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Grief is possibly the most paralysing of all emotions. 

When we experience grief it feels as though the world has stopped and everything is moving too quickly, all at the same time.

Physically it can be crippling. The pain we feel when we lose someone we love is not just emotional and psychological. There is a very real chest pain that accompanies this emotion. We know people do die of a broken heart. 

When we are grieving routine and normal life seems to be put on hold. There are a few simple thing you can do to help you cope and move through the depths of grief.

Often when we lose someone it is those times when we would call them to tell them something, or when we would be spending time together which are the hardest. Writing them a letter to tell them how you are feeling and what is happening, can be very helpful. Perhaps there is something you wish you had said to them but never had chance. Write it down. Some people even start a journal where they write to their loved on whenever they feel the need. The process of writing can be very therapeutic. If you don’t like writing, just talk to them. 

The mistake we often make is to keep busy. There is a lot to do when we first lose a loved one. But, being busy all the time often means that we don’t fully process what has happened.

Taking time to just sit and think about them can be so helpful. Cry, laugh scream, let your emotions out, but take time to acknowledge that your loved one is no longer here and to appreciate the time that you had with them.

This is not an easy thing to do. It hurts, deeply. It feels like you are choosing pain but in the long run it will make the process easier.

Take one day at a time.

It is easy to believe that we should have dealt with this by now. In reality grief never fully leaves us. It is normal to still cry because we miss someone years after their death. 

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Psychiatrist

It’s good. It means that they were someone you really loved. Someone who you wish was still here. Who you would love to be able to see everything you have done in the years since they passed. You may not cry every day. You may not even cry every year any more. But it is normal to still miss them and have these feelings.

Talking to people about how you are feeling is important too. If you are feeling this way, then chances are there are lots of other people feeling just the same way. If you shared a friendship group with the person you have lost, or they are a member of your family, or colleague, there will be other people in that group who are feeling just the same way you are. Talk to them about it. Don’t convince yourself that you will just make them feel sad if you bring the subject up. Often people are relieved when you talk about the person who has passed. I remember a friend of mine from school lost his sister and when I asked him how he was and mentioned her he smiled. He was so grateful that someone had been brave enough to mention her. He felt like everyone had forgotten her already because no-one was talking to him about her anymore.  

Obviously if someone clearly doesn’t want to talk then you must respect their feelings, but there will be someone who does so don’t let that stop you from talking if you feel it will help you.  

Find ways to connect to the person you have lost. Perhaps you always used to do a particular activity together, or you always think of them when you watch a particular programme, don’t avoid those memories, savour them. Perhaps you could create traditions around particular events or anniversaries to help you feel connected.  

When we are overcome with grief it is easy to forget to eat, you may not be sleeping and exercise certainly isn’t top of most people’s to do list. But it is so important to remember to care for yourself. To eat well, to try to sleep when you can and get some fresh air. If you get physically run down your emotions will be even more extreme. Anxiety and depression can really take hold if we don’t care for our physical body at times of emotional distress. 

I am reminded of the Ricky Gervais programme “Afterlife”. In which he is almost kept alive by his dog. If he didn’t have to get up to feed and walk his dog he would definitely have been in a darker place and may even have given up altogether. This programme is a moving but humorous look at grief and may be something to consider watching, depending on where you are in your grieving journey.

The important thing to remember is that grief is a very personal emotion. We all grieve in different ways. Different things will upset us. The important thing is to acknowledge the emotions you are feeling and allow yourself to move through them.

 

If you are struggling with grief I cannot recommend “Good Grief” by Dipti Tait enough. I have known Dipti for over 10 years, she is an amazing hypnotherapist who has gone through the loss of both her parents and is a true expert on grief. I know so many people who have found her book to be a real game changer in coping with their own grief.

Perhaps you would like to learn more about how you can be mindful in simple, every day ways? Have a read of my blog, Everyday mindfulness.

 

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