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Coping With Loss.

Losing
a loved one can be a very stressful experience. It can affect you
physically, psychologically, and emotionally, and it can prevent you
from living a normal life. Therefore, it is important that you find a
way to cope with the loss of a loved one.

What to Expect

When
a loved one passes away, you may find yourself having to deal with a
variety of emotions that you have never experienced before. Upon
receiving news that your loved one has departed from the world, you may
experience a feeling of numbness, and this will be followed by various
emotional states, such as denial, disbelief, confusion, sorrow,
yearning, anger, despair, humiliation, and guilt.
It is natural to
experience such emotions, especially if your departed loved one means a
lot to you. Time will heal, and you will find that it is easier to
accept the loss as time passes.

Mourning a Loved One

Mourning
can be a very long process. It does not stop after the funeral ceremony
or after friends and relatives offer their condolences. It is a
personal thing, and it can last for years. You should not hide your
feelings or try to deny the fact that your loved one has passed away.
You will feel better after you cry or express your grief in words.
Grief may lead to physical conditions such as loss of appetite,
insomnia, fatigue, stomach pain, and intestinal problems, as well as
emotional reactions such as anxiety, extreme depression, and suicidal
contemplations.

Dealing with a Major Loss

Depending
on your relationship with the departed, you will have different
emotional reactions. Loss of a child will often result in a feeling of
injustice, because of unfulfilled ambitions as well as pointless
suffering. You may also feel that you could have done something to
prevent the death, even if you could not. The death of a spouse can
change the entire structure of the family. Other than feeling
grief-stricken, you may also start to worry about your new
responsibility as a single parent, especially if your spouse is the
breadwinner. You may have to seek legal advice on what to do after
your spouse’s death. Elderly people who lose a spouse will likely be extremely
depressed because they have lost a life companion, and they may
experience a great sense of loneliness.

Suicides
can also cause tremendous psychological and emotional distress. If you
lose a loved one to suicide, you may feel guilty, angry, and even
shameful. It is also possible that you will hold yourself responsible
for the suicide.

In
each instance the way an individual deals with their personal loss will
vary. For many people the first few days or weeks after a death of a
spouse or child they may be surrounded with friends and family to
comfort them. Instead of grieving however they may end up busying
themselves with making sure everyone else is taken care of, being sure
funeral arrangements are made, and any number of other things to keep
them busy and they may end up not truly feel the loss of their loved
one until the friends and family return to their daily lives. It is
then that their own personal grieving process many begin.

One
idea for dealing with your loss is to go for daily walks in the
morning.  Set a specific time and set your alarm.  This insures that
you don’t sleep through your walking time and gets you out of bed doing
something healthy. Many people find routine comforting and walking is a
great opportunity to be alone with your feelings. Another idea is to
keep a journal on hand. Write down or sketch all your thoughts. They
don’t have to make sense or be coherent, no one is going to see the
journal but you. Carry it with you when you are able so you can pull it
out at any time.

Living with Grief


No
matter how old you are your personal grieving process may last much
longer than anticipated. The important thing is to not let your grief
control your life. Don’t expect that the pain will ever go away
completely. You will always miss them and always love them.
Years
may go by where the sting of losing a person so close to you is still
as sharp as ever. Holidays and family gatherings may be especially
difficult and it’s at these times it is important to share your
feelings with a relative, friend, or counselor. Bottling up your
emotions can be dangerous and self destructive, making it harder to
heal.

There
are a number of things that you can do to overcome your grief. You can
seek the company of friends or relatives who can offer consolation, or
join support groups that consist of people who are also trying to cope
with loss. Express your emotions freely when you meet these people.
Make sure that you take care of your physical health, because an
unhealthy body can contribute to further emotional distress. Do not
resort to alcohol or drugs to relieve your pain. Come to terms with the
loss of your loved one and continue living a normal life. If you feel
that your grief is unbearable, consult a psychologist or a counselor
who is qualified in helping people overcome grief.

Helping Others Grieve

If
you
have friends or relatives who lost a loved one, you can do
something to help them overcome their grief too. First of all, you have
to encourage them to relate the emotional experiences that they are
going through. Listen to them and show them that you sympathize with
their pain. You can also help them do household chores or run errands.
Let them know that they
can call you anytime if they need someone to talk to. Remember that
grieving is different for everyone so be sensitive if their process
takes longer than expected. If the emotional
depression is too great, you can suggest that they seek professional
assistance. If you notice after awhile that they aren’t returning to
their normal routines, don’t be afraid to push a little. They may be
upset with you at first, but a daily phone call to make sure they got
out of bed and got on with their lives may be just what they need.

The Future

If
you
have the right support and attitude, you will overcome your grief
eventually. After some time, you will find that you are able to think
of your departed loved one in a positive way, and cherish the wonderful
moments that you shared with him or her. The pain will never be
completely gone, and there are things that will forever remind you of
the one you lost, the important thing is to remember the positive
memories you shared.

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