Grief is a natural, inevitable part of everyone’s life. Meanwhile, most of us are so unprepared for it. In our society, the topic of death is taboo in some ways. Sure, we don’t shy away from it in pop culture. And yes, mainstream media will blanket a celebrity’s death with 24/7 coverage. But does anyone talk about mourning, loss, and profound sorrow?
Our collective avoidance of such universal conditions contributes to us being so blindsided by grief. That’s why I take every opportunity to discuss aspects of this process. To follow, we will explore some of the crucial nuances behind the experience.
Some of What You May Not Know About Grief
- Grief is not linear or predictable. At times, you might feel guilty for being okay. In a flash, you may worry that you’ve lost your mind.
- There is no one way to grieve. Everyone goes through bereavement at their own pace. You may cry all the time. You may barely cry. This is not open to judgment. Don’t cast your expectations on someone else. Don’t try to live up to what anyone else expects of you.
- You will need a support system. But, be warned: The death of a loved one can cause some strange behaviors in the people around you.
- Most people don’t know how to talk about death — and they have no interest in learning. Brace yourself for “well-intentioned” comments like “they’re in a better place” or “at least they’re not suffering anymore.”
- Grief shifts its form but it never vanishes. It changes you.
3 Reasons Why Grief Comes In Waves
1. Re-Read Everything Above
We live in a culture that forces you to learn about grief as it is happening to you. It’s unavoidable that you will feel lost and vulnerable. In these moments, grief can overwhelm you like a surprising wave at the beach.
2. You’ve Jumped Timelines
You now exist in a new reality. Someone you love has died and this may feel impossible to accept. You literally may forget. You’ll wake up one morning and have to remind yourself of the loss. It will make it feel fresh again and boom… here comes another wave. Let’s face it, can anyone ever fully adjust to life without a loved one?
3. There are Triggers Everywhere
Some triggers are obvious. Anniversaries, holidays, and birthdays can awaken the pain. Meanwhile, the real wave-makers are the tiny moments you don’t see coming. You walk past someone who is wearing the same perfume or cologne as the person you’ve lost. It could be another person’s posture or outfit or pronunciation of a word that makes you miss your loved one like never before.
How Can You Deal With This?
No two people grieve the same. By proxy, no two people cope with grief in the same way. Therefore, the suggestions below are meant more as guidelines. Take what is useful and develop from there.
- Practice Self-Care: You may not be able to stop the waves but you can make yourself strong enough to ride them. Safeguard your habits related to eating, sleeping, exercise, and stress management.
- Go at Your Own Pace: People will say “be strong” and “it’s time to move on.” They probably mean well but they really should mind their own business. Only you can set that agenda. Feel what you need to feel without guilt or shame.
- Relieve the Isolation: Find books or videos about people who have endured grief. Connect yourself to the world’s largest community.
You should also consider the option of talking to a professional about what you are feeling. Grief counseling is an essential part of recovery. Let’s connect so I can help you learn to cope with your grief in a way that honors you and your loved one.