How To Deal With The Grief Of Losing A Loved One
Whether young, old, rich or poor, the only thing promised to us on this Earth is death. Although transitioning to the other side is one of life’s inevitables, that doesn’t stop the hurt we feel when we lose a loved one. Everyone deals with death in their own way. Some people choose to deny the reality and live their day-to-day lives like nothing’s changed (which is probably the unhealthiest way to cope with it), some mourn and move on, while others shut down completely and bury themselves in isolation. But no matter who you are and how you handle tough situations, it is vital that you find ways to manage the aches and pain so that they don’t consume you. As someone who has recently experienced two unexpected deaths that have caused me quite a bit of emotional distress, here’s a look at some of the ways I found solace in dealing with the sorrow.
It is a natural instinct to cry once you learn someone you care about will no longer be around. Don’t try to hold back the tears in an attempt to be tough and strong—it will only hurt you in the long run. Let it out! Cry. Bawl. Sob. Hell, scream if you need to! One thing’s for sure, those salty streams are a big release and definitely aid in lifting some of that weight off your heart.
Whether it’s Allah, Jesus, Mary, Jah or Buddha—or whoever it is you lift your hands to—tap into your relationship with God/higher power for strength and healing. Pray for understanding to accept his/her will and for the might to make it through the trenches. Faith is key and it can pull you a mighty long way.
Hit the gym and run a few miles on the treadmill. Invest in some Zumba or any other dance-based class. Take to your local basketball court for some alone time to shoot hoops or stay at home and twerk it out to some videos on YouTube. It doesn’t matter how you choose to pump up that heart rate, just as long as you get moving! Exercising releases endorphins or what I like to call “happy juice.” These morphine-like chemicals naturally numb feelings of pain or depression and help shift you to a lighter mood. Oftentimes, they’re the go-to place to relieve stress and aggression. Give it a try, it works!
Don’t Isolate Yourself for Too Long, Have Fun
When you first hear word of a death, wanting to be alone is something that comes natural to a lot of us. You don’t want to hang out with friends, you don’t want to be bothered with family, all you want to do is sit around the house and sulk. While this is both understandable and expected, try not to let it keep you down for too long. (I know in some cases, it’s easier said than done.) Take a couple days, or even a few weeks to get yourself together, but don’t let yourself sink into a deep funk. You’ll find that talking to those close to you can improve your mood (we all have that somebody we can depend on to comfort us when we’re in need and those other ones who’ll act a fool just to see a smile on our faces).
Go to the club, shop at the mall, read, write, dance, play your favorite sport, travel, socialize—the point is: Go out and do the things you enjoyed before the news of death came knocking at your door. Getting back into your old groove and partaking in activities you love can be extremely therapeutic.
Think About the Good Times
When things get tough, remember all the laughs you’ve shared with your loved one and all the hilarious, outrageous moments you experienced together. If it makes you feel better, don’t be scared to reminiscence with the person you lost. Whether you believe they can hear you or not, expressing your emotions and directing your thoughts to your new angel can help alleviate any negative feelings that you are harboring. It may help knowing that while they are no longer with you in the flesh, they are with you in spirit and you can still connect with them as they will forever hold a place in your heart.