Nearly two years ago I lost a very special person in my life and since then my life has not been the same. I might look fine on the outside, but on the inside I have such tremendous pain that will never fully go away. Grief is difficult because a lot of people don’t want to talk about it or even acknowledge the fact that a loss has occurred. I had an extremely difficult time coping with the loss of this person initially and there is not a day where I do not feel immense heartache and sadness. Grief is not something you easily move past, but takes an incredible amount of work to get to a place where living becomes tolerable again. I have seen numerous psychologists and psychiatrists and am still working through the grief. Everyone’s grieving process is different and there is no timeline for it. I am going to share with you 3 strategies that help me when I am feeling really down or just wish my special loved one was here with me.
1. Go To Therapy Or A Grief Group
Over the past few years the stigma surrounding mental illness has been pushed to the sidelines as people are starting to realize that sometimes our brains need help too. Going to therapy doesn’t mean you are crazy or something is wrong with you. Therapy is a form of self-improvement so by going to therapy you are engaging in an act of self-love. If you are in a situation where you can afford therapy, I highly suggest seeing a therapist if you are finding it difficult to cope with the grief you are experiencing. Therapists have a lot of knowledge on the grieving process and different strategies that are effective in helping people cope. My therapist told me that it is helpful to talk about happy memories that you had with your loved one to help shift your thinking patterns from negative to positive. If you can’t afford to see a therapist, there are a lot of free grief groups that you can attend in order to receive the support you need and deserve.
2. Write A Letter To Your Loved One
I know we don’t live in an age where writing letters is common, but hear me out. There is something extremely comforting about handwriting a letter. You can put your emotions into the paper in a way that you can’t by typing on a computer. One of the first exercises my therapist had me do was write a letter to my loved one. At first I didn’t want to because I still couldn’t fathom the fact that he was gone. Writing the letter in the past tense made me feel that the loss was real and I was not ready to accept that at the time. However, I did it because I had trust in my doctor that she knew what was best. It was extremely difficult and the letter wasn’t even legible because the paper was covered in tears, but it was very healing.
If you are in the mental headspace that you feel ready to write a letter to your loved one, you will find that it will help you to remember the positive memories and less of the negative. The letter doesn’t have to be long, it can be whatever you want it to be. There are no rules. Just write whatever comes to mind and see what happens. This is more of a personal choice but I leave my letters by a window so my loved one can read them from above. This helps me to cope because I believe he is reading them and it provides me with a sense of comfort.
3. Do Things In Memory Of Your Loved One
This is one of the tips I have found most helpful in terms of coping since the passing of my loved one. Doing things that your loved one would have done gives you that feeling that they are still with you during that time. For example, my grandfather loved to watch sitcoms with me so every now and then I will sit down and watch our favorite show. In these moments I get the sensation that he is there beside me. This can be as simple as eating your loved one’s favorite meal for dinner one night. Whatever you decide to do, just know that you are honoring your loved one and he or she is right there next to you.