I've been going to my favorite Oriental Bistro for over seven years. Although the food is great I also go because the Hostess always makes me feel special and brightens my day with her smile and kind words. I just heard the news last week that the hostess, my friend, and her son were in a fatal car accident and didn't survive. Although it's only been a week since I learned of this loss, the grief of death just doesn't subside.
Thinking of this loss and the loss of many other family members and friends, I ask myself "how do you heal and work through grieving when someone you love is gone?" Your heart aches and some people say that they never fully get over their loss. Coping with the loss can be a deeply personal experience however there are a few basic and universal steps to the grieving process. Sharing these steps will help me and hopefully others work through the pain of losing a loved one.
Accept the sadness - Grief is a journey that you must go through, one day at a time. There are times when more than one emotion seems to take hold, sadness, anger, and frustration, it's normal to experience a number of different feelings.
Talk about your loss - Talking with friends and family help us to understand what happened and can make you feel better. Sharing stories and memories of the departed loved one can help everyone cope. Healing is facilitated when we share our grief with others.
Find outlets to express your sadness - Read or watch something uplifting. Choose to smile even when joy seems vanished. Be grateful even in the most trying circumstances. Look outside your walls and care for someone else with a need. Spend time in nature, reflect on your own life and that of your loved one who has passed on.
Accept the pain - Give yourself time to heal, mentally and physically. Set a time and place where you're free to feel sad. Give yourself space during the day to let your emotions flow. Grief can sneak up on you at the oddest times. When these moments come, stop what you're doing and find a quiet place to cry and reflect. Emotions are too powerful to stay suppressed for long. They will break whatever container you try to force them into and will show up as stress-related health symptoms. Take care of yourself along the way.
Cherish Life - The pain of loss is real and must be felt but at some point you must begin to live your own life again. You have to find a place for the sorrow. It it stays at the front of our thoughts it will begin to define us. It will direct all of our actions and eventually consume us. When the time is right put the sorrow in a special place in your heart. Remember the good times and embrace each and every day with a passion for living your life to its full potential knowing that life does go on.
My personal feeling is that those of us who believe in a higher power that controls our destiny and who will one day reunite us with our loved ones has an advantage at working through our sadness. While there is no right or wrong way to grieve there are healthy ways to cope with the pain so that in time we can be renewed and move forward living and enjoying life. I am reminded of the Bible passage from Ecclesiastes 3
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance."
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