“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in the hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” – Jamie Anderson-
What is grief?
Grief is the natural response to loss. It can be triggered by many different events such as losing a loved one, moving away, losing a job, acquiring a new injury, or going through a major life change. Sometimes, we even start the grief process in anticipation of a negative event. Grief may make you feel stuck, not knowing what to do and how to move on.
Is grief linear?
Absolutely not. The grief process is like the waves of an ocean. Sometimes the waves are quiet, and sometimes, the waves are rocky. This ocean can be unpredictable, and you may not know when the next wave will be.
It may feel like things are going in a positive direction, and it feels like you may be moving on some days. On other days, it may feel that things are tumbling down, and everything is feeling hopeless.
There are times when your loss does not feel real and when it feels so real that it is hard to wrap your head around it. It is a messy process, and it can be tricky to navigate.
How to manage your grief?
1. Reach out to your support system. Trusted family and friends are a big part of the healing process. Grief may urge you to isolate yourself and to shut everyone out. However, the challenge is to work through your resistance and to reach for support even if you do not feel like it.
2. Do self-care. Do things you enjoy and take care of your physical health even if you do not feel like it, even if you are convinced that they would not make a difference. This is part of working through the sense of resistance and apathy that comes with grief. You can read more about self-care and healthy coping in our blog, 10 Healthy Coping Skills.
3. Talk to a counsellor. Talking to someone in a safe and confidential place can be extremely helpful. I often compare grief to a big jar of water. Talking to someone can help you to empty this big jar to make it more manageable.
4. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings instead of avoiding them. Schedule yourself a time each day during which you make room for your feelings. It is as if you have a daily date with your grief. This way, your grief is less likely to spill out during your daily life and at the most inconvenient times.
5. Have patience. Grieving takes time. Worrying about the end date of this grief process can make matters worse. Focus on tolerating your pain and riding the waves one day at a time.