Updated: Jul 7
The following post incorporates a spiritual perspective to deal with the death of a loved one along with practical suggestions that may help with the grieving and healing process..
How do we deal with our grief?
Since the beginning of the pandemic I, personally, have lost a total of 10 loved ones. A combination of family, friends and clients.
Not one was due to COVID.
The most recent one was a real heartbreaker....well...actually they all are. However, this most recent one is what caused me to do some research on dealing with our grief. Perhaps some of these points will help you and/or a friend or family member.
Let yourself grieve! Grieving is a necessary emotional release. Releasing our feelings can relieve the pressure we are under. Not everyone expresses grief in the same way. But one thing appears certain: Repressing your feelings can be harmful both physically and emotionally. It is far healthier to release your grief. So cry when you need to cry. It's even okay to be angry at the situation.
The English dramatist Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth:
“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.”
Talking about your feelings to “a true companion” who will listen patiently and sympathetically can bring a measure of relief. (Proverbs 17:17) Putting experiences and feelings into words often makes it easier to understand them and to deal with them. And if the listener is another bereaved person who has effectively dealt with his or her own loss, you may be able to glean some practical suggestions on how you can cope.
Rely on friends: Do not hesitate to let others help if they offer to do so. Understand that it may be their way of showing you how they feel; perhaps they cannot find the right words so the love is expressed through their actions. Proverbs 18:24.
Take care of your health: Grieving can wear you out, especially in the beginning. Your body needs sufficient rest, healthful exercise, and proper nourishment more than ever. Even if you don’t want to do any of those things do them anyway. You may need to have a family member or a close friend go with you on walks, go to a park, a mountain stream or the ocean. The negative ions that comes from our earth can be very soothing and healing.
Be patient with yourself: Grief often lasts longer than people in general realize. Yearly reminders of the lost loved one may renew the painful feelings. Special pictures, songs, or even smells can trigger the tears. It's ok - allow yourself to express the grief.
Get back into a regular routine when you can: You may have to push yourself at first to go to work, to go shopping, or to take care of other responsibilities. But you may find that the structure of your normal routine will do you a lot of good.
It’s okay to let go of acute grief: Strange as it may seem, some bereaved ones are afraid to let go of the intense grief, believing that it may indicate their love for the deceased one is diminishing. That simply is not the case. Letting go of the pain makes way for treasured memories that will no doubt always remain with you.
There is “a time to weep,” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4) Surely the death of someone we love brings on such a time. Shedding tears of grief is a necessary part of the healing process. You may find that for a time your emotions will be somewhat unpredictable. Tears may flow without much advance warning. Be patient with yourself, and do not feel that you have to hold back the tears. Remember, they are a natural and necessary part of grieving.
Take one day at a time. Do not be overly concerned about the future.
There is no set timetable for grief. You may start to feel better in 6 to 8 weeks, but the whole process can last from months to years. You may start to feel better in small ways.
Dealing with Guilt - Perhaps you feel that some neglect on your part contributed to your loved one’s death. Realizing that guilt—real or imagined—is a normal grief reaction that can be helpful in itself. Do not necessarily keep such feelings to yourself. Talking about how guilty we may feel to a close friend can provide a much needed release.
Realize, though, that no matter how much we love another person, we cannot control his or her life, nor can we prevent “time and unforeseen occurrence” from befalling those we love. (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
You can recover! And as you do, what you have experienced can make you more understanding and sympathetic in helping others to cope with with their loss.
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