Grieve is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes the water is overwhelming. All we can do is learn how to swim – Vicki Harrison
Grieving the loss of a loved one is a challenge like no other. I know how challenging and devastating the raw, intense emotions of grieve can be because I’ve been there.
Seven years ago, I lost my Nana(grandmother). She had lived well above the life expectancy age but somewhere in my mind, I never expected her to die. I must have believed she will live forever. My Nana and I were pretty close. We discussed everything from life issues, to family members, to boys.
A particular conversation we had stands out for me, I had gone to visit Nana in the hospital and she went ahead to engage me in what had happened in the hospital that day. They had rushed two girls into the hospital, they had fought and injured themselves while fighting over a man. I can remember her giving me a stern warning never to do that.
From my experience, I have learnt to take baby steps when coping with grieve. Here are the steps that have helped me cope with grieve so far.
Understand that grief is normal:
Grief is the normal, expected response to death — the intense pain, sadness, disbelief, anger or guilt. It’s the tears, numbness and physical exhaustion — the rush of memories and the yearning for the person you lost.
Allow yourself to mourn:
Mourning is the outward or public expression of grief, a means of sharing grief with people who also are grieving or who want to support you. Religious rituals, cultural traditions and personal beliefs often shape how we mourn. Whatever form it takes, mourning is a critical process that can help you lessen the intensity of grief and help you adapt to your loss.
Look to others for support:
It’s not uncommon to feel alone in your grief or want to avoid others. However, the support of family members, friends or a spiritual leader is often essential in moving on from the severe, immediate grief after a death. Let people know when you need someone to listen and be open to their offers of the company.
Take care of yourself:
Grief commonly results in disrupted sleep, a loss of appetite and a lack of interest in everyday tasks — all factors that can affect your health and well-being. Be mindful of your health and daily habits. Try to get adequate sleep, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. You might find that including a friend in meal or exercise routines can keep you motivated. Consider a medical checkup to ensure your health has not declined, especially if you have any existing health conditions.
Remember that grief is unpredictable:
Grief doesn’t move along a predictable path or at a fixed pace. The overwhelming grief following your loss will become more of a cycle of grief. And over time your grief will likely become more subdued, or it may feel less constant as if it’s moved into the background of your emotions.
Grieving is a process. It will be unique to you, depending on your own personality, your relationship to the person you lost and even the circumstances of the death.
The acceptance of your loss, the memories of your loved one, and your sorrow will gradually become an integrated part of how you see yourself as a whole person