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Sunday, November 3, 2013

The road to healing during grief.

Mourning the loss of a loved one is an intense and long process. Most people experience such intense emotional pain that they are convinced they will never heal. The length of grief and the intensity depend most on the kind of relationship you had with that person. Parents feel helpless and confused when a child dies and because of this disruption of the natural order of things, such as the child burying the parent, their lives feel as if it came to an abrupt end. If the loved one was living far and the relationship not very close the period of mourning will naturally be shorter and less painful. When the person died by suicide, murder or an accident instead of a prolonged illness, unresolved issues may cause deep disturbances. A feeling of things left unsaid and questions may arise to make the loss more difficult to work through. Many people feel cheated out of having the chance to say goodbye and it plays a big role in the length of mourning.

There are five main stages of mourning that most appear to experience while grieving. First there is denial when the shock is too much for the brain to accept. In this stage people may experience a sense of unreality and that the loved one will come home shortly. They may even wait by the phone or cancel engagements to be home for the return of their loved one. The second stage is anger at the situation and sometimes the deceased for leaving them all alone. Some people may be angry at God for allowing this senseless thing to happen to them. Bargaining is the next step in grief. The bereaved feel they can bargain with God or the loved one to return. A deep depression almost always follows and when it is very severe the person must seek professional help. The last stage is acceptance that the loss occurred and there is nothing to be done about it.

Grief is a long process and can’t be rushed and there is no timeline to it. There are things you can do to make it easier on yourself and those around you. One of the main things is not to suppress the pain and let your emotions out in the air. Tears cleanse the soul and it relieves some of the pain. There are people who can’t show emotion and needs a different outlet than crying and seeking help. Meditation is one of the most effective ways of coping with the pain as well as praying, walking, writing, exercise or drawing. Some people keep a journal of their journey and see how they progress through every stage. If you are not one to talk openly about your suffering a journal can be very helpful in getting your thoughts on your grief out and help towards healing. Letters to the deceased loved one can be of tremendous help as well. Many people have unsolved problems and things they would have liked to say to their loved one before the loss occurred. Try to talk about your grief as much as you can with a friend or someone you trust. Joining a support group or going for grief counselling is another great method to assist the bereaved. There are a lot of literature to inform people about grief and what to expect on your journey. Books about the afterlife may ease your mind if you have doubts or fears about where the person went to. There are many books available to educate you about suicide and what the state of mind of your loved one was in. Literature on Near Death Experiences will ease your mind greatly, because death isn’t an abomination, it is a natural part of life.

Keep in mind that the pain can become so unbearable that thoughts of insanity may enter your mind. Grief is the most agonising emotion for most people and you can feel that you are losing your mind when you experience depression and feelings of anxiety. All of these feelings are normal when grieving in an intense way. The different stages can cycle so rapidly that it feels like you are on an emotional rollercoaster ride. When you reach the stage that you can't handle it on your own it is best to see a psychologist or other medical professional to help you handle your emotions. To admit it is getting the better of you is not a sign of weakness. Remember that you must take care of yourself first and foremost. Try to take one day at a time or even just one moment at a time and not rush your healing, it must follow its natural course. 

Be kind to yourself and pamper yourself with long relaxing baths, massages, soft music, loving thoughts of the person you lost, rest and love. Try to remember the good things about your loved one and times spend together and not dwell on the way he or she died. In the midst of this despair you can’t see it now but the way you lost your loved one is of no consequence to you or what you did or didn’t do. Guilt can mar beautiful memories and make the grief journey more intense than it has to be. Nothing you could have done would have changed the outcome and if you can accept that you are on the road to recovery. We are not supernatural beings and we can’t stop someone from dying.

No major decisions like moving, divorce, changing of jobs or financial investments must be made for the time being. When in deep mourning your mind doesn't see things in reality and decisions like this can cause problems and regrets later that could have been avoided. You are not thinking rational and you may make mistakes that can't be reversed at a later date.

Some of the things that help you on your road to healing are to remember your loved one in special ways. At birthdays or other significant dates you can light a candle or release helium balloons or have a ritual or ceremony for the departed. When you don't have a grave to visit create a special place in your garden with plants, ornaments that they liked and other memorabilia and flowers. If you don't have access to a garden you can always have a corner in the house with photos and pieces of clothing and candles to make it special in remembrance. Some people scatter the ashes of their loved one in places that had a special meaning for them, but if you can't part with the ashes it is perfectly acceptable.

As time moves on we start experience days without any pain and tears and with that guilt returns. We may feel we are betraying our loved one if we feel times of happiness or the first laughter. This doesn't mean you are forgetting them, it only means you are coming to terms with your loss. You are not disloyal or giving up on them, you are merely getting healed. We will never forget the ones we have lost, we just start to live the new life their void has left behind. 

Blessed Be and Namaste!