9 healthy ways to cope with the loss of a loved one
I find it fascinating how shocking it can be to lose someone close to your heart even when it was obvious their chances of survival were slim. It’s still sudden whether they were hit by a truck, lost the battle with cancer many years after being diagnosed, or passed on by natural causes. It hurts no matter how you look at it—the loss of a loved one.
I know exactly how that feels. It’s a crazy jungle of emotions: pain, sorrow, anger, guilt, sleepless nights, and the feeling of loneliness even in the midst of a crowd. You feel a bit empty and depending on how close you were to the person, you ask yourself a million questions and the memories keep flooding your mind. The loss of a loved one can leave you can crush you or build you—-it’s your choice. Yes, you can become better!
If you haven’t cried yet, do it. It’s okay. It’s not embarrassing. Bottling up your emotions for a long time is definitely unhealthy. Stop trying to “get over it” and go through it for a while. It’s the shortest route to heal. Don’t let the scars manifest into making excuses to behave badly. Move on.
It’s a cocktail of emotions for me right now. The fond memories of grandpa keep coming back, and it still hurts. However, I’ve learned a number of things that I believe will not only help us cope with the grief of losing a loved one but also serve as an avenue through which I let off some steam.
The most painful and heartwarming write-up I have ever written was grandpa’s brochure. I cried almost every day and even more when I read the tribute on the day of his burial.
Okay, I don’t intend to write a tribute so don’t worry.
These are some lessons on how to cope with the loss of a loved one;
1. Your impact on someone’s life matters more than your material possessions.
This story will give you a better perspective.
They say, “People can forget what say to them, but they will never forget how you made them feel”.
2. Never underestimate the love of family, no matter how “disastrous” yours may be.
Family does not only mean blood relations. The little things matter a lot. You realize how much time you have wasted focusing on things that will not matter in the end.
3. You don’t live to please anyone, but God.
Personally, I realized that life is short but long enough for you to accomplish your purpose. Live it to the fullest. Fulfill your purpose in life, the life God gave you to please Him. The Holy Book says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all other things shall be added unto you”. Matthew 6: 33.
Keep the main things the main things.
4. Sacrifice and show up for the people who mean the most to you.
Life is all about building relationships, relating with people. We meet nice ones and not-so-nice ones. People hurt you, you hurt others, and in the end, some stay, and others leave. Someone who is there through thick and thin, winter and summer, pain and joy, stick with them. They’re worth your sacrifice. Show up for them.
5. You will heal because you can. You’re stronger than you think you are.
You are not the first to encounter such loss, others have been able to heal from worse situations so you too can. You can do this. You’re stronger than you think you are, at your weakest. Your greatest strength can be your greatest weakness and your greatest weakness can be your greatest strength.
6. You always have a choice to make. You have a unique path.
They say, “What does not kill you makes you stronger”. It’s your choice to make. Even if it’s difficult, it’s not impossible.
7. Find a healthy way to express your emotions.
It’s soothing. Talk to someone you trust to just listen to you without judgment, share it in writing like I’m doing now, or channel it into art, a song, or for a worthy cause.
8. Remember that smiling and having fun does not mean you’re betraying them or that their memories don’t mean anything to you. Life goes on.
After the loss of a loved one, after taking time to grieve, give yourself a treat, love yourself and let the right people love you. There’s so much more to life. You just have to see it.
9. If there’s something you can do to help others go through that illness or whatever battle that led to their demise, do so.
You just might discover your passion in life. Many people become doctors because more than half the population in their village died from Malaria, their child died of cancer or any rare health condition. If you were/are an orphan, help a child feel accepted and loved. Break the cycle of, “hurt people hurt others”. Pass on kindness.
Have you ever lost a loved one? Do you have any story to tell? Share your experience (s) so we can learn from them. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com