There is nothing quite like losing a loved one and coming to terms with never seeing them again. Grief affects everyone in different ways, and there is no linear experience or timeline you need to follow. It’s only natural to take some time from your day-to-day to process the loss you feel and assess how you are going to move forward.
Sadly, some of the hardest and most stressful times following a loved one’s death come in the immediate aftermath of their passing. From obtaining the death certificate to notifying friends and family, arranging a funeral and talking to banks, building societies and more, it’s a herculean task to get through regardless of whether the death was expected from a long illness or health condition or completely unexpected.
While everyone reacts differently and will navigate this time in their own way, it can be helpful to have some tips to help you take care of yourself, all while processing recent events and getting all the important details and factors in place to ensure everything is taken care of legally.
Let It Out
It doesn’t matter who you lose, be it a parent, spouse, child, family member or treasured friend; the pain can be a lot to deal with, and you will likely experience a range of emotions as you deal with your grief. A death in your immediate circle can mean the loss of the future you anticipated and the person you loved. You might feel anger, disappointment, fear or even indifference. But what you feel doesn’t matter; allow yourself to feel it all. There is no other way to process what you are experiencing unless you experience it all. Bottling it up will cause more damage in the long term and have detrimental effects on your long-term physical and mental health.
Remember, there is no “right” way to grieve. You are entitled to feel any way about the loss you are experiencing, and you should never let others make you feel bad for you to react in the wake of this devastating event.
There are many organisations you can get support from in your time of need. If the passing was down to cancer, for example, Then it is likely you have come into contact with Macmillan nurses who will be able to guide and support you on what to do next. Alternatively, talk to family and friends and get someone to help you with the next steps following the loss and what you need to do.
Break down your tasks and allow others to help you complete them, be it calling family and friends to let them know, talking to funeral directors, or informing work, insurance companies or creditors, for example. You and neither should you be able to do everything on your own. Lean on others for support during this time.
Take It One Day At A Time
It might be all you can do to put one foot in front of the other or even get out of bed. And that’s ok. Take it slow and approach things one at a time. Try not to overload your days with too much to do, and give yourself time to breathe so things don’t become too overwhelming or more overwhelming than they already are. Sure, there will be things you need to organise and arrange, such as finding a probate attorney, getting the will read and planning the funeral, but try not to do too much at once and take it one day at a time.
Prioritise anything that is urgent and take care of those items first. Go at your own pace, and don’t force yourself to do everything all at once. If you need to, ask others to take control of you if you don’t feel up to it.
Join A Support Group
Even if it doesn’t feel like it, there will be someone who has experienced what you are going through now and has come out of it on the other side. Joining a support group can help you to connect with others. There are a multitude of different support groups for people experiencing a wide range of losses for various reasons. You can search online for grief support groups to find people who have experienced the loss you are going through right now to help you find comfort and support.
You can join in-person groups or find solace in virtual groups and chat rooms where you can remain more anonymous.
Don’t Neglect Yourself
No matter how bad you feel or how much you want to curl up and hide away, you need to make sure you are taking care of yourself as much as possible, or you have someone else looking out for you. You still need to eat, stay hydrated and, if possible, get some sleep; your doctor can help you if you are struggling to sleep. Being able to support yourself this way can help your body keep you going and avoid the real possibility that you are harming your own health during this incredibly difficult period.
Don’t forget your doctor can help you if you are struggling with your health; You need to talk to them if you are feeling any physical symptoms of grief to rule out any health conditions. Increased anxiety, stress and heightened emotions can all wreak havoc on your health, so if you feel anything of concern, talk to your doctor to rule out anything untoward.
Losing someone you love is one of the worst experiences you can have in life. Grieving a loss is a testament to the love you felt for them during their lifetime and what you have lost as you continue life without them. There is no end to your grief; you will never not mourn a person you are missing from your life; you will simply find ways to manage and cope and adapt. But in the initial days, once someone has passed, being able to care for yourself and express how you feel can make all the difference to how you get through this period and how you start the process of picking up the pieces and figuring out your new way of life.