Coping With Grief

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Knowing What to Expect

When a death of a loved one occurs, you may experience a wide range of emotions. Many people report feeling an initial stage of numbness, but there is no real order to the grieving process. Some emotions you may experience include: Sadness, anger, despair, guilt, denial, confusion and/or shock.

It is normal to experience these feelings after a loss. However, you may not be prepared for the intensity and duration or how swiftly your moods may change. You may even begin to doubt the stability of your mental health. But be assured that these feelings are healthy and appropriate and will help you come to terms with your loss.

Remember: It takes time to fully absorb the impact of a major loss. You never stop missing your loved one, but the pain eases after time.


Coping with Grief

Learning how to cope is vital to your mental health. The best thing you can do is allow yourself to grieve. There are many ways to cope effectively with your pain:

Seek out caring people. Find relatives and friends who can understand your feelings of loss. Join support groups (click here for more information) with others who are experiencing similar losses.

Express your feelings. Tell others how you are feeling; it will help you to work through the grieving process.

Take care of your health. Maintain regular contact with your family physician and be sure to eat well and get plenty of rest. Be aware of the danger of developing a dependence on medication or alcohol to deal with your grief.

Accept that life is for the living. It takes effort to begin to live again in the present and not dwell on the past.

Postpone major life changes. Try to hold off on making any major changes, such as moving, remarrying, changing jobs or having another child. You should give yourself time to adjust to your loss.

Be patient. It can take months or even years to absorb a major loss and accept your changed life.

Seek outside help when necessary. If your grief seems like it is too much to bear, seek professional assistance to help work through your grief. It's a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek help. (We can help!)