10 HELPFUL TIPS FOR COPING WITH GRIEF & LOSS
According to Oxford Languages, grief is described as 'Intense Sorrow.
My first encounter with losing someone very close to me was the loss of my grandfather. I was in high school at that point in time, grade eight. I remember my mother telling my gramma the heavy news while my brother and I as young as we were just looked at each other in shock. At the time the school I attended gave support and counseling through the grieving process. We had a seminar where girls my age and older spoke about their loss and the fond memories shared with their loved ones. We designed T-shirts with art supplies provided and we each took home individual plants selected in honor of their memory. I was young and only knew that my Papa was no longer around. I really did miss him and he was more like a second dad.
Papa was a jack of all trades but primarily a carpenter. He built the house I grew up in and this was where my brother and I spent most summers.
Lesson1 This first loss taught me to enjoy the moments with those close to me and to spend quality time with my family.
KIMALI- My lil brother
The second loss I encountered was extremely sudden. I was in grade eleven and sitting under a tree doing a biology lab. I heard my phone ring and I answered. My mum called and I remember packing my things as fast as I could and I ran to the back gate with everything I had and got in the car. All I can remember is being at the University of the West Indies hospital in the waiting room praying for my little brother. Later on, I was called into where he was on the bed. I looked at his lifeless body and kissed him for the last time.
Kimali loved to play football and represented his high school team.
Lesson 2 Life is unpredictable and you don't know when it's gonna end.
JOEL-My big brother
I'm still processing this one. At times I still can't believe he's not here but the fact that I'm not able to text or call him brings me back to reality most days. The last time I spoke with him was an early Monday morning. I decided to call him to see how he was doing. He seemed okay at the time and said he was gonna take a shower. That was the last time I spoke with him. He passed away in the hospital earlier this year. Covid...
Joel loved food and he was a Chef. His creations above!
Lesson 3 Check in with loved ones as much as you can especially when they're ill or just overall not feeling well. Talking with them offers some level of comfort for both you and them.
Disclaimer: I'm in no way a grief counselor, but these are a few things I did that helped me on this journey of healing from the loss of a loved one.
TIPS FOR DEALING WITH GRIEF & LOSS
Lean into your faith and trust God
I remember reading my Bible a few times and it was as if someone was right beside me. I remember having a feeling of peace and comfort one night while sitting on my bed reading. I'll never forget that moment. Trust God and His ways he has a plan for your life which you may not understand right away or at all.
Find ways to remember your loved one
Keeping the memories you have of them alive is a simple and great way to honor their life.
For example, in memory of my little brother we have had football tournaments in his name with the leading of his schoolmates and friends.
How you choose to honor their memory is completely up to you and is a personal one.
Accept Help from Others
Be open to persons checking up on you to see how you are coping in your time of bereavement. Some may show support by just sitting in silence with you for a while or speaking with you on the phone, tho they may not always know what to say.
Writing about the loss of a loved one or the memories you had with them can help you to heal. Journalling will allow your emotions to come to the surface instead of being hidden. Burying your emotions is unhealthy, so try letting it all out through writing.
It's OKAY to cry. It's GOOD to cry. Crying made me feel extremely lighter and better emotionally in many ways. I still do from time to time. It's like a heavy cloud releasing its water on the earth.
Express how you're feeling with someone you can trust. Be it a best friend or a specific individual you can be completely vulnerable with. Talk therapy works!
Find a creative outlet /Fun Activities
A creative outlet is a healthy way to keep your mind occupied and you can bring to life beautiful and amazing things. I love art so painting is usually a good outlet for me.
If art isn't your thing then maybe dancing, singing out loud or even writing helps.
Maybe you like adventures or just exploring nature. Engage in activities that bring you, Joy!
If you weren't active before then, getting up to do a structured physical activity (exercise) might not be the easiest task for you nor would it be your first choice. Understandable.
To be honest I had lost the motivation to exercise and had fallen off track a few times. It took me a while to reclaim my exercise rhythm and I do fall back at times but once I start I find that this helps with my mood, most times.
So this is me encouraging you to start and give it a try!
A good walk in nature or an aerobics class is a great way to be active. Anything that gets you physically active and moving about is a win.
Plus it's great for your mind and body in the long run.
Sit in silence / Alone time
Dealing with grief can be really hard and life doesn't pause for you to process the loss of your loved one. Daily, life goes on quickly and it's almost as if nothing happened. The world continues to spin and even though we would be grateful for it to stop, it continues.
Take some time for yourself to process everything and to confront your emotions. I use to hear that there are several stages of grief and I never understood until I went through them all.
Be gentle with yourself
You are human. There is no set time frame for complete healing from grief and the loss of a loved one. So, do not rush the process or ignore your emotions. Allow yourself to comb through those emotions little by little and get professional help to assist you with the process if needs be.
In Summary, 10 Tips to Help in Coping with Grief & Loss are:
Lean into your Faith & Trust God
Find ways to Honour your loved one
Accept help from others
Find a creative outlet/fun activities
Sit in Silence/Alone time
Be gentle with yourself