Losing a loved one can be one of the most painful, traumatic experiences in life. The death of a spouse, parent, child or other close relative or friend can send even the strongest people into an emotional tailspin that leaves them feeling devastated, hopeless and lost. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, you are not alone! Here are a few techniques for grief management that can help you move past the tragic loss you have experienced and get back to finding joy and satisfaction in your life once more.
Celebration of Life- Whether it is sudden or expected, the death of a beloved family member or friend is a tremendous emotional blow for anyone. It can be helpful to gather with other friends and relatives who are also grieving and share memories of the departed, as well as to celebrate his or her life with photos, favorite songs, or funny stories of the times you had together. By turning a memorial into a celebration of your loved one’s life, you can find some laughter mingled in with the tears and remember the joyful times you spent with someone you will love forever.
Strength in Numbers- Long after the memorial service is over, it is natural to continue grieving the loss of a beloved family member or friend. It can be extremely helpful to stay in touch with others who were just as close to your loved one. This can give you an outlet to talk about your grief and share your feelings of loss and sadness with people who are feeling the same way. By supporting one another, you can rebuild your strength and get past the grief in a healthy, productive way.
Feel Your Feelings- When a beloved friend or family member dies, you may think you have to feel a certain way, and may be worried that the emotions you are experiencing are somehow abnormal or incorrect. It is important to let yourself feel whatever it is you are feeling at any given moment. If you are in the middle of a crowded party and suddenly feel like crying, find a quiet, private place and give into your sadness for a moment. On the other hand, if you suddenly find yourself laughing at a funny TV show or book, you might feel guilty for temporarily forgetting to be sad about your loss. This is also completely normal. By letting yourself feel any emotion that comes your way without shame, fear or guilt, you can reach a place of healing and acceptance and move on with your life.
Talk About It- Many people who have experienced a loss are reluctant to bring it up in conversation, worried that they are going to disturb or depress people by talking about the death of their loved one. This is especially true if you are the parent of a young child; you may be concerned that discussing the passing of a family member or close friend may frighten or upset your children. However, talking about your grief is an extremely healthy way to process it, and can be of great benefit not only to you but to those around you who want to help.
Get Therapy- If you aren’t comfortable with sharing your feelings of loss with friends or relatives, you may benefit from regular sessions with a therapist or grief counselor. A mental health professional with a background in grief management may be able to provide you with tools to effectively cope with your loss. Additionally, having someone to listen to you can alleviate a lot of the stress, depression and anxiety that may be bundled with your grief. Some people find that speaking with a therapist about their loss can go a long way towards helping them sift through their emotions, get past the initial devastation, and reach a place of acceptance with their grief.
Ben Wolf is a licensed psychotherapist in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN who specializes in helping people cope with loss of loved ones. Ben Wolf can help patients process their feelings of grief in a healthy, productive way. Through therapy sessions with Ben Wolf, patients can talk through their emotions and learn ways to manage their grief, so that they can come out on the other side with the understanding, acceptance and positivity to embrace life again. Call Ben Wolf’s Minneapolis/St. Paul practice today at 612-643-1920 to schedule a consultation and begin your journey towards healing.