Coping with Grief

Have you ever fallen into an endless cycle of loss that leaves you wondering how some people cope? Because at the moment, I do. Grief is not something we all feel the same way, and in no way am I trying to persuade you that this article will magically uplift you from your depressed state because frankly, it won’t. I am writing this not only for my readers, but also for myself to better understand how we all can improve our mental and emotional states during a stressful time of our lives. We all have heard the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, but how does one really move through these stages and beyond? I’ve set out on a quest to find out.

 

Expressing Your Feelings

This does not only mean talking to your family or friends, but it can also be expressing yourself through art, physical exertion, or even poetry. Even if you're not typically a creative person, using a creative medium to express your feelings can give your grief a tangible form. I know this last week I attacked a foul language coloring book, and while coloring the F-bomb over and over again, I did honestly feel better. Not the creative type? Try out a boxing class. Throwing hands filled with anger never hurt a good punching bag.

 

Prepare For Reminders

Reminders are one thing that you're never really going to get past 100%. Every time I look at a clock now I just think “2:19” and remember all the loss associated with that number. If you're feeling the same way, seek out someone. If you know something is going to trigger emotions, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Any decent friend will always be there for you when you need them.

 

Reminisce

This is not a step that is easy to take, I know. But over time we come to cherish those memories that we have with our loved ones. Share these memories with other friends or family members who knew the person you lost, as you may have forgotten some of the best ones. Scrolling through our phones, my family found old forgotten photos of our loved ones we lost and were all able to enjoy new versions of old stories we thought we knew. I know it is painful in the beginning, but it's truly a key step in healing.

 

Care For Yourself

Honestly, I find this to be the most important step for me, and it should be for you too. Not only should you care for yourself after someone is gone, but if they're sick, don’t just forget about yourself in the process of caring for them. Don’t live out of hospital vending machines (my stomach still hasn’t forgiven me) and find a decent place to sleep that’s not the ICU floor. It’s important to be there for your loved one, but don’t run yourself to the point of exhaustion because that’s not good for either of you.

 

We all feel loss a different way, and that's okay. Grief is not a textbook equation that we plug our emotions into, we all must go at it at our own pace. While I am writing this, I’m still not 100% or even 68%, but as long as you're progressing to acceptance and cherishing the time you spent with your loved one, that's all that matters.

 

THIS IS FOR JEREMY, OLD GRANDMA, AND TATE

WE LOVE AND MISS YOU

 

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