight,  "No one is Guaranteed a Tomorrow." 

 

I'm sorry this is so long & may not really answer the questions put forth on the page, but it's just Part of my story. 

As a Native American we perceive death as a new beginning. Yes i have grieve and have turned to alcohol to help numb the pain that i was experiencing with the loss of my grandmother who had helped raise me when my father walked out on my mom. I spent 4-5 days in a drunken stupor until my uncle finally put an end to my drinking. After i had somewhat sobered up he told me that death is a natural process a painful process especially when someone is taken before their time, as was the case with my grandmother who was suffering with Alzheimer's.

  He said she might be dead but she's not gone. She lives on in the wind, the clouds that bring the rain, the first maiz sprout in the spring but most of all she lives in our hearts. Yes we all grieve differently, so the next you see a rainbow or hear the wind softly rustle the leaves... it's your loved one tell you they're ok.

650027144-c3167926207fe50971fa70eb63682e45.jpg

 

Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children. and the younger generation.

 

For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life. 

 

By Albert Einstein

 

I see my daughter in many ways, a butterfly (rebirth)  picking up a penny (from heaven) a car (she drove). The signs of your loved ones are around you if you have the mind to believe they are, and it makes me so very happy so I say hello Dean'na thank you for visiting me today. 

I did not turn to drink but I did go to 2 Support Groups, a Grief Therapist, plus I'm medicated. 

I think it would have been better to have talked to someone but i chose to drink my sorrow away. I'm proud to say I'm in my 16th year of sobriety. 

And yes you're loved ones are around you if you take the time to listen to them. A simply greeting soothes the soul.

I am sorry for your loss and wish you luck. It's a long hard journey. 

Thank you and likewise.

👍

👍

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