Grief takes as long as it takes – it’s different for everybody. Try not to make comparisons about your situation because they just don’t work. No one else could have had the relationship you had with your loved one. And that’s why it’s not worth trying to make comparisons with other people’s situations.
Allow yourself to grieve
Grieving is not a sign of weakness, it’s the result of losing someone very precious. The more you loved someone, the more you will grieve for them after they have died. There is no time limit, and everybody grieves at a different pace.
Learn about grief
Your grief journey is unique to you and you have to work through your feelings and respond in your own way. Helpful information is often found on specialist web sites e.g. cruse.org.uk, or silverline.org.uk. Alternatively, visit your local library where you may find books which explore grief. Doctor’s surgeries may also have helpful information.
Don’t run away from the pain
Remember, “to feel is to heal”. As you feel the pain of your loss, you are beginning the process of healing.
Be aware of your limitations
Your concentration may be affected for quite some time, so take extra care e.g. when driving or taking important decisions.
It’s OK to ask for and accept help
Describe what you need and how you are feeling. Good friends will respond, but be aware some may find it too difficult to discuss your loss. Don’t feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness – it’s actually a sign of strength. You are thinking about how you can move forward.
Be kind to yourself
Occasionally take time out for yourself – you’re worth it! You are not being disloyal if you are having fun – your loved one would have probably recommended it. You are ‘allowed’ to laugh and join social activities with other people, perhaps new friends. Many people report keeping busy actually helps them to cope.
Keep your memories alive
Memories can be painful, but they also bring healing. As time passes they will bring more happiness than pain e.g. remembering happy holidays. You will never forget your loved one and these cherished memories will help support you in future years.
Feel free to ask questions
There may not be any complete answers, but it’s OK to ask. To arrive at a place of some form of acceptance is a good place to be. If someone becomes ill and then dies you may never understand why they became ill. However, it can help if you can accept it happened, even with no apparent reason.
Accept life is now different
Life will never be quite the same again, but it can still good. You can’t change what has happened to you, but you can adapt to your new circumstances. Welcome new experiences e.g. a specialist singles holiday for widows/widowers, or maybe a walking group vacation, or perhaps a cruise.
Take responsibility for your own happiness
You are the only person who can decide the pace of adjustment to your new situation. It won’t be easy, but you need to decide you will work through it, and survive your bereavement.
Be proud of little steps
Remember the ‘hare and the tortoise’ story – slow and steady progress. Little by little gets you there in the end. When you are feeling low, just take a look at where you have come from and what you have achieved since the death of your loved one. Have the confidence to keep going, but be realistic about what you are trying to achieve. Sometimes you experience setbacks – just accept these as part of your grief journey. But then, continue moving forward again – little by little.
And finally, look for signs of hope
Someday the pain will have subsided enough for life to take on a new meaning. You will find a new purpose in life with the ability to look to the future with hope and positive anticipation.