There are no manuals to provide detailed instructions about how to deal with grief. We have no hard and fast rules telling us how to feel and what we should do. We are primarily left to our own devices in finding ways to cope and get on with life.
Every relationship is different, and so every death will affect people in different ways. As we mourn, we will all take the journey into grief and out again.
Everyone whose lives were touched by the one who passed will take a different route along the journey. Some may pass through quickly, while others will take more time coming to terms with the death.
When we experience the loss of someone close, the grief will be intense and painful. It will settle over our souls for a time, and nothing anyone can say or do will ease the burden.
As Rusty Berkus wrote in his book, To Heal Again: Towards Serenity and the Resolution of Grief, “There is no right way to grieve – there is just your way.”
Death and the Cycle of Life
For centuries, death weaved itself into the daily ebb and flow of life. People were born, lived out their lives, and usually died in the house of their birth. Rituals grew up around grief and death to help people cope with the loss and to understand death’s place in the cycle of life.
The rise of modern medicine and hospitals served to put some distance between people and death. For many, it became more difficult to mourn the loss and start the healing process.
Slowly, but surely, with the help of books, grief counseling, the rise of hospices, and through personal rituals, we are finding new ways to confront death, and the grief it brings.
Coping with Grief
When a loved one who plays a big part in our lives passes, it can leave us at a loss about what comes next and what to do.
While there are no rules to grieving, guidelines can help ease the transition into this unfamiliar territory. Grief is often divided into four distinct stages:
- Shock and emotional numbness
- Searching for meaning
- Disorganization and feeling disoriented
- Healing, or reorganizing the pieces of your life
The boundaries may blend and overlap, but as you progress through each stage of grief, you will benefit by keeping the following in mind:
- Try not to expect too much of yourself, at least during the first few weeks.
- Don’t judge yourself about whether you are doing the right thing or the wrong thing.
- Lean on the support of friends and loved ones, even if it’s to ask them to sit and listen.
- Discuss your loss with others and talk about the person who has just passed. If any of your friends find this uncomfortable, then seek out those friends who won’t be.
- Get help if you need it. When the grief becomes more than you can handle, an understanding therapist can support you through the process.
There is no timeline for grief and healing, but sometimes grief can lead to depression. If you or a loved one are having symptoms of depression, it is important to reach out for professional help. For information about depression counseling, read more here: Depression Treatment