The loss of a loved one unbalances us; we are never ready for it. Here are a few recommendations given by psychologists for such a situation.
How to deal with the loss of a loved one: a time of questions
How do you start from scratch after losing a loved one? How do you redirect your life to the path of normality? How do you survive after death has separated you from what was most dear to you? How do you live after a part of you died with the person you love?
We are almost constantly preparation. We prepare for a successful career, a better job, to be more efficient, to earn more money and many other things. But we never prepare to know how to deal with loss—not just any kind of loss, but the loss of a loved one. All of a sudden, when we least expect it, everything around us falls to pieces and all other problems fade and disappear, leaving room only for the worst of them, death.
Until recently, it was thought that heartache only appears when there is a problem of a physical nature. It has been proven, however, that emotional pain wreaks as much havoc as the other kind.
Mourning is a new and mysterious ground, which brings many unknowns and which must be managed correctly. Julia Samuel, psychotherapist, says we can live and even function relatively well if we ignore the pain, but we will live an emotionally-limited life, because we will use all our energy trying to minimize it, The Guardian notes.
Stages of grief: how should one understand this stage?
There are different stages the grieving person goes through. The first is shock or the moment of impact. This is a time when we do not fully comprehend what has happened, in which we precisely remember the last words, the last moment we spent with our loved one and, all of a sudden, the news of their death persistently resounds in our ears.
The next stage is denial. We refuse to believe what happened, we lie to ourselves that we are okay and pretend nothing has happened.
In the third stage, anger comes in. This is a way to fight, to defend yourself. “Why him? Why her? Why, why, why?” Many times, this anger also looks for someone to blame or a beneficiary. It may turn against us, against the deceased, the doctors who treated them or even against God. A tendency towards revenge also occurs because we are confronted with the impossibility of going back to the way things were before.
The third stage is characterized by depression or sadness. It is the stage when we lack any kind of energy and even the strength to go on. We are apathetic and totally indifferent to whatever is happening around us.
The last stage is acceptance. Slowly and gradually, we accept the loss, we realize the past is in the past and we begin the process of coming to terms with ourselves and with life in general. Faith in God is vital in such cases and it’s often a decisive factor in the grieving person’s rehabilitation.
What can you do to overcome the moment of the loss of a loved one more easily?
Here are a few practical suggestions, recommended by psychologists to deal with the loss of a loved one:
Cry. Don’t hold back your tears; cry as much as you need to. Crying is a good form of relief and should not be interpreted as weakness or a lack of faith in an all-knowing God. The Bible says Jesus Christ, whose faith in the Father was undeniable, suffered and even “wept” when He heard that His friend Lazarus had died.
Take it easy. We are not all the same; we do not all react in the same way when we suffer a loss. We do not bear it the same way nor do we all heal at the same pace. Do not rush to feel better or to prove your power and strength when faced with such circumstances. Take time to process what happened, to manage the pain and plan your future life to the best of your ability.
Talk about your feelings. If you suppress your feelings it does not mean that you suffer less or that you are stronger. On the contrary, it will be even harder to face the pain. Talk to someone you trust, with someone in the family, with a friend about how and what you feel. If you find the right person to comfort you and give you a good word, pain will not weigh so heavily on your soul. Studies have shown that prayer and faith in God are viable solutions for emotional pain. This is why you can talk to God in prayer, pouring your heart out before Him. The Bible also offers encouraging and comforting words: “God…comforts us in all our troubles” (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4).
Pay attention to the signals your body is sending. When experiencing a loss one may experience physical pain and various changes. Do not neglect your physical health, because it is vital for your mental and emotional health.
Learn how to ask for help. As is the case with crying, asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
What can those around you do to help?
Listen. You cannot always help with a good word or an encouragement but you can be useful if you listen. Listening is key and it is vital to be patient with the one who is telling you, possibly for the tenth time, how important the person he lost was. Be prepared to listen to what the hurting person has to say because this a way to relieve one’s soul.
Be sensitive. Be sensitive to the respective person’s needs and feelings. Don’t try to force the rhythm of the conversations or the emotions they experience. Try to look at things with empathy and you will thus be a real support for the person next to you.
Help. Offer practical help, whether it’s listening or carrying out some household chores. This is also a way to prove how much you care about the one suffering.
The pain caused by the loss of a loved one does not go away overnight, nor can we end it on demand. Christians, however, also have biblical comfort, which offers the assurance of a world in which “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). Trusting in divine promises will certainly help to overcome the pain caused by the loss of a person we hold dear.