Each person has their own way of dealing with the death of a loved one, and how they choose to grieve is undeniably unique. Feelings like anger, sadness, confusion and denial are usually the most prominent and can make grief feel like the most painful process in the world.
Almost a year ago, I lost my grandmother and I know in my heart that I still haven’t completed the grief process. Denial is difficult. It forces your head to believe something that your heart knows isn’t true; but I truly experienced it for first time when she passed away.
I found it difficult to shed a tear. While everyone else around me was sobbing, I was standing there, just looking into the distance, telling myself that she’ll be making some dinner in her kitchen when I next visit her house. I could picture her still making chicken curry and beans and asking me to roll out the roti dough fully knowing that I would completely mess it up.
Thinking about it makes me cry now as I have recently come to terms with the fact that she is gone, but it took me many months to get to this point. It would have been her 70th birthday yesterday – so it seemed like the right time to make this blog post. I just hope I can help people to acknowledge death, feel all the emotions that come with it, reflect on your loved one’s life and slowly move on.
Feel the sadness
Allow yourself to feel the pain and the aching in your heart. Ignoring it will make you feel worse in the long run and not allow you to grief completely. Sadness is a healthy and completely normal step in the grieving process.
Talk about it
Discussing how you’re feeling and your memories of your loved one is a crucial step in the grieving process. Get all your emotions out (good and bad) to a family member, a friend or a trusted other.
Don’t turn to drugs and/or alcohol
Attempting to ‘numb’ the pain isn’t going to help the situation, nor is it going to help you. Alcohol and certain drugs are depressants and can make you feel even worse when the initial effects eventually wear off.
Maintain a healthy diet
Eating a well-balanced diet and drinking water will help your mind and body, thus making grief a little easier to cope with.
Keep a few things that remind you of your loved one. Knowing that this person is always with you inside of this certain momento can be vital in taking the next step forward. It can instil courage and invoke strength that will allow you to slowly move on.
Go see friends, play with your pet or bake a bunch of cakes. Draw some pictures, read some books and find joy in backyard gardening – distractions can bind deep wounds.
Make your loved one live on in the stories and the memories that they left imprinted in your heart and mind. Reflect on their life and reflect on the experiences that you got to share with them. Know that they are physically gone, but those who are gone never really leave us.
Grief is a process. There is no instant solution. It may take a couple days or years but you will overcome it – trust me.
If you don’t feel like you are able to cope with daily life, cannot sleep, eat or you’re suffering with anxiety or depression, please contact your GP or a counsellor so they can assist you further.
I am not a counsellor/GP, nor do I claim to be one. I am discussing my own experiences with grief and the methods that I used to cope with it – they may not be helpful to everybody because everybody copes with grief and pain differently.