Learning to live with loss – a starting point

The loss of a loved one can be overwhelming. Finding what you need to help you deal with the loss needn’t be.

Here is a starting point that you may find helpful to get you through your grief:

1. Every loss is unique and personal

There is no “right way” to grieve. However, loosly, there are 4 stages of bereavement. These can act as sign posts on your personal path through grief.

2. Accept your initial reaction

Don’t beat yourself up about how you initially reacted upon finding out about the death.

When I was in my mid-teens and I first heard that my physics tutor had died, a grin emerged on my face and then I was immediately horrified at not being able to control it. It was an “inappropriate” response, but one that I simply accepted and moved on with.

When you face the loss of a loved one, particularly when it’s a sudden loss, you may find yourself plagued with a whole host of emotions, ranging from shock and sadness through to anger or even relief.

If your initial reaction is a form of anger, the perfect antidote to it is forgiveness.

3. Practicalities around death

When a loved one dies, you may be the one responsible for taking care of all the logistics such as informing family and friends, registering the death, arranging for the funeral, or organising a prayer meeting.

These activities can be helpful to keep your mind focused on something during the initial days, but in time you will want to face your emotions and gradually work through your grief.

4. Letting go of their possessions

When a loved one is no longer around, we tend to hold onto their things, with the thought that perhaps it will help us to never forget them.

It is understandable for you to keep a few items, but over time all the other items such as clothing, CDs and photos may start to feel like it is cluttering up your home.

When you’re ready, consider donating clothing and other pieces to a charity shop, while digitising photos you want to keep.

5. Moving away

Having reduced the possessions in your home, you may feel that your home is a little too large if the person you lost used to live with you.

If you are thinking of selling up and moving away, take your time over it. Allow yourself at least a year or two following a significant loss before making any major decisions.

6. Moving on

If you have lost a spouse or a long-term partner, you may feel that you have lost the one person you could talk about absolutely anything with.

In some cultures it is ‘frowned upon’ if you decide to remarry. In those cultures, there are many examples of people who have gone ahead and remarried anyway.

Don’t worry about what others will think. Do what’s right for you and your peace of mind.

Other posts you may like

Here are some other posts I have written that will help you while you are starting out at live with loss. I’ll expand on them over time.

Is there anything you’d love to read more about? If so, drop me a note.

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