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
Anonymous's picture

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
Anonymous's picture

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
Anonymous's picture

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
Anonymous's picture

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
Anonymous's picture

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.

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