Grief. It’s an individual and private thing. I’ve learned that when grieving for the loss of a person, everyone will act and react differently. Like an onion, grief happens in layers. The deeper the love, the deeper the grief. The deeper the relationship challenges, the deeper the grief, too. Whether you are grieving the loss of a person through death, going through anticipatory grief or grieving any other type of loss, this article is your guide to grief and loss with 10 steps to healing, peace, and joy.The deeper the love, the deeper the grief. The deeper the challenges, the deeper the grief, too. Click To Tweet
When my parents died, my sister and I grieved differently. Even though we are sisters, our relationship with our parents was very different. Even though my parents were involved in my kids’ lives, their relationship with their grandparents was all unique. As such, so was their grief.
Although grief is individual, it’s not always easy and there are some things you can do to help heal and feel greater peace and joy.
Your Guide to Grief and Loss: 10 Steps to Healing, Peace, and Joy
1. Every person feels and grieves differently.
Don’t be worried if you find you are having a harder time healing than another person, even over the same loss. This usually shows how close you and the loved one really were and what kind of relationship you had. Some people will not cry, while it may take others weeks or months to stop crying. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. However that shows up for you is perfect and exactly where you need to be in any given moment.There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Click To Tweet
2. Be gentle with yourself.
Stop the coulda, shoulda, woulda. Don’t let the “if-only” feelings take over. “If only I’d been nicer.” “If only I’d made time to visit more often.” “If only I’d tried to do more.” You did the best you could at the time. Period. Don’t blame yourself. Don’t blame others. Give yourself some space to work through your feelings. I understand that guilt is a real thing and our egos can keep the guilt and shame train going for years and years. Let guilt off of your train and send it away with love knowing you did the best you could as did everyone else. Think about what you would say to your best friend if they were ‘shoulding’ on themselves and then follow that advice.Think about what you would say to your best friend if they were 'shoulding' on themselves and then follow that advice. Click To Tweet
3. Cry if you need to.
Let your emotions out. Feelings buried alive never, never, ever die. The more you can allow your feelings to rise to the surface and move through them, the closer you are to healing and peace. Remember that if you allow others to live in your head rent-free, you can’t BE free. If you feel like you need to talk to someone, I encourage you to get help. Talk to a counselor, coach or another professional who can support you through this difficult time.
4. If you have a furry baby, play with or pet them.
Play with your pets or take time to pet them. Pets can tell when you’re sad, and research has shown that petting your cat, dog, etc.. helps stress levels for both you and your pet. If you don’t have a furry baby, find someone you know who does and visit them. If that’s not possible, perhaps find a place to volunteer with pets.
5. Give yourself grace.
Remember, you will heal in your own way and on your own time. It isn’t a contest. Have the patience of Job. Do your best to refrain from comparing your situation to others. Most often, you are comparing your entire life to someone else’s highlights. Here are some helpful ways to prevent comparison.You will heal in your own way and on your own timeline. Click To Tweet
6. Music heals, promotes healing and changes your energy.
Music is a universal language and can be a very soothing way to cope when you’re feeling loss and pain. You can certainly listen to sad songs as a way to remember the person or relationship and FEEL. However, I recommend shifting to more positive songs to help you shift your energy. Increase your vibration in a few short minutes through music! Check out my various Spotify lists to help give you some ideas.
7. Journal or write.
If you find yourself stuck after the loss of a loved one, consider writing them a letter. Include all your feelings towards their death – anger, sorrow, grief, regret. Writing down your feelings can be therapeutic. You may even want to burn the letter once you’ve written it as a ritual, per se. If you do this, imagine the smoke burning up all the negative, sad emotions and replacing them with peace, healing, and joy.
Forgive. Forgiveness. It’s easier said than done, right? If you didn’t have an opportunity to share your feelings before your loved one died, know that you can still say what’s on your mind. Imagine saying “I love you” or “goodbye” and know that they can and do hear you. Forgive yourself for anything you think you did ‘wrong’. Forgive yourself for judging yourself or others. Forgive unsupportive people in your life. If they knew better, they would do better. Forgive GUS (God, Universe, Source) for anything you feel GUS has done to hurt you. Here’s a good resource about forgiveness. Here’s a forgiveness exercise that may be helpful for you.
9. Find and do things you enjoy.
Be sure to take time just for you. Watch a funny movie or do something that makes you smile. Sometimes, when we’ve been in intense situations with a huge time investment, such as caregiving or going through a tough life situation, it can be difficult to find ourselves again. Finding one thing that you enjoy and making time for that while you are in the midst of grieving can be really helpful to feel more aligned. Love yourself. The more you love yourself and the more you are gentle with yourself, the more you create space for healing, love, and light. Another alternative here is to remember who you enjoy spending time with and make time to get coffee/tea, lunch or catch a movie with them.
10. Remember and honor your loved one.
This can show up in so many ways. Perhaps you can keep a family tradition alive. Maybe talk about your loved one and share positive memories with others. Sometimes, starting a new tradition inspired by your loved one or your family can be helpful in moving forward. Think about and plan your lasting life legacy. One thing I did was interview my kids separately and blogged about their respective answers. This was a fun exercise and a good way to embrace and hone my legacy. You can check out these interviews here. I created a Legacy Starter Journal to begin the conversation. You can get that here.
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Above all, give yourself TIME, space, grace and love to grieve your loss.
What would you add to this list? Comment below!
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