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How to Handle the Loss of a Family Member

Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy from Pexels

A death in the family can be one of the most painful life moments someone has to experience. And sadly, it is not only inevitable for us all, but there is no correct way to grieve or process such a heart-breaking event. All you can do is acknowledge your pain and band together with friends and family, hoping that time can heal you and make things easier. Luckily, time is most certainly a healer of great pain.

If you have lost a beloved family member, here are some coping mechanisms to help you navigate and manage the pain, as well as tips to help you plan and arrange the funeral.

The Grieving Process

Everyone will have an individual grieving process and it is important to know that what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, do not feel pressured to act in a certain way or feel deflated if something that worked for your friend has not worked for you. 

While there is no right or wrong way to cope with grief, there are measures you can put in place to help you cope and overcome the grieving process. Firstly, you will want to acknowledge your pain and the grief you are experiencing. Ignoring the grief will not make the process shorter or easier. In fact, it can lengthen the process and make it much more painful. You need to face your grief so that you can find the best way for you to deal with it in the healthiest way possible.

Secondly, you need to understand that grief can appear in many unique and unexpected ways. The emotions you feel may not be considered ‘normal’ when compared to the typical stages of grief shown in films and TV shows, but that does not mean you are grieving abnormally or incorrectly. For instance, you may find yourself feeling numb and unable to process the feelings of sadness. You may not cry, and if this is the case, it does not make you any less upset. Crying may be the usual way to address sadness, but that doesn’t make it the only way to express the hurt you are experiencing. 

Lastly, you need to find the best coping mechanisms for you. You may find it best to be by yourself, or you may wish to surround yourself with loved ones. However you wish to process your grief, ensure that it is healthy and that you are not hurting yourself or your loved ones in the process. If you feel yourself getting depressed, however, make sure to speak to your doctor about ways to help you manage any negative and dark thoughts.

What are the Stages of Grief?

There are thought to be five stages of grief, which was discovered by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Many doctors teach these stages to those who are grieving, so that they can help channel their feelings and see that there is an end to the pain they are feeling. 

It is believed that the five stages are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

It is natural to go through the above motions, and knowing that many people experience these typical emotions can be somewhat soothing for those who are going through the process themselves. However, remember that you do not have to experience any of the above or all of the emotions. You may also experience all the stages of grief but in a different order. Again, there is no right or wrong way to process grief. It is all subjective.

Can Grief Cause Symptoms?

Grief can show up in many symptoms – some of which may be mental while others manifest physically. For instance, you may find yourself experiencing extremely low moods and depression. However, you may also experience physical symptoms of grief such as fatigue and headaches. Being able to recognize that these symptoms are normal can help you process and fight through them, but if you find yourself in need of help, do not feel afraid to seek support.

Typical mental symptoms of grief include:

  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Depression

Typical physical symptoms of grief include:

  • Nausea
  • Lowered immunity
  • Insomnia
  • Aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Fluctuations in weight (e.g., weight loss or weight gain)
  • Fatigue

Planning a Funeral

Planning a funeral is expected, but it does not mean a funeral has to be full of sadness. Contact a funeral home that can help you celebrate the life of the person you have lost. Rather than think of a funeral as a means of saying goodbye to a loved one, you can also consider it a means to tell stories of the person with loved ones. For instance, Ingram Funeral Home offers many intimate services for those who wish to celebrate the life of a loved one. They have a celebration of life service, which can be a beautiful ceremony and means to say goodbye. They can also offer traditional funeral services as well as an option to have a cremation ceremony at a crematory instead. Ingram Funeral Home can also help with an obituary. By hiring the services of such a company, they can help you navigate a difficult time of your life with the utmost respect. 

Ask for Help and Support if Needed

There is no shame in asking for help and support. Support can come in many different forms, such as asking a family member or friend to keep you company more than usual as you go about your day-to-day life. It could also be asking for extra support from work or school. If you do find yourself struggling, however, do not be afraid to speak to a doctor. They will be able to provide you with tools to help you cope with anxiety and depression, as well as refer you to specialists such as grief counselors.

There is no wrong or right way when it comes to grieving. The best way for you to cope is to lean on your friends and family for support and enlist the services of a funeral home that can help you celebrate the life of your loved one.

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