“It is the capacity to feel consuming grief and pain and despair that also allows me to embrace love and joy and beauty with my whole heart. I must let it all in” – Anna White
Grieving the death of a loved one is an individual process. Some people feel numb and disoriented initially and then endure pangs of yearning for their loved one who has passed on. Yet some others will feel anxious and will find trouble adjusting, often dwelling on old words and memories. Even those who are confident that their loved one has found peace with their Lord struggle with the sadness of their loss. Grief usually hits you in a way when you least expect it, flooding you with devastating feelings you never realized you had. Everyone deals with grief in different ways for different lengths of time, but dealing with that grief is important so that you come to terms with the loss of your loved one, however difficult it is.
But over time the intensity of your grief will also subside. After all, time is the best healer. At the same time, do not expect your feelings and emotions to be like anyone else’s. You are unique and your grieving process will be a personal journey.
So, the question arises- how does a person get over the death of a loved one?
The answer to this is in the four tasks of mourning every bereaved person must carry out to be able to effectively deal with the death of a loved one.
Accepting the Loss
The first part of dealing with grief and moving on is accepting the reality of loss. However difficult it is, you cannot dwell in grief forever and you have to overcome the natural denial response and come to the realization that your loved has really passed on. Accept that loss is a basic part of every life and when you fully understand this fact and accept it, you will begin to seek other, inner sources of security and happiness.
Experience the Pain
The second step towards healing is experiencing the pain of grief. Most people try to avoid this inevitable pain by bottling up their emotions or rejecting the feelings they have. They may even keep away from places and circumstances that remind them of their loved one. You have to understand that there are no shortcuts through a grieving process by not admitting the feelings of denial and anger that usually exist. The only way to move forward is to move through grief itself. It is impossible to escape the pain that comes with a loss and mourning. Fully experiencing the pain, even if it’s through tears, and it will give you relief.
We all experience pain in this life, in countless forms- it’s inevitable. The only thing worse than the pain of losing a loved one is the pain of never knowing love in the first place. In a way, the pain of grief is a gift because it is evidence of the presence of love.
The third step in the process is adjusting and this can be in many forms. Adjusting takes time but you have to adjust to an environment in which your loved one is no longer there. You will need to take over some of the social roles that were done by your loved one or find others who will do those tasks. Remember, social withdrawal will never help you heal and move on.
The final step towards healing is taking the emotional energy you would have spent on your lost loved one and bestowing it in other relationships. Some people feel they become disloyal if they withdraw emotionally from their loved one. But you have to realize that the goal here is to never forget the person you have lost- it is to reach a point where you can remember your loved one without going through debilitating grief.
New relationships are important for many reasons. New and old friends will offer you encouragement and help you rebuild your life and they will help you begin again as a person with a future. You do not have to hurry at this stage; give yourself time and space to grieve but focus more time and energy on the people that need you – you family.