Losing a loved one is such a painful experience. After our friends and families who grieve with us are gone and back to their normal routines, we are left alone to face our own grief. So, what do we do now? We realize that we also have to go back to our normal life, facing the “new normal” of being those who are left behind. Though we know that grief can immobilize us, life really has to go on.
Well, thanks to Grief Share. This program helped us to understand what we are going through and at the same time to brace ourselves of what lies ahead. We also learned sound advices on how to avoid some mistakes that grieving people may commit out of their vulnerability. Here, I am going to share with you some of the things that we have learned and are still trying to apply in our lives as we live each day getting by with our grief:
1. FACE YOUR GRIEF
Don’t try to numb it by doing things you may soon regret like mindless shopping which may cause future debts, or doing vices which may destroy your health. You have to face grief as it is, no matter how painful and fearful it is. Be in all of it. Don’t be ashamed to cry in front of other people. Let it take you where it will. As Dr. Susan Smeengee says, “There are no shortcuts to grieving. We’re going through the pain in order to heal.”
2. DELAY AND PRAY FIRST BEFORE MAKING BIG DECISIONS
3. DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING BEFORE YOU
While we all know that grief can immobilize us, we should never forget that we have a lot of things to fix that may have deadlines like filing your extra judicial settlement (for the estates) which will require you to pay taxes, facilitating the requirements for the insurance claims, paying our monthly obligations (utilities, credit cards and other dues), going back to work, taking care of your business, taking care of your family.
“There are no shortcuts to grieving. We’re going through the pain in order to heal.”
— Dr. Susan Smeengee
4. BE PREPARED THAT YOU MAY TAKE NEW AND BIG RESPONSIBILITIES
One of the big blows in losing a loved one is dealing with what we call “secondary losses.” Here, you will realize that you did not only lose a loved one, but also lost the big roles that he/she used to do in your life. When I lost my husband, I realized that I did not only lose the family’s “bread winner,” but I also lost a handy-man in the house, the breakfast chef, a driver, the errand-runner, my coffee buddy, my daughter’s bodyguard, my son’s basketball and gym buddy and the tall guy who can close the lift-back door of our car. All these roles, I now have to fill-in, because my husband is gone. I have to drive myself to far places where my husband used to voluntarily drive for me, I have to be the one to go to the auto shop to have the car checked, to facilitate the car registration renewal and pay all our monthly obligations. More importantly, I have to fill-in his biggest role as the bread winner of the family. If you are in the same scenario, it is important that you discuss this with your family so you can share responsibilities and help one another.
5. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Grieving will take its toll on your physical and emotional well-being. You will experience depression, sleeping difficulty, nausea, headaches and too much stress. Always remember to take care of yourself for you own sake and for the people who care for you. It would be beneficial if you pay a visit to your doctor for a physical check-up. Also, you may want to consider seeing a counselor or a psychologist for your emotional well-being. Furthermore, you should take into considerations doing the following to maintain your good health. It’s written in D.E.E.R. acrostics:
D- Drink lots of water.
Drinking water also help in easing headaches and migraines.
E – Eat “nutritious” food.
Oftentimes, when we are stressed out, we turn to “comfort food” that are usually unhealthy. Eating more nutritious food will not only keep you healthy, but it will also boost your mood and energy.
E – Exercise.
Fight your struggles to slack off. When you exercise, your body releases one of the happy hormones called “endorphins” which helps one deal with stress and reduce feelings of pain. Other hormones produced during regular physical activities are Serotonin – the mood stabilizer responsible for well-being and happiness, Dopamine – responsible for pleasure and plays a motivational role in brain’s reward system and last is Oxytocin – responsible for your social well-being.
R – Rest.
You may listen to calming or meditative music, have a massage, rub or smell some essential oils or you may go to a quiet place where you can commune with God and nature. If time and resources permit, you may take a short vacation to recharge your body, mind and spirit. Going through grief is a journey that consumes your whole being, so taking a rest is much needed.
Watch out for my next blog as I share with you the continuation of this article. If you are interested to know more about Grief Share, you may visit www.griefshare.org.