Coping With The Loss Of A Loved One: How To Make The Process Easier
Losing a loved one is something none of us know how to cope with. There is no instruction manual, no one right way to grieve. Some individuals feel symptoms of depression, while others feel numb. You may go through an entire range of emotions in a short span of time, which can be overwhelming in itself, and when you’re also trying to handle your daily responsibilities and be sensitive to the needs of your other loved ones, it can be too much to deal with at once.
While it can be difficult, one of the best ways to start the healing process -- and to make grieving easier -- is to start taking on the tasks that will need to be done, like dealing with paperwork and clearing out personal items. Going through your loved one’s belongings and making decisions about what to do with them may seem impossible, but it can help you find some peace. The key is to give yourself plenty of time, and to ask for help when you need it. Keeping your needs in mind throughout the process will help you get through it with minimal stress, and practicing self-care will go a long way toward healing.
Here are a few things to think about when it comes to coping with the loss of a loved one.
Think about your options
One of the most difficult things to take care of after a loved one’s passing is figuring out what to do with their belongings. You may feel panic at the idea of selling or donating items that were important to your loved one, but remember there are lots of options. Rather than donating clothing to a shelter, you can give certain pieces to family members, or use a favorite shirt to make a pillowcase or quilt. Larger items -- or pieces that you’re not ready to part with but can’t keep in the house -- can be put into storage for later consideration without spending a fortune. Currently a 5’x5’ storage unit in Los Angeles only runs about $99 at Fort Self Storage.
Self-care is essential when you’re facing the aftermath of the loss of a loved one, and there is no one right way to do it. If you need to reduce stress, ask for help with daily tasks from family members and friends so you can take some time for yourself. You might also try meditation, which promotes mindfulness and allows you to find inner peace. Often practiced in conjunction with yoga, meditation can be hugely beneficial for people of all ages and abilities.
Don’t take too much on
If you have close friends or family members nearby, it’s important to lean on them a bit during this time and remember that you can’t -- and shouldn’t -- try to take on everything by yourself. Whether that means asking for help with memorial arrangements or just finding a sympathetic ear when you need to talk, having someone at your side will help immensely. If you live far away from your family members, you might utilize a video chat app to stay in touch. This is a crucial part of keeping isolation and depression at bay, which will help make getting through this difficult time a little bit easier.
Know what to expect
Knowing what to expect with grief can be tricky; it affects everyone differently. However, many people experience similar feelings of anger, denial, and sadness, or there may be feelings of guilt that leave you feeling unable to cope. Do a little research about the process of grief, and think about consulting a therapist or counselor if you feel you need to talk about what you’re going through.
Coping with the loss of a loved one is a very personal process that can take some time, so give yourself some space. Remember that there are lots of options available when it comes to moving forward, and that doing so won’t diminish your loved one’s memory in the slightest.
*** Written by Lucille Rosetti for Meridian Counseling. Lucille created TheBereaved.org as a means of sharing tools to help people through the grief process. Having lost some of the people closest to her, she understands what it’s like, and how it can be an emotional roller coaster that doesn’t always seem to make sense.