Coping with the death of a loved one is hard. You miss them. You wish you had just one more moment with them to tell them again how much you love them. It hurts. Then……it hurts some more. And, it just doesn’t seem to stop hurting.
After the first few days of making the arrangements, when visiting friends and family who gathered for the memorial service have gone back home, you return home to an empty house or apartment and think now what do I do? How do I cope?
Recognize that grief often manifests itself in physical symptoms – headaches, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping or desire to sleep too much.
Acknowledge that you have experienced a loss. Grief is a natural result.
Open your heart and your routines to allow others to help you and support you. They may feel awkward and may not know how to express their love and support. They may be experiencing the same loss and grief. Sometimes just a hug and sitting together for a bit can bring a measure of comfort.
Share memories of your loved one. Remember and honor their legacy. It’s the little things, the individual moments, the shared memories that will begin to form the bonds of finding resilience.
Take care to maintain healthy habits and not to develop any unhealthy ones. While a bag of potato chips or some chocolate chip cookies might provide some temporary pleasure, in the long term, it will present new problems.
Start simple. Set goal – perhaps walking twice a week with a friend or writing in your journal before you go to bed at night. Pick something small, something achievable, and something that will be good for you.
Take action. Just start doing whatever you have decided to do. Resilience is built one step at a time, one goal that is achieved and maintained at a time……… until you are ready to add a next step.
Recognize that there will be obstacles, but Be like the willow tree. When the winds are strong, you can bend pretty far. You can survive the storm and your branches will find their right again.