Dealing with Grief Over the Loss of a Friend or Family Member


Death is simply a part of life as we know, yet that fact does not help when we are dealing with grief over the loss of a friend or family member.  Losing someone we love is the most painful experience a human can endure.  There are ways to help you get through it as best you can.

One of the best things you can do is find supportive people and surround yourself with them.  Grieving alone makes you carry all the burden by yourself, but having someone there to comfort you, even if it is just to sit and listen, can be a tremendous help.  Resist the urge to hide away if possible and instead go to friends, family, or even a therapist if you need help.  You may also be able to find a support group, which can help you so that you know you are not alone in feeling this way.  Some people may find religion to be comforting, or perhaps deep meditation.  Prayer and talking to those in your religious circle may help you find some peace.

Next, you need to really take care of yourself.  Be sure you are eating a healthy diet, and still getting out for a little exercise each day.  Even these basic things can seem difficult, but it is important to keep your health and strength up.  Try to get enough sleep, but try not to stay in bed too long, as this can increase grieving feelings.  Avoid “crutches” such as alcohol, drugs, overeating, over spending, and smoking.

Don’t allow people to tell you how to feel, or act, or tell you when it is time to move on.  Allow yourself to cry or to not cry, to express yourself, to be angry to be sad, and also allow yourself to heal.  Don’t think there is a particular way to grieve, we all grieve in our own manner and there is no “wrong” way, as long as you are not harming yourself or others.  It is usually best if you face your grief, as trying to ignore it will often make matters worse in the long run and it can make the grieving process last much longer.

There are said to be five stages to grief which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, but that is a fairly basic outline.  You may feel fear, guilt, shock, numbness, distant, resentful, or even physical symptoms such as sick to your stomach, tired all the time, or achy.  You make experience some of these stages, or even none at all, skipping to acceptance.  These, and many more emotions, are all natural to experience.

Grief is a process we all must face, but as Helen Keller once said “All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”  Remembering the happy times with your loved one, holding on to dear memories and choosing to live on to make new ones, will help you to endure.

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