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Advice for dealing with grief

by : Regine Racine-Bowen - 08-Mar-2018

I wish I could provide the simple roadmap on how to navigate this unbelievable time in your life but it's not that easy.  What I can do is provide some helpful tips and most importantly some encouragement.  First, this is not going to be easy.  When you’ve lost someone you loved, you never fully get over that.  However, it does get a little easier to keep going with time.   A small scale physical analogy is a physical injury, like a broken arm, which hurts like heck when it first happens.  The pain gets a little easier over time and finally after some time it’s “healed” but the memory never goes away and there is often an indicator along with the memory that it happened that lives with you forever.

Albert Einstein said “Life is like riding a bicycle. The only way to keep balance is to keep moving.”  Recovery is like that too.  Some days may be harder than others and it's okay to take the quiet introspective time where all you do is eat and sleep and stay home.  However, don’t stay there too long because that is not a healthy routine for you.  Your loved one would not want this for you.  Even if it feels like the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do, go out and try to resume your life one step at a time. Do at least one small thing daily to resume a semblance of your routine.

Be cognizant of the stages of grief.  In the book by Elizabeth Kubler Ross, MD & David Kessler, they present the following five stages of grief, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.  These stages are part of the process of learning to live with grief.  Everyone doesn’t go through each stage, but most people go through a few.  Understanding those phases may help to better understand the stage you are in and support you as you are navigating this process.  These stages are not linear so you may experience them in any order but allow yourself to feel the emotions you are feeling.  This will allow that feeling to eventually dissipate and enable you to heal.  Don’t cover up or prevent yourself from going through these very real stages.  Our bodies are an amazing creation that has many self-healing abilities, so allow those innate healing mechanisms to function.

Most importantly, accept help.  You will have family and friends around you who are willing and eager to help you.  Accept their help.  It is much easier to go through a challenging time when you are not alone.  In addition to friends and family consider support groups and professional help.  Death is traumatic so it is perfectly acceptable to enlist the support of a professional to support your healing process as you would in any other physical injury.

As time goes by, you can also consider serving.  We can get great satisfaction and joy by helping others.  Particularly if you are able to help someone who is experiencing a challenge that you have experienced previously.

Finally, rely on your faith.  Whatever your faith may be, take some time to meditate and pray because you’ll be amazed at the peace that that can bring.

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