Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried – and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.
The route back to life is through grief, not around it.
- Learn all you can about the grief experience so you will recognize the reactions when they occur within you
- Accept that grief is natural and a necessary response to loss. Allow yourself to mourn
- Express your grief. Ignoring it won’t make it go away
- Seek out friends and family who will listen without judgment
- State your feelings in a journal or letter as a method of expression that can be kept private or shared with others
- Explore your spirituality. Express your faith with those who understand and support your religious beliefs
- Treasure the memories. They are like precious art – growing more valuable as time passes. Share them with others.
- Consider a support group. There can be comfort from others who have experienced a similar loss.
- Develop a new hobby or resume an old one.
- Keep your sense of humor. Laughter is therapeutic and no guilt should be associated with it
- Maintain or restore a routine.
- Replenish yourself with rest, appropriate exercise, a well balanced diet and relaxation.
Key points in talking with children about death
- Children should be told about the death in simple language
- Children should be told promptly of the death
- Remember that children are vulnerable to the way in which death is portrayed in the media and by other outside your family
- It is important to give truthful explanations of the facts surrounding bereavement and honest answers to children’s questions.
- Do not use euphemisms and try not to be ambiguous
- Children need to be involved in the grieving process as much as possible and helped to express their feelings
- Children may need to act out; they may become withdrawn and aggressive
- Children need help to face contradictions in the way people speak about the death
- Children need reassurance that their world has not disintegrated
- Children need help to deal with secondary losses, such as loss of family income or the need to move to a new home
- Children need support from everyone around them