Transitioning Grief

We all go through these cycles when we’re grieving. The hardest part is knowing our loved one isn’t able to talk back to us.

What to you is the worst thing about grief? I know for me the hardest part was not being able to talk to the person I loved and have them talk back to me. I could no longer go to them and ask questions. I couldn’t hear their voice when I needed calming. I couldn’t get a hug any more. All I could do was remember that person.

Grief never truly fades. There are ways of coping with the grief and time doesn’t necessarily heal the wounds, it just doesn’t cut as deep. There is some healing but there’s usually a scab. Just like on the skin, our emotions never completely heal. There are lots of different types of grief. When I went through my divorce, I dealt with a ton of grief. I’ve had to deal with the death of friends, a pet, family, jobs, the loss of a child, the loss of friendships, the selling of my childhood home, and a miscarriage. All of these have occurred within the last fifteen years. As such, I’ve had to find ways to deal with those different aspects of grief.

Some of the ways that I found to help cope are as follows:

  1. Acknowledge your pain.
  2. Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions.
  3. Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you.
  4. Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you.
  5. Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.
  6. Recognize the difference between grief and depression.

It’s really important to acknowledge your pain. For one thing, it you don’t own the fact that you’re hurting, you can’t begin to deal with the pain. Just because you don’t want to acknowledge something doesn’t mean that those feelings are going to disappear.

When you can accept that grief can and does trigger different and unexpected emotions, then you can begin to recognize that you can’t always control how your emotions will be. For instance, when I lost my job, my marriage, and my child, I was numb. I didn’t really deal with those emotions for a long time. My dad had gotten really sick and I had to deal with a lot of varying emotions back to back for several years. I never really had time to sort it out while all of it was going on. I had to make time to deal with my emotions. I would have outbursts when I least expected it. I got emotional at the strangest times. I would cry for no reason at all. I got angry over little things. Then I would just be numb. I found my emotions were worse than a roller coaster.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you how you should feel. Grief is different for every person. What is right for one person may not be right for another. I don’t know how you process your emotions. I only know how I process mine. I wouldn’t have a right to tell anyone how to handle things. The main thing is to be aware of your emotions and deal with them in your own way.

Allow the people closest to you to be your support system. Sometimes the best medicine in the world is our friends. Our friends have the unique ability to see us at our highest and lowest points and they love us anyway. It’s through their support and love that we are able to lean on them at the most crucial junctures in our lives.

Make sure you take care of you physically. Watch your diet. Exercise, and socialize. Taking care of yourself mentally and physically will help you through the hardest days. I can’t stress this enough. You are worth taking care of yourself. Don’t do it for anyone else. Do it for you.

If you are grieving, just know that you aren’t alone. Every day someone loses a loved one. While we don’t always understand why our loved one is gone, we often feel alone.

The last thing I want to mention is to differentiate between grief and depression. This is really important because just because you’re grieving doesn’t mean you’re depressed. Grief is a natural process in life. Depression however, can be treated if it’s truly depression. Talk to a counselor if you need to. Get whatever kind of help you may need if necessary to help you through the transition. Don’t assume anything. Sometimes we are the best judge of what’s happening within our own systems.

Grief is one of the hardest things that any of us will ever deal with. I won’t sit here and tell you that it’s easy to get over grief. It’s not. For some, the pain never truly goes away. Pay attention to your body. Do things to help you cope. If you write, then write your emotions down. If you paint or sculpt, create something, if you’re into arts and crafts, immerse yourself into a project, if you aren’t into any of those things find something that makes you happy. I have a feeling that whatever you decide to tackle will help you process the grief that’s there. Whatever you do, understand that you aren’t alone. There are many people who are grieving and don’t always know how to reach out. Take your time. Grief is something that doesn’t have a timetable. There are very few things in this world that are ever simple. Grief is no exception. Be good to yourselves. Let your grief transition into healing.

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