It takes time, but a bereaved person will eventually process their grief, work through the sadness and adjust to a life without their loved one. It helps to allow yourself to experience the pain and other emotions and not let others tell you how you should feel. Whatever comes is where you should start…
■ Patience is a virtue. Don’t suffer from stress caused by your expectations. Accept your current experience, pain and emotions without judging or being judged. Don’t compare yourself with others. We all mourn in our own way; at our own pace.
■ Acknowledge your feelings — even the ones you don’t like. Cry if that’s how you feel.
■ Ask others for the help you need. Get support from friends and/or professionals. Express you sadness; talk about your loss and your memories.
Joining a bereavement group enables others to encourage, guide and comfort you. They can also offer practical advice and information, and help you feel less alone. Online groups are available.
■ Try to maintain your routine and lifestyle. Avoid making life changes and major decisions. Limit stressors and maintain a sense of security.
■ Give yourself a break from grief and take care of yourself. Relax through distractions — watch TV, have dinner with a friend, read a good book, enjoy your favorite music, take a hike or go to the beach. Enjoy life despite the sorrow. Eat well, exercise, sleep and nurture yourself. Get a massage to release your tension. Avoid excessive use of alcohol or other substances, which could harm your body, confuse your emotions and slow your recovery.
■ Forgiveness is a blessing. Forgive yourself for all the things you wish you’d said or done differently. Forgive others, as well.
■ Prepare, plan and honor. Be prepared for holidays, birthdays and anniversaries, when feelings of grief may return. Plan how you want to spend your time and with whom. Do something in honor of the memory of your loved one. Decide what traditions to keep or create new ones.
■ Create. When you feel ready, do something creative. Write a letter to the person who passed and say everything you wish you could still tell them. Start keeping a journal. Make a scrapbook. Paint or draw. Plant flowers or trees. Involve yourself in a cause or
activity that you and your loved one enjoyed doing.
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