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Grief ~ Supporting yourself or someone you love

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Grief is an intensely personal and deep journey that is different for everybody that experiences it. Grief can come in many forms after a significant loss, that of a loved one, friend, or even through a loss of a relationship and or job.

Sometimes grief can feel extremely overwhelming and it is important during these times to just take it moment by moment and not try to look too far ahead, as it can feel like too much to deal with.

It can feel very awkward and uncomfortable for those around us, who care and want to help us with our grief, but they do not know what to say or how to help. A common mistake that people make in supporting others through grief, is in trying to "cheer them up" or "fix them". It's important to remember that the person may be experiencing such deep painful feelings that they can feel "wrong" in feeling sad.

Allowing the person to express their painful feelings and holding their hand through the process, can be the most beautiful thing that we can do for another. We don't have to say or do anything, it's just about being there to listen when they need to talk. If they seem angry or distant, try not to take this personally as they are sifting through the many emotions and thoughts that are going through their mind and trying to make sense of it all.

For some people the first few weeks and months can be mostly numb, as we come to terms with the shock of the loss, accompanied by the sharp, deep stabbing pain, that arises and is released as deep crying and tears and sometimes extreme anger. Sometimes it can feel so surreal as if it were all part of a really bad dream, and we really think that it cannot possibly be true.

Sadness, anger, numbness, disbelief, confusion, guilt, and denial are just a few of the many feelings that you may experience whilst going through deep grief.

You may not feel like eating, or really doing anything. It can sometimes feel that you can't even be bothered with anything anymore and that everything that you used to love to do, no longer brings you happiness.

Grief can be an extremely isolating time, as sometimes we feel that nobody else understands how we feel, and that nobody else gets how painful it is for us. It's so important to reach out to others and let them know how you're feeling, particularly when things feel very tough, or like the pain will never go away.

Over the following months the pain can seem to intensify and last longer, more like a very deep ache in our heart, as our body adjusts to the shock and we start to feel a little bit more, this again can feel extremely overwhelming and feel like it will never end.

Anniversaries, birthdays, Easter and Christmas, can all feel particularly tough and it is important to really take care and be kind and gentle to ourselves on these days.

In time the cycles of sadness, anger, denial and many other emotions will begin to lengthen and you will find that you will start to have more "better" days than "bad"days.

As you start to feel a little better and maybe even laugh, you may find yourself feeling extremely guilty, for even feeling happy. Sometimes it can feel that by being happy we are not honoring the person that we love and have lost. It can feel that if we are happy we don't love them enough, as we aren't sad. This again is a completely normal feeling and experience in grief. In time we will know deep in our heart that the person that we love would want us to be happy. It's easier for us to know that in our head, it can take a little longer to really feel that in our body and heart.

Othertimes it can feel that if we let go of the sadness, we are letting go of the person, we feel that we have to hold onto the sadness otherwise we will lose our connection with our loved one. Again this is a completely normal part of grief and is just another way that sadness and guilt can come up in grief.

If you are experiencing grief, please reach out to others and let them help support you through this time. Be very kind and gentle to yourself. Try to eat healthy nourishing foods, and even a gentle walk in the sunshine and breathing in fresh air can do wonders.

Sometimes we try to fill the void or numb the pain with alcohol, drugs and food. As much as we want the pain to stop, the best way through grief is to let your body feel the pain, breathe experience it and let it go. When we suppress the emotion with food, drugs and alcohol, it will only come back up again to be dealt with at another time. For some this may even be many years later.

Please know that there is no right or wrong way to experience grief. Your experience is a very personal journey and will happen as it is meant to for you.

For those supporting friends and loved ones through grief, please know that they need your support not only in the first few months but also very much afterwards, for some in the 3rd to 4th month period and around the 6mth period as well as the first anniversary and ongoing anniversaries and special dates. The emotions and feelings change so much from day to day and week to week, that if you are supporting someone through grief, an ok day can change very quickly.

If you are at all concerned about how you are feeling or how someone you love is coping, please seek professional advice immediately.

Sending you all much love and many hugs,

Sal xox

Categories: Fulfilling Relationships

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