Grieving the Loss of a Loved One: Tips for Healing and Acceptance

Grieving loss is one of life’s most difficult emotional challenges… whether it’s the death of a loved one or a relationship that’s ended, whether it’s the death of a loved one or a relationship that’s ended, grief can leave us in shock or feeling guilt, fear, physical and emotional pain, or even drive us into depression. While it is a process that everyone has to go through at some point in their life, it can be extremely emotionally draining and overwhelming. Even though it’s an incredibly trying time, there are ways to come to terms with your grief and be able to find peace in your life.

Give your emotions space to breath

Emotions are like “check engine” lights on your internal dashboard – they appear when there’s something we need to pay attention to. It’s easy to give into the idea that we can fix our emotions, or try to understand them so we can make them go away… but that’s like hijacking the car and turning off the sensors. If we can’t feel them, maybe we can pretend that they aren’t there.

But numbing what your spirit is trying to tell you won’t do anything to help you heal; instead, try allowing yourself to feel the emotion that comes naturally. Don’t judge or criticize your emotions – just observe how it feels in your body, and release any resistance towards it. Eventually, those emotions will pass away, and you can begin to move forward.

Emotions are normal, natural and part of every human experience – so give them space, allow them to show up, and be compassionate towards yourself. Your emotions don’t need fixing, they just need to be allowed to be there.

Allow time for healing

Healing doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time – and it’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong timeline for grieving. It can be helpful to reach out for help, such as talking with a therapist or support group, or writing in a journal – but ultimately you need to allow yourself the space and time to grieve. It’s important to recognize that there is no “correct” timeline for grieving, as it looks different for everyone. You will know when you are ready but be sure to give yourself ample space and time to process your feelings at your own pace.

“Acceptance doesn’t mean that you feel happy about the loss. Rather, in this stage, there is finally an acceptance of the pain and loss you experienced, and you start to look forward to and plan for the future,” says Sarah Gundle, PsyD.

No two individuals will have the exact same journey of healing. It’s not a simple linear process; instead, you might find yourself or your loved ones hopping between stages or possibly leaving some out altogether. Remember to be kind and gentle with yourselves – there is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to grieving!

You aren’t alone in your grief

Its’ cliche to say, but life is full of obstacles. We all come across hard times, and it’s comforting to know that you aren’t alone. Everyone faces loss in their life at some point or another, whether it’s the death of a loved one, a failed relationship, or a difficult transition. In fact, the majority of people say that they experience anticipatory grief on a regular basis, making it one of the most common human experiences. Anticipatory grief is the heavy emotion we experience when things are unpredictable and our future is uncertain, and we commonly worry about our potential futures – what may or may not happen.

No matter where you are in your grief journey, there will be people who can understand and support you. Whether it’s friends, family, or a professional counselor – don’t suffer silently. Reach out and lean on those around you who can provide comfort and understanding during this difficult time.

Finding someone who understands and can empathize with your feelings is key in healing from grief. But that’s easy… because we all have stories to share.

Grieving the loss of a loved one is never easy, but taking your time and allowing yourself space to grieve, reaching out for support, taking care of yourself emotionally, and embracing moments of joy throughout the process can help make it more manageable. With these steps in mind, you may be able to find peace and acceptance in your grief.

Tharp Funeral Home offers ongoing grief education and support groups. You can learn more about these weekly events here.