Readjusting to Loss
There is a universal need to express grief, which can be met in different ways, depending on the person and his or her beliefs, circumstances and culture. It is important to understand that grief is not a sign of weakness or poor coping skills. Rather grief is a healthy normal part of the healing process.
It might seem unbelievable now, but most people learn to readjust to their loss. You can do this too. This doesn’t mean that your grief will be ‘cured’ or that you should forget the person who has died. Even in years to come there might be occasions when you will still feel sad.
What is probably the difference when you have moved through grief, is that the loss is not the total preoccupation of your thoughts. Your energy for living will return. There will be no need to put on a happy face to please others – you will be able to smile again because you really want to. Life will be different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate it again.... grief is a healthy, normal part of the healing process.
It is best not to put a time frame on the whole experience of grief. This creates unrealistic expectations and doesn’t allow for individual differences. You need to deal with your grief and face any changes in your life.
To do that you may need to:
- Talk about it – It will help let it sink in
- Look after yourself – Eat, drink, sleep, get fresh air and try to avoid alcohol and sedatives
- Ask for help – Don’t think you have to cope on your own
- Understand your friends – Friends can be impatient so tell them what you feel and share your grief
- Stay positive in your thoughts – You will get over this
- Be aware of advice givers – Don’t allow people to entice you into replacing or avoiding your grief – e.g. going on holidays or buying a car
- Be prepared for ups and downs – memories sparked by birthdays, anniversaries etc can bring you down. You need to find a way to remember the person that brings you comfort – e.g. a permanent memorial where family and friends can visit is something worth considering for a number of very important reasons.
A memorial is a focus for reflection and a permanent marker for family and friends and future generations to come to remember and pay their respects.
Accept loss as a part of life – If you love someone you must also be willing to let them go when their life ends.
Our Staff do not claim to be grief experts, but we do keep updated with what the experts say. We collect resource materials and can provide these free of charge. Furthermore in our local community there are many organisations, which provide support for the bereaved, and we can refer you to them should you wish – it’s important for grieving people to know that often they need more help and support than their family or friends can provide.
* extracts from “Now that the funeral is over – understanding the effects of grief” by Doris Zagdanski copyright 1993. They are reproduced with kind permission of the author.