6 Tips for Grieving a Loved One

Grieving for a loved one is very possibly the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. Understand that it will take time and effort to heal, but you will heal if that is what you want. (Holding onto the past and your anguish is an option, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it.) While time will be the biggest factor in helping you heal – and unfortunately the amount of time is different for everyone – there are techniques and tips you can use to help yourself find your center and your inner happiness again.

Remember, grieving is not about forgetting the person you’ve lost, but instead is about coming to terms with the reality of your loss.

1. Give yourself permission to grieve. Always remember that it’s okay to be sad about the fact that the person you love isn’t around anymore. Allow yourself the freedom to explore the full range of emotions that may come up such as sadness, anger, and even happiness at the memories of your life together.

2. Do something special for your lover. The death of your lover doesn’t have to bring an end to the love you shared. You can do something special to honor them such as taking roses to their grave, writing a heartfelt love letter to them, or lighting a special scented candle in their memory. Expressing your love to them even after their demise helps you feel connected to them in a special way.

3. Give yourself a treat. Do something really special for yourself. Pamper yourself by going to the spa, having dinner at your favorite restaurant or sending yourself flowers. Indulge in your favorite hobbies. Taking time out to give yourself a cute treat will definitely lift your spirits. However, remember to recognize your limitations. Don’t force yourself to do an activity you don’t feel up to.

4. Do something nice for others. One of the best feelings is the sheer bliss that comes after doing something nice for someone who has nothing to offer you. You can volunteer somewhere, buy a homeless person food, or give blood.

5. Seek support. You don’t have to put on a brave face or go through your grief alone. Reach out to your friends or members of your family who you can talk to about how you feel without being judged. Tell them what you need, so they can help you in the best way possible.

If you’re having a really tough time coping with your grief over a loved one’s passing, it always helps to talk to a grief counselor or therapist. I offer counseling services and you can contact me to book a session.

Grief & Relationships: How Your Relationships Might Change When Facing Grief

Experiencing the death of a loved one is often the biggest challenge a person faces. Grieving can feel overwhelming and consume every facet of your life. It is during this time that you need the comfort of others the most, and yet social connections often feel strained as your relationships and social network seem to be flipped upside-down.

Here are four ways relationships can shift when you are trying to navigate the loss of a loved one:

  1. 1. Your Support System May Surprise You

You may be surprised who steps up in your greatest hour of need. Some of your closest loved ones, those who have been by your side through dating and childbirth and other life dilemmas, may not be able to be there for you during your bereavement. It is often people you’d least expect who show up to hold your hand while you grieve. An old friend you’ve lost touch with, a co-worker you’ve hardly spoken to but who understands the complexities of living with death… these are sometimes the people who help the hurt go away.

  1. 2. You Will Feel Angry – And That’s Okay

You will try and understand why your closest friends and relatives seem to have abandoned you during one of the most painful times in your life. But understanding won’t make the pain of it go away.

Yes, it’s important to realize that not everyone can cope with death and loss, including the people closest to you. It’s also important to recognize that feeling this additional pain, and even anger and resentment about feeling abandoned, is totally normal and okay.

  1. 3. People Will Avoid You

Losing loved ones is something all of us will go through, but some people cannot handle this reality. Just the thought of a loved one dying is more than many people can bear. Seeing your pain and sitting with you in your time of darkness will force others to look this stark reality in the face. Many people simply can’t do it. If you find that friends and relatives seem to be avoiding you, understand it is most likely because they cannot handle their own fears of loss.

  1. 4. You Will Have Something in Common with Others

For most people, it’s hard to understand certain things until they experience it themselves: Having children, running a marathon, getting divorced. Losing a loved one is certainly on this list as well. While your current group of loved ones will try to empathize with you, the reality is that you now belong to a special club and those who you feel close to and understood by may change.

This does not mean you will no longer feel close to those you did before the loss, but it means you have now changed and how you perceive the world and others has changed as well.

Relationships are hard, and they can be more difficult during periods of loss and grief. It’s important that you are gentle with yourself during this time and seek help. Consider joining a support group. Being around those who share your pain firsthand can be a comfort during this time.

You may also want the guidance of a therapist who can help you navigate your complex emotions and offer tools to work through your grief.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

The Impact of Grief on Relationships

Experiencing the death of a loved one is one of the most painful things each person must face. The shock of your beloved friend or family member having passed away, along with the finality of their death is difficult to deal with.

Everyone Mourns Differently

The process of mourning is a very personal experience. Because grief is so personal, each person reacts differently to the death of a loved one; your instinct may be to reach out and connect, and the instinct of your friend or relative may be to retreat, distract themselves with work or hobbies or shut down.

Your relationship with the deceased was a unique one, so the process in which you grieve the loss will also be unique and personal to you. The close friends and family that you would expect to be there for you in one of the most challenging times of your life may not be present in the way you’d hoped or anticipated. Even your spouse or partner may not provide the comfort you’d expect.

Relationships Impacted by Grief Will Change

Although it’s disappointing and hurtful to experience what feels like a breakdown in your relationships when you need them the most, you must realize that your friends, family and spouse are likely also affected by grief, and going through their own process of mourning.

It’s also important not to rely solely on your spouse for comfort. It’s healthier for both of you, and will ease the stress on your marriage, if you have other people to turn to for help.

The impact of grief is an incredible strain on your existing relationships, as who you are as a person is temporarily altered as you struggle to cope with the loss and find a way to move forward. Your close friends and loved ones may have difficulty coping with how you’re mourning, causing them to pull away temporarily. They could also be very used to seeing you as a source of strength, and a pillar, and seeing you in this vulnerable state (in addition to possibly dealing with their own grief) is more than they can bear.

Seek Out New Sources of Support

Maintaining relationships takes effort, and they’re vulnerable to the difficulties we face as we move through life. You may need to turn to distant family members, other friends or acquaintances, make new connections through bereavement groups or seek professional help from a mental health counselor to find solace and understanding.

Although we can expect bereavement to change our relationships, we can also expect some semblance of normalcy as everyone affected copes with the loss over the passage of time. By forgiving friends or loved ones who weren’t there for you as you dealt with your grief, you can re-establish lost connections.

If you’re having difficulty with your relationships as you grieve and need some understanding and guidance, please give me a call and we can set up an appointment to talk.

Coping with a Loved One’s Serious Illness

When a serious illness strikes a family, everyone’s life is thrown into turmoil. Whether the illness is chronic or acute, no one can really prepare you for the responsibility of caregiving and the emotions that go with it.

Unfortunately, as we throw ourselves into overdrive, doing everything we can to deliver the best care to our loved one, we typically put our own self-care on the backburner, which ultimately leads to caregiver burnout.

If you’re feeling worn out, here are some ways you can care for yourself while caring for your loved one:

Give Yourself Space

You’re no doubt overwhelmed and inundated with activities that surround your loved one’s care. It’s important that you take time to get away for some quiet reflection. Take a walk in nature or a long drive to clear your head and catch your breath.

Eat Right

If there were any time in your life you craved comfort foods, now would be it! But loading up on carbs and sugar is not what your body needs. Do your best to forego donuts and pasta and instead opt for fruits and vegetables.

Connect with Others

It’s easy to become isolated during this time. You’re tired and emotional, and besides the goings-on at various doctors’ appointments, you may feel you have little to offer in the way of sterling conversation.

It’s important that you remain socially active and connect with others. This could mean finding a local support group, or grabbing a latte with friends every Thursday morning. You need to remember who you are as a person, not just a caregiver, and social interactions will help you feel human.

Get Help

Many family caregivers feel it’s their entire responsibility to provide care for their loved one. But you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Reach out to other family members and friends for help. Look into getting a home health aid who can step in for you so you can have a couple hours off each week.

You may also want to consider seeking the guidance of a family therapist who can help you navigate your emotions and offer tools to help you cope with your new day-to-day reality.

If you’d like to explore therapy options, please get in touch with me. I’d love to discuss how I might be able to help you and your family during this difficult time.