Everyone deals with grief and loss in a different way.
We all know that death is a natural part of life. However, losing someone close to us can be an overwhelming and difficult process to get through.
There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to how to grieve, how long the grieving should last, or when it should end.
According to Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, there are five stages of grief. Although they do not appear in any particular order, most people will have undergone one or more of these stages.
Everybody has their own unique ways of dealing with death and loss. Some may not even experience these five stages at all.
You might have a smorgasbord of feelings ranging from helplessness to confusion and shock. When you are in denial, your brain goes into survival mode and helps pace your feelings of grief.
Pain doesn’t exist and you’re in a state of disbelief that you’ve just lost someone dear to you.
You could feel angry and believe that the world is unfair for taking away someone you care about. This anger could be irrational and directed at someone whom you can blame for your grief.
But if you manage it well, it can disperse quickly enough to allow for the healing process to set in.
At this stage, you yearn for life to return to what it was before the loss. Perhaps you will make sacrifices or offer something in exchange for the return of the person you have lost.
In this bargaining stage, you will have a lot of “what if’s” and “if only’s” popping up in your head. “If only I had asked him to stay. Then he would not have taken that flight.”
As opposed to the denial stage, this phase is where one come to grips with the inevitability of the loss. At this stage, one feels the emptiness and grief going deep into an abyss.
Although it seems like this stage would never end, this feeling of intense sadness is a natural response to grief.
In this final stage of grief, you begin to acknowledge that your loss is real. You’re ready to embrace this new reality.
But acceptance doesn’t mean it is all good again. It only means you are learning to live with this and making the appropriate adjustments.
If there is a phase after the loss that allows for new relationships or renewing ties, this is the one.
The Kübler-Ross grief model might help you predict how your emotions will develop during this difficult time. Here are ten ways to help you deal with the blow of grief and loss.
Your bereavement experience is personal and unique. Nobody can have the exact same relationship with the person you have lost. So, no one can really pinpoint for you exactly what you are going through.
This is something that you need to experience on your own. Feel free to do, feel, say, or think whatever you choose to assist you in your healing process.
You might feel uncomfortable dealing with grief and loss, but never suppress those feelings. Negative emotions that are not dealt with in a healthy manner may lead to psychological and physiological issues.
During this difficult time, you may experience a variety of unwanted emotions. Confusion, anger, sadness, shock, disbelief, guilt, regret, emptiness, confusion, and fear may appear during this challenging period.
Let them come, as you are not able to avoid them. But know that you do not need to battle this alone.
Seek support from family, friends and loved ones or go to a mental health practitioner, if necessary.
Grief and mourning are not the same. Grief is made up of your thoughts and emotions internally. In contrast, mourning is an outward expression of your grief.
There is no telling how long your mourning period may be. Take as much time as you need to heal, move on, and adjust to the changes created by this loss.
When you are hurting or grieving, time tends to go by really slowly. Remember lying on a dental chair with your mouth open while your dentist worked on your cavities? That 2-minute felt like 2 hours, yes?
Just like a 2-hour dinner with someone you love seems to fly by in a split second. (Ok, that was an exaggeration, but I think you get what I mean).
It’s impossible to say how long it will take you to recover from your loss. Take as much time as you need.
Losing someone you love means things will never go back to how they used to be. No matter how hard you try. Therefore, you would need to shift your focus.
Deep down, you know that your loved one would want you to carry on living your life happily. Get yourself occupied by doing something that makes you happy.
When someone is gone physically, they are never truly gone. Those who have passed on will always be with you here in spirit, in your thoughts, and in your heart.
You still have those memories and that is what keeps them alive in your heart. Don’t focus on their passing. Instead, cherish the memories, celebrate their lives, and let their legacy live on through you.
Don’t let pride get in your way of allowing yourself to lean on the people who care about you. It is only natural to feel uncomfortable accepting help, even when it is extended to you.
But just think about this — under the same circumstances, you would have done the same for another person.
So why don’t you just let your friends and family be there for you? It could be just a kind word, back-and-forth text messages, or a phone call. Do not shut them out.
Every loss brings with it a lesson or a message. It could be a hint for you to make a change in your life or accept something you can’t change.
During this challenging period, you might realize that you are stronger than you ever were. While you’re still grieving, you could anticipate that the next stage of your life may be one filled with self-discovery.
The loss can also indirectly inspire you to find that life is worth living and that you will savor every moment of it. You might learn about living a simple life free of resentment, envy, or greed.
Whatever the lesson may be, allow yourself to take it in. It will help you progress and grow in the next phase of your life.
Losing someone means there is a void in your life. That empty spot would need to be occupied in due course. Therefore, it is never too early to look ahead to the future.
Do not think that you’re doing injustice or dishonoring the memory of the one you have lost by doing this. Because that person would like you to move on and enjoy a happy life.
Set a deadline for yourself to redefine your life in order to fill the void within.
Start a new hobby. Establish new relationships. Making travel plans. These are some ways that can help you fill up this gap and ease your pain.
If your grief becomes unbearable, it is time to seek help. Experts in grief counselling or hypnotherapists can work with you on those bottled-up emotions.
Hypnotherapy helps release feelings of grief that may be triggered long after you have moved on from your grieving period.
Hypnosis works on the subconscious level to help you go back to the past to address these feelings. Your feelings of loss and sadness can be healed and transformed into loving and meaningful memories.
When you are experiencing hypnotherapy, you are actually going through a session where you are guided into a state of relaxation and at the same time an altered state of awareness.
Better known as trance, this is the state where your subconscious mind is very responsive to suggestions.
Here is a hypnosis script you can use to find calm and peace during your grieving period. It can help you shift your focus from sadness and pain to cherishing memories of the person who had left you.
[Hypnosis script begins]
As you are sitting comfortably in your favorite chair…allow your eyes to close and just relax…take a deep breath…as you are now feeling calm and comfortable…you realize how fortunate life can be to share it with (name)…although this important part of your life is over…you are ready to move forward knowing that (name) will always be with you in your thought…in your heart… and in spirit…
As you breath and feel very relaxed…deeply relaxed…more and more relaxed…you are aware that this special person has shared an important journey with you…but it is just time for (name) to say goodbye…although he/she is no longer physically present…you will always have cherished memories of him/her…
You are aware that the universe has a plan for you…and through (name)…you are able to discover the meaning that this event has brought to you…and as the memory of (name) live on within you…you realize that these plans are beginning to unfold…
And they are guiding you to move on…so that you can discover a greater purpose to your life…that you are meant to be here to fulfill something…one that the universe have set before you…
Even though (name) is not physically here anymore…the loss made you realize how much precious memories you still have…because of this you find that…
To carry on the next phase of your life…with the peace and the knowledge that you still have a role to play…in the present and the now…
Each day is a new beginning and as time passes by…your grief and pain will fade away…but the memories of that someone who has gone before you…will be the driving force that will move you forward towards the future…
As you are now completely relaxed…with each breath…you are feeling safe and secure…you feel that you are now in a place where you find calm and peace…and you will find the meaning you need…to help move on towards the future…in that calmness…you know that (name) will always be with you…
And you can say what you really need to say to him/her…you can bid him/her that last farewell and allow (name) to be in a better place…be empowered knowing that you are filled with hope and anticipation towards what lies ahead…
You now have a new focus…and you will use this newly empowered self to be the best version of yourself…in this calmness of a safe and secure space…you make peace with the past…and quietly plan for an awesome future.
Now…as you are beginning to open your eyes…you are opening your heart to new opportunities…and before you are fully awake…you are allowing the power of your subconscious mind to fill your being with warmth…
A safe secure feeling…with hope and anticipation to a future out there waiting for you to make the best of it…and right now you can open your eyes and awaken and be back here in the present.