Some tips for coping effectively after the loss of a loved one:
- Find people who care. Speak with relatives and friends who can understand your feelings of loss. Join a support group with others experiencing similar losses.
- Express yourself. Tell others how you are feeling; it will help you to work through the grieving process.
- Take care of yourself. Eat well and get plenty of rest. Consult with your family physician about any concerns.
- Accept that life is for the living. It takes effort to begin to live again in the present and not dwell on the past.
- Postpone major life changes. Try to hold off on making any major changes, such as moving, remarrying, changing jobs or having another child. Give yourself time to adjust to your loss.
- Be patient. It can take months or even years to absorb a major loss and accept your changed life.
- Seek outside help when necessary. If your grief seems like it is too much to bear, seek professional help. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
You can be there for someone through the grieving process as well. Here are some ways you can help:
- Share the sorrow. Allow them — even encourage them — to talk about their feelings of loss and share memories of their loved one.
- Don’t offer false comfort. Offer simple expressions of sorrow and take time to listen.
- Offer practical help. Baby-sitting, cooking and running errands are all ways to help someone who is in the midst of grieving.
- Be patient. Remember that it can take a long time to recover from a major loss. Make yourself available to talk.
- Encourage professional help when necessary. Recommend professional help when you feel someone is experiencing too much pain to cope alone.
It takes time to fully absorb the impact of a major loss. While you never stop missing a loved one who has died, the pain eases over time and allows. The length of time spent grieving is different for each person – for some people, grief lasts a few months; for others, grieving may take years. Coping with grief takes support, patience and effort. When the pain of loss eventually lessens, you will be left with cherished memories of your loved one.
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