What you need to know about Loss and Grief

What you need to know about Loss and Grief

It’s hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember.

loss and grief

What is Loss and Grief?

Grief is a normal response to loss. In simple terms, it is some drastic changes to daily routines and ways of life that usually bring us comfort and a feeling of stability. When a person loses someone close to them, it is natural to grieve. It might be the loss of a loved one, relationship, pregnancy, job or way of life. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief is most likely to be. A case in point is the Covid pandemic which has caused so much havoc in our lives leaving us grieving with un answered questions and wounds we hope to heal one day. Due to the intrusive and recurrent nature of the pandemic, there has not been time or chance for us to count our losses and some people are still struggling to nurse the inflicted “wounds.”

The grieving process can take days, months or even years. According to Melinda Smith et.al (2021), accepting the loss as the end stage of what life has dealt you is the most challenging part. In essence this is what the grieving process is all about. Grief has no set pattern which means there are different ways of expressing it. It can affect many aspects of one’s life including; your emotions, thoughts, behaviour, beliefs, physical health, sense of self and identity, and your relationships with others. Loss can leave you feeling sad, angry, anxious, shocked, regretful, relieved, overwhelmed, isolated, irritable or numb, but remember it is normal and everyone goes through the experience differently. However, through this horrifying phase of life, you begin to create new experiences and habits that work around your loss. There is no right or wrong way to experience loss. As part of coming to terms with a loss, you have to allow yourself to feel and react in a way that is natural to you during this emotional period. However, always remember that when your grief is becoming overwhelming, or you are having trouble sleeping, talk to your mental health professional or General Doctor.

How to handle oneself during the grieving process

  1. Stay in touch with others

During these lockdowns, you may not be able to be physically close with your family, try not to become emotionally isolated. In case of loss of a loved one, allow people to offer their condolences and support you in different ways. Phone calls, texts, emails and social media messages of support from the people closest to you may offer some comfort. Reach out to them and make sure to contact someone every day. Try to answer their calls and reply to their messages to keep conversations going with the people who care.

  1. Eat well

Try not to neglect your basic needs.  Eating well improves your mood, mental abilities, and productivity. Even though you may not have your usual appetite, try to eat enough food and drink water adequately in order to stay hydrated. This will help you to stay physically healthy while you grieve.

  1. Keep a routine

Keeping some routine can be helpful. Try to stick to your normal routine as much as possible. Maintaining your usual meal, bed and waking-up times is important. Get out into the garden or on your balcony for some fresh air if you can. For those who can take a walk do so, a walk in the woods, on a local nature trail, or around the neighborhood will be good exercise.  A plus is that you never know what you will see or who you will meet that can make you feel better.

  1. Take it one day at a time

You will feel OK during some days and the grief would not be bad as other days – this is normal. Some people can feel guilty when this happens, but there is no need to take this route. Be kind to yourself and be aware of your feelings and emotions, one day at a time. It is all a normal part of grieving.

  1. Listen to your favorite music playlist

Music can have a positive impact on both our physical and emotional health. This ranges from reducing the perceived intensity of pain to relieving symptoms of depression, (usatoday.com). Make a list of music that uplifts your mood and take time to listen or always play in the background. 

  1. Get in touch with your Counselor

It is always advisable to contact your Counselor or Psychologist so that they help walk you through trying times. Never shy away from talking to this group as they are trained professionals for a reason, they are there to hold your hand as you navigate through life’s difficult patches.

You are encouraged to be there for your grieving friend or loved one. It may not be physically but you can still come up with ways to make them feel loved and cared for. Below are some suggestions on how to offer comfort without being physically present:

  • text or call – ask your friend how they are doing, ask what might help and listen carefully
  • drop food or a gift at the door to offer comfort
  • offer practical help, for example with shopping
  • offer help with technology, for example with setting up video calls, WhatsApp or other ways of keeping in touch etc.

Caring for children who are grieving

Many people tend to ignore children as if they are immune to grieving. No, they are not. Because death could rob them of their father, mother, sibling, grandpa or granny whom they have created a lot of memories with. They grieve too and here is how you can handle children during times of loss:

  • Answer their questions honestly. Children cope better with sad news when they are told the truth.
  • Let them set their own pace. There is no right or wrong way for them to experience grief.
  • Try to give honest, age-appropriate information about the death. Do not worry if you cannot answer all their questions. Tell them you will find out and try to bring up the conversation again when you can answer them.

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