After a death, looking forward can feel almost impossible. However, most people after the initial shock begin to adapt to living and being without the person who has died. The change happens gradually, but over a period of time you will begin to notice that you are less consumed and preoccupied by the loss.
Initially you may be consumed with thoughts surrounding the death, and the person who has died, but as time moves on you will begin to ‘forget’, to begin with it will be for a few short moments, building to hours and eventually for days at a time. This is not a betrayal and it certainly does not mean that the loss means any less. It is natural to not think about a person, we do it all of the time with our living friends, family and acquaintances.
The goal of the grieving process is to learn to live with loss. As you grieve, your life can slowly begin to feel meaningful and pleasurable once again. You will at times be taken by surprise – a piece of music, a smell or place may remind you of the person who has died, and you will find yourself overwhelmed with grief all over again. This, too, lessens in time.
For some the experience of grieving can change their world view. They may reassess priorities, values, beliefs, hopes, dreams and aspirations, they may even re-evaluate friendships.
Create a memory box, you may choose to place a photograph inside your box, a piece of clothing, maybe jewellery or some other items that remind you of the person who has died. If none of these are available to you, try to recall a special place or event that held meaning to the person who has died, and write about that, placing your wonderful memories in the box, with perhaps a pebble from the beach, a football programme maybe, or the ticket stubs from the show you enjoyed together, the kind of things that you might add is yours to decide.
Self-Care is important, even when you feel you can’t be bothered, or that there is little point, try to eat, even a little bit will be appreciated by your mind and body. Try to bath or shower regularly, cleansing our body in warm water can lift our mood. Often when we are feeling sad and overwhelmed our body and mind want to ‘shut down’, remember that sleep has a restorative value, so allow yourself to rest a while. Equally getting some exercise has a beneficial alchemy, it is a way of releasing sadness, tension, frustration and anger, and so even though you may not feel like it today, it does usually help.
Grieving takes time, it is a process, but eventually your life will grow around your grief.
Give yourself credit for surviving each day that passes.