How to Deal With the Death of a Loved One

Have you been a reader for a while? Then you might know that I just came upon the one-year anniversary of my mother’s death. It never really gets easier.

I think I’ve learned that the first year is the hardest. It’s getting through all of those initial hurdles. The first birthday, mother’s day, holiday season… that punched-in-the-gut feeling hits you on those days. I think the second time around might be easier. Just a bit.

Losing someone you love is painful. Often it’s so painful that you can feel it physically. No one ever really tells you about that – the upset stomach, the tightness in your chest from anxiety, the headaches from stress and crying.

Grief is hard.

There is no easy way to accept the death of someone you love and just move on, it’s never that easy, but you’ve got to keep moving forward. You have to go through the grieving process, feel your feelings, and allow yourself to keep going.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way.

Allow Yourself to Feel

It’s so tempting to find some way to numb yourself, to turn off the faucet of emotion and give yourself a break from the onslaught of pain – don’t. Although the pain of losing someone you love can be excruciating, you must allow yourself to feel.

Shutting yourself off to your own feelings can stop you from moving forward with your life.

People who refuse to deal with their feelings are often left depressed, anxious and unable to enjoy any part of life. You may feel every emotion in the book before starting to feel any resemblance of normality, but you’re entitled to feel however you do.

A Good Support Group

There will be times when you’ll just feel like shutting yourself away and dealing with your grief by yourself. But there will be other times when you need people around you.

Whether its friends cooking your meals or family getting together to share thoughts and feelings, it will all help you to process. You need to remember to take care of yourself, but grief can make you feel like you don’t want to do daily tasks, like showering, eating or going outside.

I also want to talk about a different kind of support group that can help you process grief. There are also support groups that are based on chronic or terminal illnesses that will give you a gentle nudge, love, and acceptance.

There’s No One Rule for All

Many people go through a similar grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and eventually acceptance. However, everyone is different, and you shouldn’t expect to feel the same way as others.

Grief is a cycle – you will probably go through it multiple times, get stuck in several stages, and repeat parts of it when you least expect it. Allow yourself to go with it.

Every individual has different ways of dealing with death, and if you already suffer with mental health problems, it can be even more difficult. That’s why Cynthia Telles works so hard to provide mental health care to the people who really need it. Grief can be a rollercoaster, and you don’t always get to choose when you get off.

Rediscover Life

When you come out of the fog of grief, so many things feel different. It can almost feel like learning to walk again. You have to rediscover an appreciation for life. You have to rediscover what your life now looks like without that peson.

Unfortunately, there are many people who feel like their lives ended with their loved ones, especially in the grief of a spouse or child. But no loved one would want you to stop living your life.

It can be difficult to move on without them. Remember there are so many wonderful things left to experience in the world. Making plans you can look forward to is a great first step towards dealing with a death in a positive way. For instance, why not plan a trip to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go to? Perhaps you and your loved one discussed it in the past or maybe there’s a special somewhere your loved one wanted their ashes scattered. No matter where you go or what you do, it’s important to start somewhere.

Dealing with the death of a loved one can seem impossible, but you will come out the other side.

Don't forget to check out my shop for tons of worksheets and workbooks focused on self-care and mental health!