The Process of Grieving and How it Affects You

The death of a loved one is one heart-wrenching event that all of us are likely to experience, often on several occasions. While it’s true that lives will be forever transformed after such a loss, dealing positively with grief is essential to your recovery and your ability to continue with your own life for the better.

You’ll grieve in your own unique way. Those around you will generally be full of ideas on how you’re supposed to grieve. You may be given a name for the grieving stage you’re supposedly going through and you will often hears advice like “be strong’. What is important is that you allow your grief to run its natural course and for you to be clear that this is your grief and you’ll grieve in no one’s way but your own.

Grief is more than just your feelings; it will show up in how you think. You may be in denial that your loved one actually died. And you can even go on thinking like this long after they have passed on. Your mind may be confused, muddled and you may find it difficult to concentrate on anything.  Or the only thing you can focus is on your loved one, how they died and your life together before they died.

Many grieving people prefer to spend time alone. It’s because they’re drawn to the safety and silence they experience and sometimes it’s because they want to evade people. Even going out to the grocery store can be painful. There are also some people who wish to be around other people more. You may find that you’re envious of those around you who aren’t grieving like you. You may start to become critical in ways that are nothing like you and you could even become resentful at how much people take the life of their loved ones for granted.

Grief has many faces and can express itself in countless ways. You are your own person, with your own personality, your own life experiences and your own relationship with your loved one who has passed on so you should not expect a one-size-fits-all type of grief. Grief often begins with a period of shock and numbness where everything seems illusory. Then the pain sets in; loneliness, sadness, helplessness and fear may overtake you in powerful waves. Anger and guilt will also have an impact. In time, you will slowly grow to accept what has happened.

Feeling listless, lifeless and depressed is common. This is the winter of your grief; a lengthy, slow, dormant period. A time of gradual recovery ultimately comes around- energy begins to return and so does hope. And finally there comes a time of a transformed life- you are not the same person you were, you’ll be different, because this experience will have changed you, shaped you. You’ll create a new relationship with your lost loved one, one that even transcends time.

This whole course will flow into one another almost unnoticeably but when you look back, you’ll know what has happened- by going all the way through your grief, you’ve taken the path that leads to your healing.

For those who are grieving- yes, things may be hard right now but remember that time is actually the greatest healer. Believe in that.

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