There is life after death: consolation is available for those walking through grief, on the road to recovery
In the early stages of grief, the bereaved may have difficulty viewing life beyond the here and now. Making it through each day is a struggle as they learn to live without their loved one, or another significant attachment. Mourning is a process that is unique to each individual. Depending on the person, and the importance the bereaved places upon the loss, the length of time it will take for his or her life to regain a semblance of normalcy may vary considerably.
There is no "right" or "wrong" way to grieve. Although many of the emotions experienced by the bereaved are similar, such as shock, denial, anger, fear, sadness and depression, everyone moves through grief at their own pace. There is no definitive timetable on grief and bereavement. It is important for the bereaved to understand that no two people mourn alike. They should not measure how well they are coping or successfully moving through grief, by others' experiences.
There is no way round grief, only through it...
In order to move through bereavement and grief, it is imperative that the bereaved talk about their feelings. There is no way around grief, only through it. Denying or submersing the pain and emotions brought on by loss is counterproductive to the healing process. The bereaved should cry if they need to cry, or scream if they need to scream. By acknowledging and expressing the painful feelings brought on by loss, the bereaved releases them, allowing room in their spirit for recovery. Love never disappears; but the horrifying assumption that they will forever reside in darkness will slowly vanish.
It is not only crucial for the bereaved to acknowledge and express their feelings, but to connect with supportive individuals to share these feelings with. Talking is enormously consoling and therapeutic, especially if the individual has experienced a similar loss. Knowing that others have survived the painful season of bereavement and grief, and the accompanied bewilderment that follows, brings a bitter comfort, but comfort nonetheless.
Remember to look after yourself as well as you can
The road to recovery after a loss is often long and wrought with pitfalls. It is also psychologically and physically draining. It is just as important for the bereaved to take care of their physical health while mourning, as it is for them to care for their health during a physical illness. Eating three healthy meals a day, getting enough rest and exercising regularly can help in easing some of the mental and physical strain brought on by loss. The body, mind and spirit are connected. When one part of an individual is negatively affected, the whole person suffers. Making sure to care for his or her physical health, no matter how insignificant it may appear at the time, enables the bereaved to move through the grief process in a healthy fashion.
Letting it all out in a journal is a great help
Another source of consolation for the bereaved is to keep a journal. This is beneficial for several reasons. Expressing all the emotions brought on by loss is crucial to move from grief to recovery. These intense feelings can become overwhelming and an outlet for their expression should be available at a moment's notice. It is not always practical or prudent to contact a friend or relative at 3:00 a.m. By having a journal, the bereaved will have another means to express their emotions.
Journals are also a written record of progress and change. It can be reassuring for the bereaved to view, by reading their journal, how they are making significant steps in their grief journey. A journal will enable the bereaved to discover that there is truly life after death.
Don't forget the simple pleasures of life
Although this offers no major solutions, it is important for the bereaved to set aside time for simple pleasures. This can include anything that the bereaved finds enjoyable and offers a reprieve from the emotional and physical impact of bereavement and grief, such as:
These are some of the different ways to find relief and consolation. Simple pleasures can truly help the bereaved to feel better because they carry the internal message that although alone, they matter. Just as the one who mourns would extend kindness to others suffering through a devastating loss, the bereaved should treat themselves to the same loving kindness.
- Watching funny movies
- Taking walks along the beach
- Listening to music
Turn again to life, and a different kind of normalcy
As the bereaved moves beyond the initial period of mourning, however long this may be, he needs to search for ways to add to his quality of life. This could include taking classes at a nearby college, donating time to an organization of interest, meeting new people, taking on different assignments at work, or even finding a new job. Exploring different areas of interest will help the bereaved to recover.
Life will never be exactly the same as it was before a loss. It takes time to heal. Everyone moves through grief at their own pace. Eventually, you will reach a new state of normalcy. The bereaved should not be concerned by timetables others may set on this extremely difficult process.
Be kind and patient with yourself
Before the bereaved can return to the business of living, after a devastating loss, they must make it through the dark initial stages of grief. As they move forward, by expressing their powerful emotions, connecting with other supportive individuals, and keeping a journal of their progress, they will amass the strength to recover. In the process of mourning, the bereaved need to be kind and patient with themselves. Grief takes time, but there is life after death.
Further sources of information
You may find our other articles in the Coping with your own grief section helpful too.
Visit our Amazon store to find books to help you through bereavement.