How we feel in the immediate moments and days after the loss of a loved one is deeply personal and unique to each individual.
Relationships can be complicated, and no two ever look the same. Our connections with others are full of varying emotions and differing levels of support, among many other factors that influence the nature of our relationships. Just as each of our relationships is unique in life, each of our experiences with grief will be unique as well. Grieving the physical loss of a loved one when they pass away is just as personal and individual as any other aspect of our relationship may have been.
Grieving the loss of a loved one can take on many different forms, and navigating through this difficult journey is not the same for each person.
Sometimes even the most well-intentioned family and friends can offer unsolicited advice about how we should feel, act or say goodbye. If you’ve been the recipient of this type of input, you may feel pressured to grieve in a specific way that doesn’t speak truly to you and your relationship with the deceased.
Give yourself permission to grieve in a way that feels genuine to you. Consider these questions when you think of what you may find most helpful in the days after a loss:
- What, or who, brings you comfort?
- Is there a trusted family member or friend you can turn to for support?
- What activities can help you to find calm and rest in the midst of this tumultuous time?
- What helps you to feel connected to your loved one who has passed away?
As you reflect on your answers to these questions, think about how you can create your own personal time and space to grieve. Establishing this dedicated space is different for each person and the most important thing is to find a place, activity, or experience that helps you feel most supported.
Here are just a few ideas you can consider as you think about what works best for you:
- A daily morning walk to connect with nature
- Evening meditation or prayer
- Gathering around the table with family
- Spending time with pets
- Listening to music
- Going for a run or doing yoga
It can be difficult to carve out the time and space you need to say goodbye to a loved one in the midst of this most difficult and hectic time. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself, and to honor your relationship with your loved one in a way that speaks to you.