Learning that a loved one has a chronic illness is devastating, and even more so if that illness is likely to cut their life short. Everyone deals with the death of loved ones differently, the grieving process is varied and there is no wrong or right way to go about it. We’ve come up with a list of lessons we can take from mourning loved ones (with a little help from the Huffington Post and helpguide.org).
Others May Grieve Differently Than You
Everyone handles death differently, so even members of your immediately family may react differently to the passing of your loved one. Some may want to talk a lot about that person, others may want to avoid the subject, some may cry a lot, others may appear incredibly stoic. We each need time to internally process what has happened and come to terms with the news in our own way.
It Takes Time to Heal
Grief is a curious thing, often it hits straight away, but others may be able to continue life as normal for days, weeks or even months before they begin the grieving process.
Allow yourself time to heal, know that you will go through a range of emotions from extreme anger, self-pity, guilt and sadness and that’s OK. You will always miss your loved one, that will never change but you will come to a point where you can carry on with enjoying your life, just don’t rush it.
It’s OK to Feel Vulnerable
You don’t need to be the strong one who holds everything together—you don’t need the added stress. If you want to cry, then allow yourself to cry. Support others and ask that they support you in return.
People Are There for You
If people offer help or a shoulder to cry on, take them up on the offer. Keeping your feelings bottled up inside will just delay the grieving process and cause longer-lasting pain. True friends will be there for you when you’re ready to open up.
Drinking is Not the Answer
Alcohol or drugs are not the way to cope with the loss of a loved one. If you feel that you are finding solace in either of these then you need to find outside support. Phone a friend, family member or a professional counselor, anyone who is willing to listen to you when you need to talk.
Life is for Living
Your loved one would not want you to put your life on hold, so in their memory go out and live your life to the fullest. Do something special in their honor like visiting a place you know they loved. Take the time to reevaluate your own life: are you happy at work? in your relationship? Life is precious and often too short, so you need to make the most of the time you have.
Celebrate Their Life
Mourning someone’s death is natural, but you also need to celebrate their life. Remember all the good times you spent together and the things that made them who they were. Get to a point where you smile when you think about them instead of cry. Share funny stories of your loved ones with friends and family.
You Need to Look After Yourself
Grief isn’t just an emotional response, it also affects people physically. Make sure that you look after yourself, eat well, exercise and try to get as much sleep as possible. Take time off work until you feel physically and emotionally ready to return.
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