How do you manage grief in a way which honours both yourself and your deceased relative or friend during this extremely difficult situation? What we say to you here is unlikely to ever be able to console you but, we’ll say a few words.
Grief is bigger than us.
It’s difficult to manage it. You have to allow yourself to understand that grief management is not truly always possible.
When you get that first message or call saying that the person you love has died, your whole world will probably collapse. Any perception of civilisation, attainments in life, wisdom within you is momentarily lost. Everything literally goes to the floor. That phase never lasts more than half an hour. You physiologically cannot sustain that state. After this initial period, it is likely you take a breath and ask some very reasonable questions. Where’s the body? Who was with the person? What do we do next? When can we hold a funeral? With those questions you are beginning to start the rest of your life with the information you have. A life which just an hour ago would have seemed impossible.
This alone shows the tremendous psychological resilience in a human being. It doesn’t mean that a person will never grieve again. It just means that somewhere in the mind, it has landed. Remember that in a moment of emergency, there is a deep intuitive sense which will tell you what steps to take next. This resilience is our shared genetic and psychological inheritance. Remember, each and every one of us, no matter how anxious or upset you feel you are, is a survivor of hundreds and thousands of generations of survivors.
This should provide you with some comfort in knowing that when the moment comes, you will be able to dip into the big reservoir of deep human consciousness which tells you the next thing which you can do.
As a result of this grief, coming through on the other side you can find new levels of creativity which you won’t have experienced before. You’ll experience levels of grief, pain and sides of yourself which will be new to you. It’s important to allow yourself to go through the stages without reaching out and looking for sources which will numb emotion.
The pain of grief can also disrupt your physical health. You may find it difficult to sleep, eat, or even think straight. These are normal reactions to loss. The more significant the loss, the more intense your grief will be.
‘Even subtle losses in life can trigger a sense of grief. For example, you might grieve after moving away from home, graduating from college, or changing jobs. Whatever your loss, it’s personal to you, so don’t feel ashamed about how you feel, or believe that it’s somehow only appropriate to grieve for certain things.’
The key to grieving is made of a few steps. Firstly acknowledge the pain. Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions. Secondly, know that your grieving process will be unique to you - while simultaneously being aware that you’re not alone. There are people out there who will be able to empathise with you if you seek out for support. Next, support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.
Finally, recognise the difference between grief and depression.
For more help, we recommend you check out https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm. You can call the Cruse Bereavement Care line on 0808 808 1677. They provide counselling, support, information and advice services. Or, call 111 for NHS help. They’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.