7 Realities About Grief Which Will Make Coping Easier
by Nat Juchems
At certain points in our lives, we’ll all discover that as death is inevitable, so too is grief. Most of us will lose someone close to us over the course of our lives and the aftermath of which will affect each one of use in a completely unique way.
Although we all think we know a little about what to expect when the worst happens, nothing can ever prepare us for when it does. Everything we’ve seen on television and read in books, everything we’ve learned from others, pales in comparison to our own level of grief, and we wonder how we’ll ever make it through.
The secret to overcoming your grief, though, isn’t by assessing where you are on the ‘7 stages of grief’ chart, or any other scale for that matter. It’s in understanding the complexities about grief and applying them to your own personal process. Here are seven simple truths that will make coping with grief more manageable.
1. Your grief is the worst grief.
No matter how often you’ve seen a friend through their grief or seen loss depicted on television, the loss of your loved one will feel like the worst grief imaginable. Loss is an incredibly personal experience and in spite of well-wishing friends and a flurry of sympathy cards, you will feel like nobody understands exactly what you’re going through. The reality is, they don’t. But that’s ok, they don’t need to understand to help you move through it. So, when you’re feeling like this, it’s vital that you don’t shut others out.
2. You don’t move on, you move forward.
Grief knows no timeline and it’s important you know that you don’t ‘get over’ grief or move on, you simply move forward to a place where you still grieve your loss, but in a much less severe way. The age-old adage that time is a healer really rings true in this sense; in time, the symptoms of grief will fade, but you will still be left with a lingering mark on your heart. When you get to that point, reframing your mind to see that mark as a positive symbol of remembrance rather than of hurt will help you find some peace in your sadness.
3. There are blessings in loss.
While it may be impossible to see now, loss can actually deliver gifts you never expected. In time, when you look back, you may appreciate the little things about your lost loved one that you took for granted before. You may hug your friends and family just a little bit tighter when you leave them. You might gain a newfound respect for your own resilience and strength.
4. Remembering is healing.
In the days and weeks following the loss of your loved one, remembering them may invoke too much sorrow to bear. That said, reflecting on the good times you had together is actually a gateway to quicker healing. So, before you stash the keepsake urn out of sight, consider what a powerful reminder of your loved one it is. Rather than removing photographs, give them pride of place. Allowing your mind to remember is allowing your heart to heal.
5. Guilt makes grief harder.
It is so common for loved ones left behind to add guilt into the mix during their grieving process. If only I’d have… I could have done more… I shouldn’t have… It’s absolutely normal to feel this way but it’s also crucial that you realize that your guilt is a manifestation of your grief. You can’t change what has happened and by separating these two intense emotions you have to double your workload to move through your pain. Not only do you have to overcome your grief, but you have to also convince yourself that you’re in no way at fault. You must make peace with your guilt before you can overcome your grief.
6. Grief affects other relationships in your life.
Grief will fundamentally change you as a person, and as a result, so too will the relationships in your life change. You will reevaluate your life and those in it. Your priorities will realign and you may gain a completely new perspective on life. While close family and friends will stay by your side through your transition, not everyone will. Again, that’s ok! On the other end of the spectrum, some relationships will become stronger and you’ll form bonds that will last a lifetime.
7. You will survive.
There will be times that you’ll feel that no matter how much time passes or how much assistance you get from friends and family, you’ll never move forward with your grief. While it may not be much consolation now (and you may not actually believe it), you will arrive at a place of peace in time. It may not be today or tomorrow, but you will get there. Seek solace in the stories of others who have suffered loss and speak to them about how their grief has evolved. Talking to someone who has experienced intense grief and emerged out of the other side will undoubtedly help you realize your new dawn is on the horizon.
If you’re reading this, you have likely experienced loss and for that, I offer my sincerest condolences. Trust that your current feelings of despair and hopelessness will fade and you’ll see the Sun again soon.
Nat Juchems is the Marketing Director at Green Meadow Memorials, Nat helps those grieving the loss of a loved find the right memorial to cherish. Before becoming the Marketing Director at Green Meadow Memorials, Nat worked for six years in the memorials e-commerce industry as a Marketing Director and E-commerce Director, using his skill set to manage powerful paid search and organic search campaigns as well as implement merchandising strategies and manage the software development teams that made everything work. Nat enjoys spending time with his family and balancing that with training for triathlons.