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Mental Health

Candlelight: Dealing With the Loss of a Loved One

Almost two years ago, on March 14th, 2018, my life completely turned upside down. Something I thought I wouldn’t have to deal with at only 16 years old happened, I lost my father. I am still dealing with the loss of him but that is okay. Every person’s story is different and the journey to recover is sometimes a unstable rollercoaster. Here’s some advice I found that helped me over the past 2 years.

Taking a Break From Everything

A break from the world is sometimes much of a need, especially after a passing of a loved one. I’m not saying a dramatically long period of time but just enough to refresh your system. The first few weeks are may hit you hard and that’s okay, or maybe it won’t and that’s okay too. You may want to continue work or school because that is what you like to do. I recommend at least taking a few weeks off. You’ll need it because the first week after the passing of your loved one, it will be so busy to completely deal with your emotions. You’ll have people sending their condolences, planning a funeral (if that’s your family’s choice), and your family/friends will want to be with you because they do not want you to be alone. Having that extended break to understand your emotions and what you need to do to cope is beneficial and necessary to the grieving process. 

Don’t Always Stay in Bed

Yes, you may feel it is hard to get up in the morning and that is completely understandable. But don’t stay in bed day after day. Just going outside your bedroom to go outside, to your porch, or even to your kitchen is progress in your grieving process. I stayed in bed a lot and I probably would of stayed there but I knew I had to do something. I’m not saying you have to go out with a group of friends to a party but just doing something outside of your bedroom with a friend, family member, or by yourself will make things just a little bit easier. 

Talk to Someone

Talking to someone really helped me throughout my grieving process. I mostly talked to my friend about it because she had no relation to my father so for me that was easy. But it is up to you who is best to talk to during your grieving period. There are your friends, family, therapists or support groups, it is whoever you are comformtable speaking to. I also found that a journal was useful. I would write letters to my dad so it was like I was asking him or telling him all the things I wanted to but obviously he couldn’t respond. This also helped a lot with expressing how I felt on a daily basis. I still continue to write to him but not as often as I want, life gets extremely busy as a college student. Letting out your emotions will ease your mind much better than holding all your feelings in. 

It Is Okay Not to Be Okay

You will be getting asked a lot of questions after the passing of a loved one. Many will be a variation of “Are you okay?” You may answer “Yes” just to get through the day, you may answer “No” because that’s the truth, or maybe you answer “I don’t know.”  All those answers are correct. There is not wrong answer when you’re grieving. Only you know what you truly feel and sometimes you don’t what that is or it is hard to explain. That is okay. It’s also acceptable to be angry and to scream at everyone and everything. I still do. No one can truly understand what’s going through your mind but letting your emotions out (in a healthy manner) takes some weight of your shoulders, even for a brief moment.

Time is Just a Number 

There is not exactly a timeline for your grieving process. Everyone is different and they need to process in certain ways. Some people may be able to handle their emotions slower or faster than others. Even once the intial grieving process is “over”, grief is truly never gone. Some days you can be completely fine but the next day, just out of the blue, you can break down. Grief is rollercoaster that you may never be able to get off.  You can go months with feeling happy or just fine but randomly it can bring you down in a instant. That is completely normal. People say as time goes on it will get easier. How long though? That is the question that doesn’t have an answer. 

These are the few things I learned as I went through my grieving process. Am I still dealing with grief? YES! Do I breakdown and cry in my car? DEFINITELY! Is that okay? ABSOLUTELY! 

University of Scranton 2023 Nursing Major "Happiness is a state of mind. It's just according to the way you look at things" - Walt Disney
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