Life has a few serious challenges it throws at us during our time on Earth. For women, childbirth is a challenge most momentous – yet one of the most fulfilling experiences a woman will ever encounter. For men, one of the biggest challenges in life is keeping their significant other happy – something some men take the better part of a lifetime to get right! No matter how prepared you think you are – nothing can prepare you for the challenge of losing someone you love dearly. Loving Ashes offer some advice on dealing with the loss of a loved one – and separate myth from fact when it comes to dealing with grief and loss…
No matter how proud and strong you try to remain, lean on your support base for, well, support. Your support base is your family and friends that love you and want only the best for you, so pocket your pride and let these caring individuals help you though this emotional time.
Myth: If you don’t cry, you aren’t sorry about your loss.
Fact: Crying is normal, but it is not the only response to loss. Not crying doesn’t mean you don’t feel sorry, it just means you have different ways of showing your sadness.
While you might immediately surround yourself with loved ones when loss strikes, grief can feel very lonely. Some individuals might want to offer you support, but do not understand what you are going through. Grief support groups are run by those who have lost loved ones, and attendees are individuals going through the same heart-wrenching experience as you are.
Myth: It will get easier if you ignore it.
Fact: Ignoring your grief will only cause it to manifest bigger and uglier at a later stage. With grief, the only way past it is through it.
Birthdays, milestones and anniversaries are the times that your loss is going to hit you the hardest. While experiencing an emotional onslaught at these times is perfectly normal, you can prepare for these in advance by ensuring you are surrounded by loved ones at these times – minimising the emotional effect these days will have on you.
Myth: Grief should last at least a year.
Fact: There is no timeframe on your grief. Some people grief in a month or two, others take years. Grieve at your own pace, and don’t feel bad if others make you feel like you’re taking too long or not long enough.
One mistake you should never make when dealing with the loss of a loved one is to let your own health and wellness fall by the wayside. Fight stress and fatigue by getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night, eating healthy foods, exercising and staying socially active. Avoid falling on stimulants like alcohol to numb the pain of loss.
Myth: You must be strong.
Fact: Losing a loved one is the one time you don’t have to be strong. Feeling frightened or lonely is a normal reaction, and you don’t need to be strong for anyone else. Your grief is your own – deal with it in your own way.
Routine brings comfort, and the more comfort you award yourself the better. Consider the activities you enjoyed participating in before experiencing your loss, and get into the swing of them again. By keeping your mind busy, you give yourself less time to ponder your situation.
Myth: Moving on means forgetting.
Fact: You will never forget about your loss, but you can move on and think about it less and less for your own psychological wellbeing. Moving on is acceptance – not forgetting.
While dealing with the grief of loss, your mind is constantly racing – thinking about things you could have said, should have done, and wondering how you’re going to get through this time. Bring your internal thoughts into the real world by writing down how you’re feeling in a journal, by writing a letter to your departed loved one, or by compiling a scrapbook to celebrate their life. Let Loving Ashes memorialise your loved one in a beautifully blown glass orb or heart as unique as they were, and smile as you keep their spirit close to you always.