When you lose someone close to you at times the emotional pain can be so intense and overwhelming that you think that feeling will never end, you cannot see how you could ever be happy again or continue with life. The hurt and pain can seem so personal, this is something which has happened to you and nobody else, but it does help to keep reminding yourself that however hard and painful it is to bear the loss of a loved one, it is nevertheless part of life, it will happen to everyone at some stage or another.
Anyone who has been bereaved will know that your feelings can change very quickly from one minute to the next. One minute you may feel you are coping and the next dragged back into the depths of despair feeling there is no point in going on. The reality is that grief does run its course and although it does not feel like it – time is a healer – and if you allow yourself to grieve you should get to a stage where you can remember the person who has died and focus on the good memories. You can still miss the person terribly – but it won’t be affecting your every day life or stopping you from moving on with your own life. When you get to that stage, yes there will be sadness when you remember your loved one but the enormous feeling of pain will have faded.
You may feel angry at the person who has died for leaving you on your own – you may feel guilty at having wished the person would die in cases for instance of a severely ill person who was suffering pain and a poor quality of life – these are perfectly normal feelings to have and try and express how you feel rather than keep those feelings inside you.
Everyone’s reaction to grief is different but it is healthy and natural to express emotion – to get out your pain, anger, hurt, frustration, loneliness – rather than suppressing feelings which can ultimately make it harder to go through the grieving process and move on. You may find that family, friends, etc. do not allow you to talk about the person who has died, they may avoid talking about the person who has died, they may tell you not to cry – people are often afraid to talk because they may feel it would cause you more distress to mention the person. However many people who are bereaved want to talk and want to cry and this should be encouraged – if you are in a
situation where you do not have people in your life to talk to there are helplines and counsellors who will allow you to talk and help you to grieve.
Don’t be afraid to say to people that it helps you to talk and you want to talk. Sometimes other people just don’t know the best way to help you or what they can say to help – when someone is grieving words can seem so meaningless and empty and other people cannot guess what will help you in your grieving.
It is common for some people to feel ‘disloyal’ to the person who has died by ‘feeling better’ – however the reality is that by ‘feeling better’ it does not mean the person means any less to you – just that you have accepted the reality that the person has gone. In order to carry on living you need to be able to let go of the person who has died and if you are finding great difficulty in that and a considerable period of time has elapsed since the person died – you may find that counselling will help you to let go. Holding onto pain will not help you to keep hold of the person you have lost and ultimately the person who has died would want you to move on with your life. If it helps to talk to the person who has died, to look at photos, to go to places where they enjoyed going, that is a way of keeping their memory alive but try not to stop it from allowing you to meet other people, get on with your everyday living, do things you enjoy, etc. One of the difficult things to come to terms with – particularly in a sudden death – is that you may not have had time to say goodbye and all the things you wanted to say. To move on you need to allow yourself to say these things. Some people find it helps to go to a quiet place – maybe somewhere you know the person who has died would have liked and to speak out loud as if the person was there about everything you would have liked to have said before the person died – or some people find it helps to write a letter to the person who died and include in it everything they wanted to say. Find whatever way suits you which enables you to say everything you would have liked to have said but didn’t.