How to Deal With Loss

Caroline Carter, Staff Writer

There is no right or wrong way to grieve, as long as it’s healthy. Grief is the external expression of loss. The loss of a loved one is one of life’s most intense challenges. Bereavement varies from person to person; there is no normal way to cope. There may not be a handbook to follow when it comes to grief, but some suggestions make the process easier.

Do not ignore what you are feeling. You will experience a wide range of emotions, all of which are normal. These emotions include denial, shock, anger, guilt, yearning, etc. It is important to express whatever you may be feeling. If crying it out helps, go ahead and cry. If screaming into a pillow helps, scream until you can’t anymore. Do whatever helps you cope, as long as the method is healthy. Some experience physical symptoms that come along with the grieving process which include trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, and stomach pain. These symptoms are typical, but they will not last throughout the entirety of the process.

Don’t lie to yourself. After the loss of someone important, you become emotionally vulnerable. Your subconscious might lie to you, and you will begin to perceive them as the truth. If you don’t cry all the time, that doesn’t mean you don’t care. You should never ignore the pain you feel; hiding your emotions will only hurt you later. Some may try to tell you that the grieving process should last a year, but there is no template to follow when you are mourning. 

The first year after losing someone important to you will be the hardest, for it is filled with unexpected “firsts.” You will experience your first birthday without him/her, the first holiday, the first Tuesday. Memories will flood your mind at the most inconvenient times, and you’ll miss him/her so much your chest hurts. Such things should be expected because grief is natural. If nothing else, the process will remind you that you are only human. You shouldn’t carry this weight on your own. Talk about it with someone you trust or someone who understands your situation. If you are uncomfortable with speaking to your family or friends about your loss, perhaps therapy is the best option for you. You will still feel the weight on your shoulders, but the load will feel a little lighter once others are able to understand your circumstances.