Grief is a normal response to loss. When we experience bereavement or loss we are adjusting to life without the person or livelihood that we have lost. This takes time, when we reach out for support and understanding from our friends, family and / or a therapist we can learn to find a way to live with our loss, and find a way to experience joy and peace in our lives again.
There are four main steps for dealing with our grief in a healthy and empowering way. My goal is to empower you to engage with your grief, so that you can adapt to your life after loss.
Accept the Reality of the Loss. It is important that we accept the reality of our loss, rather than pretend it did not happen. This is the first step in moving forward.
Allow ourselves to experience the pain of our loss.
Often in our culture we run away from pain and sadness, we distract ourselves with social media and try to avoid feeling our feelings. This does not help us, avoiding our pain is what makes it stick around.
When we experience the pain of what we have lost, we process the feelings. This helps the feelings to pass away naturally, and by doing this our body and heart starts to heal.
There are many ways to process our feelings; speaking with trusted friends or with family, working with a psychotherapist or counsellor, joining a group or expressing ourselves in a creative way through art or music.
Adjust to your life where the deceased / divorced partner / livelihood is gone.
Life is different now that your relationship has ended, your parent or spouse has died or your work has let you go. It may seem that adjusting to your new life is a betrayal of your dream or your love for the person now gone. Adapting to the new normal means restructuring and reorienting yourself without this person in your life.
Find a lasting connection with the ‘deceased’ whilst visualising and creating a new life for yourself. That part of you is gone but it is still part of who you are. The love and joy you felt from your loved one will always be in your heart. If you can view your time with this person as a precious gift that you will always treasure, it may help you focus on what you gained from them being a part of your life rather than focusing on what you have lost.
When one relationship or occupation ends a new dream or passion can come into fruition. We can allow the memories to give us a source of joy and strength while also looking forward to what the future will bring.