Many people spend time in hospice before passing away, which is a time to help families make the most of their loved one’s last days. If you recently lost someone, you are probably trying to find ways to navigate this new and different chapter in life. It’s important to know that no two people grieve the same way. These emotions are complex and can last for months or years.
Here are some tips for helping you grieve the loss of your loved one.
Understand the Grieving Process and its Stages
There are five stages to grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Every person gets through each stage in their own way, in their own time. There is no ‘normal’ amount of time to grieve. By understanding the process and how it is unique to each individual, you can give yourself the time and space you need to heal.
Seek Grief Counseling
Grief counseling prevents you from facing grief alone. These counseling sessions will validate your feelings in a safe, non-judgemental space where you can fully express your emotions. The goal of grief counseling is to help you come to terms with your loss and accept your new life without them. They can even help with practical aspects, like planning a funeral.
Find Comfort in Your Support System
Your support system is highly valuable during this period of grief. Research shows that people who are supported by family and friends are less likely to suffer poor health as a consequence of loss. Social support can also prevent loneliness and isolation during the grieving period, lowering the risk for depression, suicide and substance abuse.
Practice Good Self-Care
Self-care is also very important right now. Grief can be raw, painful and messy, so you need to take care of your physical and mental health by eating nutritious foods, getting enough rest and exercising, even if it’s just a stroll through the neighborhood. You may also want to practice meditation or start a hobby to put your energy into something healthy.
Find Ways to Share Your Feelings
Because grief is complex, you may not know what to make of your feelings. This is why it’s helpful to have outlets for sharing your feelings, such as by writing in a journal. Keeping a journal allows you to document your feelings, emotions and struggles, as well as how you’re adjusting to daily life. You can also look back at how far you’ve come one day.
VNA Health Group offers bereavement and grief counseling for individuals and families. Grief is a process, and we are prepared to walk this journey with you. Led by social workers and pastoral care members, the purpose is to provide you with phone calls, memorial services, support groups, grief counseling and more for 13 months. We will also respect your spiritual and emotional needs. Contact us today to learn more.