There comes a sad time when we lose the ones we love, and it's so difficult to know how to handle this stage of our lives and deal with this grief. Whether you're dealing with grief yourself or helping someone else through a hard time, it's always useful to get some advice on how best to cope and what is normal.
It's known that there are seven stages of grief, some of us may go through all of these or maybe just a few throughout the journey of grieving.
Shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance and hope and finally processing the grief.
There are many feelings we may have when our loved ones die and each feeling is completely normal - it's your coping mechanism for grief. There is no timeline for how long grief lasts, or how you should feel after a particular time. These are some of the feelings you might have when you are coping with grief, to begin with.
Feeling shocked - you might have thought you were prepared for this, because the person’s death was expected or because you’ve previously lost someone you love. But whatever the circumstances, it is very common to feel an initial sense of shock. Let your body feel this way, it's completely natural.
Feeling numb - You may feel lost for the first several months after losing your loved one, you may feel numb to emotions and not be able to express your sadness or anger. Don't be worried that you can't express these emotions. Gradually over time, the sense of numbness will go, and you will start to emerge from the fog.
Feeling overwhelmed - Some people can feel the full impact of grief straight away and it can affect you strongly, you may cry every day or have mood swings while you go through the stages of grief. It can be overwhelming to deal with these multiple emotions, but it is perfectly normal and you need to let your body take its natural course of emotions in order to deal with this grief. But over time, feelings of grief and loss tend to become less intense, and you begin to find a way to live with them.
Feeling relieved - Some people may feel a sense of relief when a loved one dies, particularly if they have been struggling with an illness for a long time. There's no reason to feel guilty for feeling relieved as you know that although you will miss your loved one dearly, you know that they are no longer suffering or in pain.
Feeling angry - It's very common to feel anger when you are grieving, you may even direct it to a certain subject such as the circumstance in which they passed, or perhaps just angry that they were taken before their time. You may always think that if the course of events hadn't happened then your loved one would still be around. You might be angry for all of these reasons or for entirely different reasons. These are completely normal feelings.
Physical symptoms - It's perfectly normal for grief to affect your physical habits, such as sleeping, eating and concentrating. You may also suffer from headaches or other illnesses due to your grief, that's why it's important to look after yourself while you are grieving. Treat yourself with kindness and give yourself the time and space you need to grieve.
Focusing on one day at a time can help you cope with your feelings and get through the simple everyday tasks that you need to do. You may find that keeping busy and throwing yourself into different activities helps. If this works for you, try to do things even if you don’t feel up to it. Alternatively, you may find you need to take things more slowly and take time out of your day-to-day life and activities. You need to do whichever works best for you.
Remember to keep your friends and family close to you during this time, it will help to see people and talk regularly to get the support you need. Perhaps take up a hobby to express your grief in words or another creative outlet such as painting or drawing. Set small and realistic goals to help focus your mind and have something to aim for. Eating a healthy and balanced diet while keeping hydrated as well as ensuring you're getting enough sleep with also aid in your wellbeing during this time.