Dealing With Grief Alone

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The word “alone” confuses and frightens many. People believe that being alone with your grief is the most terrifying thing that can happen to them since they do not know what to do with themselves when they are alone with their pain. Others prefer to be facing their grief alone as they may be feeling like no one cares or that their loved ones are not able to help them cope with their emotions. No matter whether you are the person who is scared of solitude or who embraces it, here are some ways that you can deal with grief on your own.

1. Allow Yourself to Face the Void

“Acknowledge and accept the feelings: The first step is to learn to bring the feeling out,” says Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD. The whirlwind of thoughts and emotions within your during this time of loss can be scary but they are only thoughts and emotions. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up and to acknowledge what is within you, no matter what it is. You may feel angry about your loved one’s death. You may feel absolutely nothing at all. Realize these feelings and allow yourself to experience them fully. Only once you’ve accepted your feelings will you be able to truly begin the healing process.

2. Put These Feelings Down Somewhere

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The best way to work through feelings has always been to write them down or to find a creative outlet in which to express them. If you’re a writer, start a journal that tracks your emotional status daily and pour every thought you have into it. If you’re someone who enjoys creating music, start writing songs that reflect how you feel about your loss and how you are dealing with it. No matter what creative activity you choose to do, it’s important that you find something to pour your emotions into so that they don’t remain bottled up. Lindsey Pratt Psychotherapy, LMHC says, “it’s not only the benefit of catharsis in the moment of writing that makes journaling so effective – It’s also reviewing what you’ve written.”

3. Don’t Fall Into a Rut

When you begin grieving, it is necessary to allow yourself to rest and to take a short break from the things that you normally do daily. However, making a habit of this will end up causing more harm than help. After you’ve dealt with the initial feelings that followed the loss of your loved one, make an effort to stick to the schedule that you had prior to grieving. You may not feel like doing anything at all and this is natural. You don’t have to push yourself to do everything that you used to but you should make an effort to do the important things so you don’t put yourself in a worse position mentally.

4. Put Together a Shrine or Dedicate a Space to Your Loved One

Just because your loved one isn’t physically with you doesn’t mean that you have to forget about them and remove every memory of them for your life. Instead, build a shrine or create a sacred space where you can gather some of their belongings and remind yourself of the importance that they had in your life. You may even want to go to that shrine to vent sometimes when you are having difficulty coping with the loss. However, don’t let this shrine get in the way of your grief process by making you refuse to accept the death.

5. Maintain Yourself

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“As we process the reality of our loss, we are also trying to survive emotional pain.”  That’s what Jodi Clarke, MA, LPC/MHSP said. It won’t do you any good to treat your body terribly while you are already struggling emotionally. Remember to do things like eat right, exercise, groom, shower, and maintain your overall health and hygiene. Doing these things will make you feel better and will help you maintain some normality in your life while you are coping with the loss.

Sources:

http://www.amhc.org/58-grief-bereavement-issues/article/8447-coping-with-your-own-grief

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/emotionalhealth/Pages/Dealingwithloss.aspx

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/coping-loss-bereavement-and-grief

I Lost Him And I Wasn’t Able To Say Goodbye

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It was a normal Sunday morning and my kids were all happy and excited. Too busy with life and work, they told me it was Father’s Day since I clearly forgot about it. They expected us to go out and eat somewhere fancy. I was still in bed and I knew there’s barely $50 in my wallet. How can I feed a family of seven on a sweet restaurant with only $50? I chuckled and remembered that I had to call my Grandpa and tell him Happy Father’s Day.

You see, I grew up in his home and it’s safe to say that he and my Grandma raised me and my siblings. My parents were divorced since I was ten and it was a tough life. We didn’t have much and my mom can only buy us nice things once a year. That’s like one pair of jeans and one shirt ONCE A YEAR. But I didn’t complain because I knew it was very hard for her too. Actually, at a very young age, I learned how to “find” money so that I would have extra cash. I was selling old stuff and food.

Don’t get me wrong – my mother was with us in the house as well. But sending four kids to a private school (that’s expensive!) and scraping money for our “needs” meant that she is always out working. Good thing my Grandpa and Grandma were always there for us as support and to provide for whatever is lacking.

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You’ll never know when death will visit and take your loved one just like that…

I love them both very much but my Grandpa was a stubborn old man. He would drink rhum every day for years and eventually, it caught up with him. He has had multiple surgeries because of his liver condition and other complications also surfaced. I visited him a week before Father’s Day and he looked so fine. He even told me that he is so happy that his grandchildren are successful and doing good in life. I never thought of myself as a “success” because I think I failed him, my Grandma and my mom for getting pregnant and marrying early. Our dream of becoming a family of CPA’s was shattered. He and my mom were licensed and I’m not. Still, the visit was very pleasant and I didn’t expect for one little bit that his life would end so soon.

“Experiencing a significant loss such as losing a loved one, a pet, a relationship, or a job can bring on feelings of grief that can be extremely overwhelming. Typical feelings associated with grief include sadness, anger, guilt, numbness, and confusion.” –Tali Yuz Berliner, Psy.D.

And so, I was in bed and too lazy to get up on Father’s Day. It’s Sunday anyway and it was my rest day as well. This was the only day in a week wherein I can lounge around and do nothing. I dialed his number and my Grandma answered. They were watching their favorite TV variety show and he said that he already ate lunch which was basically ice cream. I told him that I won’t be able to go to him and that I just called to tell him Happy Father’s Day. He assured me that it’s all fine and that he knows I’m resting. It’s just that he complained about his bowel movement. He told me that it’s been days since his last bowel release. I spoke to my Grandma and she told me that the hospital cleared him and so, we were complacent.

I was too late…

I was about to sleep around 11PM when my cousin called me. He was crying and I couldn’t make out what he was trying to say. Words said were – Grandpa… Hospital… Not breathing… Come quick… I was so scared and I told my husband to hurry up. My Grandpa was in the hospital again. When we arrived, I saw my cousins outside the emergency entrance and they were all crying uncontrollably.

It was like a rock hit me so hard and I knew it, right then and there. When I got out of the car, I screamed to my cousin and asked him if Grandpa was OK. He just cried and shook his head.

“As we process the reality of our loss, we are also trying to survive emotional pain.” –Jodi Clarke, MA, LPC/MHSP

I went down on my knees and the only word I could utter was “No!!!!”. My aunt came out crying and she tried to lift me up. She said that Grandpa is coming and going, but it doesn’t look good at all. Inside the emergency room, the doctors were trying to revive him, but I was too late. He was gone. And I wasn’t able to say goodbye. I wasn’t able to say, “I love you” and he doesn’t know how grateful I am for loving me and raising me. My Grandpa died on Father’s Day and I wasn’t ready.

My only regret…

I should have visited him every week. I should have taken him out with my Grandma more often. I should have answered his phone calls on time and texted him back right away when he was sending me weird notes and sentimental quotes. I should have done a lot of things that I didn’t and now, he’s gone. My Grandpa… My Hero… Now, only in my memories and dreams.

“Losing someone or something you love and care deeply about is very painful. You may experience all kinds of difficult emotions and it may feel like the pain and sadness you’re experiencing will never let up.” –Kevin Stevenson, LMHC, MCAP

Parting Words…

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It’s been four years and still, everything is so fresh. The first year after his death was terrible for me and if not for online therapy, I would have not recovered from my depression and all those guilt feelings.

Learn from my mistake. Don’t take your loved one for granted. Cherish every moment that you spend with them and always say “I love you”. Never let a day go by without expressing how much they mean to you because when they’re gone, you’ll regret not saying and doing those things. Trust me. I know.