Grieving Takes Time
With life, there comes death. Grief is part of everyone’s life journey and grieving takes time.
The death of a loved one or something valuable in life will affect us regardless of how prepared we are!
With grief, there is no timeframe! There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there are healthy ways that can get you through these tough times!
Types of grief
Any grief is difficult but how we come across the news can alter the way we grieve.
Anticipatory grief → Anticipatory grief happens before someone has died. We may come across hearing a loved one has a short time to live or is extremely ill and the likelihood of getting better is low. One can say hearing the news before anything has happened can allow one to give themselves time to process what may happen soon.
Traumatic grief → what we experience when there is news of sudden and unexpected death. This type of experience can be traumatic and is more painful.
These types of grief can make us experience many emotions like feeling out of control or feeling life has come to a standstill.
How grief can affect us?
Coping with the death of a loved one can affect us in many ways. Our emotions, behaviours and thoughts can manifest in many ways.
Emotions and thoughts can be very powerful and intense especially during these times. We can go through multiple emotions which could be anger, sadness, shock, anxiety, guilt and disbelief. These emotions can hit us all at one and carry on for months which can be overwhelming. These emotions can make us question how we can continue to live or cry for those we miss.
Behaviours towards grief can vary but typically we experience a sense of loss in ourselves and in life. We lose concentration, confidence and give up on things happening around us. As much as we have those close to us as a support network, we tend to neglect relationships and basic needs like sleep. Some may want to be around others but some may prefer to be by themselves.
Physical pain can be hard to process. Physical pain can feel like heartache when losing loved ones. This type of pain can manifest into nightmares, stress, stomach pains and other mental health issues like depression.
Grief is not just a singular emotion
Have you felt guilty for experiencing another emotion other than sadness or pain?
Grief is not a stage but more like a rollercoaster! We all will have our ups and downs throughout our grieving process. But we must first acknowledge these emotions instead of bottling them up.
While you grieve, sadness or pain will not be the only emotion you feel. There will be times when you will visit memories and talk about loved ones.
These memories may make you smile or laugh. Feeling a sense of happiness or laughter etc may make you feel guilty or confused as you are hurting inside but may have smiled for a split moment!
But that’s okay! Don’t feel guilty for experiencing a happy emotion for a split second. With grief, we have to find what makes us happy again.
Grief is a process, not a task!
There is no universal method for grief.
Grief is complex and should not be rushed.
We can rarely prepare ourselves for the death of loved ones. Any preparation we do complete is not guaranteed to deal with the emotional experience and pain that we feel. Grieving can feel like we have lost part of ourselves and can be a scary time.
Grief is not a task we have to tick when completed. We can fall back into grieving after coming to terms that we have lost someone.
Grieving takes time so grieve at your pace but remember life must continue to be lived.
What you can do?
Seeking support from those around you or professionals.
This can include family and friends. A support system is crucial in these hard times. If you feel like you can not talk to those around you, there are professionals who can help you and services which you can tap into. Remember you are not alone!
We confront our emotions, thoughts and behaviour when writing them down. Don’t bottle them up but transfer the heaviness of your grief to paper. It can help you get the freedom you are looking for and monitor how you are coping and what may trigger you in these hard times.
When we channel our feelings in a creative way such as using art, design or music, it can relief our stress and conflicting emotions. Emotions are not meant to stay inside you but communicated in an external way for you to understand and others.
For e.g. if your loved ones liked a certain flower/plant or liked butterflies – you could plant them in the garden or create butterflies and hang them in a nice place.
When we grieve, we can feel scared about forgetting those we have lost. A great way to live on their memory is by creating a memory box of valuable items that remind you of them.
Those who have a religion or believe in spirituality can find comfort in connecting with their beliefs. Those who connect to these beliefs may have gained a positive outlet of death such as their loved one entering paradise and they will guide you and one day you will reunite with them.
If you feel you need someone to speak to, contact my family psychologist for a confidential chat about how we may be able to help.
You can contact my family psychologist offices between 8 am and 8 pm to book an appointment.
Psychology Today – The Ways We Grieve
British Psychology Society – Coping with bereavement