Grief and loss are one of the most difficult emotions to deal with. So many of us have lost friends, family members, acquaintances and even neighbors to this dreaded disease, called COVID -19. Whether it’s a broken heart which you are dealing with, or pain of bereavement, many of us have tasted the melancholic pain that comes from losing someone whom you expected to always be there.
A very special young lady prompted me to write this blog. Recently, I made a post on Facebook about needing a translator to assist me. A lovely lady, (whom I have never met before) almost immediately responded and translated what I required. While we were getting to know each other, me being me, I asked her why she was still up so late at night. (Eye- roll.) This lead to a few other nosy questions from my side, and she opened up to me about the recent loss of her beloved father. I honestly cannot even begin to contemplate losing my father. I don’t think that’s a pain I am strong enough to endure.
To be honest, when she spoke about her father and their pain from his loss, something truly tugged at my heart. There have been so many people in my extended family who suffered from COVID and also, a few deaths in the family due to Covid. Nobody can say that this dreaded virus hasn’t touched their lives. Naturally, being an empath, and having experienced grief and loss before, I know what it feels like to have to mourn the loss of a loved one all on your own.
A Good Day Can Instantly Turn Destructive
The saddest part about grief and loss is that it creeps up on you when you least expect it to. You could be having a good day, considering the circumstances. When I say good, I mean you woke up and took a shower, put on fresh new clothes and even paid attention to work and or your studies.
Then suddenly like an icy cold grip constricting the walls of your throat, grief overtakes you. All of your natural defences cannot help you in that moment of pain and turmoil. Understand that all the emotions you are feeling right now are an absolutely normal part of grief and loss and eventually, healing. Give yourself a break and don’t be too hard on your own soul. Rest assured that you will get through this!
Momentary Emotions And Circumstances
You must know that whatever you are experiencing is momentary. Light is often borne from darkness, so do not feel like you won’t make it through this. Every trial that you have faced brought you where you are today. Take some time out to reflect on the past and your greatest trial and the things you thought you would never make it through. You overcame your obstacles or you wouldn’t be here today facing another one.
Quick Question For You
If your loved one was still alive, do you honestly believe that they would want you to destroy yourself because they are no longer around? I think not.
Now that we have discussed your emotions briefly, lets talk about healing and the different stages of grief which you will experience before you are completely healed. If you try to suppress any of these emotions. They will eventually lead to self-destruction. You will not heal completely. The pain will keep returning silently and show up at odd moments. So, you must face whatever touches your mind, even as fleeting or numbing as the feeling may be.
What Are The Seven Stages Of Grief?
- Shock and Denial
If you lost someone unexpectedly and you didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to them, you won’t be able to accept their loss immediately. At first you will be filled with denial. What’s even worst is having lost someone you love, and you didn’t even get to make peace with them before they passed away.
- Pain & Guilt
Due to COVID many of or loved ones may have experienced an intense amount of physical pain. Some of them may have even passed away alone in a hospital. The guilt of being the one to survive COVID can eat at you like a leach sucking the life out of you. You will feel like you should have taken on their pain. You will question fate and wish it was not them but you who should have passed on.
- Anger And Bargaining
Pain, which is usually suppressed, is expressed as a form of anger. Many times, our pride prevents us from revealing our true emotions. We want to be brave because it’s difficult to become a burden on our friends and family. Anger keeps us from expressing the pain that we cannot let go of. You will wish that things could have been different. Those ‘if only’s’ will not leave your heart in peace.
The divide between sadness and depression is often blurred when it comes to grief. You won’t know how or when your sadness became full blown depression if you don’t deal with certain emotions head on. You have to take note of your emotions no matter how strong they may be, and make a point of reflecting and understanding your feelings.
A Small Milestone Towards Healing
A day will arrive where you will get tired of being unhappy. You will eventually wish that you could feel better like everyone else around you. When this day arrives, although the pain will still be there, like a dull throbbing ache, you will be on your way to healing and moving on.
Dealing With Your New Life
When you finally feel like you want to lift that weight off your shoulders. You will start thinking of tomorrow. You won’t feel like you are on survival mode any longer, trying to make it through this day, here and now. You will bravely face any obstacles before you, most probably with a lighter heart.
Hope And Acceptance
One day, just like that, out of the blue, you will find that your heart has adjusted to the loss. Understanding and perspective will dawn on you. You will even begin to hope again. You will feel a semblance of your old self reappearing. You will get an internal reminder, that its time to move on to the next stage of your life.
Every single one of us handles our emotions differently. Some of us are emotionally mature and can heal within a shorter time span than others. However, you cannot rush yourself through each phase. If you are feeling stuck at a particular phase its probably because you pushed yourself too hard. You are most probably suppressing emotions and lying to yourself to avoid dealing with your intense pain.
How Do You Help Yourself?
- Nobody can help you out of your rut if you don’t make an active decision to take charge of your life. If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions, sometimes finding a trustable companion to speak to, can be your first step to healing.
- Embrace the memories , both good and bad.
- Love yourself. How would you help a friend in your situation? Would you force them to get over things?
- If speaking to someone isn’t helping then maybe speak to your family practitioner to refer you to a psychologist or a psychiatrist for anti-depressants and anxiety medication.
- Take baby steps and set yourself healing milestones.
- Reward yourself for the positive changes which you make towards healing.
- Find a journal and record your emotions if speaking about it feels difficult.
- Go for regular massages and heal yourself through self-care and eating healthy.
- Don’t ignore your friends and families offer for help. You shouldn’t allow yourself to sink into a hole of darkness.
- Look for new hobbies and interests that can distract your mind from falling through a maze of melancholy.
- Speak to others who have been through similar situations as yours and dealt with their grief and loss successfully.
- Join a group. Humans move in packs and we are not meant to live in isolation. You will be surprised at the amount of people who have experienced similar situations as you. Some of them may provide insight to help you to heal.
- If you are in lock down, become part of online groups and stay in touch with people digitally.
Perhaps the loss of your loved one will have a huge impact on your life and change who you are. You should turn your pain and sadness into something constructive by channelling your emotions into a hobby or new interest that can eventually serve you and be good for you. I don’t know about you, but whenever I am hurting, reaching out to others who are worst off than me, often helps me to forget my pain. There is light after darkness. The sun always rises after the darkest night. Never lose hope. This too will pass you by. You can only grow and learn from this experience. I wish you a healthy healing and recovery and peace of mind.
Have you recently lost a loved one? Are you experiencing untold grief at the moment?
Please feel free to share your story with us. You may just be able to help someone through sharing your experience!
Take care of yourself. Until next time, Shamz