by Mary Weeks, LMSW
You’ve lost a loved one. The memorial is over.
The mourners have all gone home. Now what?
Whether a loved one’s death came suddenly or after a long period of illness, the sheer shock of your loss can leave you feeling like you’re walking around in a fog. Here are some tips to help you clear the fog:
- Mourning is a healthy and necessary expression of our grief.
- You’re not going crazy, even if it feels that way sometimes…
- Grief has no set timeline. Why? Every person is unique, and every loss is unique, so every grief experience will be unique.
- You are the expert of – and master over – your own grief. No one else has a right to tell you how your process “should” go.
- If possible, postpone major life decisions, like remarrying, moving, and making critical financial choices, for one year.
- If you cultivate the courage to process the past and integrate your loss, you can come by your hope for the future honestly.
- You can’t embrace the pain all at once. Feel it in small waves and allow it to retreat until you are ready for the next wave.
- Practice self-care. Many people find they can’t manage all of the things they did before losing a loved one. Be mindful of your own needs and limits, and be willing to prioritize them.
- Listen to your heart for creative ways to honor your loved one – and yourself – without concern about what others think.
- Seek out empathetic grief companions from your social circle, faith-based organization, or a support group, and share your grief story with others who have experienced their own loss.
- Grief is often compared to walking into a wilderness. While there’s no trail map, a licensed therapist can serve as a guide.