After you lose someone, you may wonder if life will ever be the same again. Will I ever smile again? Will I ever enjoy life again? Grief is like peeling an onion – everyone does it a little differently, but we all cry a lot. Grief takes work, hard work. It is never easy but the sooner we start, the sooner we get through. Things will never be the same, but we can get to a “new normal” where we are enjoying life again – even though it will be a different life. Things that bring healing:
- Take care of yourself: Every day! The answer to physical fatigue is ACTION! Exercise—it will nourish and cleanse your body. Eat well. Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid alcohol and caffeine which dehydrates the body. Rest—Stay on the same sleep cycle. Even if you don’t feel tired, lay down and rest.
- Have a “ME” day: Take a day to do whatever you want to do. Pamper yourself. Be kind to yourself. Your loved one would want you to have a day to enjoy life.
- Get out with others: Force yourself if you must, but call friends and do something with them. Laughing is healthy and healing. Don’t feel guilty for having times of happiness.
- Ask for help from others: Remember you are vulnerable now. Your resistance and judgment will be low so invite help only from those who are trustworthy. Remember to ask specifically and in detail for the kind of help you believe you need: don’t be vague. The worst someone can say to you is “No.”
- Do something for others: This will take your mind off yourself and help the healing process. It can be energizing!
- Be patient with yourself: Soon you will have more good days than bad. Allow yourself to cry when you need too, but give yourself permission to limit it to a certain period of time each day (maybe 10 minutes), and then decide to make a choice to go on with life for the day. Remember sadness is normal but it is important that periods of happiness are enjoyed without feelings of guilt. It is okay to put your grief “on the shelf” and have a good day. Give yourself permission to smile.
- Keep your life as simple as possible. Unnecessary complications will confuse you.
- Realize there are many reactions to grief: Depression, anger, hopelessness, and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. It is okay to have times of quiet, withdrawal or times of being irritable and cranky.
- Take one day at a time: And yet, a day may be too much and too fast right now. Realize some days you are doing well to handle an hour at a time. That’s okay. Sometimes the world around you will go too fast, and you will need to get off. Walk away at that time and find a quiet place to spend time alone.
- Find a way to have closure: Before you say “Hello” you have to say “Good Bye”. Write letters to your loved one, journal to God, go to the grave or spend time thinking and praying, make a scrapbook, or plant a tree in memory of your loved one.
- Take time to explore your relationship with God: Talk to Him. Tell Him your innermost feelings. He understands. Jesus wept when His dear friend Lazarus died. He knows your pain like no one else. Trust Him with your pain. Spend time in prayer. Pour out your heart to Him. If you are angry, say so. He is big enough to handle your anger. If you have questions, ask Him. God wants you to heal and make it through. Keep in mind that you must heal spiritually. Pray and meditate to improve your relationship with God.
- Realize you can begin a “new normal”. It will take time. Give yourself time. The sun will shine again!
Experiencing Grief. by H. Norman Wright
Recovering the Losses of Life. by H. Norman Wright