It is not easy to feel grief, we avoid it at all costs with distractions galore.
Allowing yourself to feel grief and cry and rage and weep are very healing actions to take you forward.
Grief that is not felt is invisible and holds you back. Clues that you are not feeling grief is lots of unfounded fear, perhaps you feel numb, anxious.
How can you get to a point where you can organically feel grief? Writing, talking to someone you trust, exercise, getting educated on recognizing grief, find a support group, being really good to yourself because you are hurting.
Grief work is a very personal journey, there is no timeframe, no right and wrong to process grief and your coping strategy will belong only to you. Only you have to validate this.
Is grief work easy, no it is not. It’s uncomfortable, the good news is that every opportunity you have to process and express grief the quicker it goes away.
My father passed away a few days ago. We had a challenging relationship. So as I go to the viewing today I will leave you all with this lovely article about grief from the American Psychological Association.
Grief: Coping with the loss of your loved one
Coping with the loss of a close friend or family member may be one of the hardest challenges that many of us face. When we lose a spouse, sibling or parent our grief can be particularly intense. Loss is understood as a natural part of life, but we can still be overcome by shock and confusion, leading to prolonged periods of sadness or depression. The sadness typically diminishes in intensity as time passes, but grieving is an important process in order to overcome these feelings and continue to embrace the time you had with your loved one.
Everyone reacts differently to death and employs personal coping mechanisms for grief. Research shows that most people can recover from loss on their own through the passage of time if they have social support and healthy habits. It may take months or a year to come to terms with a loss. There is no “normal” time period for someone to grieve. Don’t expect to pass through phases of grief either, as new research suggests that most people do not go through stages as progressive steps.
If your relationship with the deceased was difficult, this will also add another dimension to the grieving process. It may take some time and thought before you are able to look back on the relationship and adjust to the loss.
Human beings are naturally resilient, considering most of us can endure loss and then continue on with our own lives. But some people may struggle with grief for longer periods of time and feel unable to carry out daily activities. Those with severe grief may be experiencing complicated grief. These individuals could benefit from the help of a psychologist or another licensed mental health professional with a specialization in grief.
Moving on with life
Mourning the loss of a close friend or relative takes time, but research tells us that it can also be the catalyst for a renewed sense of meaning that offers purpose and direction to life.
Grieving individuals may find it useful to use some of the following strategies to help come to terms with loss:
Talk about the death of your loved one with friends and colleagues in order to understand what happened and remember your friend or family member. Denying the death is an easy way to isolate yourself, and will frustrate your support system in the process.
Accept your feelings. People experience all kinds of emotions after the death of someone close. Sadness, anger, frustration and even exhaustion are all normal.
Take care of yourself and your family. Eating well, exercising and getting plenty of rest help us get through each day and move forward.
Reach out and help others dealing with the loss. Helping others has the added benefit of making you feel better as well. Sharing stories of the deceased can help everyone cope.
Remember and celebrate the lives of your loved ones. Possibilities include donating to a favorite charity of the deceased, framing photos of fun times, passing on a family name to a baby or planting a garden in memory. What you choose is up to you, as long as it allows you honor that unique relationship in a way that feels right to you. If you feel stuck or overwhelmed by your emotions, it may be helpful to talk with a licensed psychologist or other mental health professional who can help you cope with your feelings and find ways to get back on track.
How psychologists can help
Psychologists are trained to help people better handle the fear, guilt or anxiety that can be associated with the death of a loved one. If you need help dealing with your grief or managing a loss, consult with a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional.
Psychologists can help people build their resilience and develop strategies to get through their sadness. Practicing psychologists use a variety of evidence-based treatments — most commonly psychotherapy — to help people improve their lives. Psychologists, who have doctoral degrees, receive one of the highest levels of education of any health care professional.
The full text of articles from APA Help Center may be reproduced and distributed for noncommercial purposes with credit given to the American Psychological Association. Any electronic reproductions must link to the original article on the APA Help Center. Any exceptions to this, including excerpting, paraphrasing or reproduction in a commercial work, must be presented in writing to the APA.Images from the APA Help Center may not be reproduced.
We have all experienced the death of something, whether it’s a pet or person or job or relationship, the ending always feels the same: like a big loss. An empty hole that is sentimental and nostalgic and final.
We may want to run away from this empty hole with staying busy, getting high and distraction after distraction. But in those still moments when the emptiness returns be reminded that we need to feel our feelings and grieve the loss completely. Grieving has a purpose. Grieving allows you to empty your pain and becomes an energy that will turn to wisdom, love and power.
I am always amazed at Mother Nature. After a natural disaster Nature begins its own restoration. A blade of grass here and a flower there. A sudden tree where there was none, a bird making a new home.
It’s the same with us. When disasters happen in our lives we become swept away with confusion and grief. Just as in Nature after a disaster there will be new situations that emerge. We are the same as the blade of grass or bird.What is gone is gone and what is new is necessary at the moment.
Nature is very wise. It always seeks balance. We are part of Nature physically, emotionally spiritually. When our Nature become unbalanced change will happen to restore that balance.
Rebalancing is the reason for change or simply put change happens to restore balance. Even if you don’t understand why.
When strange things happen for no particular reason remember to just go with it. Don’t fight it because Nature is restoring balance. The quicker you accept what is happening the quicker restoration happens. And while you’re at it pay attention to Nature and its magnificent restorative ability. She is doing the same thing for you.
I just read the blog post of “Write Change Grow” about holding on to family portraits and pictures. Here are some of my thoughts on whether one should or should not hold on to those pictures.
I have held on to many pictures. I have a special photo album with a silver metal cover that I keep hidden and inside holds pictures of my family and significant others at various times of my life. When I look at them I become sentimental and recall the good times. Not the bad times. It’s a chance to think fondly of these people who in some way influenced me in either a positive or negative way. The album makes me wish for a better time and not the constant drama of egos. The album is a chance to send good wishes and pure feelings to those who I can’t find the words to express how I feel or of those who are not willing to listen to how I feel. Keeping these pictures is a form of therapy. In my opinion it’s a form of grief therapy. Which is probably why I keep the album hidden. It’s the opportunity to go through the five stages of grief, namely, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
It’s safe way of dropping denial and believing that it wasn’t that bad, yes, it was that bad. Being angry at a safe distance, bargaining with invisible ghosts of those I wish I could speak to or even an unavailable higher power called upon to help but never shows up. Getting depressed about what might have been and all the lost time spent trying and hoping things would work out. It’s a way of feeling better about the disappointments surrounding those relationships. And finally after a long time accepting what is. Not having any more unrealistic hopes and dreams about the present moment. And realizing that relationships turn out the way they are supposed to and if those relationships had continued perhaps it would have been worse. Ultimately the celebration that I am strong and so is everyone else who has such an album whether hidden or on the coffee table.
As crushing or seemingly supportive each relationship was it has taught me that change always happens and with each ending or beginning I grow.
Happy Growing and keep those pictures until you are ready to dump them.