Knowing how to cope with bereavement is incredibly difficult. Whether it's expected or not, it hits you hard, and you have no idea how to cope. There's no guidebook, and emotions are all over the place. You can never be entirely prepared, but there are helpful ways to cope with bereavement. It really helps to bear some points in mind. So here are some tips on dealing with bereavement.
1. No Right or Wrong Way
The first tip on how to cope with bereavement is to remember that there is no set way that you have to react. Everyone deals with bereavement differently. Don't listen to people who tell you that you should be over it by now. It's your experience and your loss, and nobody has the right to tell you how to deal with it.
2. Take Time
You never entirely get over losing someone; but you do learn to deal with it and carry on with your life. There is no set time span for this process. Take as long as you need, and don't feel that you should be feeling better because a certain amount of time has passed. Losing someone close to you is painful; that pain will lessen at its own pace. It can't be forced and realizing that is a key element in coping with grief.
3. Recognise Loss
Some people find it very hard to show emotions, even to themselves. When you go through bereavement, it's important to acknowledge that you have suffered a loss. That person is not coming back, and they can never be replaced. So be aware of the fact that a hole has been created in your life; by doing this, you will start to accept the loss and learn to cope with it.
4. Remember Positive Things
These days, more people are learning how to cope with bereavement by focusing on the person's life, rather than their death. Many funerals are becoming less sombre, as the person's family and friends emphasize the things they loved about their loved one, and what made them laugh. So celebrating their life can make the loss easier to deal with.
5. A Loss is a Loss
Have you ever heard the phrase "It's just an animal"? I disagree with that phrase so much. Animals can become a very important part of your life and family, and make wonderful companions. So nobody has the right to tell you that losing them isn't a bereavement. It is a loss, even if they weren't human. When you're dealing with bereavement, remember that any loss is still poignant and painful.
6. No Set Stages
When you lose someone, it is said that there are certain stages that you have to pass through, such as anger and acceptance. Maybe this is true, but losing someone doesn't mean that you have to follow a tick list. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions you experience, and let it take as long as you need.
7. You Don't Have to Be Strong
My final tip on how to cope with bereavement is that you shouldn't feel obliged to be strong. Of course you won't want to be weeping all the time at work or in the supermarket queue, but don't feel that you have to be strong for other people at the expense of your own emotions. If you feel sad, say so.
Bereavement is a horrible experience, but it's something that we will all have to go through, if we haven't already. You can never be entirely prepared, but since life does go on, we have to learn about coping with grief. Have you found any other useful ways that helped you learn how to cope with bereavement?
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