How to survive the death of a loved one: 8 tips
It is not easy for everyone to adapt to difficult life situations and even more so to cope with real grief. In this material, we will talk about how to survive the death of a loved one and help others cope.
Embrace your pain
The first thing to realize is that you don’t have to fight your pain and try to banish it from your life like a foreign body. It is perfectly normal to feel pain, even if it is severe, and, in fact, it is important to do so, because it is how we adapt to the new circumstances in life. It is also worth reconciling ourselves to the fact that the pain will probably never completely go away, and on important dates – the birthday of the deceased or the anniversary of death – it will come back. You need to remember this and not be surprised by your feelings.
Listen to yourself
Each person is different, which means that everyone experiences death in their own way. There can be no general rules. Some people need a long period of adjustment after the death of a loved one, while others, on the contrary, will try to get into the rhythm of normal life as soon as possible. Either option is normal, you should not pay attention to the opinion of society, which always “knows how to do better. Think about what will help you get through the death of a loved one, and do it.
Seek answers to difficult questions
The loss of a loved one poses the most important question for a person: what awaits us all after death? And it makes sense. Do not turn away from the search for answers – often grief becomes an important stage in the personal development of man. Some will find answers in religious literature, others in scientific or philosophical literature. Either way, simply turning a blind eye to the problem is unlikely to work.
Talk about what happened
Not all people are ready to discuss the death of a loved one, but most sooner or later need to talk. It is very important that you have someone to do it with, and there is a rule to remember: if the other party even tries to devalue your grief, run away from him with all the legs. He certainly can not help you, only harm. If you can not find a suitable person to talk to, talk to a psychologist. An experienced specialist not only listen to everything, but also give advice that will help in your situation.
“Let go” of the deceased
Speaking of psychologists: often experts advise to mentally “let go” of the deceased. The fact is that death – even death from old age – always happens suddenly, it is almost impossible to prepare for it. It seems that you have not finished all the affairs with your deceased loved one, have not told him all that you wanted, have not given him the necessary amount of warmth and understanding. Such feelings and emotions can be a heavy burden that will prevent you from experiencing grief. Therefore, it is worth mentally saying goodbye to the person – to forgive him for his insults, to thank him for his good deeds, to resolve contentious issues. Often, to do this, psychologists advise to write a symbolic letter to the deceased, which will help put everything in its place.
Restructure your life – limit negative factors
After the death of a loved one, we are weakened and vulnerable, and any little thing can throw us off balance. To make the grief process less painful, you should take care of yourself and try to create the most comfortable conditions. Exclude communication with not the most pleasant acquaintances, do not do things that you can not stand, change your job if you feel the need. All of this will reduce daily stress and save energy for more important things.
When is it worth seeking help from a psychologist?
Yes, everyone experiences the loss of a loved one in their own way, and some have it harder than others. Here it is important to listen to yourself: if you feel that you cannot cope with the psychological burden yourself, and even after several months (or even after a year) the pain of loss is as strong as in the first days, it is better to talk to a psychologist. Prolonged emotional instability after the death of a loved one, physical exhaustion and increased anxiety are also reasons to consult a specialist. Often such an event reveals psychological problems that have not previously manifested themselves in acute form.
How do you help another person who is experiencing the loss of a loved one?
Given the above, it is worth remembering a few important things. First, do not impose your opinion on how to properly handle grief. He is free to do as he wants. Secondly, your main task – to make it clear that you are always ready to support him: without persistence and obsession, offer to go somewhere together sometimes, to meet in a cafe, to talk on the phone. Thirdly, do not strenuously distract people from thinking about the deceased loved one – it’s quite normal if he wants to discuss what happened and remember your loved one. Finally, fourthly, if you see that over time he is sinking more and more into despair and grief, it is worth offering him to see a psychologist: the main thing is to do it gently and without unnecessary pressure.
How to get over the death of a loved one
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The topic of death is often considered taboo. Death is inevitable, but we try to live as if we ourselves and the people we care about will never die. When we are confronted with the death of loved ones or our own imminent demise, we literally lose our minds with shock. Despite this, death is the only thing in life that is not in doubt, so being able to come to terms with this fact is an integral part of human existence.
- People often feel that they should not cry, get angry, or show other emotions about death. It should be understood that grief is a natural and normal reaction to death. If you need to hide your emotions, take the time and space to be alone with yourself.
- When you are alone, do whatever you need to do to give vent to your emotions and tension. Scream, cry, write, ponder; climb a mountain and shout into the void; pound a punching bag until your fingers go numb. Some people find it helpful to write down their feelings in a journal. This method will help you cope if you don’t want to tell other people how you feel.
- If you can’t get away from work, make good use of the time at the end of the day. Get a babysitter to watch your children. If the children are mourning the loss, they will be supervised by an adult and you will have time to be alone.
- Taking time off due to the death of a loved one is a healthy and normal practice. At the same time, it is not normal to quit your job, pull down the curtains, and withdraw into yourself. It is not necessary to forget the deceased person, but it is also not normal to dwell on death all the time.
- You can make a photo album and look through it every time you miss it. Photos may not be the most pleasant experience, but this way you will remember all the wonderful moments from the past.
- If the person was very close to you, tell your family, children, or friends about how they influenced your life. You can even inspire others to be as kind, caring, or spunky as your deceased friend was.
- If you feel hurt, don’t keep those feelings to yourself. Sometimes you just need to be heard. The listener doesn’t have to say much.
- You must trust the listener to make sure what is said stays between you. Your conversation should remain a secret. You have had a traumatic experience and deserve the right to privacy. If you can’t trust the people closest to you, talk to a therapist, psychologist or priest.
Start moving on with your life. Live in the present, not the past. It is important to mourn the loss of a loved one. But it is equally important to keep living. Keep following your dreams and focus on your life goals. Death teaches us that you cannot take life for granted. Live fervently, joyfully, and with purpose, as if every day could be your last.
- Think rationally: was it really my fault or were there circumstances that got in my way? Is there something I can fix now, or is it a thing of the past?
- If you still feel guilty, talk to someone who was also close to the deceased; they will surely comfort you and confirm that it was not your fault.
Become a support to others. If you are grieving, others may be grieving, too. Support each other. Talk about the person who has died, share memories and support each other through a difficult time. Don’t close your door to others, even if you need to be alone. You and others need emotional support now more than ever.
- You can store these things in the attic, basement, garage or storage room. You just need to get all reminders of the person out of your sight as soon as possible.
- Leave a few things as a memento. A piece of jewelry, a mug or a favorite book of the deceased person will keep the memory of the person alive. If you keep all the things in the closet, however, they will pull you back in time.
- Some people are ashamed to see a therapist. There is no shame in listening to someone else’s advice when you do not know how to go on. If you’re embarrassed by this fact, you can just do not tell anyone about visiting a specialist.
- Before making an appointment, read reviews about local therapists. Find a specialist near you with the help of the internet. Gather information about the therapist’s areas of expertise, training and experience, and check the cost of services.
The stages of accepting the inevitable. In 1969, the Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross published her book On Death and Dying, in which she described her work with dying patients. She developed a model she called the five stages of acceptance of the inevitable: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Everyone accepts the inevitable differently, and these stages don’t necessarily follow a set order, but this model will help you understand what’s happening to you.  X Source of Information
The denial stage. Your first reaction to the news of the death of someone dear to you will be denial of the reality of the situation. This is a normal reaction that provides an explanation for the emotions that are overwhelming you; indeed, denial is a defense mechanism that blunts the immediate shock. It guides you through the first wave of pain and confusion.
Anger stage. When the masking effect of denial begins to wear off, you will be overwhelmed by the painful reality of the situation. If you are not prepared for the pain, you will subconsciously begin to reflect it on others: friends, family, strangers, or inanimate objects. Try to keep an objective perception and be aware of this refraction. You can’t do anything about your feelings, but you can keep them from controlling you.  X Source of Information
Bargaining Stage. Many people respond to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability by trying to take control of the situation. In the terminally ill, this often takes the form of desperate attempts to cling to life. In grieving people, it takes the form of reflections: if only I had been around then. if only we had gotten to the hospital a little earlier. if only, if only, if only.
The depression stage. When the desperate bargaining begins to subside, you will be unable to escape the reality of the situation. You may worry about funeral expenses or acutely feel regret. Feelings of desolation, sadness, and loneliness may occur; the prospect of a future life may drive you to despair. This is part of the healing process. Give yourself time.