How to Overcome the Death of a Loved One

4 steps to healing from the grief of losing someone close to you

Losing a loved one can be a highly charged and very traumatic time. Though coping with loss can be a deeply personal experience, there are a few basic and universal steps to the bereavement and grief process. Knowing these steps can help you to work through your grief over the loss of a loved one.

Step 1: Allow the feelings

Coping with the loss of a loved one brings up almost every emotion imaginable. There are times when more than one emotion seems to take hold at once, and you may feel as if you're “going crazy.” It's natural to feel this way, as it's normal to experience a number of different feelings.

Gently remind yourself in your time of bereavement and grief that your feelings are yours, and they are well within the norm. It's important to your process to understand that there is no "right" or "wrong" when it comes to your feelings about losing a loved one.

Step 2: Gather support

While there may be times as you are coping with loss when you'll wish to be alone, it's important to gather a support group around you for those times when you might need them. Friends, family, a Minister or Rabbi and perhaps even a therapist are all people who can and should be accessed during your grief process. These individuals can be accessed for emotional support as well as physical needs, if required. The death of a loved one often leaves a large hole in the life of the survivor that can be, at least temporarily, occupied by a support team.

Step 3: Allow the grieving process

Bereavement and grief is a process. It's important to know that every person has their own way of coping with loss. You cannot put a time limit on your grief. You must allow yourself to experience the stages of grief as they come up.

Author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, in her book, On Death and Dying, outlined five stages of grief. Each stage is unique and is not necessarily experienced in order. Stages may also be revisited. These stages are:

  • Denial: Your experience is incomprehensible, initially. You find it impossible to believe the loss of your loved one is real, and you may be numb from the experience.
  • Anger: As the truth of the situation begins to take hold, it's normal to feel anger and rage. This anger may be directed at yourself, the loved one for leaving you, doctors for not healing your loved one or even at God.
  • Bargaining: It's not unusual for survivors to cope with loss by trying to negotiate, usually with their Higher Power. Don't be surprised if you find yourself trying to make an “if only” deal with God.
  • Depression: The overwhelming sadness you feel is normal, and in most cases will not last forever. It's common to feel as if life will never be the same.
  • Acceptance: While this final stage of bereavement and grief is called “acceptance,” this refers to coming to terms with the finality of the loss and moving forward with your life. It does not mean that, from time to time, you may not revisit some of the stages listed above, but rather that the pain of your loss will become more manageable.

Step 4: Embrace life

Author David K. Switzer talks about the need to rediscover one’s own life in his book Dynamics of Grief: Its Source, Pain, and Healing. While the pain of your loss is real and must be felt, there will come a time when you must begin to live your own life again. By working through overcoming the death of a loved one, you will come to a place of accepting the death as a reality. You will find yourself able to move forward and embrace your life without your loved one by your side.

Your process through bereavement and grief are your own. Everyone responds differently to coping with loss. Above all, be kind to yourself and know that you will wake one day and find the pain is less, and life can go on.

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Comments

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I have lost my only son the first born child I had ,I blame myselfforhisdeathi wish I wasthere in heaven with him life hurts all I have left is my big brother to help me thru this now

Anonymous
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I can't imagine the pain you're going through. I am so sorry and I really hope that you will be ok. Thinking of you:) x

Anonymous
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Just imagine him smiling and telling you it's not your fault. Hug him. Kiss him. Let him tell you he's all right with God and is happy. He is no longer in pain, and no suffering. Be glad that he is at peace and remember he still loves you unconditionally.

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I lost my mom last year december i cnt even cope i mis her a lot,i lose my drops evyday.

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Indeed it is painful. day in a night those thoughts linger of a lost loved ones and wish you were with them. i grieve everyday over the loss of my mother. died in my presence when i could not do anything makes me feel helpless and worth less. Pray in the Lord for comfort

Anonymous
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This is months ahead but I want to say that may your son rest in peace

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I lost my lovely Mom barely a year now, d memories we shared still lingers in my heart, just recently I lost my beloved elder brother to d cold hands of sudden death, my heart is broken, I can't emerging my self living without d two most important people in my life. I cry day in day out, feeling crazy. How do I cope? My wife doesn't even understand what I'm passing through right now & it hurts me the more, life is no longer worth living to me again.

Kelsy.
kelneny@yahoo.com

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

i am so sorry

Anonymous
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I lost my dad last September. I didn't get a chance to say bye. I am having a hard time dealing with it. There is not a day that goes by that I don't shed a tear..I love and miss him so much.

Anonymous
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I lost my grandma 3 years ago
My Greatgrandma 2 years ago
My aunt 5 months ago
And my grandpa a couple of weeks ago
It's been rough to deal with
When do I start to feel better

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Same here. I lost my mom last december as well, and i still cry everyday.

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I lost my Mom 3/26/2015 I'm still no where near to moving on. I know she's never coming back, and I do get signs, but it's not the same. I miss her so much, I'm back to crying myself to sleep. I feel so orphaned...and I'm an adult...though I don't much deal like one.

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I lost my mum 3 weeks ago and I seem to be stuck I can't move on.I can't even go to work

Anonymous
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I have lost my dearest grandpa, but can't control myself, don't know even if I can overcome

Anonymous
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I lost my husband of 40 years two weeks ago. I am having a very ,very tough time dealing with the situation. I have a therapist, great friends, and wonderful children. Still-i feel a tremendous burden of heaviness and sadness. I feel alone and cannot stop crying. I hope and pray this feeling of sadness lessens, for I cannot see living with it. Ir is just brutal.

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

my mom died when I was 4 my dog died 1 month 6 days after his 5 birthday and 1 month 7 after my birthday and I predicted their death and it happened on the that day my dog was abused in his past. I'm only 10 and I have to deal with this crap I was hoping it wouldn't happen until I was really really old.

Anonymous
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i lost my grandpa 5 days ago and im still crying everyday

Anonymous
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when there is love in this world their will always be hatred in this world

Anonymous
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My girlfriend for the past six years was in an auto accident, and now I feel so alone. I miss her so much. I never thought I would see the day of a life without her. Danela were are you?

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I lost my brother 2 years ago. He wasn't only my brother but he was also my bestfriend. Till this day I find it completely surprising that he died so young. I miss him a lot and I can't get over his death.

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Same here. I lost my beloved mom a week ago. I miss her a lot, and I can't imaging myself living without her. Every day I pray to Buddha to give me courage to live in sake of my family.

Anonymous
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Im so sorry for you m8! :(

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I lost my grandma 2 years ago a month after her birthday and i cried for 4 weeks strait.
I lost my grandpa 1 year ago and I cried for 2 weeks strait.
They both died of cancer and I can't get over it.whar am I suppose to do. I didn't get to say good bye to any of them I an still crying myself to sleep every night.

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I lost my mom last october 2015 its painful I bury my head in work. But her memory always linger she was my everything. everything I look at reminds me of her. Her smile her laugh her endless stories. I just miss her so much. I grieve everyday and when I pass near graves I just stand there and imagine how peaceful she is down there. She was in so much pain when she died and I blamed myself for that. I miss her each day. I pray for her. there was this several times when I prayed for God to open the gates of heaven for her. I believe she is an angel in the sky

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Lost my dearest uncle 5 years ago at 36 and my loving grandfather last decemeber the pain is horrible imcrying to this moment i do everyday over the both of them they were father and son :'(

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I too just lost my husband "suddenly" on May 5,2016. We were married for 40 years, 41 years in June and was the love of my life. Although I have the support of my adult children, the loss is overwhelming at times, and I have entered the pit of despair. I feel I will never stop feeling like this, for I agree it is brutal. I pray in time this overwhelming feeling I am living with will lessen, and just want you to know your not alone in this extremely difficult time of life!

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

My wife died on feb9 2016 and a big part of me died too.We had been together for forty years and I miss her so .I would do anything to be with her but my time is not yet so have to carry on and try and make new start.I cry every day no control over it how long if ever does it take to manage it.

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I got married last year (February 2015), 1 month later I lost my beloved sister,and while I was still trying to cope with this loss, my wife, who was already sick become to get worst, and after very long struggle, we did not succeed, she has passed away last week... could some one please say this is normal or help me to overcome, because I am feeling devastated...

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

My great nan died a few weeks ago and I still can't believe she's gone. Each day I regret not visiting her very often as her care home was 15 minutes drive and I can't drive. My mum would say to me she is going to visit her but I would never go. I was always like oh I'll see her in a few weeks. But I haven't seen her since February and now she's dead. It hit me like a train, but I think I'm starting to feel better. She died the week before the 10th anniversary of my great grandad's (her husband) death. At least now they're together.

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I too lost my much loved elder brother who was a source of inspiration and guidance to me..its about 2 months and i still cry...though i am doctor by profession it truely hurts when you lost the loved ones!!my mom still could not stop crying...i feel shattered when i think of all this!!

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