Whether it’s been weeks or months, the daily task of making it through each grief filled moment has been trying. When death occurs to a loved one, you may feel like a part of yourself has been ripped away.
Often, the experience of grieving takes place in stages and there is a whole succession of intense emotions that takes a while to overcome. As you go through your own journey of grief, it is not unusual to keep asking yourself questions as you reflect on this new reality you’re facing.
While everyone grieves differently, you’re also not alone in this. Here are some of the common reflective questions you might find yourself asking, and what to do.
Will I ever get over the grief?
It is less likely that you will get over the loss of your loved one, but the painful feelings you are going through will lessen as you accept the loss. The fact that the loss is difficult to accept and bear is proof of your love. However, learning how to live with your loss in a healthy manner should become your focus rather than simply trying to move past your loss. Allow yourself to feel those emotions and believe that you can get through it to move forward with your life.
Even when I have support, why do I feel alone?
Grief is personal to every individual – even if someone has experienced a similar loss to you. Everyone reacts to grief in their own way, and how you cope and feel may be drastically different. It is not strange to feel like no one understands you because grief can be isolating and feel like a mix of emotions. You could be laughing at something on the TV one minute, and then crying at the next. Even if you feel like no one could understand you, sharing your feelings with someone can help you cope with grief and let your feelings out to start healing.
Will I ever be the same?
The reality is, the death of a loved one breaks you and inevitably changes you. You have lost a part of your life that went intricately with that person. You won’t be the same anymore, but you will find that you give importance to different things and start to think differently. This makes you more committed than ever to life.
What should I do with their personal items?
Usually, there are two extremes regarding what to do with the deceased’s personal items. Some may get rid of everything thinking that it will take away the pain of their memories, while others will keep everything exactly the way their loved one has left them. There is no ideal way to do this, but we should try falling into extremes. As and when you feel strong enough to do so, you can dispose of things or give them away little by little and keep more significant things with more sentimental value. This will help you remember the person with greater affection.
When will I know that the mourning is over?
When you’re in the middle of grieving, you might start to lose interest in things and life – but the opposite happens when the mourning ends for you. When your energies are focused on your relationships, your hobbies and work, yourself and on feeling better, you will begin to renew your enthusiasm for life. Instead of distancing yourself from the painful event, you will be able to remember with affection and nostalgia. The memories won’t be causing constant pain anymore, even if it does sting a little, but the hurt is lessened.
There’s no set timeline for overcoming grief. So don’t be hard on yourself. It can help to write about your painful experience, or listen to music that helps you process your emotions, or even perform a meaningful activity. Many also see attending the deceased’s funeral services or carrying out traditional rites like Buddhist funeral customs as one of the ways to say goodbye and begin the journey of acceptance.