An Expert’s Advice On Ways To Overcome The Grief Of Losing A Loved One
A loss of a loved one is probably the hardest thing a person can experience. When we lose a family member, a relative, or a friend, it leaves a gap that can never be replaced, and oftentimes, we stumble upon extreme sadness.
The memories left by those who have passed turn black and white, falling into a past we can never return to. Though confronting loss is an inevitable part of life, there is a process of getting past the stage of overwhelming grief to avoid getting stuck in that phase of your life.
In an intimate talk held at Museo Sanso last May 25, grief coach and author Ms. Cathy Sanchez-Babao shared some ways to cope with the grief of losing a loved one, and how to channel it positively in one’s life.
Acknowledging the loss
Losing a loved one can be a traumatizing event in a person’s life. By gently acknowledging the reality that someone you love is no longer physically present is a great step towards acceptance. This may take weeks or months, but time will surely help you heal; this action usually begins with your mindset followed by your heart.
If someone you care about is going through this tough time, you may help by making it a point to be available to them. Create a safe space where this person can freely talk about the death of their loved one. Talking about it with someone who truly listens is the beginning of the healing process.
Embracing the pain
Leaning onto the pain you experience is one way of fully embracing your loss. If you run away from the pain you’re feeling, this may cause a longer period of suffering, making it harder for you to accept the present. While this can’t be done all at once, taking one step at a time is progress.
When comforting someone who’s going through this episode, it’s important to let them feel the sense of loss. Do not take away the pain they’re going through, and give them the freedom to talk about it for as long and as often as needed.
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Remembering the person who died
When a person passes away, they’re physically absent, but still continue to live on forever in our hearts and memories. In order to heal, you shall actively remember the person who died and celebrate the life that they lived, instead of focusing on the negative. Remember how they affected your life and carry the lessons they left in your lifetime.
Continue to tell stories about your late loved ones—especially the happy ones. By remembering the past, it will lead you towards a future filled with hope.
Developing a new self-identity
A part of one’s self identity could have been formed in relation to the person who has passed away. By developing a new self-identity as time passes, this may help you discover positive changes within yourself and grow.
Explore new avenues for changes and the try doing things you’ve never done before. Zero in on your strengths and hold on to what remains.
Accepting ongoing support from others
Lastly, grief is a process and it takes one day at a time to heal. It’s okay to be dependent and receive ongoing support from others in your mourning stage. The healing process can last for weeks, months, or even years, but the most important part of it is that you’re constantly moving forward towards better days. Being physically present to a person who’s mourning is truly valuable—and even more so on special events like birthdays, anniversaries, or milestones. Be present and constantly remind them that you care.
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Photos courtesy of Nana Nadal