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The Grieving Process
There is no correct way or pattern to cope, but an overall understanding of the process will help you handle it in the best possible way. The more you learn about it, the better you will be able to handle. The pattern and pace in which you make progress on your journey to recovery will be unique to how you perceive it. Do not expect yourself to make random, giant leaps of progress; instead try to give yourself credit for the baby steps that you have taken along the way. Initially, it will be tough. Slowly but surely you will get a grip on your grief and will gradually learn to live with it.
The foremost thing you have to do is to accept and acknowledge your loss. You will be tempted to be delusional, as it is much easier to deny the loss and the grief associated with it than to acknowledge it. It is an automatic coping mechanism that your mind makes up to help you move along. However, this will lead to more complications and depression at a later stage, so begin your journey by accepting the passing of your loved one. Just remember that you are experiencing by experiencing the lows and dealing with them, things would only get better. Try not to judge your grief and compare it with someone else’s situation or the way he/she dealt with it. Focus on the memories that you have that no one else can ever experience or take away.
The grieving process is long, hard and will drain you and leave you feeling bouts of depression. Remember that there is no easy way to avoid grief. Wait for it to wear out; don’t push yourself to get over it quickly, and nobody else can do it for you. If you drag your feet and put off the process, it will not go away. It will stay there in the corner of your mind, getting worse with time and the longer you push it away, the more the sorrows take root in your mind.
This is a time when you will be in desperate need for constant support and companionship as journey of bereavement cannot be taken all by yourself. Sometimes, your friends and family may not be the support system that you would want them to be, due to their own engagements and busy schedules. Yet, it is imperative that you have an understanding, empathetic and non-judgmental listener whom you can open yourself to, letting out your feelings of rage, the depth of your loss, anxieties and concerns about the future. It would be best if this sort of person provides you with support to help you through your pain, and thereby helping you come to terms with reality more quickly than if you went at it alone. If friends and family aren’t as available as you need them to be, or if you require a professional to help you through it, you can consider attending a self-help group or avail the services of a professional bereavement counselor.
Expression and handling of grief varies from person to person. Just like any other emotion or situation, grief is also handled by people differently, which is again subjective to a range of variables such age, gender, personality, cultural background, relationship with the deceased, religious beliefs, value systems, previous exposure to loss, and support systems. The grieving process may even be different amidst the members of same family depending on each person’s relationship, rapport and attachment to the deceased family member. Your response to him/her passing away will also be affected by the transition that you will have to go through in the future, in the absence of this vital person in your life. It depends on what was lost to you; your plans and dreams about the future or how you thought things would be, role that person had in your life and also on how and when the death took place. All these conditions have a direct connection to how you process the loss.
Certain indicators of bereavement are normal. Even though the journey of recovery is extremely personal, the emotions and feelings associated with it are universal and The intensity and order would invariably be different. Some may experience it all and some, none of them; there are no restrictions or rules that could be applied here. All you can do is respect your feelings, give yourself sometime and try to understand the emotions that you are experiencing by letting them out. Do not try to hold back or bury those feelings within you as it will do a whole lot of damage to your emotional well-being.
Try to remember that the process of bereavement is life-long. As one famous author quoted, there will be a space in the heart that will never be filled. Anyone who has lost a loved one will agree that though the intensity of the pain will lessen with time, the agony itself would never go away. The grieving process does not work like a magic trick or like a drug that alleviates pain but rather, it acts like natural medicine that helps treat a grave wound though the wound will still take time to heal and will inevitably leave behind a scar than can still sometimes bleed,
Death may have taken your loved one but it can never take away the relationship you had or your precious memories of them. The bond you have will continue to remain with you throughout your life. There have been many instances where people have felt their loved one watching over them or even have had conversations with them. It is healthy to continue these relationships with your loved ones even though they are no more, because it is up to an individual to decide how they want their memories to be.
The passing of time will not help you handle your grief though effectively coping with it will. As discussed before, remember that it’s always your personal journey that no one else can take for you. Experts suggest physical exercise, self-appreciation and being in the company of empathetic people accelerates the healing process, but be careful not to sink into an ocean of self-pity. Try to remember that you are in charge of your life and remember to help yourself out of it.