Preparing For the Worst

Grief: 3 Ways to Comfort Yourself in the Days After a Loss

When a friend of mine died unexpectedly I was totally unprepared for the tsunami of grief. Looking back on my experience, I can pinpoint three valuable things I did that brought me comfort after his death.

1. Feel bad.

Grief doesn’t feel good; it feels bad and dark. Don’t deny how you feel or try to hide or rush through it. You show kindness to yourself and respect for your feelings when you let yourself experience the pain of a loss. When my friend died I felt a lot of different things, not just sadness, and I’ve learned that this is normal. Grief is expressed in a lot of ways: sadness, fear, physical pain, guilt, intense anger, crying, relief, numbness, erratic behavior, wide mood swings, despair, loss of energy and motivation, pointlessness, and confusion. It’s common and perfectly healthy to feel some or all of these things in the first few weeks or even months after the loss of someone you love. You are okay.

2. Talk to other people who are grieving.

Fortunately, I had a compassionate group of friends who acknowledged and understood how I was feeling. It is important to spend time with people who have grieved or are grieving. It is not uncommon for people to need to repeatedly talk or write about their loss and their loved one. It’s important to find people who will listen to you patiently week after week, month after month until you are finished. People who have truly grieved will understand what you are going through and while they can’t make the pain stop, they can listen to you and offer reassurance.

Grief is a powerful experience and it frightens a lot of people; even your closest friends may not be able to listen to you. They may not know what to say to you beyond platitudes or be able to cope with seeing you so upset. That is OK – let them off the hook. There are many online or local support groups for hurting and grieving people who can help you heal through the grief.

3. Do the next thing.

A sense of being lost or confused is a normal part of grief. You may even feel like you don’t know what to do with yourself. This is the time to take a deep breath and do the next thing. If you are in bed, sit up and put your feet on the floor. Then walk to the bathroom and wash your face. And continue on to do what naturally comes next. Concentrating on doing “the next thing” will give your heart and mind a short break from grief and keep some needed structure in your day.

People around you may not understand how you feel but remember that you don’t have to explain your grief to anyone. Contrary to popular belief, there are no set steps or stages or timeframes that your grief ought to follow. You get grieve losses in your own way and in your own timeframe. Your grief is what it is and it is okay.

Respect your grief. Be gentle with yourself and remember to breathe.

Source by Lacey Bloom

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