Adults and children experiencing relationship breakups or bereavements will experience separation and loss, which results in encountering grief. Separation from, or loss of parents, significant family members or friends has a huge impact on a families or individuals. Adults and children can experience an enormous sense of loss when they are separated from or lose a loved one. It is really important to take time to grieve.
But even when we do, it can have a major impact on us. Grief can be all consuming.
We experience grief after a death, but we can also experience it following relationship breakup, divorce, or a miscarriage. It can be triggered by or losing a job, ill health, our own or a loved one’s serious illness, or even though changes in financial stability or retirement. Death of a pet, loss of a friendship, selling a home or sometimes as a result of changes after trauma. It can even be triggered by loss of routine or normality through things such as the past and current lockdowns. Some of the causes of grief can seem very minor, but all can be equally impactful. We can even experience a form of grief if we have made a mistake or said or done something we regret.
Grief is a process, and it happens in stages - but the stages may come at different times for different people. What is important, is that we allow all the stages to happen and all the feelings associated with each to be felt, acknowledged and respected. This is the only way we can overcome and heal following experiences of grief. This is normal.
The five stages of Grief are:
Shock and Denial where you feel disbelief and numbed feelings. Denial and disbelief that this has happened. You may experience pain and guilt.
Anger, feelings of unfairness, why me - why them?
Bargaining, what can I do or trade to make this not reality?
Depression and deep sorrow at the loss, and a feeling of inability to cope.
But eventually, very slowly the upward turn begins, being able to reconstruct, rationalise and work through the situation. And finally, slowly we reach
Acceptance and Hope. Acceptance that it has happened, but not necessarily to forget, as we never forget our lost loved ones. But hope that we can and will manage and things will get better.
And lastly come the memories that keep our feelings and our loved ones alive in our hearts and in our minds. Our cherished memories that will be there for ever.
Each part of the process of grief brings intense feelings, and in order to be able to encompass these feelings without them consuming us, here are some things you can do, my 7 tips to coping with grief.
·1. Give yourself time. There is no quick fix, don't brush your feelings under the carpet.
2. Accept your feelings and know that grieving is a process.
3. Try to talk to others. Spend time with friends and family if you can.
4. Take care of yourself, don’t forget that you will need strength to get through this - but know that you will, everybody does, however unlikely it may seem at the time.
5. Continue your hobbies, keep yourself busy.
6. Join a support group, online is fine, or in person if and when you can.
7. Remember it is OK to feel sad, but it is also OK to feel joy at the memories you will recall.
And it is OK to remember how the one you have loved and lost would want you to feel. It is OK to move on and to live and love again. Grief, after all is just a way of demonstrating our love for someone or something.