When Will I Start Feeling Better? Grieving the Loss of a Loved One
One of the most devastating experiences we must endure in life is grieving the loss of a loved one. Although we have the knowledge that everyone will eventually die, and we logically understand the finality of death, no amount of information can prepare us for the devastation of the actual experience.
Losing someone you love can be overwhelming. Trying to comprehend the finality of this separation is a shock to your system; physically, emotionally, and mentally. The death of a loved one can have you go through a roller-coaster of emotions: from feeling angry, anxious, or depressed.
Experiencing grief differs for each person. How you endure, experience, and eventually thrive is unique to you. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief are very well known:
4. depression, and
The truth is, not everyone will experience these exact emotions or in this exact order. There is no road map and no timeline when it comes to grief. The answer to the question of when you start to feel better is largely up to you and depends on your own personal experience with the loss that occurred.
One of the most important things to recognize in the grieving process is that the length of time you spend in mourning, or the depths of the sadness you feel, are not a measure of how much you treasured the loved one you lost. At the same time, it’s unhealthy to try and “skip over” the period of mourning by burying yourself in work or engaging in other things that keep you distracted.
The way through your grief is to walk the road that is in front of you. As you do this, allow the feelings to come up: cry when you need to cry and laugh when you need to laugh.
If the sorrow you’re experiencing is overwhelming, here are some things to try:
1. Schedule time to cry. If you find yourself spending too much time crying and upset, schedule a time to feel sad. Give yourself one hour when you can cry as much as you like. But when the hour is up, wash your face and do something nice for yourself.
2. Do something in honor of your loved one. This can be making a donation in their name, volunteering, planting a tree, baking their favorite cake, or cooking their favorite meal.
3. Write. Write your loved one a letter or journal your feelings.
4. Meditate. Find a quiet place to meditate or pray. Visit your place of worship or read religious/ spiritual books you find comforting.
5.Exercise. Go for a walk, go to the gym, or take a yoga class. Try something new or do something familiar – whichever feels better to you.
Although someone you love has died, they have left a permanent mark on you: you are forever changed because of them. Honor their memory by honoring their life and honor their life by making the best out of yours.
“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.” -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross + John Kessler