Grief: How to Deal with It Best
Why Knowing About Grief, and How to Handle It, Is so Important
Grief is weird. It is an emotion that everyone feels, but we all deal with it differently. Some people cry until there are no more tears to come. Some people can't cry and it does nothing for them. We each process grief differently, same as any other emotion. But there are some important differences with grief that everyone should know.
There are things we are looking forward to.
I recently found out that someone I had known and still followed closely on social media had been tragically killed in a car accident at 20-years-old. It's been well over two years since I last saw her in person, but I had been so excited when she got engaged just four days prior. I was a crying mess for days after I found out. I didn't know that I was looking forward to seeing her wedding picture until I knew they would never happen. There would be no wedding and no amazing pictures of the happy couple. If someone had asked me if I was looking forward to seeing those before her passing, I would probably have said no. But it's weird what we want to see from someone, and we don't know what they meant to us until they aren't there any more. This is especially true losing someone young and someone whose life you are involved in. Grieving is missing what is never going to happen. Let yourself be sad that you will never do that again, or for the first time with that person. This is perfectly normal, and if doing it for them even thought they aren't there helps do it, no matter how stupid seeming it is. If it was important to them, it can be important to you.
Let yourself feel the grief. Putting it away only prolongs it.
I had a social worker tell me that I was being stupid when I said I was trying not to cry and be sad anymore after ten days. This, I was told, was ridiculous. Would I ever expect that from anyone else going through something like this? For some reason, I was thinking I wasn't allowed to cry. If crying is how you grieve, then cry as much as you need to. Putting this kind of emotion away only keeps you grieving for longer. One way to help yourself is to give yourself a set time that you are allowed to cry or grieve in some other way. Take this time everyday and do what you need to do. Put your grief aside until this time, then let the waterfalls start. If you do this every day, you will eventually not want to take the time. And that's okay, that means you have moved forward with your life and remembering them doesn't have the same reaction that it once did.
Move forward, not get over.
When you grieve, it's unlike any other emotion. Other things that are not death or loss we are told to "just get over." But losing another human being is different. Whether it's a loved one or just a friend, it is hard. There will always be little things that remind you of the other person. Whether it's an article of clothing or a picture on your phone, there will always be something that reminds you of them. You don't get over a loss, you move past it. As someone told me, "You don't get over a loss, you get better at hiding it." This doesn't mean you can't move forward with your life, it just means that there will always be something that will take you back there.
What all of this means is that grieving takes time. Let yourself be sad. Try thinking about what you would say to a friend that was grieving. How would you treat them? I would give them more then ten days and let them cry as much as they would like. Be kind to yourself, and let yourself grieve, however that may look.