So, I’m sure we can all agree that grief doesn’t magically disappear. We are often reminded of the pain of loss. Even years after my brother’s sudden death, I still feel the ripples of what was a stinging loss. As time has gone on though those constant sharp edges feel much softer and I am relieved to experience the waves of grief so differently than I did 19 years ago. From time to time though no matter how I try to prepare myself … things do come up and those feelings push and pull strongly on my heart again. Grief and love are intricately intertwined, forever bound to us, which is the reason why there is great pain in loss. Remnants of that love are still going strong … whatever road I travel I know I will always miss him.
There’s a line in a song by John Denver that says “Some days are diamonds; some days are stones”. Grief comes and goes however, when you are grieving there’s no question some days are more difficult than others. Here’s some help coping and healing through those days that are the hardest.
Prepare for pitfalls. Anniversary dates, holidays and other milestones can evoke grief reactions. These are normal but just knowing that you will likely experience them over time and for many years can help you better understand them and ground yourself when it happens. Talk to others a little further along in their journey to find out what they’ve experienced.
Welcome distraction. Unschedule yourself for the day, visit with a friend, or plan to check off something on the to do list that’s been on your mind. Have a back up plan if you are feeling lonely.
Draw close to your heart. Focus on the good things around you and take time to reflect on where you are now and what is important to you. Write a note to yourself or a letter to your loved one about some of your greatest memories together.
Honour your loss. Find a way to honour a loss in a way that feels good to you. It’s completely up to you to choose. It may be a good time to seek out your creative side and produce a work of art or do something simple that holds some healing vibes like lighting a candle, meditation, volunteering, or maybe even plant a tree in memory of that person.
Keep in touch. Friends and loved ones are important sources of social support – keep them close to you. Finding encouragement through support programs and having someone to talk to about your loss is helpful too. Stay connected.
For me, my loss created a deeper sense of who I am and forever changed my outlook on life, my purpose, and how I choose to spend my time. A loss of any kind will require a period of time to start the healing process and begin to move forward again.
Grief requires us to remember, not to forget. Trying to ignore feelings, or pretend like everything is fine and today is just like any other day can actually increase stress instead of releasing it.
I am sure that my healing journey still has many layers yet to be discovered as I’m sure yours does too. I welcome those days when I feel gratitude for just knowing we are all in some way connected and can help each other in some way along the path.