Coping with change - The loss of a loved one
“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”
William Shakespeare, ‘Macbeth’
If you have experienced the loss of a loved one, and most of us have, you will have experienced or are experiencing some if not all of the following: sadness, loneliness, anger, anxiety, trouble sleeping, fatigue, pain and probably many other emotions according to your own personal circumstances.
However I am not going to dwell on the above, the purpose of this article is while acknowledging that the above are part of the grieving process, I wanted to give you some pointers to help you move on. Here are some suggestions that have worked for me and others that I know:
- Do something positive in your loved one’s name: start a charity, a scholarship, a prize, make a donation. Plant something you can watch grow. If you have lost one of your parents, publish a photo album for your own children of their grandparent’s life. If you are creative, paint a picture or write a poem in their memory. Everyone can find some way, big or small to commemorate their loved one.
- Accept the sorrow and the pain as part of the grieving process and give yourself time to heal. You don’t have to put on a happy face but find some way to deal with the pain, be it grief counselling, therapy and then maybe later on coaching to help give you a new structure and purpose to your life.
- Find joy despite the pain. Grief is a very ‘painful’ experience, which can lead to a prolonged feeling of deep unhappiness. However you can teach yourself to look for and appreciate small moments of ‘joy’ from simple pleasures such as sharing a joyful moment with friends or family, joining in an activity with children, even for a short time. This will remind your brain that it can start to go beyond sorrow.
- Getting involved in a charity is a great way to give yourself renewed purpose, create structure within your personal turmoil and reconnect with people.
- Find moments to ‘speak’ and reconnect to your lost loved one. I find churches are a wonderful place for doing this quietly and intimately. You do not need a special service for this, just sitting quietly and being alone with your feelings and having a ‘conversation’, listening for the answers and watching for the signs of their presence can be wonderfully comforting and keeps your special ‘dialogue’ alive beyond death.
- Focus on the present and attempt to reconnect with others, spend time in nature and find positive ways of expressing your frustration and anger – sport, long walks are great mood lifters and work far better than succumbing to alcohol or anti-depressants.
- Share the memories of your loved one regularly with friends and family to keep their flame alive. Whatever your religious beliefs, you can still understand that as ‘matter’ people do not disappear. Everyone is still out there somewhere in some shape or form. We have just finished this part of the journey with that person but there are other journeys to be made. Put your loved one in a special place in your heart and start your new journey, one day, one pace at a time – and time will finally show you the way to a new peace.