When someone we care about passes away, we are likely to feel a wide range of emotions, some of which we may not be prepared for, and this can throw us for a bit of a loop. All of these emotions, from unadulterated sorrow to rage, from relief to utter misery, are entirely natural and acceptable responses.
If you have recently lost a loved one and are concerned about how you will get through the next few days, weeks, months, and years, the following advice is intended to make the grieving process a little less difficult for you.
When you hear of the death of someone you care strongly about, especially if the death was unexpected, it can be difficult to take in the information and process it, thus it is normal to feel numb and in shock after hearing the news. In point of fact, it may prove useful in certain circumstances. Feeling a little numb around the death itself can allow you to focus on making the critical decisions that need to be made regarding funeral arrangements, such as where the funeral will take place, any hymns or music that will be played, flowers and so on. Because your brain has not finished processing what has occurred, you are still hoping to see that individual stroll back into the room at some point in the future.
Allow yourself to experience each and every feeling: Give yourself permission to fully experience any and all of the feelings that may come up. If you feel the need to cry, then do so. If you feel the urge to yell and scream, then by all means do so. If smiling and laughing is something you want to do, then go ahead and do it. Do not allow anyone to make you feel guilty for the way that you feel, nor should you let them judge you for it. It is essential to discover ways to deal with this complicated conglomeration of feelings. Talk to someone who understands what you are going through, whether that be a member of your family or a close friend, someone in a support group, or a therapist or counselor. Make it a goal to obtain as much sleep as you possibly can, maintain a regular exercise routine, and eat a healthy diet. Some people find that venting their feelings through activities such as writing in a journal, playing music, painting, or drawing may be a very beneficial experience.
Be patient to yourself; it can take a few weeks, months, or even a few years for the feelings of grief to pass. It is possible for it to endure a whole person’s lifespan. Do not impose restrictions or time limits on yourself, and allow yourself adequate time to grieve, regardless of how long this may take, and if necessary, look at putting forward a wrongful death claim if appropriate.
You may never truly “get over” the loss of a loved one, but you can learn to create new memories and stories that you can take with you as you start to go on with your life without them. It has been said that the most respectful thing one can do for a person who has died away is to create new memories in their honor in their place. If they had always liked going to a certain place or had always wanted to travel somewhere but had never quite gotten around to it, you might take a vacation there in their honor and make some memories there.