In her classic work ‘To Live Until You Die’ Dr Elisabeth Kübler Ross, a renowned psychiatrist and pioneer in the study of death and dying taught us that:
“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same.”
So how do you then deal with grief?
Some things in life cannot be fixed but just carried. Grief is one of those things. There’s no formula or steps to take to make the pain go away however:
1. Journal. Writing your thoughts and experience can be helpful. When you’re processing loss, sometimes it may be difficult to express verbally what you are experiencing, however giving it life by putting it on paper or downloading apps that help with journaling eg Daylio can be helpful with processing.
2. Small wins. Sometimes even the most mundane of tasks can be near impossible to accomplish. If all you manage to do is take a shower, pick some basic groceries, prepare a meal, that is a win. Isolating yourself and doing nothing is very seductive, understandably so, however I promise pushing yourself to do one basic thing will feel a little better. You get to choose what that is for you.
3. I have noticed in my circles that a lot of people are less grief averse therefore creating a space that allows one to be with their pain and process. It’s very helpful to have a space where you can express your pain without having to worry about being censored. Seek out a professional, however it’s important to ensure that they are well versed with issues of grief and loss.
4. Culture has some remedies. Are you aware of some practices from your culture that are used to help with grief? In my community, one can plant a tree in memory of a loved one to help keep their memory alive. And from watering and tending to it, it evokes the feeling of the presence of the loved one. Identify a ritual or practice that may be practical to you and incorporate it in your process.
Grieving a loved one is personal. And it comes in waves and intensity that sometimes requires of us to sit with everything it evokes. Grief is brutal, and no one loss is the same as the other. Yet it’s part of the human experience. Know that all we can do sometimes is bare witness to it and to those going through the process. Grief cannot be fixed, just carried.
Please use this for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for seeking out professional help. The views expressed here in are from my personal experiences as well as from those I have interacted with. And while one may resonate with what is shared, it’s not a substitute for appreciating your own unique personal experience. Always do your own research and due deligence on any topic to guard against being hoodwinked