The day we lose someone we love is the day the world stops. It’s like living in a haze. Everything around you is happening and somehow continuing. Yet for you time stands still. Getting through an hour can feel like a lifetime. Sometimes the pain is so huge it takes over. Sometimes the loss is so big that it feels unbearable and sometimes we lose ourselves in the process.
Learning to live with the loss of a loved one is one of the hardest things we go through in life. Getting up and facing the day without that person can often feel overwhelming. The challenge is real. The road ahead is rocky. Each day feels like another hurdle.
Shock is immense- even when we know the loss is going to come. It does not matter – the shock is still real. Nothing can prepare us for how hard that moment will be. Or how hard everything will be after it has hit. The void is huge. It takes a lot of time to adapt. Those early days – they will often feel like a total blur. Getting through them. Step by step – bit by bit. That is what truly matters.
There is no rush. There is no set of rules. And there is no right way to grieve. We are all individual and we all cope differently. It is important that are kind to ourselves in the process and that we do what feels right for us.
There are some things that can help when we are learning to live without someone. Nothing can take the pain away. Nothing can replace them or stop struggle. But there are some things that can make everything slightly easier to manage.
Take what you can from this list – these are simply some suggestions.
- Try to get outside every day – some fresh air makes such a difference. Even if it is a short walk around the block.
- Remember there is no right way to grieve. Focus more on what you need and less on what other people think is right for you.
- Exercise – it does not matter if is swimming or hitting the gym. Whatever works for you – exercise releases endorphins and combats low mood.
- Keep a journal of all your thoughts and feelings. Releasing these from your head can be very therapeutic.
- Create a memory box – keep all of your favourite reminders of the one you love safely together.
- Make photo albums – looking at memories of the happy moments you shared together can be healing and cathartic.
- Be kind to yourself – some days will feel easier and some will feel so much harder. Do as much as you can and know when to stop.
- Reach out to your support network. Talk to your family and friends – share what is going on for you. It is important not to isolate yourself.
- Make some time for yourself each day. Do whatever you need to – read, meditate, watch a film – whatever works for you.
- Take some pressure of yourself – you do not have to attend everything or say yes to everyone. Slow down.
- Spend time with people that make you feel calm and happy. Focus on those that understand and those that can be there for you.
- Remember that this will not last forever, and things will get easier eventually. Trusting in an end point can make things more bearable.
- Try to avoid using alcohol or drugs as a way of self-medicating. It can make you feel so much worse. Even a temporary high will have a huge low that follows.
- Aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Again, try to avoid using food in a destructive way – by either over or under eating.
- Speak to your GP – it doesn’t mean you have to go on medication, but sometimes this can be needed and can really help.
- Finally seek counselling if possible – therapy can really help. Talking to an objective and neutral person can really make such a difference.
Remember – you will get through this. Step by step, day by day. Nothing can take that pain away but there are ways of learning to adapt, and there are things that can help you to gradually move forward.