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When Grief Overwhelms
Grief is an overwhelming, excruciating, heartbreaking experience that, at the time, feels like it will never end. Regardless of your faith, death can seem final – a final and traumatizing end to a significant relationship in your life.
Unfortunately, we will all likely face grief at some point in our lives. Often under different circumstances, and various emotions can ensue; however, it’s something we have to prepare for.
In some cases, you may have known that death was about to occur. A loved one may have been suffering from a terminal illness. In other cases, death may be tragic and unexpected — for example, a car accident. These different circumstances can lead to a different healing process. However, grief, in all forms, is painful.
If you’re finding yourself knee-deep in grief and mourning, here are some things you can do to help yourself come to terms with a new normal:
1) Feel it
I’ve been there – where it is too excruciating to feel. When letting out a single tear is suddenly gut-wrenching, soul-crushing, and knee-buckling. I’ve been at the point in my grief where feeling at all is feeling it wholly – and that is always where I can’t find air to breathe, and I can physically feel my heart shatter.
Feel it anyway.
The moments where the grief is so painful are the moments of transition. It’s going to be painful, and it might bring you to your knees, and you may feel like it will never pass – but it will.
When it finally does pass, you might even be able to stabilize yourself a bit more — the worst thing you can do is to deny yourself of the ability to feel.
Your hurt is an expression of the love you feel for that person. Let yourself love them, and let yourself hurt for them.
2) Write it out
This can be painful, and often a dreaded part of the grieving process. Still, I advise it.
Connect with your loved one by writing (or even talking) to them. Tell them why you’re in so much pain and tell them why you loved them so much!
Write out your apologies, your favourite memories, and your “thank you’s”.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the death, there’s a good chance it’ll come with some guilt. It’s a natural part of the grieving process – however, it can become unhealthy if you don’t address it.
By writing all of your apologies down, you can address your guilt. By connecting with your loved one, this may be a good way to let go of your guilt.
3) Acknowledge the uniqueness of your loss
One of the most profound bits of advice that I’ve heard while grieving is: NOBODY knows how you feel.
If your mom passed away, your sister (who also lost her mom) can’t know how you feel. Even when you lost the same person, nobody can understand how YOU feel.
That may be a harrowing realization, primarily because it’s already easy to feel isolated and alone when you’re mourning.
Your relationship with the person who passed away was unique. Your memories with them and the things you shared are special.
Because of this, let people off the hook. Your friends and family may not know what to say to make you feel better. You’re allowed to ask for what you do need.
4) Let yourself be happy again
There will come a time where you finally can breathe. After all of that time, it may feel foreign, and you may ask yourself how you can be happy when somebody so important to you has passed away?
Let yourself be happy again. You don’t need to feel guilty for being happy, just in the same way that you don’t need to feel guilty for being sad.
Your grief will never pass entirely. You will rebuild around it, but you will always have a little space in your heart reserved for them. Which is a really beautiful thing.
If you’ve recently gone through a loss, keep in mind that grief is the result of deep love.
Written by Celina Dawdy