Does grieving ever really stop?

Grieving is what we do after a big loss. Grief can be accompanied by many emotions and bodily reactions such as sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, lack of sleep, loss of appetite, insomnia, and mania. Grief can make a person do things they have never done before. It can turn a person into someone completely different. They may look the same on the outside, but on the inside, they have changed. In the way they think, love, and do. 

Loss and grief change a person. People grieve for many different reasons: loss of a loved one, loss of a pet, loss of a relationship, failure to achieve a goal, retirement, loss of an ability, and loss of bodily function. There is no right way or reason to grieve and everyone does it differently. Some may ask how long will I feel this way. Will this pain ever stop? In short, I don’t know the answer but I can tell you. The feeling never goes away and neither does the pain or the memory of the loss. It will stay with you forever because it was a part of who you once were. 

I’ve told many clients when they lose a loved one that they grieve because they love. Our grief symbolizes the love we had for our loved one. That love will never stop. So you will grieve for a lifetime but with time the pain becomes more bearable. At times it will be unbearable like you’re drowning, you’ll be living your new life, and at times you’ll be remembering while laughing and crying. 

This is the same for other losses. We always will want what we cannot have. I miss the way I used to be able to do things, I want my loved one here with me, if only I acted differently we would still be together….The key to grieving isn’t simple or easy, but if you do these steps it could help you get through a bad day. 

Step 1: it’s ok to remember the memory of your loss. Talk about it, remember the good times, cry if you need to, but don’t stay there. By staying there you will only take yourself into a downward spiral. Thinking about the what if’s and I should’ve’s will get you nowhere. That is the past and you CANNOT change what has already been written and published. But we can learn to accept our new lives. (This will take time)

Step 2: Give your self a time limit. Like I said it’s ok to feel the emotions that come with grieving, but don’t stay there. BE angry, BE sad, FEEL guilty. Do it! But you only get one day! Or 1 hr. You pick! The longer you stay in the tsunami of emotions the deeper it’ll take you. So how hard do you want to work to get yourself out of the deep hole you just dug yourself? Have you ever tried to climb a rope? It’s tough. So think wisely. 

Step 3: Do a self-reminder!! Ok, it’s time to get back to the present moment!! Create something to tell yourself when you realize what you are doing to yourself. STOP IT! GET OFF YOUR BUTT!!! GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!! NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOU!!  Whatever it is you need to hear to get you out of the past and the negative headspace you just created. YELL it at the top of your lungs and MOVE!!!! MOVE to the here and now. Remind yourself of your present moment in life, the things you can control, and the people who are here with you NOW! You have a purpose, so find it. 

Step 4: Once you have come back to earth and have left the hole and negativity. It’s time to continue to work on the new version of yourself. Get to know yourself again. Spend some time with yourself. Talk to yourself, write about your experiences, and try new experiences. You have been given the gift of another day. Make use of it. Put a smile on someone’s face whether they are up above or right in front of you. Figure out what this new you, can do.

Grieving is so unpredictable….you can probably go through these steps multiple times a day in the beginning. That’s ok!! As long as you continue to work through the emotions and thoughts that you are experiencing. When you don’t work through them and just sit in them that’s when they become a problem. You are in control and if you feel you aren’t then get yourself some support from family, friends, or a professional counselor. It is our job to help you walk through your pain and help you figure out your grief process.