Coping With Grief & The Loss of a Loved One

Apr 8, 2024

When a Loved One Dies. . .

Losing a loved one is an experience most of us will experience at some point in our lives.

If you’re reading this post because you’ve just lost someone, condolences. . .

But as difficult as it is, as unfair as it may feel and and as angry as it might make, you, it’s inevitable

In this post, we’ll explore the grieving process, some ways to cope, and the importance of embracing support from others.

Image of a beautiful serene landscape with a lake at sunset

Coping With Grief: Nothing Lasts Forever

Old age, sickness and death are the three immovable milestones in a human life — unless that life is cut short somehow, which can be something even more difficult to deal with. . .

The death of someone close teaches us an important lesson: Nothing is permanent.

Nothing remains for ever.

All things, including our relationships and experiences, are transient.

And things can change irrevocably in an instant. 

We actually see this impermanence all around us every day, but we can often ignore it because it has no significant impact on our lives.

For example: The changing Weather.

It’s a classic example of impermanence.

A sunny morning can turn into a rainy afternoon or a chilly evening, and seasons change, emphasizing the continual flux in the atmosphere.

Our emotions are constantly changing, too.

Happiness, sadness, excitement, and calmness – these feelings are all fleeting.

The fact is:

It’s impossible to find a single thing in this world — in this universe, even — that is permanent, something that never changes.

Impermanence is a cosmic law, one which you, I, our loved ones and everything else lives under, whether we like it or not. 

The River of Life

You may have heard the saying “You cannot step into the same river twice”.

It’s an idea that comes from the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus. 

Basically, it means that a river is always changing – the water, the surroundings, the flow – everything is in constant flux.

If you step into a river one day, and then again the next, can you really say that it was the very same river?

It’s a reminder that life is dynamic; that nothing stays the same.

Just like that river, each moment in life brings something new.

Unfortunately, though, that new moment can bring the death of a loved one.

Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or someone you love, the pain of grief is a natural response to such a profound loss. 

The most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone in this journey.

Ways to Cope: Navigating Grief and Loss

There’s no doubt about it, and no sugar coating it either: Coping with grief is HARD.

So, remember to tell yourself that it’s alright to feel the whole spectrum of emotions and reach out for support. 

We each have a different way of responding, but one thing that will help you gain perspective on the situation and generate the wisdom needed to get through it more quickly is MINDFULNESS.  

To learn more about mindfulness, check out this article, and our online courses.

The Power of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is about embracing the present moment.

It’s about allowing yourself to experience and accept the diverse range of emotions without passing judgment. 

Mindfulness also helps establish a heightened awareness of the mind-body connection.

Grief often manifests physically, and through practices like deep breathing exercises or body scans, you can cultivate an awareness of these bodily sensations.

This increased awareness of body and mind enables us to notice when negative feelings are occurring and put them into perspective before they begin to overwhelm us.

Once you’ve practiced mindfulness for a little while, the simple act of noticing a familiar feeling in the body or by noticing a thought arise in the mind can be enough to stop it in its tracks.

Mindfulness gently guides individuals through the journey of grief, promoting acceptance and a gradual return to emotional equilibrium, offering comfort and hope in the healing process.

Consider giving mindfulness a try – it’s an extremely valuable companion on this journey.

Taking care of Yourself

yoga class

Aside from doing the mind-work via mindfulness, it’s important to take care of yourself physically, too.

In fact, it’s a non-negotiable, as the mind and body are linked.

Just because a loved one has died, it doesn’t mean you have to stop taking care of yourself; you’ll only make yourself sick, which will make things worse.

Ask yourself, too: Would you’re loved one like to see you in this state?

I doubt it.

An unhealthy body will, at some point and to some degree, impact on the quality of your mind, which will then impact your ability to practice mindfulness.

In turn, this will make navigating through and recovering from the grieving process much harder. 

So, you can think of taking care of yourself as a mark of respect for yourself AND your loved one. 

To do that, remember to hydrate properly, eat properly get as much sleep as you can.

And don’t forget physical exercise.

A short walk, a swim or even just a stretch will be better than nothing.

It will help to keep your body strong, and will, if you do enough of it, help you sleep better at night.

Doing some kind of sport will also help you manage the process, as it not only get’s you physically active, but helps you fix your mind on something other than your grief.

It’s also a chance to get out and about and meet other people.

Handling The Grieving Process: Don’t Do It Alone

Most importantly, remember that you don’t have to struggle through everything solo; there’s strength in numbers.

So, get support from family and lean on your support group or network.

Sharing experiences and expressing how you truly feel can be a crucial lifeline in not only helping you make sense of what’s happening but also finding a way through it all.

Even if you have you have no family or friends to talk to, the internet gives you access to people all over the world who are more than willing to help you.

You can easily find support through grief counseling, so online grief counselors might be your first stop. 

Dove flying against blue sky

Mourning the Death: Your Feelings are Normal

Grief is a natural response to loss, and it can manifest in various ways as we try and deal with everything that’s happening.

The process involves stages such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

It’s this last one — acceptance — that’s the most important. 

When your loved ones gone, you’ll no longer be able to share those intimate moments: The smell of their hair, the touch of their hand, the warmth of their embrace will only be memories. . .

It’s heartbreaking to say, but the sooner you can come to terms with what has happened and accept it, the better. 

And accepting reality is the first stage to truly moving on.

Expressing Yourself

As you begin to move on, share your thoughts and feelings with those you trust.

Share stories, vent if you need to, and discover your own coping mechanisms.

Laughter, tears, and treasuring memories — they’re all part of the grieving  process.

So, embrace them.

Letting go. . .

It’s crucial to acknowledge that grief is a natural part of the human experience.

But it’s also crucial to let go

As you work your way through the inevitable waves of grief, try your best to be mindful of your emotions, maintain perspective and live in the present.

However much you are grieving, you still have your life to live.

You may also have others who depend on you. 

So, ask yourself honestly:

Would my loved one want me to dwell in the past and live in pain in the present?

Of course they wouldn’t .

Nor would they want you to bury their memory under a mountain of grief. 

Instead, they’d want you to remember them at their best, through a lens of joy and love rather than sadness and grief.

While the pain may seem insurmountable, remember that letting go doesn’t mean forgetting.

It means allowing the warmth of their love and the lessons they imparted to shape your present and future. 

So, embrace the beauty of the shared moments and the wisdom gained from the relationship. 

In letting go, you make space for healing and growth, honoring both your own journey and the indelible mark they left on your heart and your life. 

Cherish their legacy, and carry forward the best of what they gave you.

By doing so, you not only honor their memory but also discover the strength within yourself.

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