Life and emotions are complicated. There can be sunshine during rain, hale in the middle of a sunny day. And out of that comes a rainbow. Emotions can be the same. Dealing with loss, grieving, and still finding joy in the small stuff is not a skill we are just born with. It’s something we learn, and when we learn it, we can teach it too.
And while it should be recognized that loss doesn’t ever become easier, how you deal with it and how you help your family members deal with it can be done in a more healthy manner.
Death can bring forward a lot of difficult emotions, but in that mix is happiness at memories, love, and joy. Here are some tips on how you can grieve and still celebrate life at the same time.
When people leave, it can be easier to focus on the space they no longer take up. But something that you can do is thinking about all of their positive traits. Things like how they always made the best cup of tea or coffee.
What about the way they could tell a joke like it was the funniest thing that you’re ever going to hear? Or that they would take care of people but make it look like the easiest thing in the world.
Think about how you can take those great parts and build them into your life. Taking a little bit of their spirit and personality with you through your life.
The immediate days following the passing of someone can be the most difficult. But it can come in waves in the following months. It is a challenging time, and if you don’t let yourself process those feelings, it can be longer and more difficult.
They say that no one truly dies until the very last time someone talks or thinks about them. So speak about your loved ones with passion and emotion. While some might find it too painful to have those conversations, others will feel like it brings new life and keeps their memory with them more.
Go through old pictures, movies, and even notes and letters. Those memories can bring peace exactly when you need them too.
These stories will remind everyone how wonderful they were and how much they were loved by all of you.
When you fly, you are told that before you can help others, if needed, you have to put your own oxygen mask on first. Putting your own oxygen mask on first will mean that you are in the best place to help others. When there are big life changes and big emotions in play, you must take care of yourself first. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
It is important to note that everyone deals with grief differently, and allowing yourself room and them to do so is also important.
Some people find comfort in looking after others, keeping busy, cleaning, cooking, and then having peace at the end of the day. Others find peace in being alone for a while, and some like to talk it out.
When it comes to children, there are some simple things that you can display to help them learn to deal with loss in a healthy way:
Seek support from friends and family; they can be a great source of support when you need them.
Where possible, stick to your everyday routines; these are secure and predictable.
Creating a calm environment that is safe for everyone to feel upset, laughter, smile, and talking.
Be patient with yourself and others that are dealing with the same thing is important.
There is a big difference between listening to what someone is saying and waiting to respond and active listening.
Active listening is simple; you don’t interrupt; take time to form a full reply. Understand what the person needs from you, many people try to jump in with a solution.
Watch for any changes in those who are going through grief. Stress can present itself in other ways—changes in appetite, sleeping pattern, mood swings, and more.
Be honest – but with limits. Some conversations should be saved until the children are older. Different ages can process information better.
Therapy can be a savior. Sometimes to get through something, you need to talk to someone who isn’t inside the situation and doesn’t have an opinion of you or what is happening.
Positive moments are incredible. There is joy in some unfortunate times, and to deny that emotions are complicated can be hurtful. Talk about the love-filled moment, involve people in those conversations and experiences.
Having somewhere to remember someone can be an important part of the closure between them being a physical being and being a wonderful memory. Gravestones and urns for cremation ashes can give space to bring flowers or to ‘talk.’ They now come in some beautiful designs and can really reflect the person. Doing them justice in the style and design can be something really wonderful.
If your loved one loved walking in a specific park, there are often options to have a bench with their name carved or added to a preexisting bench. Planting trees in gardens, or even through a volunteer program if they loved nature, is another great thing to do.
Creative outlets can bring a lot of peace when people have passed. Finding photos, notes, cards, and putting them all together in a beautiful scrapbook can be fun. You might even uncover some pictures you hadn’t seen before. You can make your own notes next to the photos and cards from what you were told about them.
When there are children involved, having them draw bright pictures of their loved ones and some of their favorite memories can help.
It can feel simultaneously fast and slow, and suddenly you are a year since the day it happened. Those days often bring a lot of pain and feelings with them. The loss is relatively fresh, and commemorating the day is something you might want to do.
It acknowledges the loss, but also allow you space to feel your feelings. The space left by someone you love can feel huge, and they had particular things about them that just made them who they are. Perhaps they always wore red on a Sunday. Maybe they only drank a specific brand of tea. Whatever it is, you can take some time to do that on the anniversary.
Many people find it comforting to take the day off work just because they aren’t sure how they may feel, and the pressure to spend a day working or in meetings can often be a lot. Giving yourself space to relax and process how you feel about everything is crucial to dealing with the loss in the long term.
Write A Letter
Sometimes we don’t get to say what we really wanted. And we can be left with a lot of words in our minds. Writing a letter can help you process all of those feelings, and it leaves less unresolved. You don’t need to keep the letter, you can destroy it once you have written it, but writing can be cathartic in any way.
Life and loss can be complicated; there is no right or wrong way to deal with it. What’s important is you don’t rush your healing. And pay your respects in the way that feels right to you.
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