Sixteen Helpful Guidelines to Help You Navigate Through Your Grief
by Peggy L. Ferguson, Ph.D.
You may be wondering if it is even possible to survive the loss of someone you love. You may be thinking that you are going crazy, or that you will never quit crying. You may think that you will never be the same and will never feel better.
Grief is one of the most devastating experiences that human beings have and it is universal. Sooner or later, we all experience grief.
When we experience the loss of someone that we love, we often find ourselves at a loss for what to do with ourselves, with our daily lives, and with the grief. Keeping in mind that each person's experience of grief is uniquely their own, below are some tips to assist you in dealing with life on a daily basis and with processing through your grief. Some of the suggestions may seem too painful to try at this time. Try them a little later on. Ask for help from others along the way and remember that it takes as long as it takes.
1. Write about your favorite memory of the person you lost.
2. Pull out some pictures that are not too painful and talk about the event or the time that the picture was taken.
3. Seek out people who have experienced a similar loss and who understand what you are going through.
4. Keep a journal.
5. Read about grieve and loss- to tolerance.
6. Talk about the person.
7. Identify, own, and express your feelings. Fear, anger, guilt, hurt, sad, and abandoned are common.
8. Talk about any anger that you might have toward God or the person who died.
9. Do things to get out of self. Volunteer, garden, or do something for your neighbor.
10. If you are in charge of disposing of their possessions, get some help for going through their stuff. Have someone else present. Take lots of breaks. Cry. Talk about your feelings. Do it to tolerance. Break the task up into manageable pieces.
11. Maintain your social life. Get out and about -- to tolerance again.
12. Go to a grief support group or get some counseling
13. Don't pretend to feel what you don't feel. Be real.
14. When you are hit with another wave of grief when you least expect it, just acknowledge it and feel it. Don't beat yourself up about not being finished with grieving yet. Give yourself credit for making it through each wave.
15. Use this time to nurture yourself.
16. Try to be tolerant of others when they say dumb stuff that is not helpful. They probably mean well. Most people believe that their experience with grief is universal. We tend to perceive that what we learned in our family culture about grief and loss applies to all cultures and the way that our families handled grief is the "correct" way to do it. Another person "instructing" you on how to do it, although sometimes annoying, is probably attempting to assist you through the grief process.