There’s no easy way to grieve a loved one. However, it is important to take care of yourself and move forward in the event of a friend, significant other, of loved one’s passing. Dr. B.J. Miller and Shoshana Berger, authors of A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE END, shares some ways to deal with grief after losing a loved one.
You never “get over” the death of a loved one—that’s not the goal. Living on is. Here are a few ideas that may help:
#1. Take time off work.
Sadly, businesses are not required to offer paid bereavement leave, but many do provide three to five days off for the death of an immediate family member. Talk to your HR department about what’s possible for you.
#2. Seek out clergy, chaplains, and faith-based services.
Faith traditions have time-tested practices around death, dying, and mourning. Chaplains and clergy are trained to counsel those in bereavement. Hospital chaplains in particular are intimately familiar with supporting people of all faiths and of none. And many churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship have free programs and groups for grief support. Services often run the gamut from practical assistance, such as transportation and meals, to counseling and prayer groups. There is very likely a warm embrace awaiting you, with centuries of collective experience and wisdom to rest upon; you just need to show up ready to receive.
Each day before you go to bed, write down one thing you’ve managed to do (even if it was just waking up). Or just write about your experience. There’s no need to keep what you write; just get it out and throw it away if you like. Writing, much like talking with other people, is a way to understand and process what you’re going through, and it can also help you not take your thoughts too literally; your mind in grief might suggest all sorts of odd things to you.
#4. Get fundamental.
Since grief is discombobulating, it pays to remember the basics of life. Try taking your shoes off, and feel the ground beneath you; take slow, deep breaths; drink water; eat good food (and really taste it); sleep.
#5. Make some new “family rules.”
If you’ve lost a central part of your nuclear family, it can shake the very foundation of the unit. Writing down some family rules in a place where everyone can see them is one way to introduce much-needed stability. Things such as forgiveness, getting plenty of sleep, respecting one another’s feelings, working together to get things done, and remembering to ask for help when you need it are great reminders that you are all in this together.
For more on dealing with grief read A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE END.
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Excerpted from A Beginner’s Guide to the End by BJ Miller, MD, and Shoshana Berger. Copyright © 2019 by authors. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.