10 Things to do While Grieving a Loved One
Grieving is a complicated process (as we looked at in our previous article) and can be difficult to navigate. There are lots of things you can do to help with processing a loss. Finding what works may be difficult, it may bring up emotions that are difficult to feel. Rather than pushing down your emotions it can be helpful to give yourself a safe space to feel the hard feelings and process the loss you have experienced.
Chat with friends and family
Often when we lose someone it not only affects us but the people around us as well. It can be helpful to get together with others and process together. Getting lunch or coffee, or getting together at someone’s house can help everyone heal together. No one grieves the same but giving yourself and each other a safe space to process is key.
Alternatively be the safe space for your friends and family to grieve, even if you are not affected by their loss,just being present can make all the difference.
Do self care
When grieving, even the most basic care tasks can feel unachievable, so focusing on doing a little something for yourself can be helpful.For a comprehensive list of potential care tasks that can take as little as a couple minutes check out our article “Finding time for self care”
Look through memories with loved ones
Take out the old albums and look through scrapbooks. Look through the photos on your phone or through their belongings. Remember them happily, remember the things you did together. This can be hard to do, at first it is much easier to close the door and leave everything as is orstuff everything in a box and leave it in the back of the closet. This may not be something you do right away, you may need to have some separation from the event at first but when you are ready this can be very healing.
There is always something to do around the house, at work or school. Getting back into routine can help you work through your loss in stages. Keeping busy not only can get your mind off of things for a small period of time but can help bring a sense of control back into your life. We can’t decide when we are going to lose a loved one but we can control if the dishwasher runs or the laundry gets sorted.
Help with the arrangements
This goes in part with keeping busy. You can help collect pictures, write the obituary, arrange people to bring food if you are having lunch, if you are making a speech spend time writing it out.
Write out how you are feeling, are you angry or sad? Write about the good times you had and the fun things you would do together. If you are an avid journaler you may have old books to go through, read through old entries and relive those times you had together. Process your feelings on paper, read them out loud if you think hearing the words will help.
Learn about grief
You can check out our last article to learn about the 5 stages of grief. Learning about grief can help you understand why you feel the way you do.
Do something they loved
If your dad loved to fish, spend an afternoon at their favourite lake, even if you don’t fish, just spending time at a place they loved can be enough. Did they have a favourite book that they were always telling you that you would like? Plan a trip in their honour to a place they either loved to go or a place they never got to go to but had always dreamed of. Does your aunt have unfinished knitting projects? Finish them for her.
It may feel inappropriate but you’re allowed to laugh. You may be surprised at the things you will find when going through someone’s belongings. Money tucked away and forgotten. Things you thought they had gotten rid of years ago, hidden for safe keeping. What did they keep in their glove box? What snacks did they hide so no one else could have them? All those times they went and bought a new thing because they couldn’t find it. How many did you find? Give yourself permission to laugh, laugh at the old times and the new ones. They would want you to laugh.
Seek help from a professional
Sometimes it can feel like no one understands what you are going through. Maybe you don’t know where to turn or where to start. Life is just not the same and it feels as though it never will be. This is where our team of professionals comes in. Our team can help give you even more tools to help process your pain. This is a broad and rather short list of things to help you through grieving, for more specific help our team is ready to help you gain specific tools for your specific toolbox.